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hair full tutorial by dypsomaniart hair full tutorial by dypsomaniart
ok. hair. i actually quite enjoy drawing hair, i feel pretty comfortable with the technique i've developed over the last couple of years, and i thought i'd have a go at sharing what i've learnt to try and give anyone struggling with hair maybe a few ideas.
this tutorial is designed for use with adobe photoshop and a graphics tablet. all the techniques can be done in corel painter, but i'll be referring to everything as it was done in photoshop.

step 1.
find the centre line of the head, highlighted here in red. this will help you get a 3 dimensional feel for the head so you can place the hair correctly.

step 2.
start roughing in your hair on a new layer, for this pic i decided on fairly loose natural hair, think of the head as the 3 dimensional object it is, and have the hair flowing around the curves, running the centre part in the hair from the heads centre line.
this may take a fair bit of sketching to get looking good, try to keep all curves and waves in the hair as smooth and natural as possible. also notice the volume of the hair above the skull. it may be easier at this stage to think of the hair as a solid object placed over the head (if that makes any sense).

step 3.
once your happy with the shape and flow of the hair get rid of the top of the skull, and build up the lines of the hair to get a more definite feel for the overall shape, also just to make sure that without the skull showing everything still looks alright.

step 4.
at this point, i'm happy with all the linework, and i've decided i want the light source to be coming from somewhere above her, so using a soft airbrush i start loosely putting in some shading.

step 5.
happy with the look of the overhead light source, i add more shading, very loosely, and use some white to define some of the highlites. it's now starting to look a lot more solid and 3 dimensional.

step 6.
time to get rid of all the sketch lines i've left in the hair, and start to create a hair textured base to get some realism happening.
for this i have made up my own brush. here's how to make yours:
open a new document.
create a new layer.
hit F5 to show your brushes panel.
select a brush that will enable you to create a dot pattern similar to the one outlined in blue in fig.1 (the airbrush at a small size should do).
draw said pattern on your new empty layer.
select the lasso tool and circle your pattern to select it.
click on "edit" at the top of the screen to bring down the sub-menu, and select "define brush preset". it will promt you to name your new brush then hit ok.
(this new brush will be added to your brushes at the very bottom)
select the brush, and then on the left of the brushes panel, go to brush tip shape. set the diameter to whatever you want (mine's about 30px) and the spacing to 1 percent.
now click on "other dynamics" change the control for both the opacity and flow jitter to "pen pressure" but leave them at zero percent.
click smoothing to on.
none of the other boxes should be ticked.
your brush should now create a stroke similar to the one shown below the dot sample in fig 1. hopefully :-)
good idea to save your brushes at this point if you like that brush.

ok! that was fun... now you have a spiffy new hair brush.
select the smudge tool, and using your new brush at 100 percent strength, start smudging all your shadows and sketch lines in, using flowing movements that follow the lines of the hair. see fig 1.
you can also use this brush as a paintbrush to add in some more highlites and shadows that flow with the hair.

NOTE: when you're smudging your hair, and in the next step, drawing in more hair, ALWAYS WORK FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT, or from the hair furthest away from you to the closest. eg. the fringe had to be done last because it goes straight over the top of the hair behind it.

step 7.
step 6 gives a nice solid basis for our hair, but to my mind still looks too uniform and soft, so step 7 is to add a heap of single strands of hair in a darker shade. for this i just use the soft airbrush at a small diameter and use pen pressure to change the opacity.
draw all of your lines flowing with the hair. i zoom in so i can do nice long strokes for best control, and keep moving my hand through the same motion following the line of the hair but only applying pressure to the stroke where i need it. see fig 2 here so you can see the red line representes the movement of my hand but the blue stroke is where i apply pressure to put the stroke down.
keeping constantly moving and going right past either end of the actual stroke like this gives a nice natural feel, as your hairs will inevitably be of different lengths and opacity, so long as you keep that movement the same so it's all flowing in the right direction :-)

step 8.
same as step 7 except using a lighter shade (or white at a lower opacity) and focusing more on the highlites.
these two steps are the most time consuming, but hopefully as you see the more complex level of depth your hair is getting you'll be inspired to keep going...

