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How to Draw a Long-Haired Character Portrait With Color Pencils

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In this tutorial, I would like to show you how to draw and color long hair using a mechanical pencil and color pencils. Grab you tools now, it's time to draw!


  • Mechanical pencil
  • 2B pencil leads
  • Faber Castell Classic Color Pencils No: 309 – Royal Yellow, 314 – Orange, 318 – Red, 392 – Fire Brick, 388 – Brown, 321 – Scarlet
  • Eraser
  • Paper: any type

1. Draw the Hair

Step 1

I have already drawn the face and the head as this tutorial is focusing on creating the hair. So it's assumed you know how to create this element. What we are starting with is a female base, with a bald head to work from.

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Step 2

I'm going to start with two freely drawn lines extending from the head. This is going to be from where and the direction we're heading for drawing the hair.

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Step 3

Further lines are added over the forehead and underneath the hair. These will be shorter lines. Remember to use soft lines as these are much easier to erase should the need arise.

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Step 4

Let's give the hair some more volume by adding lines to the other side of the head.

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Step 5

Add more lines from the head down to shoulder.

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Step 6

Let's create more volume by adding more hair flowing upwards.

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Step 7

Add more lines for around her forehead and we will use this point for the hair whirl later.

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Step 8

Add more lines for the side of her forehead, where you decide the hair will flow from.

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Step 9

More lines are added on top of her head, to create further volume.

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Step 10

Erase part of the basic head's line. Add more lines for the hair, from head down to shoulder.

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Step 11

More lines start from the whirl which we planned before. Use bold lines this time to create contrast.

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Step 12

More lines start from the whirl down to shoulder. Again using bold lines.

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Step 13

More lines start from the whirl down to the shoulder, bold but lighter than the bold lines on previous step.

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Step 14

Add flowing lines for other side of the head.

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Step 15

Erase the rest of the basic head's line. Add more lines on top of the head.

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Step 16

Add bold lines next to her ear and make them look like flowing.

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Step 17

Add lines from the hair whirl.

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Step 18

I decide to play with her hair so I will draw the hair as if she has a headband made from hair. That's why I add lines that follow the head basics line.

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Step 19

Add a few bold lines at the areas which don't have as much detailing.

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Step 20

Add a few curly lines on her head. Play around with them if you want, so she has a different hair style.

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Step 21

Add more flowing lines to the longer lines.

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Step 22

Build up the lines by adding more bolder strokes.

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Step 23

Extra bold lines are added on the hair on top of her head.

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Step 24

Draw out the curl on top on her head to give it more depth.

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Step 25

Continue adding depth to the strands of hair on top of the head, which are flowing away.

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Step 26

Add extra bold lines in middle of her hair.

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Step 27

Extra more bold and light lines throughout. I'm building up the depth carefully to make sure it's not over done.

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Step 28

Where the hair meets in the parting, near the front left of the portrait, I've added bolder lines to add further contrast.

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Step 29

I then add more lines to the lower curl in the bottom right.

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Step 30

As your hair line begins at the middle to the top of your neck, I've added a curved section of hair here, so the hair looks more full.

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Step 31

Further lines are added towards the ends of the flowing sections of hair.

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Step 32

I've added a loop in the hair. This is to add some interest to the composition.

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Step 33

I then begin structuring a slither of hair to the left side of the composition. Hair is a great way of directing the viewers eyes. The theory is to guide them to the face and then to follow the path of the hair from the lower left to the top right of the design.

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Step 34

Then repeating the processes we've already went through, I've added volume and contrast to this slither of hair. In addition, I've added soft curls of hair throughout the design to create a soft, feminine look.

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2. Bring the Design to Life With Color Pencils

Step 1

Color No: 309 – Royal Yellow

I start to add the base color for the hair. Cover the majority of the hair with this, leaving small areas.

Apply the color lightly on the hair. If you're wanting to create a bolder color, then layer the softer strokes over each other. Pressing your pencil harder in an area may alter the texture of the paper, which will create inconsistency in the design.

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Step 2

Color No: 314 – Orange

Add this color to the hair of her right side.

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Step 3

Color No: 314 – Orange

Continue to use the orange to add to the top curl in the hair and in the hair parting on the forehead.

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Step 4

Color No: 314 – Orange

Keep using this color and blend more from her hair outwards.

Remember to leave a few parts uncolored as this will help create contrast.

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Step 5

Color No: 388 – Brown, 392 – Fire Brick

We use 388 (brown), to apply a light layer on the hair around her head and forehead.

After that, use 392 (fire brick) to create contrast on the edges of the hair.

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Step 6

Color No: 314 – Orange

Build up the color on the hair with orange, to help blend the brown and fire brick.

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Step 7

Color No: 318 – Red

We will use this color to touch up a few part of her hair, including the loop.

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Step 8

Color No: 318 – Red

Keep applying this color to further areas of the hair. You can now see the headband more clearly.

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Step 9

Color No: 321 – Scarlet

Using this darker shade of red, add contrast to the hair.

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Step 10

Color No: 314 – Orange

Add more orange to her hair. This time I'm starting to add the color beyond the initial sketch. This is most apparently on the left of the portrait.

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Step 11

Color No: 321 – Scarlet

Use the scarlet pencil again to add more contrast. Going backwards and forwards with color helps you balance out the tones and contrast in the hair.

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Step 12

Color No: 318 – Red

Red is more the mid tone in this design, so I'm using it to blend the colors together.

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Step 13

Color No: 309 – Royal Yellow

To create a more fantasy style, add the royal yellow beyond the sketch lines, fading into the background.

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Awesome Work, You're Now Done

I finish the design by adding further areas of orange. This helps blend the tones together. You're now done creating your fantasy long hair design. Until next time, happy drawing!

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