How to

How to draw realistic hair: The ultimate tutorial


how to draw realistic hair in 4 steps

Are you struggling to master the art of drawing hair? Many beginners find hair drawing to be a daunting task, given its intricate details and the level of commitment required. However, by changing your approach and following a step-by-step process, you can overcome the challenges and create realistic-looking hair in your drawings. In this tutorial, we will explore four essential steps to help you achieve stunning results.

Step 1: Volume, Flow, Value, and Texture

how to draw realistic hair in 4 simple steps

1. Volume

To create realistic hair, it is crucial to understand the shape of the human head. By visualizing the three-dimensional structure, you can ensure that your hair drawings have the proper volume and avoid flattening the head. Take into account that hair extends about 2 centimeters above the actual height of the head. Refer to references or tutorials on drawing heads to improve your skills in this area.

2. Flow

Hair has a natural flow and movement. For long hairstyles, it cascades down, beautifully embracing the head and gently wrapping around the shoulders. When sketching hair, capture its basic structure while keeping your strokes loose and simple.

3. Value (Shadows, Midtones, Highlights)

Understanding the interplay of light and shadow is crucial in conveying the texture and depth of hair. Identify the light source in your reference image and determine the resulting tonal values. By outlining areas of overlap and applying shading techniques, you can highlight the desired areas and create a sense of volume and dimension in your hair drawings.

4. Texture

Hair is composed of numerous strands, creating a rich and varied texture. However, you don’t need to obsess over every individual strand. Instead, focus on confident and steady strokes that capture the general direction and flow of the hair. Working on one section at a time, add details and textures using appropriate shading techniques. Experiment and adjust the level of detail according to the level of realism you seek to achieve.

Step 2: Useful Techniques

techniques on how to draw hair

Drawing hair is not limited to monotonous, repetitive lines. Incorporate the following techniques to make your drawings more dynamic and visually appealing:

  • Experiment with different pencil grips to achieve longer and smoother strokes.
  • When drawing long hair, hold your pencil further away from the tip for increased range of motion.
  • For curly hair, visualize it as ribbons with ringlets that gradually separate as they reach the bottom. Avoid straight lines and focus on curvy strokes to capture the natural flow.
  • Pay attention to highlights and their consistency across the hair. Adjust the prominence of highlights based on the position of the hair strands.
  • Utilize swift strokes to add texture, overlapping strands, and stray hairs to create depth and realism in your drawings.

Mini Tutorials

How to Draw Curly Hair

How to Draw Curly Hair 4 Steps RFA

  1. Practice drawing cylindrical shapes to master the art of drawing realistic curls with volume.
  2. Emphasize curvy lines over straight ones to create an organic and natural appearance for curly hair.
  3. Pay attention to the placement of highlights, ensuring consistency and variation based on the position of the curls.
  4. Add texture by using swift strokes, overlapping lines, and incorporating reference images or mirrors for inspiration.

How to Draw Short Hair

how to draw short hair tutorial RFA

  1. Begin by establishing the shape of the head and positioning the ear correctly.
  2. Use loose strokes that follow the direction of the hair to outline the general shape.
  3. Focus on shading the dark areas to create a sense of depth and form.
  4. Add texture gradually, working on one area at a time. For thin hair, use tapered “v” shapes, while thick hair can consist of individual strands. Experiment with pencils of varying darkness to achieve desired effects.


Drawing realistic hair may seem challenging, but with the right techniques and approach, you can create stunning and lifelike hair in your artworks. By considering volume, flow, value, and texture, and incorporating useful techniques, you can bring your hair drawings to life. Remember to practice and experiment with different styles to develop your skills further. With dedication and patience, you’ll become a master at drawing hair.

[HB]: Hard Black
[B]: Black
*[8B]: Extra Soft Black

Alexia Young

Hello and welcome to the world of Alexia. I am a passionate and dedicated artist who loves to create beautiful, mesmerizing art for everyone's walls. I believe in the importance of encouraging people to express their creativity and be happy.

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