- Lesson details
In this series, master artist Steve Huston brings you his highly-anticipated advanced head drawing lessons. This first lesson in the series will cover drawing the hair, a fun but often tricky feature to accurately represent. Steve will begin with a lecture, giving you an overview of how to draw several hair types, as well as beards. You will learn how you can utilize hair as an element to emphasize gesture, characterization, and head structure in your drawings. Steve will do several demonstrations working from photo reference, and then you will have a chance to practice what you have learned in an assignment. The lesson concludes with Steve’s approach to the assignment, allowing you to compare your work with his.
- Sharpie Markers
- Colored Chalk
- CarbOthello Pencil – Burnt Sienna
- BIC Ballpoint Pen
- Prismacolor Colored Pencil – White
- Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil – Sanguine
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Transcription not available.
Now, hair has a similar dynamic to drapery.
Its’ going to—if you think of hanging out your linens.
You put out a sheet or a diaper and you pin it to the clothesline, and that sheet or diaper
has no particular structure.
It’s just a loose sheet of fabric.
It’s pinned and supported, and then it falls with gravity.
So, those are the two dynamics that affect the shape.
If it gets tailored, the fabric of course, then it has whatever shape it has.
Short of that, it’s just going to hang off those two pinned supports and then drop into
what’s called diaper folds.
Then it might go into drop folds like that, all based on support and gravity.
If it falls and hits a tabletop or a tree branch off that line, or if you’re lifting
it off with your arms, it’ll fold over that new support and then track over again.
It’ll be supported by that branch or arm, fall with gravity again.
That’s true with hair.
Now, of course, you can have very curly hair, you can have really thick, kinky hair.
Then that’s going to take on a shape of its own.
And like a coiled spring or whatever, something like that.
That’s going to have shape too.
Gravity will have more and more impact as it gets longer and longer.
If you have a short buzz cut, then gravity is going to have no effect.
If it’s long flowing locks, whether they’re curly or very tightly curled
or kinky or straight, whatever. Curly.
They’ll have some subtle structure.
If it’s very short hair, short and stiff, it’s going to be supported by the skull.
We’re going to want to understand that head structure pretty well underneath.
As the hair attaches to that, the hair will be affected by that.
It may be supported by an ear.
It might fall down and flow over the shoulders, and we’ll see how that works in a little bit.
So, support and gravity.
Support includes the structure underneath just like the sleeve is affected—or if I
have my waiter and I drape the towel over my arm it’s going to be supported by that
We have to have a sense of that structure.
It’s affected by and falls away from accordingly.
That’s the basics of hair, kind of the things to keep in mind.
As we look at the hair it’s going to be particularly important that we’re aware
of that back of the skull.
Specifically, be aware of the fact that the face drops down and skull thrusts back.
There are really two axes.
Two gestures to the head.
Usually we don’t speak of the top of the head as a gesture line.
In my figure drawing class, I’ll reference it, but I’ll really go from here and then
all the way down.
The neck becomes part of that same gesture of the face in some way.
Let’s do this.
Feel that gesture of the neck swinging back.
That becomes the first thing we look to.
Then the torso swings this way.
We’re looking for these stretching rhythms.
There is a stretch of forms on this side, the front of the face.
There is stretch of forms on this side, the back of the torso with arm and shoulder blade.
Then they’ll be a stretch down the front of the torso, into the stomach and such.
We do this side to side, and by that we get this lovely watery quality.
Hair is going to work in much the same way.
It’s not going to have much, if any, of its own structure.
It’s going to be affected by these structures.
It’s going to be affected by these gestures.
The magic of having longer hair is that we can take those gestures and make them cleaner.
Notice that we’re going to have a fairly or very sophisticated, complex and somewhat
Hair can clean that up and take something that’s doing this and make it that.
Make it much more true.
Not true—much more simple and clean, still down that gesture.
So, whenever we add the structure, the problem for us is that our gesture starts to get messier
So, I do this for the torso.
Look at how beautifully clean that is.
Then I add on the tube of the torso.
By keeping it a tube it stays almost as clean.
That’s one of the reason I like to use tubes.
I can think of the tube as just a very thick gesture line.
I haven’t lost much of that beautiful, simple rhythm there.
Now, as soon as start adding more and more stuff, more and more structure, my beautiful
simple statement gets lumpier and bumpier.
There are strategies to work against that.
There are strategies for working against that problem that I talk about in the figure drawing.
How we can make sure we add all those details and not destroy the gesture, but actually
make them more gestural.
of the hair can bring back that clean, beautiful, fluid gesture.
Not only that, it can make secondary pathways that are really fantastic as we’ll see.
In other words, I can get a real major, gestural statement in a very finished drawing with
long hair that I can’t get with the short style or no hairstyle.
And I can create these secondary rhythms and pathways that can be really exciting to draw
Our job as the artist, in other words, is to take the world that is disconnected in
some way and get all those parts to compose into a hole.
That’s really our job as artists is to be composers, whether it’s music or dance or
story or drawing or painting.
We’re composing all the colors, all the structures, all the steps, all the characters
into one greater whole.
It’s one still life.
That kind of idea.
Anything we can bring in, any tool we can use that reinforces not the separation but
the integration of the stuff of the world, the audience is going to thank us.
Of course, the hope is by taking all the broken parts and making it some glorious, beautiful,
exciting, dynamic, dramatic—whatever adjective you want to attach—whole.
That becomes a lesson or our life.
How to make our life connect.
How to find that one true love or the right career or the vision of a new world or the
courage to persevere.
Whatever the object of that is.
So, hair does a wonderful job of that.
It does some other wonderful jobs that we’ll talk about in a moment.
That’s what we’re after.
Feeling that the hair is attached and a part of and referencing the structure of the head
underneath, but then has these really interesting, fantastic, glorious structures on top.
Let’s take a look now at the hair a little more carefully.
First, let’s look at short hair where it’s just going to be a product of the head structure,
and specifically the skull, of course.
The hair is going to have a huge impact or be hugely impacted by the face until we get
to facial hair, of course.
For the head of hair, what we’re going to first going to do is make sure that that hairline
is tracking whatever the architecture and position of the face is.
If I’m a little bit underneath the head, I’ll be a little bit underneath this eyeline
and that front of the hairline.
It could be the flat front like this.
It could be the little bump like this.
Just like tracking two eyebrows we want everything to track on the same axis that all the features
So, same way with the hairline.
So, if the hairline does this from a front view then we want this and this to track this to this.
If it’s Dracula with a widow’s peak like this, then we’re going to want all these
things to track in whatever perspective tilt is going on.
Let’s say it goes this way, this way, and then swings up and then bumps back down and
then swings back.
One of the nice things about thinking of the head with the hair on it is now I can take
this lesser information.
I’m going to create the eye socket maybe.
I’m going to find the hairline.
Now look at this big distance back.
We started with a head here like that, hoping it’s right.
But, now if I can break it kind of in half, this half against this half, more or less
depending on its position.
The front of the ear sits more or less in the middle of the head, minus the features
and minus the hairstyle.
That helps me get the proportions about right.
If I can get the eye socket that’s going to hold the eyeball, that breaks it down a
Now, if I can get the hairstyle to the sideburn area, that breaks it down a little bit more.
When I add these secondary structures, they add detailed complexity, give me opportunities
to render and all that good stuff.
Help to reinforce the three-dimensional position of the form, all that stuff.
But also, it’s going to allow us to break it into smaller shapes.
We’ll be able to then double-check the proportion of the bigger shapes.
Now I realize that the ear should have come forward a little bit.
It’s going to be a more satisfying drawing hopefully because of that acquired knowledge.
Notice these things track.
Now, when we go off the hairline here in the center of the head—let’s do one over here,
more of a three-quarter.
We get that hairline, whatever is going on, and whatever this is, say from arching eyebrow
to arching eyebrow or outside corner of the eye or nostril to nostril.
Corner of the mouth to corner of the mouth—whatever it is—corner of the jaw to corner of the
jaw, if you can see them both.
This might go this way.
That might go this way.
