Having the main clumps of hairs indented, we can now add individual hairs that overlap the lower layers. these hairs may be out place for whatever reason. I like adding these because it gives drawing much more depth and a bit more realism with such a simple touch. Try to make them the same length as the rest of the hair. For example, you could have a hair that starts right above forehead, goes up and the curves to the right. You can have a few that curve across the hair, etc. Take a look at what I added so you have a better of what you can add.
After we finished with that, erase all the pencil lines and with a q-tip, blend whatever pencil may be left on paper. Doing this will reveal the indentations. Being able to see the indentations will make it much easier to start adding the shadows with 6b pencil in order to start building up the layers. If there isn’t enough pencil on paper, just rub the q-tip on 6B pencil or higher and then add graphite to the paper that way. You should have something like the image below. This will be our blueprint for the hair. It’s like magic. From this point on it’s all about building up the values with a 6B pencil.
I usually start adding the darkest areas first, as its usually the dividing point between layers. As you can see below, i started adding pencil along the edge of forehead and I also added the shadows that separate the clumps of hairs that we first added at the beginning. With a flat 6b pencil, lightly start going all the indentations. This will reveal even further the indentations and it will lay down graphite on paper that you can then use to blend later. You should start to see the strands of hairs and clumps of hairs that we added when indenting. You will also notice the individual hairs running across. It may look messy, but it will begin to look like hair as we build up the values. The interesting thing about this technique is that, even though we are drawing dark hair, we started off with white lines. We can easily darken these indentations to make them look like black hair or any other value in between by controlling how much graphite to add.
From this point on, we just keep adding pencil and blending. Start adding pencil to the darkest area, using the reference image for guidance. The best tool for blending graphite using this technique, is a color shaper. A color shaper is primarily used for painting, but because of its silicone tip, it works amazing with pencil. It easily grabs the graphite and spreads it around the paper with little effort. They come in different styles with a different hardness. I prefer the harder tip because the softer silicone just bends too much and you have less control. You can a q-tip or tortillon, but they just don’t compare to a color shaper. As you add more pencil you will notice these dark lines that run up and down the clumps of hairs, between the indentaions. These are the spaces between hairs where no light hits, so they are much darker. These are important to add because not only does it give your drawing a more realistic look but it gives it texture. Don’t darken all of these, just a few. Darkening too many and you will start to lose the look of hair. If you look at the reference image, the hair at the bottom is darker, so we put down graphite down and then blend the graphite with the surrounding area. What will make the drawing stand out are going to be the shadows, it’s what going to give the drawing that pop. Focus on finding these shadows that will make the hair look 3 dimensional. In the end we will add highlights using the kneaded eraser which will further improve the look of the hair.
From here on its just a matter of repeating the same steps over and over. Add pencil to the shadows and then blend. As you can, slowly it’s getting darker. Remember to not blend the layers of hairs away. Knowing which hairs are at the back and which are in front is important. Darkening the right layer will bring out those layers that you are looking for. The hair furthest back will be a bit darker because it’s behind or in between other clumps of hairs. Understanding how hair behaves is really important. I always tell my students that before I start drawing anything, I first study it. The more information i know about what im drawing, the more detail I can add to it. Hair is no exception. Hair has behavior and depending on the environment, it will look different. The same hair may look different under dark and light conditions, Short hair looks different from longer hair even though they may be the same color. Different colored hair being short look completely different because light behaves differently on it because of the color. All these things should be taken into consideration and will ultimately make your drawing look amazing if you put them to practice. You should have something like the image below, if not, then just keep darkening and blending.
The top of the hair is mostly complete and we didn’t do much but fill in the shadows with pencil and blend the pencil. We will now bring out the indentations along the side of the head. You can do this by running a graphite covered q-tip over the area like the image below.
It’s amazing that up to this point we have not used the eraser for anything and it’s looking this amazing. I continue adding 6b pencil to the shadows revealing the indentations, thus revealing the layers. You are looking for these layers of hairs. Knowing where the layers of hairs are will help you darken the hairs below, further giving that realism that we want. The difference between the image above and the next image is that I just kept darkening the values with 6b pencil and I began adding a few highlights with kneaded eraser. We’re just building up the layers by darkening the shadows. You can tell which hair is in the back and which one is in front. It’s looking good!! The kneaded eraser helps by bringing out individual hairs. The best way to do this is to squeeze the kneaded eraser between your index finger and thumb to created an edge. Then you just tap along the indentation, removing the graphite, leaving a highlighted hair. We can go even further and darken the root and it gives the effect of hair coming out from under all that hair into the light. You can also darken the root and the tip and leave the middle white to give the illusion of light reflecting off the hair strand. If you get creative in here, you can get some amazing results. You can also look at other pictures of hairs and add details from those, like highlights, shadows, clumps. In the end, its your drawing. The reference picture at the beginning was just to get started and guide you but from there its up to us how we want it to look.
The image below is the final drawing and i haven’t done anything new than what we have been doing up to this point. I just keep darkening,blending, highlighting with kneaded erase. The results with this technique are amazing and even though it may be time-consuming, its well worth it in the end. I hope this tutorial was helpful and you learned something. If there are any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Please share!!
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