How to Draw Hair

Drawing Lessons: How to Draw Hair With The Theuer Method

Drawing Lessons: How to Draw Hair With The Theuer Method

Hair comes in many shapes, sizes, twists, colors and turns. This is true for hair on people and on animals. As a result, drawing hair is difficult. How do I draw hair? I’ve been asked that a lot since I am a professional portrait artist and an art teacher at Penn State University. To make drawing hair simple, I follow four essential drawing lessons.

1. Go with the flow!
I always draw in the direction the hair grows. Whether the hair is short or long, I figure out which way it is growing first and never veer from that flow. Otherwise the hair would look unnatural. I think of it like driving a car or petting a cat. If I went against the flow, I’d get hurt!

How to Draw Hair

2. Draw dark to light
I always find the dark areas to start my pencil line. Then I follow the flow toward the lightest areas. That’s where my line will end. Right now it would help if you read my lesson on “Shading” because the light areas in hair will make more sense. The light areas are where the light bounces off the hair to your eye, like the high spot on an individual curl or the high points around the crown of the head. These “bounces” are where the hair has sheen.

How to Draw Hair

3. Draw hard to soft
When drawing dark to light I always start by pressing hard on the paper and gradually releasing the pressure to where the stroke ends with just a whisper.

How to Draw Hair

4. Arm still.
Finally I always keep my forearm planted on the desk with my hand comfortably in front of me, thumb up. I only have about a 45° range of motion for drawing in this position, but no matter. I move my drawing board underneath my hand instead!

How to Draw Hair

Now shampoo, rinse and re. . . I mean follow these steps for every strand, curl, tuft and lock until the entire head (or body) of hair is drawn!

If you want to see more drawing lessons, including more drawing lessons from Mike Theuer, check out the “Drawing Lessons” section of Studio 602.

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