That goes that way.
Then it recedes a little or a lot, depending on the hairstyle.
Let’s say it recedes a lot.
These, as much as we can see in perspective, track.
This will bump forward and bump down into the sideburn that’s there or not there.
Let’s give it a little bit of a value.
Notice we have this interesting kind of wandering journey.
That journey is doing something very specific for the structure of the head.
This recession is going to track in some way—not perfectly maybe, in fact, probably not perfectly.
But, in general, that’s going to show that forehead receding or evolving into the skull cap.
The skull is right in here.
If it’s a much more narrower hairline and it’s receded even more, that might be picking
up just the front plane of the forehead.
These might be like corner planes.
This will be the side plane down here.
Where this bumps, this might be the temporalis muscle, more or less.
That’s the muscle that’s up in here that allows you to chew along with temporalis and
the masseter muscles, which is down here.
It’s the chewing muscles.
They work that lower jaw against the upper jaw and grind and slice and dice and all that
good stuff, like that.
So, each of these steps in hairline is actually mirroring in some sophisticated way the big
and small structures of the head.
We want to feel that.
The hair doesn’t have much structure on its own.
It’s subject, like drapery to the structure underneath.
In this case, the skull.
The back of the hair, as we’re going to see again and again and again, is going to
show the top of the skull and the back of the skull.
We’re going to want to feel and in one way or another, give or take the hairstyle—maybe
he’s got a mullet—but we want this to track that skull.
Again, the skull goes back.
And, not only does it go back—here’s the face going down.
Here’s the skull going back.
It goes down and back.
It goes back and up.
This opens up.
It’s not a perfect right angle.
The hairstyle will not always but almost always reflect that.
And if it does it, if oftentimes looks a little funny.
We want to make sure we get a clear axis going back and lifting up a little bit.
Oftentimes, the hairstyle, you get a cowlick back here or a woman with long hair it will
The hair will build up in volume.
Sometimes in some style, 50s styles for example, they’ll tease the hair so it builds up even more.
We want to reflect that.
What we don’t want to do is have a hairstyle that does this.
We don’t want that hair to completely ignore that we don’t really want any detail, whatever it is.
It could be—I’ll show you want it could be in a second.
Not only do you not want a hairstyle like that because it’s really bad fashion, you
don’t want a hairstyle like that because it’s not showing us anything about the skull
because of its change in direction.
You know, change in axis from the face.
We’ve got to show that in some way.
Notice when we get into a deeper perspective that becomes and even more powerful idea.
It becomes a signature idea of that face, that whole head in some dynamic position.
It’s absolutely critical that we get that axis change.
Let me be clear on that because these marks aren’t quite right.
We want to make sure that axis opens up here and is not perfectly right-angled or, God
forbid, that way going down this way with the head.
It’s going to look like an alien.
It needs to go back.
Not only that, I actually corrected it to make it worse, if that’s good grammar.
This is not good grammar.
Now, I don’t have any sense of how the skull meets into the hair.
That’s even worse.
At least in the mullet we had a little suggestion.
Notice the neck is way back here, but the audience wouldn’t get to see that neck presumably
because of the 80s Rockstar look when mullets were in.
But, at least for this little while, that mullet is doing a lot of work.
It’s showing us how we get from skull to body through the neck.
Notice how that contour of the mullet is shadowing the contour of the neck.
Make sure it tracks.
It would be equivalent to having an arm and shoulders like this.
Notice there is no point where we feel there is a top of the shoulder as opposed to the
side of the arm.
This is a little better because he feels there is a sense of change, speeds up.
This would be the best where we’re really clearly at a place where we’re on top of
Now we really feel to a very precise degree where we drop down the side of the arms.
Let’s go ahead and look at the hair on the head.
Usually a more useful way of drawing the head is getting a clear understanding of what’s
on top, what’s on the side, and then how we move into the bottom.
And so, a little bit of a boxier idea or tubular idea as opposed to just an egg shape.
Eggs and balls are always a little problematic in terms of getting structure because we’re
never quite sure where the top meets the side.
When we add the costuming, the hairstyle, the hat, clothing,
it makes it even more obscure sometimes.
We have to be very aware of top to side, front to side, front to bottom, that kind of thing.
That goes back to our definition of structure.
We want to get as much curvature as we can to make things feel fluid, alive, and gestural.
The structure is based on the corner idea.
The more corners we can get, the more structural.
In other words, the more three-dimensional, coming in and out of the paper, positioning
well in space.
A form in position is what structure is.
And so, the more corners we have, the more we understand that we’re to the side, that
we’re a little underneath, that we can’t see the top, that kind of stuff.
So, separating side from top and bottom, side from front, that stuff becomes critical.
We want the hair to reinforce that and help that idea and not hurt it.
So, for example, we might have a very rounded skull, but then when we put on—let’s lay
in some of this stuff here.
Eyebrow line, eye line, nose, mouth, chin.
And again, tracking across.
Beginning of the eyebrow, give or take any asymmetry in our model, ear to ear, all that
stuff is going to track in a bilateral symmetry, which over here is roughly over here.
The hairstyle will tend to do that, or at least the hairline.
We might feel this receding up here a little bit as we had before.
We might have this sweeping off to the side here.
So, a little bit of asymmetry there.
But, we want to feel if we could see it, where the hairline is under here, and we can certainly
see it over here.
And it pulls down into that sideburn area.
Let’s do this to distinguish it.
And then we might take what was a very rounded skull or at least a conception of it is very round.
We probably don’t want to make the skull do that in a finished piece because it’s
going to look too mechanical, too much of a schematic, a construction rather than a
realization of the rounder, more curvy nature of life.
We tend to feel it’s more realistic and rings true if it’s more curved than chiseled,
square, perfectly square.
And so, these become ways of showing the corners, but they do it in a fluid way rather than
a mechanical way.
But with the hair we can make that hair a little more chiseled and pointed, a little
It can be a flat top haircut, or it can be chiseled out.
We have the opportunity in very realistic way to give a lot of information there and
not be questioned like we might in more of the mannequin position.
Notice that as soon as the hair starts to get a little bit of length at all—let’s
do this—then we start to get a gestural feeling again.
We get to now feel over here.
We construct it out.
We felt how we moved from forehead into cheek, the more narrow forehead into the wider cheek.
Now we can do that in a much more fluid way, potentially, with that sweeping of the hair.
We could show how this flows down or flows up.
And so, we can kind of get a nice transition with the direction of those locks that take
us over, radiate around.
There are all sorts of fun possibilities there.
And the same way with the eyebrow.
The hair of the eyebrow does this.
We have the hair standing up.
All the hair is standing up in the beginning of the eyebrow, and then they fall over like
Then we have the descending group of hair.
It’s actually two groups here.
We have the descending group of hair.
It comes back that way.
So, beginning of the hair falls down.
This hair comes up.
We have a criss-crossing of them.
Each section has its own direction to it.
The hair of the upper lashes is straight down and then comes over this way.
You can see as it goes from here to here, the heavier you make that, it tends to be
more feminine, although men can have long, luxurious eyelashes, and women can have short.
The fashion, the aesthetic bias is for women generally to have the longer lashes.
In fact, they’ll even do false eyelashes like so.
Generally, you want to treat those lashes as a group first, and then you have some little
or even pretty great amount of individual lashes showing up, but generally as a group.
The same with the eyebrows.
Unless it’s a very careful rendering, oftentimes you don’t even need to draw on eyes and
eyebrows the actual hairs.
You can just create a shape of darkness or a middle value, whatever the value of the hair is.
But, once we get into here then we want to feel that big time.
Okay, now if we look at—really, what I want you to do then is think of the hair in patches.
This is what they do in computer animation.
For example, Monster’s Inc.
What they did with Sully, who was a big fluffy—I don’t know, wasn’t a bear—a creature
with horns, big teddy bear with horns kind of thing.
To make it more realistic for the first time, they grouped the hair into sections and let
each section move independently.
The hair is like waves or think of wheat fields.
The wind comes across the field to create these wave of movement as the stalks bend
back in groups.
