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  • Riddhi Malhotra

The secret to drawing realistic looking hair

Drawing hair is one of my favourite things to do. I've been asked numerous times how to make hair look real. There are very easy steps that you can follow to draw hair, and here they are.

STEP 1: DO NOT try to draw each hair. Draw each bunch of hair, but NEVER each hair.

STEP 2: Draw a faint outline of the portrait using the reference photo:

STEP 3: Pick one bunch of hair, and make loose, dark strokes to draw the roots of the hair. Make similar strokes at the other end of the bunch. (Remember, you’re not drawing each strand. You’re essentially drawing shadows). Don’t let them touch each other. This is important to render the shine in the hair. Let the pencil lift off the paper as you move towards the middle from both ends.

STEP 4: Use a paper stump to smudge out the roots and the outer edge of the hair. Make loose strokes, starting from the darkest end towards the centre of the bunch. Let a few strokes run all the way through the centre to make it look like a natural shine. Then use a dark pencil to re-do smaller strokes on both ends of the bunch, to hype up the contrast.

STEP 5: Treat each bunch separately, and repeat till you cover the full head. To finish off, erase a few highlights from the middle of the bunches, to give a consistent shine, and smudge out the hairline for a more natural shadowed look.

And that's all you need to do to get beautiful realistic looking hair. It's a little different for longer hair, and that tutorial is coming up soon! Keep practicing :)