Draw and colorise hair


Hair is what I prefer to draw on an illustration, I love to invent new hairstyles and see them born under my stylus! Sometimes it's also a delicious torture, but I always end up enjoying it!

To begin, know that unless you put a lot of hairspray, the hair is subject to gravity. They will therefore always be attracted to the ground and more or less heavy depending on their length.

I urge you to look at references on the internet or people in public places to see how their hair reacts in different situations, it will help you more than you think. References are a key to anything you want to draw in general, it's an important base.

We'll start with the basics and then, at the end, I'll show you how to put them in color and create an atmosphere on top. I hope it suits you!


Those who are interested in colo, go downstairs.

To be able to make the base of the hair correctly and to know in which direction they will fall, it is better to start by drawing a virgin skull.

Then you can think about how you want them to go, how you want them to be. Next if they are long or short, curly or smooth, tied or detached, if the person wearing them with their heads bent or not, they will not have the same way to react on the skull.

First, let's see how the hair can fall along its length and the position of the head.

First, define how much you want to leave your hair or how much you want it to arrive (we will see this in more detail with the hair attached.

When the hair is short, the hair comes back naturally (unless you want to make a right stripe in the middle). So, be sure to keep a certain fluidity in your features, otherwise this natural effect will disappear. So always prefer rounded lines, which follow the curvature of the skull. The same goes for wavy hair. It all depends on how tight the loops are, but in general, the principle remains the same.
Also note that, while staying in short hairstyles, the longer the hair, the heavier they are, the more they fall on the sides.

Now, when the hair is longer, and therefore heavier, they fall back to the side, creating a line on the skull. This line, you can shift and change the side as you wish to stylize a little hair. Here, I left it in the middle to be able to explain to you at best. I left the hair smooth for the sake of understanding.

Thus, the hair falls straight on the lengths. Be aware, however, that hair does not all go in the same direction because they react naturally differently to their environment, especially when they have not undergone any hairdressing tool such as hair straighteners. This is why spikes are not straight like lengths and show some curves.

However, if you want to give a totally smooth effect, it's possible. Just remember to follow the body curves (the wicks that fall in the back will be straight while those that pass over the shoulders will follow the curve before falling back on the bust).

I did not do a skit for curly hair but, overall, it's the same principle. All you have to do is add volume to create a larger or smaller mass depending on whether the loops are tight or not. Here's an example with a colorful sketch, made a while ago:

Now, let's take a look at what happens when the character's head is bent with long hair (but the same principle about short hair, they are just lighter):

Long hair is heavy. They are even more so when you bend your head because they are subject to gravity. To illustrate this heaviness, I drew ripples on the tip of the hair, in addition to giving them a shape stretched towards the direction in which they are falling (sketch 1 for clarity).

I also wanted to show what curves the hair can wear when they fall on the shoulders (just make the same curve at the top of the shoulder and then let them fall straight for straight hair ) or when placed behind the ear.

Note that for this last part, the strand of hair undergoes a slight pressure where it meets the ear before falling directly. It's the same for all types of pressure: if you hang a lock of hair in a bar, for example. We will see the rest in the next part.

To help you a little, here are 3 types of hair on 3 different wicks.
The more curly the hair is, the more the curls are tight. I should have, on the 3rd wick, make the base with a mass greater than or equal to the one I put on the tips. The tips are generally less massive than the roots and the lengths but it happens that it is not always the case then make as you feel it.

Tied hair

You can now do a lot of hairstyles for loose hair. But what if you want to give some form to these endearing?

Let's look at it right away with the following sketch:

I was talking earlier about where your hair was going. Here's what I meant: when you tie your hair, your hair actually leaves a point, the front of the face (or further on the skull if you decided to make an onion on the skull), but to have a suitable result, you must define their point of arrival.
It does not matter whether you make one, two duvets, or as many as you like on the heads of your characters, you will each time need the same point for each quilt where your hair will join.

I put it in red on [skit 1] and did not put it on [skit 2] so you can see the model and the application as you will by drawing naturally. You can easily guess where it is, however, since it is in the same place.

This point is what I call a "pressure point". Held with an elastic band, a clip, or whatever else, your hair will be put under pressure by the tool that will hold it. Thus, all the hair will diverge and be pulled towards this point of pressure.
Note also that the hair all follow the same direction but do not react in the same way: they cross and cross each other, just as real hair would do.