But what they do is take the sections of the hair, and then each section would have independent
movement within it, and then relate the movement to the sections around it, and it was a way
to package all that information into a more manageable idea, and to compose it in such
a way that they had control over it.
That’s what we want to do here.
We want to take this upper section here and find out what’s going on with that.
How does it track over the skull, and then how does it sweep off, in this case, this
way, as it sweeps into the next side.
We want to get the sections over here and see how we make a transition from that top,
in this case, radiating out.
We’ll see that as long as the hair is longer that’s what it will tend to do.
It will radiate out there.
As it radiates, as we make that transition of this to that we will tend to find a lovely
Notice by creating packets of hair growth or hair shape we get really good process for
making the boxy idea.
Keep in mind, when I draw a box, I do not have to use stiff, straight lines like I’m
drawing a skyscraper.
I can make a boxy structure without ever using a straight line at all.
That’s probably what you want to do if it’s going to be super stylized, and it’s what
you want to do if it’s not going to be overly simplified in terms of just round curviness.
We need that balance between.
Remember, nature evolves.
Life evolves and nature is imperfect.
And so, as we track something it won’t stay the same for very long, say a hand with fingers.
Each time it changes it’s going to change in a little different way in different proportion,
different speed, more dynamically or more subtly.
All those things are going to evolve and change.
Life is in movement.
Since it’s imperfect, these speeding and slowing up moments of the line or of the detail,
the contour, are going to, in effect, be rounded corners.
When I do that, you’re very clear where the shoulder starts to become the arm and
where the shoulder finally becomes, the deltoid becomes the triceps.
You start to have a real clear sense of that.
The more we do that the more it distinguishes, delineates and structures things and makes
it feel like it’s complex as life really is and not overly simplified or stylized.
And then the last area will be in the sideburn area.
You can map that out in a typical kind of stereotypical kind of hairstyle.
We’ll just put a toupee on the pour fellow like that.
We get that sense.
How do we go from the skull into the face—basically here?
How do we go from the temple into the skull cap here?
Then that becomes critical for us, for really delineating what we want to feel.
Likewise, it will be in here, too.
Cool side burns, 60s sideburns or 70s sideburns, I guess.
We can make that kind of goofy, stylized for some fantasy or science fiction adventure,
but every time we play this little game, it’s instructive.
We’re really highlighting where the top of the skull meets the back of the skull.
We’re highlighting how the skull makes a transition into the neck and how the skullcap,
the skull starts to become face, and how the cheeks move into the line of the mouth.
All those things and also accenting how the hair is the only feature on the side of the
So, all those things make for an interesting shape on its own, but it’s very, very instructive
for how the bigger shape, the temple line here.
How the bigger shape tracks.
Likewise, with the beard when we get to that.
Hair becomes any detail, should be an excuse to talk about the bigger structures and preferably
the biggest possible structure and the biggest gestures.
How do we step over corner by corner this particular three-dimensional structure, and
how do we come off that structure and flow into the next one?
Start with those as big as possible.
But, then you can get the secondary structure.
How do we move from forehead to cheek?
There it is there.
How do we move from cheek to mouth and chin?
Here it is here.
Okay, very, very useful stuff.
So, all details, bellybuttons, eyelashes, you know, what’s the eyelash doing.
By making these long, lovely eyelashes we’re really highlighting the eyes.
That’s what makeup is for, for example.
That’s what the decoration of makeup and false eyelashes are for.
But also, we’re saying here is the structure of the eye.
It’s a ball.
This how that structure integrates into the greater structure.
Notice again, here is kind of the magic of hair.
As the hair starts to get even a little longer it starts to be very descriptive
of the bigger structure it’s on, forehead or whole head.
If this was a woman with a hairstyle, now this is describing—and maybe we can’t
see it on the actual face—this is describing how the skull has the ears attached, and the
ears are wider than the skull.
The hair is showing that.
Skull ends and the ears begin.
We can’t see the ear but we get the hint of the ear now by that little side sweep of hair.
It becomes super-duper useful.
We’ve got the throat, windpipe.
We’ve got the neck.
The sternocleidomastoid does this to the neck, to the head.
We have the trapezius, the shrugging muscles.
They go from here up here.
They go from here down here.
Split bilateral symmetry again around that spine.
We have the skull coming down into little duck tale kind of thing called a nuchal line,
where the skull comes down and creates a little knob.
Anytime you get a knob or a finger or a ball of bone it’s for attachments or articulations.
It’s not meeting another bone.
It’s not for articulation.
It’s for attachments.
This is for the attachment of the trapezius and the erector muscles underneath that keep
that head upright.
This attaches here.
So, if I have a hairstyle that’s very short, it’s going to track those structures or
should track those structures in a really precise way.
Notice the hairline is tracking exactly—not exactly, but it’s shadowing over.
If it’s thicker it might be above it just like this is above the arm to some degree.
A big wool jacket would be even farther.
A big down jacket would be even farther.
But they’re still suggesting that structure.
So now this gives me a very clear—and because it’s a textural and value and color difference,
presumably, it’s going to be an even clearer statement than a bald head or just a constructed
head without the hair of how we move from head into neck and exactly where the spine is.
The center line there.
The implication then, whether we’ve drawn them or not, is where the trapezius comes
up and attaches there along with all the erector muscles that are underneath it.
It gives us a lot of information.
Delineates the ear, of course.
It’s pretty self-evident.
Comes around it.
Now this is going to crowd, and notice to some degree it varies a lot.
To some degree, this is mirroring the brow ridge.
We have the brow ridge here that goes around the, creates the eye socket, really, doesn’t
go around it.
Goes off into the temple line.
This goes back into the zygomatic arch in here.
The eyeball, of course, will be in here.
And so, this kind of donut, protective armor around the eye is shadowed and mimicked by
the hairline to some degree.
The hairline can do all sorts of things.
Again, we can use it to ears, hairline, a little bit of temple area.
Then that helps us close in.
Notice how much we’re crowding that.
As we crowd these things toward the front of the face, it helps to turn it around from us.
Then what I’d want to do is not do this with the hair.
I want to think of it as a boxier idea.
I may not draw it as a boxy idea or draw it this boxy, but I want to think of it as that
boxy idea because I want to feel exactly where the back of the skull is or roughly where
the back of the skull is.
Notice this little bump down here, and we could even have the hair trail down this way.
It’s giving us a very precise understanding of where the back of the skull meets the side
of the skull.
That box logic.
We can do that in a box logic in a much more powerful way than we can with just the skull,
at least potentially.
So, it gives us a lot of information.
Notice the sweep of the hair of the eyeline of the eye here.
It gives us a feeling that the eye is now looking down.
If the lashes are looking up it’d give us the feeling of them looking up.
The more sweep you give them the more gesture it has.
We’re coming off the eyeball and rather than just stepping down over all this stuff
you get this lovely sweep out.
It’s a nice relief, and a nice feeling of gesture there.
Alright, so that’s that.
I’ll show it even though it probably goes without saying.
I’ll say it anyway.
If you’ve got a face here that’s in a certain perspective
position, subtle or dynamic position.
Then if we put bangs on there, the bangs are going to track very much in that same position
unless it’s some modern Vidal Sassoon where you’ve got asymmetrical or side bangs, long
hair swept to the side, then they’re going to track over the gesture how we move from
the lesser forehead to the wider cheek and down the jawline, maybe.
But, if it’s squared off blunt bangs, it’s going to roll here, and then they could be
trimmed straight across.
They could be trimmed like this and, again, this and this would track.
Or they could be trimmed down around the eye and frame the face and, again, show us very
clearly how the forehead moves, a relatively thinner forehead moves into the relatively
wider cheeks like so.
So again, really valuable.
It does what shadow shape would do.
Alright, so let’s look at long hair because this is where it gets funner.
I’m just going to do a few things here.
Alright, now, the way I’ve drawn this long hair, we can’t see the head or face at all,
We have a tremendous amount of information here.
Notice how I can use the hair to describe the shoulder.
