Hair Drawing Tips

March 29, 2017 in Intermediate, Lvl 1

Hair Drawing Tips

Nothing ruins a well drawn cartoon head like ugly drawn hair. Pretty much, what you want to avoid, is the spaghetti hair effect. You don’t want your hair drawing to look like you’re just putting down a bunch of lines from the top of the head.  It really doesn’t look good at all.

In this lesson I’ll show you three simple ways to approach hair that will make your cartoons look far more professional.

This tips will are:

  • Creating a clear hair line and hair shape.
  • Making “Hair Ribbons.”
  • Creating highlight shapes.

Before I begin, let’s take a look at some very simple cartoon hair examples you can easily use even now…

Simple Cartoon Hair Examples

These examples do follow some of what I’m going to talking about in this lesson. At this point though, if you want to start drawing hair, you shouldn’t get too intimidated.  Just start drawing what you think looks good.  You can apply the info from this lesson if you want to finesse your drawings:

Creating a Clear Hair Line and Hair Shape

This is something I learned Figure Drawing and it helps when drawing cartoons a lot.  What you’re going to be doing is an extension of  what we learned in Lvl 0 Designing Simple Cartoon Characters with Flat Shapes.

You’re going to design your character’s hair using flat shapes until you come up with something that seems right to you. This includes defining where the hair line is.

Why?

Well, because when we look at a person in real life, we don’t see every individual hair strand.  What we see is a mass of hair that creates a certain shape.  We recognize it as lot’s of hair and we notice it’s texture but our first impression is it’s shape.

When drawing cartoons, we simplify this even more and imply hair with hair shapes.  They can be simple or complex, depending on the style of cartoon.

Here’s what I mean:

Believe it or not, when I’m life drawing a person’s hair, I begin by simplifying the hair into a flat shape and defining the hair line so I can get a handle of what I’m going to draw.

For the simplest of all cartoon hair types, you’re basically done.  You really don’t have to go any further than this.

However, if you want to take further, you can start adding a bit more detail and move to the next step.

Making “Hair Ribbons”

Instead of drawing every single strand of hair, it’s helpful to separate hair into clumps.  Similar to ribbons.  They can look flat, thick or pointy. Whatever works you need them to be.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

 

In order to put them on the head, you pay attention to the hair’s origin point.  This is one reason you define the hair line.  It’s a point of origin:

Once you find these origin point you create ribbon shapes within the hair shape you’ve established.  You’re essentially defining the way the hair flows.  You can make this simple or complex, it’s up to you:

There’s is no right or wrong here, you it either looks right to you, or it doesn’t.

Creating Highlight Shapes

You can now begin to create highlight shapes, if you want.

Here’s the thought process on how to do it:

Using the hair shape we’ve already established, here’s how I place the highlights:

A good rule of thumb is, “less is more.” If you can get away with one highlight, you’re good.  If you need more than one, then add another.  If you find you need even more, you’re in danger of over doing it.

However, this does depend on the style you’re after.

And that’s it, that’s how you do hair.

Now let’s take a look at how these three hair drawing tips work within different naturalistic cartoony styles.

Cartoony Hair Styles

And here’s turnarounds for all three styles:

And that’s what I have to say about that.