How to draw hair | Master the Basics to improve your skill!




Of the many tutorials on how to draw hair, I know everyone has different preferences and ways; either the hair you want to draw is different from the tutorial example, your coloring style, or you preferably use a sharp or soft brush, oil brush, pencil brush, etc. Thus, I here want to share with you a basic tutorial on how to draw hair; from sketch, light source, rendering, how to choose the color of shadow, and a few tips you need to know to create your own style of coloring hair, in ClipStudioPaint, of course.

I would also share the brushes I use for Line art, Painting, and Blending.

1. Determine the hair style and shape

Do you have any idea what type of hairstyle or shape you are going to draw?
Of course, you have to determine what kind of hair you are going to draw ಠಿ_ಠ
Otherwise, what are we even doing here???(´。_。`)

Either your character has straight, unruly, wavy hair... you have to know the shape of the hair you want to draw.

2. Determine the hairlines and flow

Maybe your character has a wide forehead or narrow? Or their hair was blowing in the wind, or the character is lying down, etc?

You have to know where the hair is flowing; maybe it's windy? the character is lying down? or normal and adjust with the gravity?
It’s important to focus on such detail, especially if you have a story in your artwork😊

3. Sketch - Line art - Details

For beginners—the one I used to be (maybe I’m still one)—I understand how hard it is to realize the hair we want to draw, especially to make it looks presentable and not weird, to say the least. But if you have all the answers to the two steps you just passed or, perhaps, skimmed, then what you have to do is to follow the steps below.

3.1. Overall Shape of hair
This step can be skipped, and you can immediately sketch the hair, BUT— for people who just want to do the line art immediately, and WITH a guide, drawing the overall shape first can help you. ( ̄︶ ̄)↗ 

Whether it's a triangle, round, or cube.... just draw the overall shape, and it will be your guide when you do the line art immediately or even paint it over, or you can detail it into a sketch first.

3.2. Sketch or just do the line art immediately!

Before I continue, I would like to share these two brushes that I use for Line Art.

Yup, hard air brush and this another brush that I could not read, but I called it the God of brush because I use this God brush for everything; sketching, line art, and painting.
Here's the link:

I prefer to use vector layer in doing the line art. And in this video, I do the line art immediately, with the overall shape as my guide.

BUT, if you are still uncertain, it’s okay to sketch the hair first! Sketching is a fun stage, though(~ ̄▽ ̄)~

3.3. Details in line art
Too many details are bad, too less details are bad… so a bit of both!
I know, some of you dislike drawing hair with line art, just like I do, but for kinfolks whose art style is using line art, here are some tips to add details so your hair won’t look vanilla(✿◡‿◡).

AGAIN, this is optional, adjust with your art style too(●'◡'●)

4. Coloring

For me this is a fun step because I usually experiment more in coloring hair—therefore my drawing style keeps changing.

Of so many styles of coloring hair, I will give a few styles for example. But before we started, there are a few points you need to know, in order to improve your drawing!


Yup, soft paint is one of CSP's amazing default brushes!

And what about blending?

I always mix between [Finger tip] and [Soothing watercolor]
They are great!

Alright, painting brushes and blending tools are explained, now, before we began to color...

4.1. Where does the light source come from in your drawing?

This is quite important, and if you pay attention to the light source of your artwork, it will give you a big plus in your drawing.

4.2. How do I choose the color of shadow and highlight?
After many times of trial error, I have a tip so you won't spend hours choosing the color of shadow, depth, and highlight.

Of course, you can find out after you have determined the base color.

Note: Adjust with the color of the hair you want to draw. The highlight could be different depending on the light source.

4.3. Rendering
Let your magical hand, eyes, and brain do the work. Have a coffee, tea, water, boba, or pet your dog or cat while at it. Make yourself comfy and take your time, except for CSP folks who have deadlines ♪(´▽`)

1. Base Color > 2. Darker Shade > 3. Depth > 4. Highlight.

- What about the other example of a light source?

If you are using gradient and confused about how to choose the darker shade, you can set the layer as multiply and only use one color to shade it!👌

5. Finishing

And after all these tiring steps, the hair still looks flat? Plain?
Kinfolks, therefore there’s this thing called blending mode!
Need more depth? Overlay or Multiply.
Need more shine? Color dodge or Overlay. (I mostly use overlay. But ought to pay attention to the color you choose)

Just be creative and try new things in finishing to make your drawing looks even better!✨

First, you add new layer and choose the blending mode you prefer. In here, I choose overlay.

And I suggest using a [Soft Airbrush] for finishing. You can also use other brushes! But, [Airbrush] is the best option in this step!

And here are tips on how to choose the color of finishing if you are using [Overlay] Blending Mode.

And here are the results.

I added more depth to this character's hair and slightly brighten the highlight.

HOWEVER, I still have another tip.

First, add another new layer and keep it as [Normal].

We will use [Airbrush] again.

[Eyedrop] the blush, or skin color.

Now, It looks much better(✿◠‿◠)

6. Tutorial summary

6.1. The idea of hair you want to draw; study the hairline and flow, shape, gravity, and light source.

6.2. Sketch and line art

6.3. Rendering
> Pay attention to the shape and light source
> Base Color, Darker shade/depth, and highlight

6.4. Finishing and Details (Optional)

7. How do I find and create my own coloring style and process?

7.1. Filter and improvise the tutorials.
You don’t have to follow all the steps, as I believe there are a few steps that you think are unnecessary or lacking. Therefore, filter and improvise this tutorial, or any tutorials you find. Whether your style is the simple one, or the extravagant one… just ADJUST to your tastes, your way, your brush, and your style.

Don’t force yourself to make it the same. Add or reduce the spices, I mean, the steps.

7.2. Understand the basics.
Pay attention and understand the basics; hair shape, light source, depth, and highlight. You have to know well where you should create the depth of hair and the highlight.

7.3. Practice and maybe try a different style to find the one that will suit you.
Nothing is instant, CSP folks… even to cook instant noodles you need to boil water, cook an egg, and wait.
Keep practicing and drawing new artwork, and while at it, try different styles to find the one, your true style… your true half, wait… this sounds wrong(。_。)

Maybe you prefer to use pencil brushes? Simple coloring style? Or maybe semi-realism?

Anyway, some might say it’s bad to keep changing your style, but for me, whose art style keep changing, I’d say that it’s not a bad thing, because I prefer to call it a JOURNEY, as though I am traveling the worlds and learning different cultures, finding the one that will suit me.
Before you make people happy with your drawing, you have to make yourself happy with your final work and the process.

And after the long, variety journey, I believe you will find the style you like and suits you.

Do not give up!(●'◡'●)



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