How to Draw Realistic Hair in 3 Easy Steps

By February 1, 2015 Drawing 6 Comments

I actually published this tutorial on Youtube just over a year ago but since I have just started working on this website, I thought I would share the video here as well. When I published the video, I had no idea that it would eventually (at the time of writing this article) receive 410461 views, almost 6000 likes and over 300 comments! It’s totally blown me away that it actually reached and helped that many people.

So basically, the 3 easy steps I show in the video are as follows…

Step 1 – The Medium Tones

Using a B or HB pencil, separate the hair into blocks or sections to outline the basic form of the hair. Then basically fill in the sections while ensuring that you are still following the directional flow of the strands as much as you can. After you have filled in all the areas, use either an artists paper stump, a tissue, or just your finger tips and smudge what you have drawn to smoothen and flatten it.

Medium tones while following directional flow

Medium tones while following directional flow

Medium tones smudged

Medium tones smudged

Step 2 – The Dark Tones

Now use a darker pencil (anything from 2B to 9B depending on your preference), draw the darker areas of the hair. Do this by referring to your subject or reference image. It is still important to ensure that you are following the directional flow of the strands of the hair. After you have drawn in all the darker areas, use the artists paper stump again to smoothen and blend the dark tones you just drew, with the medium tones in step 1.

Dark tones

Dark tones

Dark tones smudged

Dark tones smudged

Step 3 – The Light Tones

Using an eraser, rub out the highlights. Do this again by checking with your subject or reference image and looking at where the light is shining on the hair. Again, just like with the strokes of a pencil, make sure the strokes of your eraser follow the directional flow of the hair as much as possible. Be sure to clean the eraser after every couple of strokes to maintain a clean highlight. After erasing the highlights, use the paper stump to blend the highlights with the medium tones.

Highlights erased

Highlights erased

The best type of erasers that I have used for this purpose is a wedge arrowhead pencil top eraser. Its a small sharp eraser tip that you just slide on the top of your pencil and it really helps to achieve sharp highlights. They are very hard which makes it much easier to do the highlights. I have tried using a few different brands of kneadable erasers but they always seem to be too soft and not strong enough. Another type that is probably even better is a Tombow MONO Zero eraser. Alternatively, if you don’t have these erasers, as shown in the video, you can just cut a standard eraser and use the sharp edge to do the highlights.

Feel free to go back and forth between the 3 steps to get it all just right. If you end up smudging too much and losing some detail with the lines/strands, just go over it again and draw those details and strands back in.

I think its a pretty easy way to do it but if you got any questions, thoughts or comments, just hit me up in the comments section below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Thanks!

About Serkan Yener

Serkan Yener is an artist who has delved into many different forms of art. Among music production, drawing, graphic design, digital painting and sculpting, he has spent most of the last 15 years as a cake decorator. Serkan also enjoys web development and design. Recently he has put the cake decorating aside to build an online business called Yeners Way as well as pursue other artistic ventures, mainly in the realm of 3D sculpting and printing. Learn more...

  • http://lusphere.tumblr.com/ luu

    Thank you for this tutorial! I found it very useful.

    • http://www.serkanyener.com/ Serkan Yener

      Thanks luu, great to hear :)

  • Birgitta Boasdottir

    Thank you! Just the tutorial I was looking for.

    • http://www.serkanyener.com/ Serkan Yener

      Your welcome! Glad you found it useful :)

  • http://www.tompok76.cz Tomáš Pokorný

    Thank you for this tutorial, Tomas

    • http://www.serkanyener.com/ Serkan Yener

      Thanks Tomas!