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Uploaded: July 18, 2014
Artist: Dawn
Difficulty: Novice  Novice Skill Level
Steps: 14
Updated: July 18, 2014
P.O.V: Front
Favourited: 4 times
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This tutorial goes out to all you folks out there that has asked me to make a lesson on how to draw and color hair. I now have a new found love for drawing and coloring hair because this lesson made me want to do more of it. Anyways, I really love the style of this girl. Her makeup, face, even the little nose is very welcoming and charming to the eye. Of course you can color in your hair any shade you like, I just happen to love pink for her with a dusty black makeup job. I do hope this lesson helps you draw and color hair because I know how frustrating it can be trying to figure out how to do something like coloring hair. Let's face it, drawing hair can be a lot easier then coloring it. Have fun and don't forget to give me some feedback on what you thought of the lesson.

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how to color and paint hair

How to Color and Paint Hair

how to color and paint hair step 1

STEP 1.

Ok folks, this is my first tutorial ever that will show you step by step on how to color hair using Paint Tool Sai, a great program for digital painting. I will be guiding you through my every day process on a quick painting of a simple girl face. You will first need to download the program 'Paint Tool Sai', which is available for 53$ at their website, but they also offer a 30 day trial. Once you've got your program installed and ready, time to open up an already inked project in Sai.
 
how to color and paint hair step 2

STEP 2.

To start, I have opened a document which is an already inked girl figure with hair that I've prepared for the sake of this tutorial. You'll want to have inked something like this in Sai. Whatever line art you have to spare, whip it out in Sai and we'll get ready for the walk through.
 
how to color and paint hair step 3

STEP 3.

If you've already made two separate layers for your background and line art, make a new one between the two. When you put a layer underneath your line art one, the colors will be underneath the lines instead of being painted on top of it.
 
how to color and paint hair step 4

STEP 4.

Rename your layer to 'Flats' as we're going to be laying down the flats. Grab the Magic Wand tool and adjust to the settings you see. The 'Color Difference' setting will make the wand select a wider range of pixels on the canvas that is similar to the chosen color. We're going to be using this tool to pick the areas of the hair locks in order to fill the inside.
 
how to color and paint hair step 5

STEP 5.

Now, fill the layer, an easy shortcut is combining the keys 'Ctrl + F' in order to fill the whole selection.
 
how to color and paint hair step 6

STEP 6.

I always start off with a very dark flat color so that I can etch in highlights more accurately.
 
how to color and paint hair step 7

STEP 7.

When you're trying to visualize light source, picture it as a simple sphere. You've got your light source which is aiming from the top onto the ball; your highlight, which is what lights up the object due to the light source; then there's the shadows which are cast when the light is diffused around the subject, there's reflected light, which is light from another source that lights up the figure (think standing behind fire); and then there's the cast shadow, which is the shadow that forms beneath the subject. These are critical points to keep in mind when you're painting any type of artwork. There's just so much to it, but that would have to be multiple tutorials.
 
how to color and paint hair step 8

STEP 8.

Whip out the airbrush tool and adjust to the settings you see here. These are the settings I use ALL the time. However, these will only work if you have a pen stylus or drawing tablet.
 
how to color and paint hair step 9

STEP 9.

Keeping in mind your direction of light source, softly brush in the lightest parts of the hair. The light will be hitting my subject from the top right corner. Keeping in mind your light source is very important to create visually effective images.
 
how to color and paint hair step 10

STEP 10.

I start taking a lighter color of grey with a tint of blue that compliments the heavy blacks. As I work around the hair, I taper the less brightening highlights from the main sources. Notice how some areas are lighter than others.
 
how to color and paint hair step 11

STEP 11.

Taking a lighter color than the previous, add lighter highlights depending on how close the light source is hitting the hair. Other details that may need highlighting would be individual strands 'shimmering' to bring out the intensity of depth in the hair. Do not add too many of these highlights, as it will wash out the effect and look very harsh.
 
how to color and paint hair step 12

STEP 12.

And that's pretty much it! If you want to do some experimenting and color different varieties of hair hues, you've got to have solid knowledge about the color wheel. This is explained below.
 
how to color and paint hair step 13

STEP 13.

Understanding the color wheel isn't rocket science. You've got a few simple ways to contrast different colors in your artwork by using 'contrasting colors'. This color wheel dissects the strategies to use to create interesting color combinations, especially when shading/highlighting your art. The primary colors are, Yellow, Red and Blue. When mixing either one of these colors, you will end up with 'Secondary Colors'. Using various shades of these colors that 'compliment' each other is up to your experimentation. For instance, green compliments the color red, while orange compliments blue, etc.
 
how to color and paint hair step 14

STEP 14.

Using the knowledge of the color wheel and experimenting with color combinations, you can create a vast majority of hair styles. I hope you guys enjoyed this lesson, it was real fun to make. I'll be back with more tuts like these, and am always open to requests.