How To Draw Interesting Hairstyles

2014 Artwork Hairstyle Drawing Article Sketch

Whilst this guide won’t teach you how to draw any specific hairstyle, it’ll give you a few basic pointers about drawing hairstyles in general. This article is aimed at people who are either completely or fairly new to drawing, so I apologise in advance if it sounds like I’m “stating the obvious” in some parts of this article.

The first thing to know is how to draw a basic head – it should be oval shaped and, if drawn in profile, the front should initally be slightly flat (although you should obviously add contours and details later).

Obviously, you should draw it in pencil. But, for clarity, I've drawn it in pen here.

Obviously, you should draw it in pencil. But, for clarity, I’ve drawn it in pen here.

Once you’ve sketched this in pencil, then you can add a hairstyle to it before adding all of the other details and going over it in pen.

So, now that we’ve covered the very basic principles of how to add a hairstyle to a picture, let’s look at how you can find lots of interesting hairstyles to add to your art – like these ones:

2014 Artwork Hairstyle Article image 2

Well, the first thing to do is to learn how to draw a few basic existing hairstyles. And, like learning how to draw anything, this will involve copying.

The first thing to remember is that, whilst drawings and photos of hairstyles can be copyrighted, the hairstyles themselves cannot (disclaimer – I am not a lawyer and nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice).

What this means is that you can use lots of reference photos of the same type of hairstyle to learn how to draw it, but (apart from when you’re practicing) you can’t just copy one photo. And, when you’re practicing, you should always copy photos rather than other drawings.

The main reason for this is that your copy is more likely to be unique and realistic if you practice by copying photos than it is if you bypass this transformative step and try to practice by copying drawings someone else has made.

Not only that, it’s more likely to count as “fair use” under the copyright laws of your country if you practice by copying a hairstyle from a photo rather than copying one from something in the same art medium as the one you’re using.

Anyway, how do you copy a hairstyle from a photo?

As I’ve said before in other articles, it’s always important to remember that a photograph (like a drawing) is actually a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional image. As such, the exact outline of a hairstyle will probably look slightly different to what you might expect it to if you’ve never copied a photo by sight before.

So, although you should always learn how to copy by sight alone (it’s one of the most important skills that any artist can learn) if you’re just starting out, then it’s ok to trace a few pictures of people’s hair [either traditionally or in a digital editing program] just to learn what I mean about the outlines of hairstyles in photos looking different to what you might expect them to.

Once you’ve got your outline, then all you have to do is to add a few thin lines flowing in the right direction in order to signify the individual strands of hair.

I can’t emphasise this enough, but you do NOT have to draw literally every strand of hair, just add a few thin lines and your audience’s imaginations will “fill in the gaps”.

Ok, but how do you create new hairstyles?

Anyway, once you’ve done a lot of copying and have a good knowledge of how to draw several basic hairstyles (a good test of this is whether you can draw these styles purely from memory without looking at anything), then try mixing them together in new and interesting ways.

Try adding parts of one hairstyle to another hairstyle, try changing the colours of parts of the hairstyle, try making parts of it longer or shorter, try making it look more or less neat etc… I’m sure you get the idea.

And, well, that’s about all there is to it really. This is how you draw new and interesting hairstyles.


Sorry that this article was so basic, but I hope that it was useful 🙂

2 comments on “How To Draw Interesting Hairstyles

  1. Sara says:

    Nice demo! Very informative

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