I can use the hair as a negative shape.
I’m now getting a sense of the chest and the pit of the neck and the breastbone stuff
in here coming up over the shoulder.
Notice how I can feel a sense of not only that the head
has the neck attaching to it.
But, because of the way the hair breaks into groupings—notice what we did here—I’ve
thought of this as all one group here.
And then there are a couple of other groups here like that, and by breaking them apart
by doing that, I’m getting the sense that the head is turning away a little bit.
Then we’ve just delineated where the back, and I could do it even more so to force that idea.
Or, the back of the skull, and the skull would be under here someplace.
Let me make that a little clearer.
It’s meeting the top of the skull somewhere in here.
That’s going to start to give us a quite clear understanding that we’re slightly
behind this head.
In other words, we’re getting, in some ways, a more dramatic sense of the gesture of that.
And when I start to do these flyways I can give you a sense of the movement, that she’s
just done that.
And so, these trailing locks of hair can either be blowing in the wind or trailing
from where—think of those, sometimes you see in the Olympics, you’ll see the gymnasts
using the ribbons, and that ribbon is showing you, they’ll jump up and they’ll spin,
and then the ribbon rises up and spins.
It’s delayed action.
It shows where that person was or the movement that that person was doing in an exaggerated way.
It’s a super gesture.
Long hair can do that.
So, if I turn this hair back this way as it drapes down the other side, let’s day, it’s
going to show that it was also coming, she’s moving through like this maybe.
And that hair is fluttering behind.
If it comes out this way, then it shows that she is—if we take this way it goes that
way maybe she’s taken aback like that.
Notice how we can take this group or these groups of hair structures, as we talked about
before; a group here, a group here, a group down here, a group down here in the back and
in the top.
Package them and show a section of the skull and how they flow back into the other section
of the skull and how the hair has movement that tracks over the skull
this kind of way.
We can also let those packets slip and slide and shift and separate to allow for more information.
Maybe we’ll have the hair slip around that ear and expose that ear.
At least, instead of doing this, we’ll bump over that ear, and we’ll get a sense of
that ear under there.
It gives us great possibilities.
Long hair can give us super gestures, exaggerated gestures.
They can actually show movement.
They can give a sense of time, where that model has been or where that model is about
That can be a teaser.
A tendril that’s going out toward where she’s about to go.
It can be in anticipation.
You can tell a lot of story with this.
She’s being held back by her past but she’s ready to move forward or whatever deep though
or cliché, fun, childish idea or whatever we want to do.
We could even have the wisp of hair out here and show the inside,
the underside of the bangs.
That, again, would be a way of taking us around to, if we take a little slice here.
That’s moving us around in a big way to the other side where the face is.
Lots of possibilities.
If we take that hair—let’s look at this a little more carefully.
If we take that hair and put it up like this, now we have that same construction idea.
Now we’re going to group this together.
Now we’re going to let this section be a section, this section be a section, this section
be a section.
And so, what we want to do then is feel how that hairline is pulled up.
It might be really loose.
It might fall and gather in much the same way this does, but all of this is going to
pull up here to the bun or ponytail or whatever.
Maybe it’s a Scrunchi—blast from the 80s again.
This moves around the ear, or it can group over the ear.
It can work in two or three sections, depending on how it’s gathered.
Then we’re going to have the back of the skull somehow suggested ideally by that top.
Notice I made a point of creating a box again.
I didn’t do this.
I did that so we feel that.
And then any particular strand, we can use that then.
We can use that then to—maybe she’s got a lock of hair by accident or design or locks
of hair falling down here.
Look at how those track over in a lovely way the head and neck idea.
And the forehead/cheek idea coming off the jaw.
We can also use it to show gravity coming down.
You can make almost a veil out of it.
Likewise, we could take—maybe the point is to show
how she longs to be down—you know, she’s a sky goddess or a cloud nymph, Jack’s sister
Jean who is stuck up on the beanstalk, and she longs for her home.
And so, the hair goes that way, or she’s thinking about her little house in the woods.
And so the wind flows this way, or she’s being carried away.
It’s a Greek myth where Zeus is at it again, taking those poor village girls, the pretty
girls from the villages and towns and cities and running off as a swan or a bull or a shower
of gold and taking her away.
That hair is showing her loss.
There is a famous painting by Titian where we’ve got the village here, these guys,
these poor old men standing here not knowing what to do, and you’ve got Zeus as a bull
taking away that poor girl, The Rape of Europa, as in Europe.
So maybe we have her hair flying back and almost touching, in terms of picture, the
distant family that pines for her or worries for her.
Okay, so all sorts of possibilities of storytelling there.
That hair does an incredible job showing it.
Alright, so now let’s do a little bit of rendering, and we’ll see
how light affects that and how the texture and quality of hair can have a big impact.
Let’s just do this deal again.
Now, everything is subject to the laws of light, and if your light source is up and
to the left then your shadows are going to be down and to the right.
And the shadows are particularly valuable for us.
Not only does it make it look more beautiful to have rich subtle tones, potentially, but
it’s more structural.
It creates the illusion of life as it really is rather than just a schematic, a construct
that is suggestive of the idea.
This is the difference between having a word balloon that tells you conceptually what the
characters are saying and actual audio where you can hear them say it.
So, when we start adding tone, and if we do it well, then we get a sense of the corners
and the illusion, and we get a stronger sense.
Hair, of course, is going to be affected the same way.
Let’s put it behind a little bit just for fun.
And so, I want my hair to be, I want to be able to show when drawing the hair, like anything
else, where it turns up and catches light and where it turns down and falls away from light.
And so, when I do that shadow shape on the hair I want to make sure we’re separating
all the shadow from all the light.
Now, having said that, hair gives us a potentially problem, and that problem is it’s very reflective
When we get things that are very shiny, oftentimes the reflected light, light bouncing in the
shadows, can get out of hand, and we see the values everywhere.
Then we don’t get that good chiaroscuro idea, which is built on the formula of a two-value system.
Shadows are dark and lights are light, and the two don’t compete hardly at all or at
all, and they certainly don’t compete in the beginning of the rendering process.
In other words, when you squint at a good chiaroscuro, like a Rembrandt, Caravaggio,
Sargent portraits, you’ll be able to group all of the shadows from all the light by squinting at it.
You’ll squint and you’ll see the detail kind of blur out, and you’ll see simply
that this is light and that’s shadow, and you get that clear idea.
And that reads beautifully.
Ideally, we want to do that.
Now, when I draw the shape of the shadow, I’m just going to fill it in or blend it
in with whatever technique is suggestive or useful or aesthetically pleasing or whatever
I’ve been taught or whatever yardstick I use for that.
It doesn’t really matter very much.
I could hatch it in.
I could sculpt it in.
It could hatch over the contours of the form.
I can blend it away.
I could go crazy wild and hatch it every which way.
It doesn’t matter very much as long as the value statement is made that is a dark series
of hatches or marks that create this nice shape as opposed to the other.
With hair, you can do that, too.
But you get more bang for your buck if you show the texture of the hair and the fiber,
the long axis of the hairs.
So, if we draw a muscle, we can get a little bit more out of that muscle in terms of information
if we show the audience that the fibers move this way.
We don’t often do that because it’s covered by fat and skin, and we got lots of other
stuff going on.
We usually don’t get there and deal with it that carefully.
Very seldom do we actually see that consistently on the model.
But, if I were to do that, what it’s telling me is not only the shape and whatever light
and shadow value system I have on it and whatever else I have on it, but the actual fibers are
moving this way, and so it tells me a lot about the action that the form is about to
take or has taken.
It shows me a lot potentially about the gesture, how to flow from here to here, maybe from
shoulder to elbow.
I can do the same thing with the hair.
Of course, now you know where I’m going with this.
I can show the strands of the hair.
So, if I do this zig-zag idea, now that’s showing me very clearly what the hair is doing
texturally, and that, of course, will flow potentially.
Let’s loose the background behind it just for fun.
We can see it more clearly.
Of course, we can then come through that as I did in a very simple crude way before and
feel that grouping of the hair and the locks and things like that.
