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Tips and Tricks: Basics of Hair

Wed Apr 29, 2015, 3:52 AM by Khallandra:iconkhallandra:


Haruka-hair-gif by Khallandra

How to Draw Manga! Basics of Hair Introduction


A key part of distinguishing any animanga character is their hair. Sometimes even just a silhouette of their hair is enough to gauge who they are (e.g. Goku). The colours, shape and gravity are all free form and expressions of the character. Often a character keeps the same hairstyle throughout a series so they are easily distinguishable in the black and white manga format; changing their hair may lead to the character losing recognition with the readers. In anime the colour and the way the hair moves is part of the character.

Jmihelic-kiminitodoke by Khallandra

Shape and Form


The shape of hairstyle can vary from super short (shaved or bald) to lengths that make the viewers wonder how that person can stand (let alone walk and fight). Males and females can have any length of hair (though super short is not very common with females), and any combination of flowing or spiky hair. If the character has a fringe this is often a way an artist distinguishes between two similarly coloured characters (e.g. twins often have different fringe parts).

Where to Start


Start by answering a very questions that then lead you on your journey to creating a hair design for your character:

  • What length of hair does your character have?
  • Do they have a fringe? If so where is the part (e.g. side or no part)?
  • If long hair, is it out or in a pony tail? Braids? Twin tails?
  • Spiky? Soft?
  • Straight cut or V-shaped ends? The example above has straight cut ends whilst Haruka at the top has V-shaped ends.
  • Does their hair defy gravity? Is it easy to brush and style?
  • Do they have an antenna? Does it form part of their expression (see last example gif)?

Here are some tutorials and references in deciding shape:


Even More Tutorials

Kanariiya-tenka by Khallandra

Colouring and Shading


Base Colours


One great thing about animanga is that a character can have any colour hair and any variation on it. Whilst rainbow coloured is not common, a two-tones or gradient tipped hair is. Often the colour represents the ethnicity or character personality, or it could just be a random choice. With a large cast of members in a series, the hair colour can be used to distinguish characters from each other if shape and form differences are not sufficient.

For example in Haikyuu! the characters mainly have distinguished hair shapes, with only some characters having brighter hair colours than others (Hinata). In Kuroko no Basuke the colours are used to distinguish the main rivals.

Colour can be used to generate family ties, such as with the Kumo Brothers in Donten ni Warau (Tenka above); they all have different shaped hair, but feature red tips to indicate their kinship.

The base colour can be applied in a single flat colour or in sections depending on the style of hair colouring that is being applied. Different artists have different approaches to colouring hair, experimenting with these techniques will develop a unique style.

Shadows and Highlights


Once the base colour(s) are decided, the next step is to think about shadows and shading. Often with cell shading a darker version of the base colour is used, but that is not a strict rule. Different colours can be used for different effects, e.g. a blonde character can have purple or pink shadows as well as brown ones.

After shading the hair the next step is to move onto highlights, and again typically a lighter almost white version of the base colour is used. If using a different colour, red and purple is a common choice on dark blue/purple coloured hair. Experiment to see what colour suits what is already coloured.

The shape of the highlights also is very variable; if the hair has flat base colour, the highlights can be a circular 'halo' or applied to each strand, or with a jagged effect at a certain position. The number of choices is quite large and allows for a lot of experimentation. There is a video from YouTube below that has three different highlighting techniques demonstrated.

Here are some colouring help guides:


:My step to color Hair with Sai: by PrinceOfRedroses Hair Tutorial - Second Edition by OneFreeInternet Hair Tutorial #2 by hannitee <da:thumb id="294792262"/> ShiyumiSama: Hair Colouring Tutorial by ShiyumiChan  hair coloring tutorial by akiko-sama HAIR COLORING TUTORIAL by chisacha Hair Coloring Tutorial by LauraHollingsworth Hair Coloring Tutorial by MissNysha Hair Tutorial / hairstyles by DayonXVIII Craptastic Hair Tutorial by deuxia-devonair .:. Mini Tutorial: How I Color Hair Trad. .:. by StephanieRosario Hair Coloring Tutorial by Peachirii Copic-How to-Natural Red Hair by nao--ren






Now you have some ideas on where to start when designing and colouring the hair of your next Original Character!

Lilium-koufuku Graffiti by Khallandra


:bulletgreen: Next Up: The 3 Basics: Lineart, Lighting, and Shading
:bulletgreen: Want to suggest a theme or provide article content? Want to see other articles? Tips and Tricks: Introduction and Master List
Click on the GIfs to see credits and anime series they are from.

Design by cinyu | Coding by SimplySilent

Add a Comment:
 
:iconhannitee:
hannitee Featured By Owner May 2, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Ah! Thanks for using my tutorial to help people! :iconyuihugplz:
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner May 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for making such an awesome tut! :D
Reply
:iconhannitee:
hannitee Featured By Owner May 3, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Ah~ :iconsnugplz:
Reply
:iconsavagefrog:
SavageFrog Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I actually see a lot of people asking this sort of stuff in the forums; this'll be handy for those moments. :thumbsup:
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner May 1, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hope it does come in handy :dance:
Reply
:iconsavagefrog:
SavageFrog Featured By Owner May 1, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Dance!
Reply
:iconstephanierosario:
StephanieRosario Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Student General Artist
Eeeep thank you for featuring my hair coloring tutorial amg :iconasdfghplz: :heart: :iconyuihugplz:
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome and thanks for making it! :hug: 
Reply
:iconstephanierosario:
StephanieRosario Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Student General Artist
ajkasds my pleasure ;w ; :hug:
Reply
:iconpeachirii:
Peachirii Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Aw thanks for featuring my tutorial in there :iconmoesnuggleplz:
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for making such a wonderful resource! Chiyo Fangirling Icon 
Reply
:iconsealandangel:
sealandangel Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks Khal! seeing this on Sora's birthday is a win ^-^
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hope it comes in handy :D
Reply
:iconnikemv:
NikeMV Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for featuring my tutorial!
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for making such a useful guide! :iconfancydanceplz:
Reply
:iconzarashi99:
Zarashi99 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for this!!!!!! :heart: :la: :heart: :la:
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hope it comes in handy :iconfeelingfreeplz:
Reply
:iconzarashi99:
Zarashi99 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh, yes! It will!
More power to ya!
Reply
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