How to Draw Curly Hair: A Step-by-Step Guide

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If you’re an artist, you know that drawing hair can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to curly hair. But fear not! Drawing curly hair can be just as easy as drawing straight hair once you know the technique. In this article, we’ll break down the steps to drawing curly hair.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Sketch the Outline Step 2: Define the Curls Step 3: Shade and Highlight
Step 4: Add Texture Step 5: FAQ

Step 1: Sketch the Outline

Before you start drawing curls, you need to sketch the outline of the hair. Keep it simple by drawing the basic shape of the head and then adding an oval for the hair. Make sure to keep the hairline in mind. Don’t worry about getting it perfect, this is just a rough draft to work from.

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Step 1.1: Draw the Basic Shape of the Head

Start by drawing an oval for the face and then add a curved line for the jaw. Draw another curve for the hairline and then connect the jaw to the hairline with two curved lines on either side of the face.

Step 1.2: Draw an Oval for the Hair

Now draw an oval inside the hairline, but make it slightly smaller than the head. This will be the basic shape of the hair.

Step 2: Define the Curls

Once you have a basic outline of the hair, it’s time to define the curls. Keep in mind that curly hair is not uniform and will have varying sizes and shapes.

Step 2.1: Draw the Curls

Draw wavy, irregular lines inside the oval shape to represent the curls. Make sure to vary the size and shape of the curls to make it look natural.

Step 2.2: Add Detail to the Curls

Add more detail to the curls by adding waves and curves throughout the drawing. This will give it more depth and make it look more realistic.

Step 3: Shade and Highlight

Shading and highlighting are important to give depth and dimension to your drawing. Knowing where the light source is coming from will help you decide on where to place the shadows and highlights.

Step 3.1: Add Shadows

Start by adding shadows to the hair where it overlaps or is hidden by other curls. Use a pencil to add depth and contrast to the drawing.

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Step 3.2: Add Highlights

Add highlights where the light source hits the hair. This will help to create dimension and make it look more realistic.

Step 4: Add Texture

To make the curls look more realistic, you can add texture to the drawing.

Step 4.1: Use Cross-Hatching

Use cross-hatching to create texture in the hair. Cross-hatching is a drawing technique where lines are drawn at different angles to create depth and texture.

Step 4.2: Use a Blending Tool

Use a blending tool, like a blending stump, to blend the cross-hatching and create a more natural look.

Step 5: FAQ

Q: How do I draw the hairline?

A: The hairline can be tricky, but it’s important to get right. Use a reference image if needed and keep in mind that it should be slightly curved and vary in thickness.

Q: How do I make the curls look different sizes?

A: Vary the size and shape of the curls throughout the drawing. Use reference images for inspiration.

Q: How do I make the hair look shiny?

A: Use highlights to make the hair look shiny. Make sure to keep the light source in mind and add highlights where it hits the hair.


We hope this step-by-step guide has helped you to draw curly hair! Remember, practice makes perfect. Keep experimenting with different techniques and reference images until you find the style that works for you. Good luck!

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