I can bring in that texture with all its gestural and structural and movement potential there
and create a nice sense of that.
Now, I might well get a strong reflected light in here because it’s shiny hair, and it’s
a Pantene commercial or whatever it is.
Some model showing off what kind of shampoo she uses or something.
I probably want to play it down, at least at first, to get that two-value system.
Notice, as always, when we add value it’s showing structure.
That gives us that idea.
And then these packets, these locks, as they’re taken off here.
Notice just by blending it in the direction of the flowing locks
it does a lot of work for us, and those things can break over the top of each other.
You can think of those—we’ll do some little more careful rendering in some of the demos
and such, presumably.
We should see it again.
Notice what I just did there.
We can now get these counter currents as she flips her hair back and the wind catches it
and all those I-have-pretty-long-hair moves, or I-gotta-get-this-long-hair-outta-my-way
moves, whatever it is.
What I’m doing there and here is…let me show you what I’m doing over here.
I can have those locks, those packets of hair track in all sorts of fun ways.
Notice how it’s really a ribbon that’s twisting like so.
And so, the hairs can track that ribbon and take us in these fun loop-de-loops like a
barnstormer might take us for a ride in the 20s.
Notice that as long as I keep those strokes going down the length I’m getting the most
bang for my buck because the technique, the way I’m blending and marking are always
It’s showing beautifully that the length and flow of those locks, and that would be
true if I have a highlight playing through the hair.
Notice how we’ll play it in here.
This would actually be reflected light down in through most of this.
Notice how, again, I’m doing that zig-zag, and then I can have some of those strands
take off beyond.
But, notice how it’s beautifully showing that texture.
Notice the other thing is that has each little stroke is potentially showing us that long
axis direction, but together we get this beautiful run this way, too.
That highlight or set of highlights or whatever is maybe doing that across.
This is going down the length of the hairstyle, but it’s moving also over the hairstyle
and over the neck and the head and the shoulders in this really beautiful, interesting way.
Okay, let’s do a little bit shorter hairstyle, and separate it out from the background so
you can see what we can see.
Alright, so as this comes down here, notice how I’ve shown the part in the hair.
The part can go off all over the place, but classically, traditionally, that part is going
to go in axis to the skull on top.
It’s going to be showing the long axis this way.
That’s a great opportunity to show our axel change between face going down and
skull going back.
If I pick up now this wandering core because of the flowing hair, I want to potentially,
it’s not the only way to do it at all, I can zig-zag that core shadow.
Then I can drag this right down.
I can also, once I’ve established that shape I don’t have to make the strokes go the
same way, or I don’t have to show strokes at all.
I could just block this out in terms of values like this.
And you’ll see this in painters and illustrators.
Look at the early American illustrators like Loomis and Elvgren.
They do kind of a teasing subject matter.
They’re pretty models, usually girls, women, children, really pull-at-your-heartstrings
kind of thing.
Sometimes teasing sexually, all that kind of aesthetics.
Don’t worry about that stuff.
Look at that how they’ve simplified and idealized.
They will oftentimes, the stroke won’t go this way.
It’ll go this way like I’m doing here.
Then notice when we have that hair flowing we can show, suggest the hairline that maybe
gets lost in the flowing locks and show how the front of the forehead sweeps into the
side of the temple and how we can flow right over the shoulder if it’s long enough.
We can sweep back along the jaw and go behind if it’s long enough, or we could—if there
are shorter layers or if it’s just cut shorter, we can show how the, suggest how we come off
the jaw and swing free off the neck.
That is suggestive of that neck underneath and how we’re going to fit in with the chest
and breasts and such in here.
Notice that the hallmark of organic forms is the wave action, the S-curve or compound
And so, with the hair we have, as the hair gets longer and sweeps back and bundles in
different ways, we have a chance of showing that wonderful action there.
Let’s knock this down a little bit so we can render it a bit.
We could just break it in like that and not do the zig-zag, too.
Absolutely fine, done every day.
Let’s see if we can get this on here like so.
Squint at that and you get the same structure you would always want and need, and it’s
Then when we get the hair parting or the hair designs as it’s falling, then you have a
chance to show a few wisps here and there that will give us that stringy idea to the
hair, the flowing locks, string is probably not a very attractive way to say it.
Then, of course, we could always come in later and add a few, or a lot, on that.
There is always room to separate out a couple like that.
Notice, again, where the hair hits the root, the parts take it this way, scalp, and it’s
going to go this way and this way and maybe make more corner transitions between.
But, it’s going to build back up.
You can see how this tracks, builds back up.
When it builds back up then you’re going to get that nice corner that really gives
the back of the skull against the top of the skull against the front of the skull, or movement
towards those things in a lovely, powerful way.
Far more powerful than you can do with just the skull unless you radically stylize it.
We’ve slightly stylized it here.
Then again, it can be flowing.
It can be a mermaid in the ocean or Medusa’s snakes or whatever, but it gives us a strong
sense of that.
Alright, let’s stop there.
Let’s take a look at the beard.
support and gravity dynamic.
We’re also going to have that same grouping in sections.
The hair is going to grow in sections.
Each section is going to have a purpose.
The more clearly we can speak to that purpose the more successful we’ll be.
Just like the hairline can track very carefully, the structure of the skull and the meeting
of the face with the skull.
Of course, we’re going to have the facial hair doing much the same thing.
We’re going to have the mustache area, it’s going to go over the lips.
We’ll look at that more carefully a little bit later.
We’re going to have the goatee area that’s going to grow—so, mustache fills in the
space between the nose and the upper lip and, of course, can grow over that.
That’s where it grows from.
The goatee area is going to grow from the base of the lower lip and cover the chin and
grow from that if it wants.
Then we’re going to have the sideburn area, and that come down from the cheek.
It can go this way.
It can bump up this way.
It can actually fill in very, very tight sometimes on people.
It grows way up in here sometimes.
Usually it doesn’t get past the side plane.
Here is the front plane of the cheek.
Here is the side plane of the cheek.
Generally, the growth is going to stay on the side plane, as you can see with my lush
and full and very manly beard.
It’s going to sit in here and in here like so.
Then the growth pattern will be this and this and this kind of thing.
It can have these wonderful shapes.
Beards are in at the moment.
This last two, three years as I’m recording this.
This can pull back this way and get these great shapes.
You’ll see that hair tends to want to radiate out from that.
It’s particularly useful not matter how far the mustache grows, how long it grows.
There is some suggestion of where the mouth is.
Likewise, no matter how full that beard is, it’s usually most useful if we have some
sense of where that chin is.
Notice that it comes out from the lip and then bumps back in this way.
That’s suggesting right in here where the lower lip comes back to the chin, and the
chin pushes out.
Here is the upper lip here.
Here is the nose in here.
We can guess where the nose and mouth and such are exactly or think we can.
We’ll help you out there.
We want that to—no matter what it does—just like the hair we don’t want the hair to
do this, even though it sometimes does do that.
We want it ideally to show the stepping back of upper lip, lower lip, chin, and then back
to the neck.
That’s what it’s doing here.
Even though any or all those things may well be covered and lost.
And notice as soon as the hair growth, whatever hair growth goes from a simple curve to a
deep curve or an S-curve, it’s now starting to go off one thing into another.
We can talk about how we go from head to shoulder or head to neck, that type of thing.
If this happens to go this way, now that’s suggesting how the jaw ends and the neck begins.
This upper lip, lower lip, chin, and neck is shadowed and shown in some way or another
by the growth pattern.
So, let’s do it from the front view here.
Start with the nose.
Here is the mustache.
Here is the goatee.
Jaw would be in here behind that.
There are endless variations of how you can shave that, shave part of it, leave part of
it and create these designs.
You can actually, as they’re doing in hair right now, come in with a razor and create
this whole maze-like, or you can even draw pictures in it, of course.
It would all track over the contour of the cheek.
It’s very much like a tattoo on the arm.
They’re doing it with hair growth now just for fun.
