How to Draw Realistic Hair with a Pencil


In art as in life, hair can go hand in hand with beauty. Drawing realistic hair helps the artist tell a story, show motion and present clues about who the character is. Of course, drawing hair can be the bane of any artist's existence. With a few good techniques, however, drawing hair can actually be fun and relaxing.

Things You'll Need

  • 2H and HB drawing pencils or No. 2 pencil
  • Outline a section of hair. It's a lot easier to draw hair if you divide the hair into sections, such as the sides and the top. Use light strokes.

  • Draw where the shadows in the hair will be. After you have lightly drawn a section of hair, you'll need to add a little more detail. Many people have a hard time drawing hair, and actually try to draw every strand. Drawing this way makes the hair look flat and very two-dimensional. To draw realistic, lustrous, full-of-volume hair, you will only need to draw the shadows of the hair. So, start by lightly drawing in where the shadows of the hair will be. Use light, flowing, wispy lines to simulate the shadows in the hair. Imagine where the light is coming from to determine where the shadows will fall.

  • Continue to add more detail. Start out lightly until you can get a feel for how you need to move your hand and wrist. Use flowing lines, and draw in the shadows a little darker now to represent mid-tones. Keep in mind that the darker your shadows are, the darker-colored the hair will look. Spread the shadows out as far as you think is necessary to achieve the desired effect. It's easy to overdo it, so it will take some time to learn when enough is enough.

  • Move on to the next section of hair and perform the same techniques to highlight shadows.

Tips & Warnings

  • You will need some time to get used to this style of drawing, so don't expect your efforts to come out perfect the first time.
  • Remember that when you draw hair, you are not drawing the hair itself. You're actually drawing the shadows that define the hair.

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  • Photo Credit David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
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