How to Draw Hair Step by Step

Hair is very difficult to draw, because what we see is different than what we know. You can’t simply draw all the hairs in the form of lines, because that’s not what we see when we look at hair. What we see must be simplified to lines and shades, and there are many ways to do it.

How to Draw Hair Step by Step

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

In this tutorial, I will show you one of these ways—a simple method that’s great for quick rendering and sketches. I will present this method on four examples: long straight hair, short hair, wavy hair, and afro-textured hair.

Before You Start

To follow this tutorial, you’ll need some kind of head base. You can use mine, or create your own in some other style.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Let’s take a look at real hair to prepare for this tutorial:

1. How to Draw Long, Straight Hair

Step 1

Start by adding some volume around the head. Hair shouldn’t lie flat on the scalp!

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 2

Draw the parting in your chosen place.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 3

Draw the outline of the hair around the face.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 4

Draw the direction of the hair gently flowing down over the shoulders. Keep in mind that you’re not drawing the single hairs here, just their flow.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 5

As I’ve mentioned before, hair doesn’t lie flat on the scalp. Show it by elevating the front.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 6

Hair is grouped in strands, and that’s what we see. Create skewed edges of such strands.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 7

Each strand can be divided into smaller strands.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 8

The strands we’ll be partially visible on top of the head as well.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 9

Draw some strands on the side, too, to add some texture. Don’t draw them as simple straight lines, but rather as narrow “Y” shapes (normal and upside down).

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 10

Make the hair elevated along the parting.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 11

Outline the whole hair, following the rhythm of strands. Don’t press too hard—hair is soft and shouldn’t have a hard outline.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 12

Draw long lines along the strands. This will give the hair some detail and add depth to the whole haircut. Don’t press too hard, and don’t make the lines too tight.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 13

Shade the hair now, thinking in terms of strands, not single hairs.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 14

Add some stray hairs here and there to make it look more realistic.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

2. How to Draw Short Hair

Step 1

Again, draw some volume around the head. In this case it will also be the outline of the whole haircut.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 2

Draw the parting and the fringe going straight from it.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 3

Make the general outline complete by drawing the hairline next to the ear.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 4

Draw the direction of the hair, creating the 3D form of the haircut.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 5

Some stray strands may appear in the fringe. Draw their edge…

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

… and then their shape going towards the parting.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 6

Define the strands on the sides of the head.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 7

Draw some shadows between strands in the middle as well.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 8

Gently outline the hair without drawing lines that are too thick. All the lines should be tapered.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 9

Gently shade the strands.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 10

You can add some stray hair to make it more natural.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

3. How to Draw Wavy Hair

Step 1

Draw the volume of the hair around the head. Wavy hair is often quite full and elevated.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 2

Draw the parting.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 3

Draw the outline of the strokes surrounding the face.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 4

Make the hair seem elevated by filling the area between it and the scalp.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 5

Add gentle waves above the first strand-lines without touching them.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 6

Create more waves following the same rhythm. These waves shouldn’t touch each other.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 7

Close the shape of each strand by mirroring its wave and adding a pointed tip.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 8

Draw some more thin tips on the bottom of the haircut. Their curl should complement the other waves.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 9

Draw the shape of the strands on top of the head.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 10

Draw the direction of the strands all over the head. Do it lightly.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 11

Each strand should be divided into more strands at the tips.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStepHow to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 12

Make the strands on top of the head more detailed.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 13

Outline the whole hair without making the waves too obviously separate.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 14

Shade the strands and the spaces between the waves.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 15

Give a strong outline to the hair, keeping it soft.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 16

Add some stray hair here and there.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

4. How to Draw Afro-Textured Hair

Step 1

Draw the outline of the volume of the hair. This time it will have a lot of volume.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 2

Afro-textured hair has a lot of curly strands and texture. Sketch “clouds” of strands all around the head.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStepHow to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 3

Sketch the curly outline of the whole haircut.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 4

The hair around the face will have the same shape.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 5

Gently sketch the general direction of the hair. Perspective is important here!

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 6

Imagine each direction line is a branch of a tree. Add the “leaves”.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 7

Add strands of hair in the form of little springs all around the head. This will create a nice, non-uniform outline.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 8

Draw bigger curls within the outline, following the direction you’ve established before.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 9

Shade the hair in a very general way—just to show it doesn’t have a flat surface.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 10

Shade the whole haircut now, drawing curls all around. This will create the texture nicely.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 11

Shade the haircut in a more definite way, drawing shadows between groups of curls.

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Step 12

To make the haircut less round, you can add thicker curls here and there (draw a spring, and then draw over it once more).

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep

Good Job!

Now you know how to draw four different hairstyles. If you want to learn more about creating hair in different techniques, try these tutorials as well:

  • How to Draw Hair StepbyStep
    Digital Painting
    An Introduction to Painting Realistic Hair in Adobe Photoshop
    Melody Nieves
  • How to Draw Hair StepbyStep
    Portrait
    How to Render Short, Detailed Hair in Adobe Illustrator
    Sharon Milne
  • How to Draw Hair StepbyStep
    Textures
    How to Draw Fur
    Monika Zagrobelna
  • How to Draw Hair StepbyStep
    Animals
    How to Create a Soft, Furry Kitten in Adobe Illustrator
    Sharon Milne

How to Draw Hair StepbyStep