How To Draw Hair: Step-By-Step Guide

So you’d like to learn how to draw hair? No problem! We asked a professional to show us exactly how to illustrate different types of hair (both straight and curly). This how-to guide will help you create the perfect hair drawing.

Drawing hair may seem simple at first, but can be difficult to execute if it’s going to look like a realistic drawing. This guide will take an artist of any level through the steps of how to draw realistic hair, starting with the basic overall shape and ending with specific techniques on individual hair strands for texture and spunk. Learn how to draw curly hairstyles and straight hairstyles with this hair drawing guide. Dive in to learn important quick pencil strokes that will recreate the best hair types you see daily.

Straight Hair

Let’s start off easy with some straight hair. Then, we can try our hand at drawing something a little harder.

Step One

Grab the image you want to base your drawing off of. I’m choosing this one:

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Two

Draw in your head just so that you have something to work on top of. Also, you kind of need a head for this eventually.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Three

Draw a full outline of your hair. This will help you decide what shape you want your hair to take overall.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Four

This next step is optional but I like to add in my “holes” or the places where my hair separates and lets the light in. This makes things easier for me when I’m drawing each individual hair by remembering where I want the hair to separate and create volume with layered hair lines.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Five

Draw in your main hair strips or sections. Sectioning out your hair will help you determine how each hair curves aka what shape you should draw.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Six

Section the rest of your hair out.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Seven

Now, go into each hair section and draw each individual hair going in the direction determined by your section. Luckily for you, it’s just a simple S curve right now. You can space them out however you like but since my model has dark hair, I’m sticking my hairs real close to each other.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Eight

Complete your hair!

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Nine

Now you can get rid of some outline edges so things look more natural.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Ten

Get rid of the part of your head that’s covered in hair.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Eleven

And you’re done! She cute.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Curly Hair

Now time to draw curly hair, whether it’s short hair or long hair styles. These steps and tips can also be used to draw wavy hair and frizzy or permed hair to create the best looks on your portrait drawing.

Step One

Start off with a reference image of your choosing.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Two

Get that beautiful head in with some simple pencil lines. Fantastic skull!

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Three

Here comes your hair outline.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Four

Now add in your hair “holes”.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Five

Draw your first hair section. This shape will of course be different than the shape you used for straight hair. Get familiar with the shape of your model’s hair.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Six

Draw the rest of your sections.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Seven

Now fill in each section with your individual strands.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Eight

Alright, don’t freak out! If you look closely, I just drew a bunch of wavy lines next to each other that go in the same direction or different directions for texture. In this case, dark areas with thicker lines or random stray hairs, are your friend and work perfectly. Your drawing definitely doesn’t have to look as complex as mine. Just make it up as you go along and have fun with it!

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Nine

Finish up drawing all those little hairs. Phew! That took forever. Why do I do this to myself?!

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Ten

Remove your “outline”.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair

Step Eleven

Erase your invisible head parts, grab a colored pencil to shade in what you need, and bam! You are DONE, girl. If you need me, I’ll be in the bathroom crying.

How To Draw Hair
How To Draw Hair
About the author

Illustrator, designer, and all-around creative rover for Thought Catalog

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