step 9.
i sometimes repeat step 7 and 8 a bit to get the detail i'm looking for, but once your happy with the texture of the hair, select the dodge tool and set it to highlites at about 30 percent, with the soft airbrush at a large diameter. the red lines indicate the direction and areas i've used it, this just further brings out the highlites. you may want to set the dodge tool to midtones and repeat if it gets too contrasty.
then change to the burn tool set to shadows with the same soft brush and opacity and darken any shadows up, depending on how your lighting the whole image.
add a few loose strands lightly around the whole head just for realism (unless your doing an ad for hair care, in which case you could probably skip steps 7 and 8:-) )

that's pretty much it i think. hopefully i haven't missed anything?
with any luck you now have a reasonable idea how you can draw hair. obviously this whole process takes a bit of practise, so don't be put off if your hair doesn't look just right straight away, unfortunately there is a fair bit of work involved in the whole hair thing.

hope this helps people out there! i'm sure there's other ways of tackling hair, but this is the method that works for me.
good luck with it!

jesse
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:icondudgus2429:
dudgus2429 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014
awesome!!
Reply
:icontl-designz:
TL-Designz Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
great tut..thank you
Reply
:iconhollee-mcnamara:
Hollee-McNamara Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013   Photographer
Great post! thankyou for this, using it to help me with a drawing I'm doing where I'm dreading doing the hair. Thanks for making it easier! :aww::heart:
Reply
:iconhendhamdy:
hendhamdy Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2013
nice
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:iconnokiase:
NokiaSe Featured By Owner May 30, 2013
very nice
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:iconvegastyger:
VegasTyger Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2013
Definitely going to give this method a try! Thanks for sharing!
Reply
:iconprowhiz:
Prowhiz Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012
Wow i loved your tutorial very educative for an upcoming artist like me. When i finally get to draw and paint something like that digitally, I bet I'll sit and stare at it all day :) great work
Reply
:iconearthen-arts:
Earthen-Arts Featured By Owner May 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
awesome tutorial. i may use this in a school project. if i use this technique, i will link back here.
Reply
:iconhellonlegs:
hellonlegs Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
great tutorial thanks hun xx
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
Doesn't look like you need any help with hair ;) glad to hear ya liked it though :)
Reply
:iconhellonlegs:
hellonlegs Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
thanks hun but the way i see things the more you can learn the better you become so as i am still learning i like to look at good tutorials xx
Reply
:iconainzsel:
ainzsel Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2012
Thank you Just starting to paint so your tutorial is a great help.
Reply
:iconhorizon-iv:
Horizon-IV Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think i might use this someday :o

