ELEMENTS OF PORTRAITS: Hair.

So for the most part, I have been teaching you to draw what you see, rather than what you remember, or imagine something to look like. I am going to toss that aside a bit for this lesson to go over an aspect of drawing people that everyone universally struggles with – rendering hair.

It’s virtually impossible to render every detail of someone’s hair. There is just too much going on for it to be possible, and most attempts to do so result in frustration and that is discouraging.

So in this instance, we are going to cheat.

Long hair can be most often broken up into sections first. Short hair can too, but there will be more random shapes rather than the strips that longer hair can contain.

lesson_24_hair_segments_01

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Sometimes the sections are simple, sometimes they are very complex. Both simple and complex can be very challenging, I tend to think the more simple the hair the more difficult it is to do it correctly. Somewhere in the middle is my personal preference, but we don’t often get to choose.

Once the shapes are defined, you can start rendering a single piece of the hair at a time. Each section you will likely find has it’s own light and dark areas. In the below images I X’ed out areas that I know are darker and need more rendering, but normally that is just a mental note I will take, trying to suss out the parts of the hair that need to be darker.

lesson_24_hair_segments_01_06 lesson_24_hair_segments_03_03

If the hair is straight, you can then render a few strands, however many you are comfortable with without getting too in the weeds. It is possible to over-render the hair.

As you improve, you will be able to find and section out the hair into smaller shapes, and your rendering will improve. Your final result should be a reasonable representation of someone’s hair without the frustration of not knowing where to put your pencil, and without hours of rendering.

lesson_24_hair_segments_01 lesson_24_hair_segments_01_02 lesson_24_hair_segments_01_03 lesson_24_hair_segments_01_04

lesson_24_hair_segments_01_05

lesson_24_hair_segments_02 lesson_24_hair_segments_02_02 lesson_24_hair_segments_03 lesson_24_hair_segments_03_02  lesson_24_hair_segments_04 lesson_24_hair_segments_04_02

There might be better ways to draw someone’s hair, but what makes this great for beginners is the ability to break the main hair shape down into smaller shapes that you can deal with separately. It really makes things much easier once you start treating the hair this way.

So your assignment is to draw your own hair, if you have it (I don’t).  If you don’t, choose hair from some source that you can sit and draw for 20/30 minutes, breaking it into sections and shading/rendering each section.

 

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1Draw your (or someone else's) hair
2Post it to the Facebook group