My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lesson 12 - How to Draw Hair

This may look hard, but hair is far easier than you think. It only takes six simple steps to get hair like the drawing below, and all hair, curly or straight, long or short, follows this simple formula.

After you have your face in, the hair will sit a little above the top of your head shape (if it's straight) or more if it's curly. The hairline on your forehead usually begins about halfway between your eyebrows and the top of your head. Rough in the outer lines of the hair, and I highly recommend using a photograph or a real person to refer to. Don't just wing this. You need to see it. Here is how I do it:
Step 2: Look for natural break lines that form inside your hair. You don't need many and they don't have to go all the way through. Rough those lines in, like below.
Step 3: Now take one piece, like the lock of hair that falls as long bangs, and shade both ends of the lock in dark, as in a tone of 8 to 9--maybe even a 10 in spots. Make your lines scratchy and the ends of the shading uneven. Note how the bottom shading in the lock has an inner 'V' with the ends of the dark shading coming higher. You don't want all the shading to end in the same place or it won't look natural. Don't be afraid to draw a few dark lines a lot longer than the others. This breaks the shading up.

Step 4: Working inward from your dark shading at the ends, draw a midtone toward the center, leaving the center white. That's your highlight. Again, don't end all your strokes in the same place. Break them up, and carry a few through. Your lock of hair will now have a rounded shape and look 'hairy' because of the extra uneven lines you've put in.
Step 5: Now that you've done one lock, you know how to do the rest of the hair. Go to all the ends (except a few smaller pieces that you choose to avoid, to show extra highlights), both at the crown and at the ends of the hair, and put your dark uneven shading in.

Step 6: Again, working from the darkest areas toward the center of each lock, put in midtone shades, leaving a couple larger areas of highlights.
Great job! Not that bad, huh?

Next Week: How to draw eyebrows


  1. It is after you've drawn it 20 million times : )

  2. I cannot draw hair. It's just lines with no light/shadow. This is awesome!

  3. Lydia, I hope it helps. Getting the contrast of dark and light make a huge difference. I sure love your blog, by the way!

  4. Hi! I'm drawing a portrait and could not find anything online to do with drawing hair that I needed. This, though, was perfect! Thanks so much.

  5. You are welcome. I'm glad it helped.

  6. I was looking to improve hair drawing but could not, I tried this and helped me a lot, i feel i am on the way to top ;-) hehe. thanks Jonene.

  7. Thank you I've drawn hair with only lines I never knew you had to have value/contrast ur such a pro! :)

  8. Thank you very much. You made it much easier than my teacher!!


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