When we then look at the growth pattern of the beard, it’s going to come from right
under this nose, and it’s going to come straight down, and sometimes it’s even combed
or grows so that it suggest the philtrum right here.
As you see with my little growth, it’s going to lay right over the barrel of the mouth,
so we want to get a sense of that mouth barrel.
Notice over here—play it up a little bit more—the beard comes out.
Then whatever it does to step or such, here’s the mustache here.
Whatever it does in this lower area, we want that to suggest the barrel, and especially
this growth here, the growth pattern comes down here.
The hairs are going to grow right out of that base.
They’ll stay away or get very, very close to the nostrils, just depending.
Sometimes you’ll see this in 40s action stars and heroic leading men like Errol Flynn
and those early actors.
They’ll make a pencil-thin mustache.
Very out of fashion now, but, who knows, it might be back next year.
So, it grows here.
This is all hair beginning to grow all the way along here, all along this track.
Then it descends down that way.
The hair growth will go down here.
Notice we’re coming off, more or less, the barrel of the mouth and onto the wider cheeks.
Of course, you can then get a waxed mustache that, just like long hair flowing from head
to neck, can flow for us in a beautiful way to show that same transition of off the narrow
form and onto the wider form.
So, just like the sweep of the hair can do here.
Become terrific, gestural possibilities.
This will grow down however it’s combed or whatever growth patterns, just like the
hair can have cowlicks where whether than falling down it’ll actually grow up.
If it gets long enough it’ll fall back down again.
We all have those cowlicks here.
As in the cow licked it and it stuck up kind of a thing.
His hair might go straight up rather than falling down, and it takes a while for it
to fall down with that growth pattern, like so.
We have that bunch.
The lip line of the mouth is under there someplace.
Lower lip is in here, and unless the mustache hangs over the lower lip we’re going to
see some of that lower lip.
The growth pattern begins again and does the same thing.
Notice how this radiates out like this.
Same thing here.
Radiates out this way.
That can grow real tight to the lower lip, or it can grow here and fall down lower as
it does with me a little bit.
Most people you’ll see some of this flesh here rather than filling right up around.
Usually it comes down here.
This is showing the chin that we cannot see.
The jazz musicians would grow a little tuft here.
You’ll still see that sometimes.
This growth pattern is in here.
We’ll make the mustache red.
We’ll make that little tuft there red.
Then below that we’ve got that full goatee section.
It will also grow out a little bit, radiating.
It’ll fall on down, or it’ll be cut into design and groomed into whatever shape.
The English gentleman of the 18th, 19th century would keep it like this.
Then we have the sideburns, of course, coming here, and those can be cut in all sorts of
We can take them all the way down here and into the chin.
That becomes the mutton chop.
A particularly poor choice, I would argue.
Then that can complete on in.
As I said, this can come up way in here.
Generally, it’s the most attractive—it gets a little too hairy if it gets close to
the eyes—and also, more importantly for us, the most descriptive.
You’ll see the Wolverine character in the comic books and the movies where it’s a
full beard right up here, and when you do that you get all this front plane.
This comes here, and then right here from here down here that creates the side plane.
Then this is all skin, front plane, you can keep that shaved as I think the Wolverine
That’s very descriptive.
You’ll see the same thing in the old 60s, maybe it was 70s, the Planet of the Apes franchise
with Charlton Heston, those monkeys, the hair growth was right here.
That created—and it didn’t have a mustache, as I remember, and I don’t even think the
chin stayed clean.
They gave a mutton chop here with a low hairline.
What that did was take the front of the forehead, front of the cheeks, front of the jaw, mouth,
and chin, and you’ve got a really nice structure there that’s beautifully designed.
And for things like animation, simple animation and stuff like TV cartoon animation, that’s
great when you can cut out shapes.
They’ll do the same thing in a wolf.
You’ll see this in Princess Mononoke by Ghibli Studios.
You’ll have a wolf here, and the wolf will have this cowl or hood of hair that separates
from the body.
The animators will make this a separate animated shape that goes along with the head in here.
Then the body is back here, and that is separately animated for his shape.
That way you can manage it, as I said, the ears are separated out.
If the ears have to cock back all the animator has to do is draw the ears.
He doesn’t have to do this whole thing because they’re cut out shape by shape.
If the head turns we just draw this cowling cape area.
With the head, we don’t have to move the body, it’s easier to organize and cheaper.
So, those kind of grouping things as a completely separate idea that frames some structural
idea or object to object idea allows we artists to organize things in a nice, useful manner
and economical in terms of time and/or resources, money or whatever.
Okay, eyebrows then are, as we’ve talked about in the eye structure, in my figurative
and head lessons, the eyebrow then can show the expression.
They come together and you get angry, the corrugator muscles.
How far are the hair and the eyebrows separated out?
They’re going to give us a lot of information about the character or young boy, a well-groomed
woman where she’s plucked her eyebrows, or a very hairy mountain man, whatever it is.
They really track not exactly but roughly the corner where the brow steps back from
forehead into eye socket.
It gives us this—if we look back here it gives us this nice corner.
This is all where the eyeball sits.
This is all forehead where the brain sits.
The eyebrow shows us nicely that corner and can have a growth pattern as I showed it earlier
that can be really interesting.
We get a lot, a tremendous amount of information.
A beautiful way to group things that don’t group very well.
A great way to suggest things underneath in kind of an exaggerated style.
Instead of the lips doing this with the chin, the chin does this when we add a beard to it.
It becomes a cartoon exaggerated version.
Instead of that manly chin sticking out a little bit, the hair of that chin sticks out a lot.
This can then come out like this into a Santa Claus or a big Russian Cossack or whatever.
These things can be again groomed into all sorts of gestural shape.
Maybe it’s an evil magician who is going to attack your children and the cartoon or
comic book idea.
You get all sorts of great shapes or some villain that fights that fantastic four or
the Avengers or something like that.
So, lots of fun possibilities there.
The other thing is when we’ve got the mustache, let’s say, it can also grow down this way,
of course, Fu Manchu, or also grow down into the beard rather than
cutting away from the beard.
But, when we get that mustache it can help turn us just like bangs can do on the forehead.
It can take us around the mouth and the lips.
We can feel it going around the other way this way.
So, here is the lower lip here that we see.
Here is the hair and here is the beard.
By having that go around the other side we get a sense of that volume wrapping around
just like we can do with here.
This sweeps around this way and helps define that movement.
Okay, so I think that’s it.
Let’s stop there.
Let’s try some drawing.
Don’t worry about time or hopefully much else, except everything we’ve talked about,
As always, the hair is a product of the skull and even the face and body underneath.
We want to—I’m always looking for that back of the head under the hair, under a hat
even, under a head wrap.
I drew the hair first because we’re talking about it.
It’s going to be a safer bet to draw the head structure first, of course, and build across.
You can see how those locks fall out of the growth pattern they come from, and they gather
and are supported by whatever something hits from below the shoulders or table or bed as
you lay your head down or something like that.
Light is coming this way so we need to decide to pick up the shadow patterns.
Be consistent with that.
I’m going to let the technique reinforce the
flow of the hair.
The body of shadow can continue that idea or not.
We’ll worry about whether the shadow goes off, because it just kind of feels like it
becomes part of the environment that way.
I’m always looking to make sure my drawing, in some way or another—hopefully in a big
way—supports my thinking for the painting that I may well want to do from the drawing.
The nice thing about long hair is to some degree you can use that to cover up some issue.
If I muck up the face I can just cover it with the hair, at least to some extent hide
I’m not going to worry too much about the face here.
Just have that kind of indicated.
Okay, now this is a little awkward.
If I’ve got the hair here, then it maybe makes the face a little too chubby or something.
We don’t want to do that on our portrait commission or daughter or model that we don’t
want to disappoint or whatever, and that’s always a problem when we do work from life.
We’re nice people, generally.
We don’t want to goof things up and make them ugly when they’re handsome or fearful
when they’re kind or something like that.
We tend to feel like we owe the model a good likeness.
You shouldn’t feel that way, frankly, because then you’re doing your work for less than
You’re doing it out of obligation and stuff.
