How to Draw Anime Hair

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Learn how to draw Anime Hair of different styles and avoid typical mistakes made by beginners. This drawing lesson will get you started in becoming your own anime hairdresser.

The haircut is an important feature of your Anime characters. It gives them individuality, so that they can be easily recognized, and it can tell us a lot about their personality, social status and attitude.

Different Anime Hairstyles

In the first part of this lesson, we are going to take a look at the common mistakes beginners make when drawing anime hair. Then we learn how to draw an anime hairstyle correctly.
The second part consists of step by step drawing instructions for specific hairstyles.

So let's get started!

How to Draw Anime Hair - Part 1.1:
Typical Mistakes

There are two major errors a lot of people make when they first draw anime hair:
The first one is that they draw the hair like it is only growing out of the very top of the head.
And the second mistake is that they draw the hair totally flat, like it has no thickness itself.

Bald Manga GirlManga Girl with Faulty Hairstyle
Look at the girl above, in which's hairstyle both mistakes have been made. You can see that her bangs start to grow down from the top of the head. This is wrong!
The bangs should grow down from the hairline, which sits a good deal lower.

When you compare the hairy head to the bald one, you can also see that the hairstyle didn't make the head any higher whatsoever.
And he long hair in the back looks like a thin veil, because its lines are merging directly with the head's sides (see blue arrows).
This is also wrong.
Even very thin hair should look like it is lying on the head, and not like it is only tattooed or glued on the skin.

So let's correct these faults.
The right way how to draw anime hair follows below.

How to Draw Anime Hair - Part 1.2:
How to Do it Right

Reference Lines for Correct HairstyleCorrect Way to Draw the Hairstyle
The two things that you have to keep in mind are shown in the left picture:

1. The hairline, which runs along the top of the forehead, not along the top of the head.

2. The thickness of the hair, which creates a distance between the skull and the uppermost hairs.

The right picture shows how the hairstyle should be drawn. The bangs grow down from the hairline, and the top of the hairstyle is a good deal above the skull. Note how the hair is hanging down at the sides of the head now and compare this to the look of the faulty drawing.

I also made a very subtle change, which gives a certain 3D effect to the hairstyle: The two outermost strands of the bangs slightly reach over the side of the head. This indicates clearly that the bangs are hanging in front of the head, and not "tattooed" on it.

Finished Hairstyle
Here is the finished hairstyle with additional lines around the neck.
This is how to draw anime hair the right way.

With these things in mind, we can now get started with the second part of this how to draw anime hair lesson: Step by step instructions for different anime hairstyles.

The heads of the characters below are shown in different positions and from different angles, but the same steps of creating the hairstyle can be applied in any positioning of the head.

We start with a very simple hairstyle for a boy.
You can click on the links on the right to jump to the other ones.

Jump to Gravity-Defying Girl Hairstyle
Jump to Spiky Man Hairstyle

How to Draw Anime Hair - Part 2.1:
Simple Hairstyle with a Side Parting

Simple Hairstyle With Sideparting
A good looking hairdo doesn't need to be complicated.
In this hairstyle, the hair lies smooth and flat, neatly divided by a side parting.
Here are the first steps how to draw this haircut:

Bald BoySideparting and Hairline
Closing Hairstyle on TopErasing Upper Head Line
Take care to let the parting of the hair fork apart at the top, so that the hair clearly falls into two separated sections.
Erase the covered line of the skull after you have "closed" the hairstyle at the top.

Highlight PatternsColored Hairstyle
Now draw a few zigzag patterns into the hair for some highlights.
The peak of a curve in the hair is always a good place for that.
Also add very thin highlights along the sides of the parting to emphasize how the hair is curving out of the divide here.

Then color the hair to your liking.
I made the highlights a bit smaller while coloring, because I realized they were a bit too large.
So this is the time for small final adjustments.

Now that was a simple hairstyle, wasn't it?
I think it really fits to the general appearance of this boy, since his eyes also lack any fancy decorations or highlights.
Let's move on to the next one.

Jump to Top
Jump to Spiky Man Hairstyle

How to Draw Anime Hair - Part 2.2:
Gravity-Defying Hairstyle around a Cowlick

Gravity Defying Hairstyle around Cowlick
Although this hairstyle looks chaotic at the first glance, it is clearly structured around a cowlick, from which all hairs are extending.

