How to Draw Dreadlocks

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When drawing dreadlocks, sketch out long oval shapes all over the head, creating a rope-like texture, and make use of shadows and light to create the illusion of layered locks. Sketch out dreadlocks in a naturalistic fashion with a demonstration from an experienced artist and art supply store employee in this free video on drawing and painting.

Part of the Video Series: Drawing & Painting Tips
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Video Transcript

Hi my name is David Lamplugh and I work for Asel Art Supplies in Austin, Texas. And I'm here today to answer the question how do you draw dreadlocks. The basic shape of them are ovals, striation lines around the object are going to help me get the body of the hair, you see what I'm saying here. They are kind of following those lines I did off the scalp, the buzz cut to kind of get the angles that they are going to go on the head and where I need to force shortness as I go around the skull and also where I need to go back and space. That these are going to be rope like, they are going to have a little bit of volume. So you can see here how I'm going back across the skull how a rope would go. You know it's not like hair, it doesn't fall flat, it's actually got dimension. So I'm putting the ovals close together. I'm going to do another smaller dreadlocks again kind of an oval in it's total shape. This one is going to kind of fall like that against the face and again kind of always marking to my perspective lines so you get what point these lines are vanishing to. Again this needs a little body on the top of the head so it comes off the head. Ok and I've got a couple dreadlocks there, I'm going to do one more a big super dread. You really want to emphasize the shape of objects and the patterns that they make. You don't want to concentrate on every line. You get lost doing that. I don't know if as an editorial choice if I would ever do a character in a comic book with dreadlocks or corn rows just because of the complexity but if I knew I had to do that, if I was doing Bob Marley's life story or what have you, then I would find a way to make this, these dreadlocks into one shape. Other words I wouldn't even do any of these striations, I'd kind of make it into a black shape that has kind of ropey lines like this coming off of it, you know. Make use of your light and darks, if you must go back with light ink or with the computer and do highlights. What you need to do is make sure you got enough white space in there to establish the shape of these coils of hair from a cartooning perspective. I think that is the safest way to go is to put them in as big black shapes, keeping in mind this underlying structure that is here. And that is how you draw dreadlocks.

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