Always for the sake of realism, I added rebellious locks and small hair on [skit 2]. The hair grows and grows continuously, which means that they are not all the same length. Of course, some will not be tied to others because they will still be too small.

You can also use this method to give a messy effect. The more rebellious strands, the more the effect will be present. However, be careful not to abuse it because it could make your hairstyle totally unreadable.

Now that you know how to train your hair, let's see how to put it in color.

Before going to this part there, note that you will not be able to apprehend the shape that the hair will take if you do not observe the reactions of the different types of hair on references. Without this, I can try to teach you a thousand and one ways how to draw them, if you do not observe, you will have trouble following any tutorial.

OBSERVATION is the key to everything!

Coloring - base

First, I start by doing a skit, more or less detailed and more or less clean of my hair:

Just to enlighten you on the direction of the hair, I added arrows and my main point of pressure (there are also each jewel on the side of the skull, which will be clearer in the next step since my sketches are not very legible) on the sketch in question:

You may notice that the bun is falling. I decided to leave him a natural look and combed / disheveled; so he is subjected to gravity and is drawn to the ground.

Then I lower the opacity of my sketch layer (here at 55%) and make the clean line over, adding some details on the locks of hair.

I then add the base color to the entire surface, even on the jewels because I will change them later, anyway. Here, I chose a pale pink.

I also add rebellious hair directly by passing them over the line. Here, I made them white because the hair that comes out of the locks is fine and that the light encompasses them completely, due to their finesse. You can make them the same color as the hair or degrade hair color when they are in the shade of the color of the light as they pass through it.

I then go directly to the shadows. According to the effect I want to give, I add another layer of shadows or not to intensify the illustration. If I add a mood over, I'm only a layer of shadows because the layer where I'm going to make the atmosphere may over saturate the shadow if I add a second layer of shadows at the base.

To make these shadows, I'm just the shape of the hair. On the areas where the shadow meets the light, I use the tool [blur] before using the [shading] and / or [scrambling by fibers] depending on the effect I want to give. I make the shadows on a layer [product] or [obscure] according to what suits me best.

Note that where hair is under pressure, shadows are more prevalent.

Also, you can make shadows that are just darker than hair color, as I do below, or take the color of the mood (or the one you want to give) from your artwork to make it livelier. Again, it all depends on the effect you want to give.

Now, I add spikes of light where I did not put shadows and where the light taps (I leave the areas where the light does not hit without adding). I use the same tools to blur and degrade my brushstrokes if I do not use the soft brush directly.

I make the lights on a layer [screen] (here it is), but sometimes I do them with [inlay]. I place the layer of light below that of the shadows.

Note that the shadow and light layers have a labeling mask above the layer with the base color.

I then color the accessories in the same way that I colored the hair, with the same method. You can do without it, but here I found that it helped to understand the hairstyle, besides being pretty, so I added them.

Here is the final result when I colored the rest of the character, if you are curious. This will also serve us for the next step, if you wish to add it. It all depends on the type of illustration you make.

Coloring - the atmosphere

To give a different mood, I add a shadow layer over all my other layers, which I previously placed in the same folder. It is a little darker than the color I used for hair shadows.

Make the shape according to where the light comes from and how it looks on the character depending on where it is. Here, I did something basic only to illustrate my words about the mood.

I reduced the opacity of the layer to 66% with a mask [product] on the layer.

I then took an orange color, on a layer [inlay] with a 100% opacity and placed it on all the places affected by the light. Feel free to step over the shaded area to create a gradient and a touch of greater light at the intersection between the two areas.

I advise you to go to see references on how the light is deposited on a human body, or any other surface, to control it well because there can also be light in areas of shadows.

This step is optional, you can skip it if the previous step suits you and you want to have a more subdued atmosphere. I decided to do it to accentuate the light on the body: the closer it is, the more the contours are erased and lost in the light.

For this step, I used a slightly lighter color than that for the previous step, a little more yellow, on a layer [add (shine)] to 41% opacity.

That's it!

I'm sorry for the readability of my sketches, I did it quickly, but I hope that it can still help some of you. I could have detailed and declined a little more the different situations that concern the shape of the hair but once the basic principle is understood, it applies to any other case.

Also, your colorization mode may be different from mine but, as said before, the basic principles of shadows and lights are the same no matter what you choose to do.

If you liked this tutorial, you can follow me on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/ayselartist https://www.instagram.com/ayselartist

Thank you for the interest that this tutorial may arouse at home, I hope so anyway, and spend good time drawing beautiful hair!


Related articles


New Official Articles