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How to Draw Hair – Easy Method for Depicting Hair Tutorial

By a Seasoned Artist with 15 Years of Experience

Are you fascinated by the art of drawing hair? Do you want to learn how to depict realistic hairstyles? Look no further! In this comprehensive tutorial, we will guide you through the process of drawing hair, step by step. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist looking to enhance your skills, this tutorial is for you.

Understanding the Principles of Drawing Realistic Hair

Drawing hair may seem daunting, but it’s much simpler than you think. Instead of focusing on individual strands, approach it as capturing the overall shape and volume. By understanding hair as a collection of larger volumes, you can create the illusion of realistic hair with just a few pen or pencil strokes. To master this technique, we’ll guide you through drawing a beautiful head of flowing hair.

Step 1: Creating the Shape of the Hair

The first step is to lay out the overall structure of the hair. Start by sketching an oval shape with an H pencil that matches the shape of the face in your reference image. Gradually outline the oval to mimic the contour of the face. Remember to keep your pencil marks light.

Realistic Hair Drawing 1

Next, start sketching the hair to create the overall form. Pay attention to the different sections and divisions of hair, as seen in your reference image. Carefully outline these areas with your pencil.

Realistic Hair Drawing 1b

Consider the contrast between the lightest and darkest points of the hair. Take your time to contour and shade accordingly, as this is crucial when aiming for realism.

Realistic Hair Drawing 1c

Once you’ve outlined the entire shape of the face and hair, it’s time to create your pen drawing. Follow the pencil strokes closely and shade selected areas lightly with your pen. Remember not to go too dark too soon, as it’s easier to add dark tones later than to remove them.

Realistic Hair Drawing 1e

Step 2: Adding Shading to the Left Side

Take a moment to study your reference image and observe the different shadows in the hair. Start shading the regions where you can see shadows using your ballpoint pen. Be patient and refer to the reference image frequently to maintain accuracy.

Realistic Hair Drawing 2

When drawing hair with a pen, use gentle and delicate strokes. Follow the direction that the hair is falling, and pay attention to overlapping sections and wave-like actions.

Realistic Hair Drawing 2b

Observe how light falls on the hair and shade accordingly. Darker areas are usually those that lie below other sections of hair and receive less light. Remember to apply lighter strokes in the brightest parts and gradually add darker tones in the shadows.

Realistic Hair Drawing 2d

Focus on areas where the layers of hair thicken and become thinner again to portray the hair’s thickness and curls. Apply more pressure to your strokes during this motion, and let your reference image guide you.

Realistic Hair Drawing 2d

Step 3: Adding Shading to the Right Side

As we move to the right side of the hair, pay attention to how the hair grows outward from the top of the head. Shade the areas where the hair casts shadows, giving the illusion of volume. Use a little more force in your strokes for these shadowed areas.

Realistic Hair Drawing 3

Delicately apply gentle pen lines that follow the pencil strokes, using your reference image as a guide. Progressively darken your strokes as you move from the lighter areas to the darker ones. Pay attention to overlapping sections and the direction the hair falls.

Realistic Hair Drawing 3b

Notice how the hair interlinks as you approach the lower sections of locks. Continuously refer to the original image to accurately depict volume and the hair’s twisting motion.

Realistic Hair Drawing 3e

Draw the hairlines gradually, mimicking the twists and curls of the hair. Vary the pressure you apply to your strokes for a realistic effect. Remember that hair casts shadows where it overlaps, so add darker strokes accordingly.

Realistic Hair Drawing 3e

Step 4: Adding the Finishing Touches

Take note of the fine, wispy hairs on the head and softly sketch them with your pen. These details add a touch of realism to your hair drawing.

Realistic Hair Drawing 4

For added realism, add extra touches and shading to the lighter parts of the hair. Use black strokes to create the illusion of volume, considering the direction of light in your reference image.

Realistic Hair Drawing 4b

In the areas where hair curves around the back of the head, use quick, sharp strokes that go from the outside to the inside. This technique creates darker areas that give depth to your drawing.

Realistic Hair Drawing 4c

Add shading to the neck to convey the impression that the hair falls onto the shoulders. This adds depth and enhances the overall realism of your drawing.

Realistic Hair Drawing 4e

Useful Tips for Mastering Hair Drawing

Now that you’ve learned the basics of drawing realistic hair, here are some additional tips to enhance your skills:

  • Pay attention to detail and constantly compare your drawing to your reference image.
  • Take breaks when needed to maintain concentration and avoid fatigue.
  • Use gentle, delicate strokes when sketching hair with a pen, gradually adding darker shading periods over lighter lines.
  • Develop the design with a pencil before darkening areas with a pen. Preserve the illusion of light by applying shadows sparingly and contrasting darker areas with light.
  • Continuously refer to your reference image as you work your way through the entire head of hair.
  • Study the reference image to gain a better understanding of how to capture the color and texture of hair.

Realistic Hair Drawing 4f


Drawing realistic hair is all about understanding its true qualities and representing them through intricate lines and volumes. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you’ll be able to create stunning hair drawings that capture the essence of your subject. Remember to practice, reference your images, and enjoy the process of honing your artistic skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Learn How to Draw Hair?

Many people attend art classes to learn the fundamentals of drawing facial features and portraits. However, you can also find ample resources and tutorials online to acquire the same skills. This guide provides an excellent starting point for learning how to draw realistic hair.

How Do I Draw Realistic Hair?

When drawing hair with a pen, start with light, delicate strokes. Gradually build up darker shading over the lighter lines. Develop the design with a pencil before applying pen shading, leaving lighter areas untouched until the end. Pay attention to the way light falls on the hair and use your reference image as a guide for shadows and highlights.

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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