We want the work to be the thing.
We want to make sure that we’re working from that idea that the work has to work and
don’t be kind.
One of my good, good friends did a portrait of me, and it’s not a kind portrait, but
it’s in keeping with his style, and I’m absolutely good with it.
It’s a terrific painting.
And that’s as it should be.
You do what the work needs.
You’re paying that model, presumably, to be there and not to be flattered.
That part down the center of the hair shows me the access of the long skull going back.
You can see this grouping.
Find a convenient place like you’d separate the chest from the ribs and the obliques from
the stomach, potentially.
Look for groupings, packets of hair, locks that you can organize in some kind of systematic
way that becomes a manageable sized shape to design and place.
It has a rhythm that takes you along the growth pattern and over or through or around or with
the bigger structure it’s on.
It gives you a plan of how to plot all that great stuff out.
It can be messy but still be systematic in how it fits one into the other.
There can be a logic to a rhythmic, of course, a gesture.
I want to feel that skull, and we want to make sure whatever the shape of the skull,
the size of the skull, even feeling the ear roughly where it would be.
Make sure we have that skull, and she has this lush, flowing head of hair, so we want
to have that hair be quite a bit thicker than where the skull is so we believe it.
Not too much.
What is too much?
You’ve got to decide for yourself.
We want to feel like there is one lock here that goes across in one way or another, and
we want to feel like that lays on the head.
We want to feel like there is some sense of the side.
Notice how it gets darker in here.
That turns away and is hidden with the turn of the back.
So, we’ve got that shadowy part of the hair, this area in here.
This area in here has a connection to the shadowy part.
You might have little pieces here that are going to pick up light in the painting that
you mark out.
But that tracks down, and we come back here, and we come back over the skull.
I’d make quite a big deal about this temple line in here.
We want to feel the shadow.
The hair darkens a bit at that point.
We can have these things start in the same area and go in their own direction, criss-crossing
or underlapping or whatever to show that kind of free-flow, bedhead kind of messiness that
can be fun and suggest personality or story or whatever.
Now, this has come down.
I’m going to make a bigger deal out of it.
This is coming down because she’s turning her head back toward us.
Let’s get that in there a little better.
Tracking the pathway of that hair as it distorts.
Notice now we’ve got the hair—let’s just look at it like drapery.
When drapery falls, it hits something; in this case, the skull.
It falls off that something, comes down, and then hits something again; in this case, the
It does that.
In this case, it starts here.
It comes over the skull, the shape of the skull.
It’s loose so some of it falls free, falls away, comes out, and then as it binds up and
is swept over the other side, maybe, or wherever, all the stuff from the back that’s also
falling slips down behind, apparently.
It’s not bound up and would just go on down here in a way we can’t see.
Then on this side, of course, we’ve got it running freely right down the far side
here until it exhausts its length.
One of the nice things about the beard is you don’t have to get the mouth and the
lips and everything.
Get it just right with the nose.
There is a lot more room for error there, which can be kind of a release sometimes.
You’re always on call to get it just right.
Here you’ve got some room to maneuver, and the audience isn’t going to know if it got
a little too long or a little too short, as long as it begins at the base of that nose.
We don’t have to measure the nose and then the upper mouth and then the upper lip and
then the lower lip and then the chin.
All that is hidden to a great degree.
And then you can see how much you can play with the strokes with hair, getting the
strands showing up in those darker half-tones, blasting it out in kind of a zig-zagging highlight,
or going against that in the areas that seem appropriate.
You can make it as big or as small as you want.
Then this can just be pure silhouette, and you can have a lot of fun with the texture
of that silhouette with the strands of hair coming out.
It can be little or nothing in the interior of that silhouette.
You can see in the painting that some of this gets lost.
Then we get this nice negative shape of the beard and the body showing itself in whatever way.
It’s descriptive of the face.
When that throws forward like that, those locks, that’s reminiscent of the cheekbone
going from back to forward, then down, and then from the cheeks and mouth back to forward.
We have that cascading forward.
This is very reminiscent of that.
And since this is going to be about the hair, we’ll let the features and the face be really,
I guess those shadow, the most graphic shadow shapes.
Then the hair becomes the featured attraction.
Notice that forward and down idea.
Since I’m pretty particular about how those shapes are going to be, I’m going to let
the hair come forward here and just lose that lower structure.
Now I really want that hairstyle, and it doesn’t always do this, but you almost always want
it to do this.
And it will usually do it.
I want to feel that back of the skull, front of the face.
Biggest mistake I think people do when they’re drawing hair is they just draw the hair and
not paying attention to what the hair should be describing.
I’m kind of changing directions a little bit in the direction of those locks so that
we feel the sense of a little bit of a messed up hair.
It’s not everything is perfect.
Okay, sometimes it can be really attractive.
You don’t let it wobble in for the neck.
You just let it go straight on down.
Ideally, we’d feel right on down to the body.
Okay, now the kicker on this is going to be—with the toned
paper it’s particularly nice for shiny kind of shampoo commercial hair.
You can really get that lovely sheen with the highlights.
Usually when you’re doing the highlights, look at the highlights in a Watteau drawing,
Almost nonexistent, just barely indicated.
Piazzetta had more, but still, most of the time the old masters and the academic draftsman,
artists would really minimize the highlights.
They’d be not there or barely there.
But, since we live in a much more wild and loud world, we tend to like things a little
more dramatic, dynamic, and even melodramatic.
And so, you can play those up strongly and really get the beautiful…and we can have
a little bit of the tangle and the mess there if we want.
9:29 It’s always fun to work with pen.
I’m just using a cheap ballpoint pen.
The idea is that you’re trying to get your realism, whatever level of realism you’re
In this case, values are incorporated.
You’re trying to get those to all work with just line, really.
Now I get a little bit of value change being able to make a light line and a dark line,
but it is really just value through line, so the hatching then
becomes the tool.
We’re getting all the nuances of the world, or at least getting all the nuances of the
world that you find important.
We’re a little bit underneath this head, and so the eyes are being built like this.
Where the forehead is that drops a little bit lower, and so on.
That beautiful cheekbone of hers.
I’m always looking for the, not just the placement of the hair but the growth pattern.
Which way are the locks or the strands going to and coming from?
And all this hair sweeping back, what I’m looking for is, in this case, how it’s
picking up the neck, swinging back.
We have that neck going back this way.
I’m going to have the hair to make it simpler.
Swing back and repeat that idea and then, of course, bind up and pass over the shoulder
in a lovely way.
Again, as always, we want the hair to go back subtly as it is here or more powerfully as
it is here.
Here I’m playing down the back of the hair a little bit.
Here I’m playing it up, so you can take your pick.
Of course, you could do it both ways as I just did kind of get a sense of which one
you like better and all that good stuff.
It’s nice to have choices.
It’s nice to expend the energy to try things more than one way.
Sometimes we just kind of settle, and we say pretty good.
Okay, that’s good, what’s next, rather than I think I can make that really great.
Let me try that again.
And sometimes I’ll do something again because I want to make it really great.
I’ll find, you know, actually the first time was really very good.
I don’t know what was bothering me about it.
And that can be valuable, too, just to have done it again.
Everything doesn’t have to be on the clock and making money for you or being efficient.
Sometimes just trying stuff and saying, no, I’m okay actually with the way it was, but
still be glad you tried.
So, there are going to be these pathways, these groupings of hair
are going to bind up.
We have the little side plane temple area.
Top area here.
This top area tangles and twists a little bit as it works over the shoulders.
I’m going to pull this back here a little bit more now.
Then we can sometimes have fun with something
and make it really dark back here.
Maybe I really want to get this big, beautiful shape of hair
and make that nice and dark and separate.
Then we’ll add stuff to it.
Okay, so now I’m going to come in and add some highlights as we did here, but I’m
going to keep those
pretty subtle up here.
I’m going to pick them up down here.
Make this a bigger deal here.
And then we can...
create this lovely negative shape as a real strong contrast, just for something different.
