View Full Version : Help with hair!!

11-14-2005, 03:05 PM
I'm very new to drawing with coloured pencils (have been used to graphite) I am finding it quite hard to make the transition to colour but only where the hair is concerned! I have searched this forum but cannot find any tutorial on hair (apologies if I have missed it).
When drawing with graphite I draw the basic shape of the hair then start lightly and gradually build up the layers and pull out highlighted hairs with my kneadable eraser. I just cannot seem to do this with colour pencils though. I am thinking there is something big i am missing as I have been able to build up layers to make the skin a believable colour.
Is there anyone out there that can give me pointers on drawing hair in colour before I pull out my own hair!!

11-14-2005, 04:03 PM
Well heres a quick little tutorial on blonde hair.

First I've put down some ivory, then leaving the ivory only in the spots where there'd be a highlight (in this case, the bend in the middle of the hair) I've next added some raw sienna or a light brown to either end of the hair strand. In the next one I've darkened those spots a little more, and then with a darker brown still in the second to last swatch. Then in the last one I've added some dark sepia to each end in a few strands to give that variegated look that hair has (remember it's made up of strands so they're all different shades) and I've added some terracotta to the point where the hair starts to turn lightest and a little sky blue to the highlight itself.

I'll have a go at one for brunette hair for you too :)


11-14-2005, 04:27 PM
And heres brunette. I usually start off with a light brown like raw umber (I'm using polychromos pencils), then put in some walnut brown at each end again, then dark sepia - a really dark brown, then a trick I've found with brunettes. Just at the spot where the dark and highlight meet, there is often a little red tinge to the hair and something like terracotta just in those spots works really well. And finally I put in the darkest darks with black and brighten the highlights a little with white or ivory.

Another little trick I've found is that with blondes a little metallic silver or gold can look great if you put a tiny bit in here and there. The metallic copper can look great in red heads too.

You can basically come up with any hair colour with this method, more or less. I know there are hair tutorials around somewhere in the library but I was a little too lazy to look for those :)

This is only my method of course, but I hope it helps :)


Here's an example of a whole portrait with some blonde hair.

And closeup of the hair

11-14-2005, 04:31 PM
Basically you can do any hair colour with the same method. With black you could use dark sepia with black lowlights and pale blue/white highlights. For grey I usually use cream with blues, browns etc. Red hair is ivory highlights with terracotta's, oranges, reds. Once you have the technique you can apply it to any type of hair, animal hair included. I used the same technique for pet hair too :) For instance this dog has almost every hair colour, black, red, brunette, blonde and even some grey!


11-14-2005, 04:39 PM
Oh and I forgot one other little tip. Hair looks so much more realistic if you remember little touches like how there are often random stray hairs that stick up away from the head, no head of hair is ever smooth, even Gwyneth Paltrows!

For example:

Wolf - then closeups of hair (his hairs great for grey hair)

Stray hairs...

11-14-2005, 04:40 PM
Sorry for all the posts, I got a tad carried away, but I DO love hair! :)

11-14-2005, 05:00 PM
Wendy - though it wasn't me who asked, I'm so glad you were 'too lazy to look for those hair tutorials...

Your examples are fantastic! :clap:

Thank you so much.... comes in very handy :wink2:


11-14-2005, 05:02 PM
*blush* it's just about my favourite subject and I got a little carried away :) I'm glad it helps! :)

God's Delight
11-14-2005, 06:30 PM
Wendy...have you ever thought of writing an instruction book? I have seen some colored pencil instruction books where the artist, imo, was not very good. You are very good, though.:)

11-14-2005, 06:49 PM
Aww crikey thanks :D I'm not quite sure I've learned enough to teach anybody anything yet, maybe one day though! :)

11-14-2005, 09:41 PM
Wow Wendy! I know this is a short thread but sooo clear. Great advice and I am going to rate this one. It would be a wonderful addition the the cp library. :wave: wanda

11-15-2005, 12:37 AM
Wow Wendy thank you so much. Your examples are superb exactly what I was looking for. I have to go to work now but will be itching to get home to try out your technique later will let you know how I get on later.
Once again thank you :clap:

11-15-2005, 12:39 AM
Thanks Wanda and dtf (hope you don't mind me shortening your nick). I just got a bit carried away with my fave subject really! :)

11-15-2005, 03:54 AM
... well WE don't mind you getting carried away... as long as you get carried back to us (so to speak...)

I'm rating this thread too!


11-15-2005, 06:12 AM
Wow Wendy! This would not only work for someone doing coloured pencil but oils, acrylics, pastels, etc. Excellent job! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Rosa Weitzel
11-15-2005, 08:52 AM
As far as Im concerned you can get carried away any time you want. It just helps make us better artist. I really think you would make a great teacher.
You like show and tell and thats what teaching is all about.

As they say on your side of the world "good on you girl"


11-15-2005, 02:43 PM
Wendy Just thought I'd let you know (as I said I would) I have been using your technique tonight and am extremely pleased with the results I have achieved. The hair is not as perfect as I would like but hey thats what practice is for!!

Thank you once more, I'd be bald by now if it wasn't for you!!


11-15-2005, 03:15 PM
Rating this one, too...although it's already got enough to go in the library. Excellent demo, Wendy.

11-15-2005, 03:27 PM
Gee thanks guys :D I should get carried away more often hehe :D

Rosa, I'd love to teach, I've had a few people ask me but I always kind of thought I was a bit short on the theory side of things. I know colour pencil inside and out (not that there isn't always a ton more stuff to learn every day, but I mean at least I have a good idea of what I'm doing) but ask me the correct way to draw a sphere and shade it or do a value ...value scale? heck I forgot what they're called! and I'm worse than useless.

DTF - I'm really thrilled it helped! Don't forget to post what you're up to so we can see it! :D

11-15-2005, 06:00 PM
Wendy, you're waxing useful today. I never really thought about how to do hair, except for when I was doing a Yorkie -- which has really bizarre hair to do, in case anybody's wondering.

My only added suggestion to Wendy's advice is this: don't think of it as hair. Just draw what you see. When you think of it as hair, we see way too many individual hairs. Think of it as blocks of color . . . try and be objective.

11-15-2005, 06:57 PM
Wendy, your "tutorial" was fantastic. I can't wait to try another animal. I just started something else that I have to finish first but then, another furry animal it is!

I'm glad you couldn't find the hair thread in the library.


11-15-2005, 08:47 PM
I'm always useful Maggie, it's just sometimes I'm more useful than others that's all hehe :D You're right, yorkies are about the oddest dogs out, cute of course but odd :D

And thanks Ann! :) I'm glad you found something useful in my ramblings hehe :D

11-15-2005, 08:59 PM
Thank you Wendy! This is fabulous!!! :clap:

11-16-2005, 12:25 PM
Hey, Wendy, very nice......I may have to print this out for my CP class to share. Is that OK by you?

11-16-2005, 01:00 PM
lovely examples wendy! Iam sure this one's definetly for HOF:D :clap:

11-16-2005, 03:07 PM
I don't think you were rambling at all -- you even inserted the pictures at the proper points! I'm rating this thread because it's so nice and clear.

11-16-2005, 03:32 PM
Hehe thanks guys, and of course you can use it Louise, if it's of any use, go for it :D

11-20-2005, 12:51 AM
I am rating this thread. You really should write an instruction manuel. This is the best example I have ever seen, and I have read everything I could find on hair. Bye the bye - the examples - dogs - where great. Thanks for the encouragement to one and all!