This tutorial provides the basic principles of drawing different kinds of male and female manga and anime hair. It also gives detailed examples of drawings of the front and back perspectives.
For drawing hair that’s moving in the wind, see:
How to Draw Anime Hair Blowing in Different Directions
The shape of the Head & Hair
Before you begin drawing hair, it’s an excellent idea to be aware of the head’s shape and the hairline, as illustrated in the following examples. It’s useful to begin by drawing the head before beginning drawing hair, especially when you’re an absolute beginner.
The face in manga and anime tends to be similar to the form of the real head but may differ based on the style.
From the side view, the head may be drawn with a slightly oval shape (usually smaller than an actual head). From the front, the front of the skull appears almost a half-circle.
In this tutorial, we do not draw the various facial features as well as other facial features because that is covered in different tutorials.
For drawing different anime facial characteristics, refer to:
- Anime Eyes
- Anime Mouths
- Anime Noses
- Anime Ears
The direction of Hair Growth
Because it is said that anime hair represents a simplified model of hair, it’s recommended to know the process of growing hair. The example above is for an example of a male head, but similar concepts would be applicable to female heads too.
Hair is formed in a spiral starting from the top/back of the head. Hair develops in the direction of the following:
- The top hair is a type of hair that grows mostly in the forward direction
- the back hair grows mostly down
- The side hair is a type of hair that grows primarily down
Drawing Short Anime Hair
Hair drawn in anime is typically drawn in clumps, much as real hair wet.
Hair that is short (both genders) out that is close to the hairline as shown above. Add small clumps to the ends. Make clumps with a slight angle toward one another, and others further away from each other to create a natural appearance.
Drawing Medium Length/Long Anime Hair
Drawing long or medium-length hair is like drawing short hair, but you can draw hair in larger hair clumps. When you draw longer hair, you could consider sideburns as distinct sections along with the top and back sides of the hair.
Drawing Combed Anime Hair
When hair is pulled or combed back in the above illustration, it will reveal the hairline. This is why you will understand why understanding the fundamental hairline’s shape is vital.
When drawing hair along the hairline, draw some lines that are jagged to create a natural appearance (real hairs don’t always appear exactly aligned).
Drawing Trimmed/Neatly Combed Anime Hair
If you have neatly combed hair that has been cut (like the fad “hime cut” for example that is used so frequently in a variety of manga and anime) it could appear as a helmet over the head. To make the hair appear more natural, make some splits in the hair, which are larger at the bottom, narrowing when they rise.
Drawing Anime Pigtails
For pigtails, draw lines around the pigtails to indicate that the hair surrounding them is pulled towards the direction of one. When you have several pigtails, you could draw a line of separation in the hair in which the hairs being pulled in various directions meet (the reverse view in this example).
Drawing Curly Anime Hair
Draw the curly areas of anime’s hair in a similar way to spring. Curly anime with shorter hair are usually drawn in the same manner as normal hair or with slight curvatures. In this case, we’ll draw the hair slightly curlier at its ends.
There are a variety of kinds of anime hairstyles, however, the examples presented in this tutorial will give you a solid foundation to work from. Of course, you can always take a look at actual hair and examples of hair from manga and anime for further examples.
If you enjoy this tutorial, you may consider:
- How to Draw Anime Heads & Faces in Different Styles
- How to Draw Anime Facial Hair – Beards & Mustaches
- Different Ways to Draw Anime Hair Highlights
- 4 Ways to Draw Crying Anime Eyes