Just come back and pick out a few little accents, and we could spend all day doing that.
Just to give it a little bit of weight, just a hint at how contrasting the world can be
and sometimes is, even though the whole composition…
I’ve picked out some images for you to work from.
I want you to spend five minutes on each pose, more or less.
You can always freeze or hit the pause button if you need to.
Go ahead and just do basic construction, basic information on that.
Don’t get too fancy. Let’s just make sure we get the fundamentals down.
What we want to do is start our drawings well so that
then later when we’re ready we can finish them off beautifully.
Let’s get started with that. Good luck with it. Have some fun.
Alright, so if we draw that hair, the hair as in drapery doesn’t really have a shape
of its own.
Of course, it can if it’s really curly or kinky or something like that, but this kind
of loose, long hair is going to be a product exclusively, just like fabric is of the head
that is underneath it and the neck that’s underneath it.
The real trick here is to feel the bigger structure that you can’t see, being able
And if you can’t do that,
then it’s going to have a bad effect on your result, probably.
We work under a support system, what is supporting and what is giving into gravity, and so this
is a great pose for that.
We have a clothed figure, in this case, with this long hair sweeping down behind like so.
And then the locks, the strands, I should say, are always going to move in the long
axis in the direction of this down that way.
And so, if I hatch, if I want to keep it showing the strands, the action of the strands, I’ll
hatch in the direction that the hair is flowing, like so.
The pen and ink artists are famous for doing that, what oil painters could do.
Once you’re in the body of a darker value, you could keep doing that, or you could just
do whatever, and it wouldn’t matter as much.
So, we are on top of this, so what I want to know particularly is how that skull goes
back this way and how the face comes down, which we can see is not blocked by the hair—it
was partially blocked last time—and how low that ear is.
In other words, if we put a bucket on this head it’d be something like this.
I need to visualize that, understand that to some pretty strong degree, or everything
I do with the neck is going to be a bluff.
It’s the same way with clothing.
It’s the same way with drawing the front when you can’t see the back.
The better sense you have of that idea, the idea of what you can’t see, in other words.
The more successful is going to be, probably.
So, we could start then with the hair as a basic shape.
Notice if it moves freely or it moves and is bound by ties and limits and shoulders
and things, however it goes, it’s going to tend to work in kind of bundles, packets
And so, you can kind of look for those natural bundles.
It’s interesting that fur in computer information is treated just that way.
They’ll take bundles of a bunch of strands of hair and make that one lock, one bundle
Then have that act as it’s going to act, and then that will have a certain design to
it and a certain logic, and then they’ll create a bundle right next to it.
That goes in a slightly or greatly different way, and that independence gives us a sense
of sophistication that you wouldn’t normally have.
We’re doing kind of the same thing here.
Let’s look back at that.
Here’s a bundle of hair here that maybe splits here.
We have this section in here, and then that maybe comes up over the top and fades in a
way we can’t quite understand because of the darkness of it, at least on my monitor.
We can guess that the bangs are breaking in their own direction, and tie in to the top
of the skull and then fly away.
Then this pulls back, the sideline with that, one or two bundles there.
Here’s another grouping that drapes around the ear.
And another grouping that gathers up at the nape of the neck and goes up towards that bun.
Then the bun itself like so.
As this binds in to that arched back.
Alright, here we’re underneath this head.
The long hair gives us a great opportunity for gesture, and again great opportunity for
a variety of gesture and can add to the idea of time or motion.
I’ll show you that in a second here, an example of that.
I really want to feel the top of the skull, the back of the skull, how that goes in a
different direction than the face.
See how the drapery here drops very much in the same manner and it’s under the same
structural constraints and gravity dynamics.
If we bring these flyways now like this, we might get a sense of the wind
or where she came from.
She may have walked over here, rushed over there and stopped, and the hair is in a time
lapse and is a little slower.
Since it’s wispy and light, it’s like a feather dropping in a rock.
The feather is going to take it’s time to get where the rock went.
So, she rushes over, and that hair is lifted in the wind and will take a few moments to
settle back down and go quiet as the body already has done.
We can get a sense of greater gesture with that long hair, and then we can talk about
what she’s planning to do next even.
We can play all sorts of games with that.
If you animate it, of course, then you have even more possibilities.
You get these fun effects as kind of a rhythm thinking there.
You can twist it over from underside to topside kind of thing.
Alright, so if we have a beard then the hair is under that same kind of dynamic idea, but
now it’s coming from a different spot instead of on top of the head in front of the face
and under the chin.
This is a great beard.
Go ahead and get a little bit of the structure it’s on just for fun because it’s such
a great structure or
a series of structures.
Okay, now off the base of the nose and over the barrel of the mouth, so we want to feel
that barrel, this barrel here, this barrel here; and we’re underneath this a little
so that means we’re going to be underneath the barrel.
We can just construct it like we would anything, or we can kind of do a zig-zag that gives
a sense of direction of the hair growth.
The growth grows from the center out this way.
It builds out and grows out, and you can make that as wide, and the length of it can curl
You can have a waxed beard and all sorts of stuff.
I’ll come in and out of shadow as it bumps catching light just like the mouth, the lips,
the dimples of a smile, that kind of stuff.
You’ll have the mouth somewhere in there that’s going to be partially or completely
covered by that mustache.
Then it goes right from under the lower lip.
We get the goatee part.
It also grows up the cheeks, and how far it goes up the cheekbone depends on the character.
The growth pattern can be really high or really low or become wispy and get lost.
I can’t grow much of a beard, although I try at times.
Then the flow of the mustache if it’s long enough will pick up and be carried more or
less into the flow of the beard going down this way into whatever shape.
You can have wonderful shapes.
Look at old Sargent, Zorn, William Merritt Chase portraits.
Beards were big at that point, and so you get some wonderful characters with these great
You can also just chisel it out like this and then add the wispy quality or the lock
Then he’s got the wispy long hair from the side that then can come over and play peek-a-boo
with that ear in all sorts of fun ways.
Again, flow on down as our long-haired model we had done a few drawings back over here.
It’d be affected by the shoulders and whatever else.
Good idea to have a sense of where the chin is even if you can’t see it.
As always, try and draw through and feel it.
Same with the neck.
If you’re not quite right, it’s better than nothing.
Your mistake will be covered by the hair.
In this case, it’s doing the coverage to begin with.
You have a better chance of having it feel like it’s a complete structure and not just
drawing what you see.
Part of our job is to feel the whole truth even if we’re just going to impart a little
bit of that truth in the actual imagery or whatever art form.
A writer is going to have maybe copious notes on the background of a character that may
never come up in the story, but give body and substance to that story for the writer
and for the actor as they try and bring that to life.
So, we want to do the same thing.
Feel the whole world even when you’re most of the time just drawing
a little piece of the world.
You can just have fun chasing after the texture in a way of that...
beard, mustache, all that good stuff.
And he’s got that light gray, but we can push it into a darker value
so it creates a silhouette if we want.
I like to let that mustache do a couple of things: show where the center of the lips
would be, and if appropriate, wrap around.
I’m going to have the chin come out from under it, very much like the nose comes out
and the barrel of the mouth goes up underneath properly.
That was our hair lesson.
I hope you enjoyed it.
We talked about how hair is both structural and gestural.
How it has a sense of light and shadow like everything else in this world, and yet how
it flows and shimmers and moves.
How it can create great gesture.
How it can exaggerate and redefine and build upon the structure.
How it can become a means of movement or a sense of timing and storytelling.
It’s a lot to think about.
I hope it’s something you’ll go back to again and again.
Build your skill set and make hair a big part of your figure drawings.
Good luck with it, and thanks for joining me.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview53sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Basics of Drawing the Hair21m 51s
3. Using Hair to Better Describe Feature of the Head/Face16m 38s
4. Drawing Long Hair and Rendering43m 35s
5. Drawing Beards19m 33s
6. Demonstration 127m 30s
7. Demonstration 2 (Toned Paper)22m 23s
8. Assignment26m 48s
9. Steve's Approach to the Assignment21m 35s