65 Curly Hair Drawing Reference

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Welcome to our guide on curly hair drawing reference. Drawing curly hair can be a challenging task, as it requires a good understanding of the texture, volume, and movement of curls. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive reference guide that will help you master the art of drawing curly hair. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist looking to enhance your skills, this guide will provide you with valuable tips and techniques to create realistic and beautiful curly hair in your drawings.

Understanding Curly Hair

The Anatomy of Curly Hair

Before diving into drawing curly hair, it is important to understand the basic anatomy of curly hair. Curly hair is characterized by its spiral or coiled shape, which is caused by the unique structure of the hair follicles. The follicles of curly hair are asymmetrical, resulting in the hair growing in a curved or spiral pattern. This pattern gives curly hair its unique texture and volume.

Types of Curly Hair

Curly hair comes in various types, each with its own unique characteristics. Some common types of curly hair include:

  • Type 2: Wavy hair with loose curls
  • Type 3: Curly hair with well-defined curls
  • Type 4: Coily hair with tight curls or coils

Understanding Curl Patterns

Curl patterns play a crucial role in drawing curly hair. They determine the shape and direction of the curls. Curl patterns are usually classified using the letters A to C, with A representing loose curls and C representing tight coils. Understanding the curl pattern will help you create more realistic and accurate drawings of curly hair.

Observing Curly Hair

Study Real-Life References

One of the best ways to improve your curly hair drawing skills is to study real-life references. Observe people with curly hair in different settings and pay attention to the way their hair moves, the volume of the curls, and the overall texture. Take photos or make sketches to capture these observations and use them as references for your drawings.

Focus on Texture and Volume

When observing curly hair, pay close attention to the texture and volume of the curls. Curly hair tends to have more volume and a unique texture compared to straight hair. Notice how the curls interact with each other, creating layers and depth in the hairstyle. Understanding these aspects will help you create more realistic and three-dimensional drawings of curly hair.

Study Different Hairstyles

Curly hair can be styled in various ways, and studying different hairstyles will give you a better understanding of how to draw them. Pay attention to the way the curls are arranged, the placement of the parting, and the overall shape of the hairstyle. This knowledge will enable you to draw a wider range of curly hair styles with accuracy and precision.

Sketching Curly Hair

Start with Basic Shapes

When sketching curly hair, it is helpful to start with basic shapes to establish the overall structure and flow. Begin with a rough outline of the head and then use simple shapes like circles or ovals to represent the general shape of the hair. This will serve as a foundation for adding details and refining the curls later on.

Define the Flow and Direction

Curly hair has a natural flow and direction, and capturing this in your sketches will make your drawings more realistic. Use curved lines and strokes to define the direction of the curls and the movement of the hair. Pay attention to the way the curls overlap and intertwine, creating a sense of depth and volume.

Add Details and Texture

After establishing the basic structure and flow, it's time to add details and texture to your curly hair drawing. Use smaller, shorter strokes to create the individual strands of hair within the curls. Vary the length and thickness of the strokes to mimic the different lengths and densities of the hair. This will give your drawing a more textured and realistic appearance.

Shading Curly Hair

Understanding Light and Shadow

Shading is a crucial element in bringing depth and dimension to your curly hair drawings. Understanding how light and shadow interact with curly hair will help you create realistic shading. Study the way light falls on curly hair and observe how it creates highlights and shadows on the individual curls.

Gradual Shading and Blending

When shading curly hair, it is important to create a gradual transition between light and shadow. Use a range of values and blend them smoothly to mimic the softness of the curls. Avoid harsh lines or abrupt changes in value, as this can make the hair appear flat and unnatural.

Highlighting the Curls

To make the curls in your drawing pop, add highlights to the areas where light hits the hair. Use a lighter shade or leave some areas white to create the illusion of shine and volume. Be selective with the placement of highlights, focusing on the areas that would naturally catch the most light.

Adding Depth and Volume

Layering the Curls

Curly hair often has layers, with some curls placed in front of others. To create depth and volume in your drawings, layer the curls by drawing some curls in the foreground and others in the background. This will give the hair a three-dimensional appearance and make it look more realistic.

Emphasizing the Roots

When drawing curly hair, it is important to pay attention to the roots. Curly hair tends to have more volume at the roots, so make sure to emphasize this in your drawings. Use thicker lines or darker shading at the roots to create the illusion of depth and make the hair look more voluminous.

Creating Flyaways and Frizz

Curly hair is often prone to flyaways and frizz, which adds to its natural texture and movement. To make your curly hair drawings more realistic, add some stray hairs or frizz around the edges of the curls. This will give the hair a more natural and organic look.

Experimenting with Different Styles

Try Different Curl Patterns

Don't limit yourself to drawing just one type of curly hair. Experiment with different curl patterns and styles to expand your skills. Practice drawing loose waves, tight coils, and everything in between. This will not only enhance your drawing abilities but also allow you to create a more diverse range of characters and hairstyles.

Explore Different Hairstyles

Curly hair can be styled in countless ways, from updos to braids to ponytails. Challenge yourself by exploring different curly hairstyles and incorporating them into your drawings. This will give your characters more personality and allow you to showcase your versatility as an artist.


Drawing curly hair requires patience, practice, and a keen eye for detail. By understanding the anatomy of curly hair, observing real-life references, and mastering the techniques of sketching, shading, and adding depth, you can create stunning drawings of curly hair. Remember to experiment with different styles and curl patterns to broaden your skills and create more diverse and realistic characters. With dedication and practice, you will be able to master the art of drawing curly hair and bring your characters to life.

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