Start by making a little cross on the head to mark the cowlick as the center of the haircut. Then draw strands of hair reaching out from this point in all directions. Let them point upwards at the top, and hang slightly downward at the sides.

Marking the CowlickAdding first Strands around Cowlick
Adding more Strands and BangsGrowing Hair Down to the Shoulder
Fill the top of the head with more spikes and then draw in the bangs.
Make the hair-strands longer on one side of the bangs, so that they hang over an eye.
Afterwards draw more curvy strands along the sides of the head. Make them a bit thicker and larger than those at the top. Let them reach down to shoulder level. Then make a connection with the neck through a few smaller spikes.

Erasing Top of the SkullSmall Hair Strands behind Ears
Erase the line of the head, where it is covered by the hair.
Then add a few small strands of hair behind the ears, as shown in the right picture. This works nice to make a transition from the bangs in the front to the rest of the hair that lies further behind.

Outer Highlight BorderInner Highlight Border
Now it is time for the highlight.
Draw a line, which sends out little spikes into each of the bigger strands, all around the hairstyle's center.
Then add another such line inside of the first one. This is the inner border of the highlight. Draw it closer to the outer line at the top and leave more space between them at the bottom.

Adding the CowlickColoring the Haircut
Finally add a little, spiky shape for the cowlick into the center of the whole hairstyle and outline a few zigzag patterns along the bottom of the hanging hair-strands.
I also tried to draw in small, white highlights on the larger spikes, but you don't see that very well.

Color the hair in the end.
Give the darkest value to the cowlick and the hair at the lower back side. Leave the highlight white and give a mid-value to everything else.

Jump to Top
Jump to Simple Boy Hairstyle

How to Draw Anime Hair - Part 2.3:
Spiky Hairstyle with a Center Parting

Spiky Anime Hairstyle with Center Parting
This is the last and most complicated hairstyle for this how to draw anime hair tutorial.
It is not very easy to draw, but it looks rather fancy.
The idea is to let the hair tower upwards at the sides of the head, so that it looks almost like the character is wearing a crown.

Bald ManHairline and Center Parting
Start out by drawing the hairline along the top of the forehead and a line for the center parting across the skull.

Drawing the First Spike RowCurving of the Rows
And now already comes the most difficult step.
You need to draw the highest row of spikes around the head, so that you can use it as an orientation for all the other spikes afterwards.

Here is what you have to consider:

1. The spikes start small at the forehead's center and grow steadily, until they reach their peak at the side of the head. Afterwards they grow smaller again along the backside.

2. The position of the head demands that the peak on the right side lies a bit behind the head. Note how the spikes curve backwards here
(see blue arrows).

3. Draw the same amount of spikes on each side to go from the smallest one to the peak (I used 10 spikes for this).

4. The hair-strands on the right side have to stand denser than on the left side, because you look at them from a narrower angle.

As I said, this is the most difficult step, so take your time.
You may need several tries until you are satisfied, so be prepared to erase and redraw.

Afterwards you have to fill up the area below the ring of spikes, as well as the area inside of it.

Second Spike RowFilling the lower Part of the Head
Fill the sides of the head from top to bottom with more hair-strands.
Take the first row as your guide and draw the next one along it.
Make the strands gradually smaller the lower you go.

On the right side there is very little to draw of course, since you see only a tiny part of the head's side there.

First Inner RowFilling the Inner Area
Do the same for the inner part of the hairstyle now.
Draw another row of slightly smaller spikes behind the largest one.
Then continue with even smaller spikes for the next row, and so on.
Also let the spikes lie flatter, the closer they come to the center parting. The difficulty here is to make a smooth transition from large to small spikes. Be prepared to erase and redraw again, because it probably won't work out well the first time.

Drawing a Fitting Hairline
Replace the first sketch of the hairline with a clear defined border now.
A spiky zigzag line with a widow's peak at the center fits very well to the rest of this hairstyle.

Enlarged Spiky Hairstrands
To get a cool 3D effect for the strands, you can color them in three different values. Make them black along the top, give them a mid-value in the middle, and leave a white stripe along the bottom.
The borders should be clear black lines, to make the single strands stand out well.

To color all the many strands like this is quite a bit of work. But I think the final result is worth the effort.
Hairstyle with Colored Spikes

And with that we are at the end of this how to draw anime hair tutorial.
I hope it gave you some useful insights and inspiration for the creation of your own hairstyles.
This will surely improve the overall look of your anime drawings.

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