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Depending on the style, anime hair can be very complex. However,
if you break it down into its basic components, the process of
drawing anime hair becomes a little simpler.
Like real hair, anime hair is composed of many strands. However,
rather than drawing each individual strand, the hair is often drawn
in various sized/shaped clumps, as shown here. These are some of
the simplest forms of each hair style. Notice that in most cases, the
outline is more curvy on the bottom of the hair clump. This is
especially apparent on the top leftmost example; the lower line is
curvier than the top line, giving the hair more depth and more of
that anime-ish look. Sometimes this is highly exaggerated, and
other times it is hardly noticable, but for most anime hair styles,
each individual strand of hair will have this basic shape.
Once you know how to draw each strand/clump of hair, you can
start putting them together to form more something that more
resembles anime hair. Look at each example here (well, exept
maybe for that one on the lower left; I'm not sure why I left that
in), and notice how the basic strands from the first step are
used. The same similar shapes generally persist throughout
many different hairstyles. Making one line curve out more than
the other on each strand can really help to flesh it out.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you can make the hair as
detailed as you like; just keep adding more strands. I'll go over
this more shortly. ^_^
Now, we are getting into some slightly more complex shapes.
Notice how varying the size and shape of each strand gives the
hair different character; the strands can be long and thin, thick
and curvy, or sharp and spiky. Again, notice that you can either
make the hair very detailed, or very simple, depending on how
many individual strands you draw.
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Here are more examples of different basic shapes of hair. Take
note of how the hair overlaps and is nested in itself when it bends
or twists. You can make some really interesting hair by having it
twist and turn all over the page. ^_^
Next, I'm going to go over some different types of hair styles,
but before I continue, I want to go over a few things regarding
the placement of the hair on the head.
No matter what hairstyle you are going to draw, the hair always
grows from the same region of the head, as shown by the
example in the middle. It grows out from the entire back part of
the scalp, from the forehead to the back of the neck (not just the
base of the head, but down the back of the neck, too). It isn't
just plopped onto the top of the head. You can generally get
away with not paying attention to this fact, but if you are
drawing hair that has been pulled back or hair that is trimmed
really short, then it will be important that you know where
exactly the hair is placed.
One reoccuring problem I've noticed with a variety of artists is
that they do not take into account the fact that there is a skull
underneath the hair. Sometimes artists draw the hair too small
for the head, as in the example at the bottom. The bangs stick
out, but there is no forehead beneath them; the hair curves
down on the head far too low, cutting the head off and making
the skull oddly shaped and flat. This is not a good thing. ^_~ If
you need to, draw out the character's entire head before adding
the hair, so that you are it will fit and look natural. Well, as natural as anime hair can look.. :D
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Okay, now that I've gotten that taken care of, here are some
examples of different anime hairstyles, all with short hair.
Hopefully it might give you some ideas. Notice also that many
of these can be used for either male or female hairstyles. I'm
sorry these aren't as detailed as some of the previous
examples, but you still get the basic idea and shape of each
style (hopefully).
Here are some different examples of longer, flowing hair styles;
again, some of these can be used for either male or female, so
don't whine at me for only drawing hair for one gender.. ^_~
In contrast to the shorter hair styles, you'll note that a lot of
these are composed of long, curving lines. When drawing
longer hair, try to avoid making the lines perfectly straight; make
sure that the hair follows the form of the head and the body,
esepcially if it is sitting on or over the shoulders.
When drawing longer hair, you'll especially want to make sure
the lines follow the shape and flow of the hair, rather than have
it simply fall down in straight lines regardless of the hair's
shape. It will give your character's hair much more depth and
form if you make your lines work for you; make them show that
the hair turns and twists, not that it just sits there on the
character's head, or that the main outline of the hair is curvy but
the interior strands are all straight.
Here are a few more examples of different hair styles, this time
focusing on hair that has been pulled back in ponytails. I don't
have much to say about it; I just thought that I should put these in
their own section since I had so many of them drawn up. Just
remember that when the hair is pulled in a specific direction, the
lines and strands of the hair are drawn in that direction, too.
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I also wanted to briefly go over ponytails, and how they can be drawn.
You can make them simplistic, highly detailed, or sketchy, depending on
your style. Just keep in mind that braids consist of several thick strands of
hair being twisted and woven together; it won't just be a straight line.
Think of the hair strands as intersecting, inverted teardrop shapes that
are linked together. The bottoms are tied off, and fray out slightly.Try to
show the thickness of the hair.
Now, here is the tough part: putting your character's hair
into motion. I'm going to start by going over some
examples with long hair.
Anime hair is often drawn whipping about dramatically in
the wind; it may look difficult to draw at first, but it isn't
that bad. First, decide which direction you want the hair
to be blowing. Do you want the hair to move to the sides,
to be blown back behind the character, or pushed
forward in front of the character? Once you decide, draw
the hair ( all the hair; bangs move along with the rest of
the hair) moving in that direction. It is similar to drawing
the hair falling straight down the character's back, except
now you are curving it in a different direction. The lines
of the hair and each individual strand will be pulled in the
direction that the entire mass of hair is being drawn.
Remember to use curved lines that follow the form of the
hair, not straight lines that simply go from one end to the
For example, on the topmost right picture, the
character's hair is being swept back behind him; thus,
I drew the hair curving back behind him in nice,
sweeping lines. For some really nice examples of similar
hairstyles, find some CLAMP manga such as Rayearth
or X/1999; they're loaded with characters with beautiful,
sweeping hair. ^__^ All these examples were borrowed
from CLAMP's RG Veda , by the way (I was working on
this tutorial in the library, and RG Veda was the only
manga I had on me... ^_^;).
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