Day 8 — Off to the Hairdresser’s

Day 8 was hard. Really hard. Despite the claim that drawing hair is simply a matter of taking it one step at a time, I just couldn’t copy those steps too well. This, of course, is from Master Fashion Sketching in 9 Days, and I’ll be finishing up this quick course tomorrow.

For now, I’m stuck on Day 8, having a hard time creating realistic-looking hairstyles for my models. Part of the problem, to be honest here, is that I haven’t yet got their facial features as realistic as I’d like, so between face and hair… well, my models aren’t looking too good.

What are those simple steps for hair? Here they are.

  1. First, draw the front hair.
  2. Next, draw the back hair.
  3. Mark the light areas.
  4. Add shadows.
  5. Fill in the very dark areas with black.

What can I say? I tried, but I’m not sharing my models here. Trust me, they are a bit of a mess. If I hold up the sketchbook at a distance, they do look vaguely recognizable as human, and that’s what I was going for in this initial session.

That last step above — adding in the very dark (black) areas — really does make a huge difference. It adds a lot of depth and dimension.

While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the book I’ve been reading, I feel it’s a bit skimpy on how-to instructions for hair styles. There are several pages of references included, and I’ll spend time practicing them.

I did find more helpful information here:

A 3-Step Tutorial – How to Draw Hair for Fashion Illustration. These three steps are a variation on the steps above, starting with defining the shape, dividing the shape, and adding dimension. Each of these steps, however, is broken down a bit more, making it easier to follow, I think.

Either way, the best results will be achieved with practice, practice, and more practice.

This site also sells “croquis kits” ranging in price from $29.00 for a very basic kit to $99.00 for a full-line kit with templates for poses, hair styles, accessories, and more. Simply pick the templates you need, put them together, and voila! You have a ready-made croquis with which to work.

Sounds fun. Sounds easy. Sounds a bit too easy, really. For me, the real fun of fashion illustration is in learning how to make my own croquis, how to create the hairstyles, the poses, and, in time, all the accessories to go along with whatever fashions I might design.

If I were a true fashion illustration student and hoped to have a career in the fashion industry, I’d probably invest in a kit. It would be a great learning tool, I’m sure. For me, though, this is all for personal pleasure. True, I might want to design a few dresses, make patterns, and actually sew my own creations, but I’m not looking to try-out for Project Runway or start my own fashion line. I’m just looking for a good time, and I’ve definitely found it with this book.

Tomorrow I’ll be wrapping up my course and sharing a few more thoughts. For now I’m off to practice “the art of hair-dressing” with graphite and gansai.



  1. this is where i find my weekly live figure drawing sessions useful..the model does 20 min poses and even though usually she/he goes back to a similar pose each time the hair always settles differently. On the other hand i have been doing hair and portraits for about 5-6 years now . Hair , fur, feathers and such have actually become my favorite thing to do in every medium:) I prefer animals, wolves in particular( which i only started doing about 2 years back), as it gives me a chance to explore the dark and light areas , varying fur patterns and lengths of hair.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds so awesome! I’ve done cats, but I’ve never been able to draw wolves, and for me, fur, feathers, and hair are always challenging. I guess that’s why I stay with landscape painting even though I wish I could do figure drawing and portraits. I play around with those things and have fun with them, but I doubt that I’ll ever be able to create “art” along those lines.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hey, you never know..i certainly didnt think i would ever get away from doing water scenes and landscapes when i started painting..i guess at some point i just got bored and decided to try other stuff..and found out i was actually better at some of it than i was with the other. love the process!

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