Continuing this series of Manga tutorials on drawing hair, let’s talk about getting the shape and texture right of different hair types and styles!
Hair consists of many different textures, be it really curly, frizzy and fluffy, or sleek. Of course, some of these are more obvious and easy to draw, whilst others are much more time-consuming to get right, but that is no excuse for avoiding them and ending up with characters that all look too similar.
First up, the curliest hair of all: Afro-textured hair! This hair has very tight, small curls that aren’t individually defined or obvious face-to-face, only when you look very closely will you see the curls or spirals. So you have to treat it like you would drawing anything of a small, fine texture from a distance (similar to when you draw the leaves on trees or bushes in the background).
Outline your hair style with a scribbley line. This can be a close crop, a big Afro, or dreadlocks, or cornrows etc. Make sure that the scribble you use stays at a consistent, fairly small size – don’t leap from a small scribble to large ones or the effect will be lost. Then fill in with a scribble pattern the shadowy areas of the hairstyle.
Where any partings would be, or if the light is from above, fill in darker around the bottom of the style and gradually scribble less and less towards the top. If it’s dreadlocks, scribble along the bottom of each tube. This helps to reinforce the texture of the hair without you filling in the entire hairstyle.
Any form of curly or wavy hair that isn’t as tight as Afro-textured hair can be depicted with a little bit more definition in the lines by using plenty of parallel waves. Whether fairly small and tight, or big and bouncy, try to draw several wavy lines next to each other, but vary the distance between them to give a more natural appearance of irregular locks of hair.
Straight hair is the easiest and most commonly drawn in Anime and Manga these days because it is fairly quick to draw and to practice getting those irregular spikes. Again, vary the distance between the downward spikes and leave a few very thin or just draw a couple of loose strands as just lines. The main complication is that there is no room for error at the top of the head; you have to be very precise with the origin points, partings and direction the hair is going in, particularly once you start shading the hair. In all hairstyles, but straight hair most of all, please don’t draw the ends with blunt spikes unless it’s a stylistic choice – wherever possible, really make an effort to lift your pen from the paper (or stylus from your graphics tablet) so that you have sharp, tapered spikes and lines.