The hair gods really love me. I mean, they really love me to let me write this article on hair. Let it be known that I’m no high, exquisite expert; but when it’s time to do the subject’s hair in either pencil, color pencil, or oil paint, I don’t play around.
To me, hair is the ultimate expression. I even bought a movie because the star/girl in the movie was changing her hair style in every scene. What does that tell you? Any who, let’s get to the nitty gritty of things……how to draw hair and make it look as close to realism as possible.
How to Draw Brunette Hair
As you can see in this first picture, I drew out the basics. Keep in mind I won’t draw the whole face – just the hair since that is our focus. I mostly keep it simple, making sure the contour outline is close to what the original picture is.
The next step is “coloring” the hair some. I use a 3H pencil to add some light color to the hair. I then blend or smudge the pencil into the hair by using tissue to get the effect that I’m looking for. You can also use a tortillion but tissue is preferable.
I then start to add darker tone to the subject (she’s a brunette) by using a 5B pencil. As you can see, I do not cover the whole hair with it. I leave some areas untouched. They will be the areas where light is reflected or a lighter tone of the hair will be.
The next thing I’m going to perform is smudging/blending again, but I will use a tortillion. The reason I do this is because a piece of tissue will spread the graphite of the pencil too much. I would like some of the graphite to spread, but not so much that it doesn’t illustrate strands of hair. A tortillion will isolate the graphite, limiting it as to how far it will spread from its original location.
In the final stage, I will add more darker tone and some hair strands to certain areas to make it realistic. I will also utilize the kneaded eraser here to lift certain tones from the hair and add highlights.
How to Draw Blonde Hair
Let’s do another exercise of drawing more hair! This time we will see how to draw blonde hair since it doesn’t require the same amount of graphite. This will actually be quick and fast since less work is required.
As usual, you can see that I did a quick sketch of one of my pictures of a model. Please don’t get in an uproar over how the fingers look. If this was about hands and fingers, they would be on point, but I was sketching quickly and I wanted to jump on the hair, so………..
First thing I do, like in the first example, is “color” the hair. But in this case, I use a lighter pencil (5H). I then use a 3B pencil to add some dark tone to the top of her hair, followed by some smudging/blending.
I then use that same 3B pencil to add JUST A FEW hair strands to the subject. You can also interpret this as me adding small dark tones to the blonde hair followed by smudging of the tortillion. It may be important to add some of the darker tones on the tips/end of the strand hairs to show some contrast.
The hair at this stage is basically done. If the rest of the picture was to be completed, then the hair would fall right into place.
Once you, yourself, can go through this stage with no problem mastering the technique of creating hair, the hair gods will find favor with you as well.