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How to Draw Realistic Hair in Pencil

Sandra Doe

Sandra Doe

hair drawing
@fromasteadyhand

Are you still struggling to draw hair that genuinely looks good and realistic?

Then you are in the perfect place: this is an article showcasing step-by-step tutorials for drawing various hairstyles.

They will cover the basic straight hair, curly, frizzy, braids, ponytail, messy bun, short hair and so much more. So let’s jump right in!

 

art supplies

Let's gather our supplies:

Ensuring that you have the best supplies to get the job done is what is needed.

Because, believe it or not, part of successful outcome when it comes to drawing is having the right supplies on hand. 

  1. Sketchbook: This is our favorite brands are Canson and Arteza.
  2. Penicls: Arteza has a great variety at affordable price. Artzmore also great. Black soft pencil is required. STAEDTLER is a brand for professional artists. 
  3. Eraser: As a beginner, it is crucial to have a good eraser to remove all of your mistakes. Acurit is a 4-in-1 eraser, it removes colored pencil, charcoal and is smooth. A must have!
  4. Blending: A blend stump is a must. 
  5. Details: Uni Pin Fineliner is our favorite fineliner and a white pen is essential!

How to Draw Hair: Basic Tips

how to draw hair realistically
source

Tip #1: Copy drawings of hair from artists that you like.

This way you will practice the skill and see how other artists are doing it so that you can improve.

How to Draw Realistic Hair in Pencil 4
@mimas_artwork

Tip #2: Directions of strokes matter.

Make sure that you are taking the time with laying the strokes and that they are always in the hair’s direction and it’s length.

hair drawing ideas
@disparoscatti.art

Tip #3: Highlight the curved hair strands.

The highlights on the strand of hair are created whenever there is a curved area. Usually, it appears in the curls and around the circumference of the face. Observe it on the photos, and paintings.

hair drawing ideas
@lianne.drawing.art

Tip #4: Create big contrast

To make the hair look more realistic, do not be afraid to create contrast.

Make dark areas even darker then in real life and light areas even lighter.

Use white pen and black pencil. 

hair drawing
@artby.leah

Tip #5: Gradually build up tones.

Patience and graduality is the key!  Take your time with it. Take breaks, if you are impatient, but DO NOT rush.

That is the difference between a beautiful artwork and so so artwork. 

 

How to Draw Curly Hair:

Drawing curly hair might seem to be the most daunting to do.

Especially if it feels like there are too many of them, curls. 

Usually, with the help of pencil lines, you can achieve the texture of the hair that you want.

Contrast, shades, and highlights are crucial when it comes to creating the depths of the hair.

How to draw Frizzy/ Fermented hair?

The best way to draw frizzy or permed hair is to ensure the curls are not distinct, but much rather all more blended together to create the frizzier texture.

How to draw Layered Hair?

This is usually my favorite hairstyle to draw and to have. When drawing this style, V shapes are created when drawing animal fur, feathers, and flower petal. 

It is important to constantly create the highlighted tones of the hair, contrasting with darker shades. It will allow to create the realistic depth.

When drawing hair, bands of light are the most crucial elements to creating a realistic finish.

How to draw Braids?

Plaits are the most beautiful thing to draw when it comes to hair.

Below you can find two videos demonstrating two different techniques for drawing pretty braiding patterns. 

How to draw a Ponytail?

Make sure you draw the outlines of the hair.

Then shade in lightly the hair starting from the lights to darkest and to gradually create the depth.

How to draw a Messy Bun?

Firstly draw the outline for the hair. Contrast and the details are the keys to successfully drawing this style.

How to draw Straight Hair?

1. Sketch the outline of the hair and the overall shape.

It should be done with a light HB pencil or H.

Never use B pencil
, as it will make the drawing look not the most professional.

2. The next step would be to sketch out the approximate lines where it will be dark and light.

3. Begin by shading in everything where it is dark, not with the darkest pencil, but with B or HB pencil. Especially in dark areas. That will lead to step by set, creating the gradual detailed depth and the highlights of the hair.

4. Start blending in, lightly with the pencil stump. Then lay in the hair strokes with the darker, 2B pencil as well as the highlights with the pencil eraser. 

5. Continue gradually increasing the lightness and the darkness. It is best to learn this technique by watching some YouTube tutorials.

How to draw Layered Hair?

How to Draw Realistic Hair in Pencil 9

 

How to draw Short Hair: From rapidfireart.com

  1. Take the time out to lay in the shapes. Yes, this is the most crucial step. Because this is what makes a difference between a realistic drawing and not realistic drawing. 
  2. Start by softly sketching out the different lights and darks, create this kind of a visual color book.

3. Begin shading in the dark areas with HB or B. That will start creating the depth. The mid-tone is should be shaded in with H.

4. Blend it with the stump in the highlight areas supposed to be.

5. Continue building up the tones, blending in more lights and more darks. Gradually build up the tones. The darkest tone will be the blackest that you can even use the black pencil and the white pencil for much more contrast.

How to draw Long Curly Hair?

Start off by drawing a cylindrical shape. It will help you achieve curls that look 3D.

Shade gradually in and create the desired look of the hair.

Looking at the reference is the most crucial part of the drawing as that will ensure that it will look realistic.

How to draw Short Hair?

How to Draw Realistic Hair in Pencil 11

 

How to draw Short Hair: From http://rapidfireart.com/

 

  1. Construct the shape of the head and position the ear in the correct place. 
  2. Draw a loose outline of the hair, in the actual direction that the hair will be pointing

3. Now take your B or 2B pencil, and shade in the dark areas of the hair that you can see yourself.

4. Continue by working one hair area at a TIME. Blend in the strands, creating strokes in the same direction the hair grows.

5. Also, leave it until the next day and come back then for the final touches. Time away from your artwork will allow you see it with a new eyes.

Final Thoughts

 

Remember everything takes practice. It will take time to perfect this but, but eventually you will be able to draw whatever you want.

Set yourself the daily habit of drawing hair and copy the techniques used by the masters.

Finally, do not be afraid to ask for criticism as it will only allow you to challenge yourself to improve artistically!

If you enjoyed this article, you should also check out how to draw eyes realistically.

If you have found this post useful, do not forget to check out the best portrait drawing course for beginners called: “Portrait Drawing Fundamentals Course“.

It will teach you in the most entertaining way, with over 7 hours of video lessons how to approach portraits from any angle as well as all the facial features such as hair, nose, lips and more.

The Portrait Drawing Fundamentals course will teach you exactly how to become the portrait artist that you always knew you can be. 

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