Thanks for posting.
Reply
:iconpippyboy:
pippyboy Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2011
thank you so much
Reply
:icon8rankinho:
8rankinho Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the tutorial..sure this will help a lot. (:
Reply
:iconms-negi:
ms-negi Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the tutorial~
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2010
no probs glad ya liked it :)
Reply
:iconchibi-bearcat:
Chibi-Bearcat Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2010
This. Is. Awesome.
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2010
thanks, hope it was useful :)
Reply
:iconchibi-bearcat:
Chibi-Bearcat Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2010
It was. I do not even draw on the computer!
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2010
thats good to hear, I have developed all my computer technique from traditional drawing and painting techniques, it's interesting to learn they can be used in reverse, if ya know what I mean :)
Cheers
Reply
:iconsingingxsolac3xxd:
SiNgInGxSoLaC3xXD Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
The eyes ._.
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2010
yer supposed to be looking at the hair ;)
thanks :)
Reply
:icontheclinthennesy:
TheClintHennesy Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2010  Student Digital Artist
Very Nice. >.<
Everything amazed me. xD Not only the hair. :D
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:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2010
thankyou :)
Reply
:iconmalpalstock:
malpalstock Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2010
to-tal-ly AWESOME :o
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2010
thanks :) hope it was useful
Reply
:iconfeiwana:
Feiwana Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2009
that's really helpful, great tutorial, I faved it right away ;)
not only the hair is amazing, the girl is also beautifully done
I wish I could do this :P
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2010
thankyou :) glad you found it useful. I didn't go into explaining the shading on her face, but it's basically the same steps/technique as the hair. Keep on practicing and i'm sure you'll get there if you really want to :)
Reply
:iconfeiwana:
Feiwana Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2010
I hope so :)
Reply
:iconrizwan111:
rizwan111 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2009
Thanks mate i love to be a great artist like you some day ,really thanks for the tips man.
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2009
Glad ya found it useful, good luck!
Reply
:iconcrazygirlclub:
crazygirlclub Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Really awesome tutorial. :love: great job. gonna have this as reference to help my bald character of having some more hair. xD
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2009
hehe, glad it was useful :)
Reply
:iconhellsbreath:
HellsBreath Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2009
omg best hair tut ever
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2009
Glad ya got something out of it :)
Reply
:iconsetsuna93kei:
setsuna93kei Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2008
What Did you use to draw it?! It's SO nice! It's Great!It's Like a 3D! And Her Face is shiny!
Reply
:iconanermik:
Anermik Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
sry to bother u again :P but how come when i make my own brush when i use it its a dotted line, if i use a small pixel brush it becomes smooth , im wondering if there is a way to straighten the lines.
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2008
it's probably the brush setting. in the 'brushes' window you need to change the spacing to zero, that should smooth it out.
Reply
:iconanermik:
Anermik Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
its still dotted :(
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2008
ok, in the brushes expanded view window thing, 'brush tip shape' you want 'diameter -60 px' 'spacing- box ticked- 2%'

go down to 'shape dynamics'- box ticked- minimum diameter 20% . all the rest 0%

now click on 'other dynamics' -box ticked- both set to ';pen pressure' at 0%

In the lower section tick the boxes to turn 'airbrush' and 'smoothing' on.
No other boxes should be ticked. Make sure you haven't got 'scattering' or 'texture' or 'dual brush' switched on.

If it's still doing it I'm stumped...
Reply
:iconanermik:
Anermik Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
it works perfectly thanx alot :D
Reply
:iconanermik:
Anermik Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
hey , i know this is a stupid question but how do make a brush the same pattern as fig.1? :)
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2008
Have you had a good read through step 6? those instructions if you follow them step by step should get you there, otherwise let me know exactly what part is causing the problem and I'll see if I can help :)
Reply
:iconanermik:
Anermik Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh ya :) thnx it rly helped :D
Reply
:iconnetwor:
networ Featured By Owner May 11, 2008
thank you !
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner May 12, 2008
glad ya liked it :)
Reply
:iconjodipheonix:
jodipheonix Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008   General Artist
Hey Jesse, I :+fav: this because it's very useful. I don't have a tablet (yet, give me time lol) .. but this technique of yours can still be painfully done by hand using a mouse in photoshop .. reason I know, is because I'm trying it LOL .. can't quite get it to look as good as yours, but I think there's 2 reasons behind it, #1 I'm using a mouse, and not a pen with tablet... and #2 my mouse is used by my less dominant hand. I'm left handed, not right handed :)
but can use both hands at writting etc, so .. giving this a go.
may be useful info for you other artists out there whom don't have a tablet either :)

Thanks for useful tutorial Jesse! :hug: :D
Reply
:icondypsomaniart:
dypsomaniart Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
glad you found it useful! and please, for gods sake get yourself a tablet... there's really no comparison to using a mouse, if you are managing with a mouse you'll thrive with a decent tablet :)
Reply
:iconjodipheonix:
jodipheonix Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008   General Artist
lol I know, and it's one of the two things on my " I want / need / must HAVE " list ...
actually, with any luck, I should be getting one later on in the day.
it totally sucks using a mouse.. specially when your dominant hand is left.. and you use the mouse with your right :laughing:

so... keep your fingers crossed for me please! I need all the help I can get ! LMAO
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