How to draw anime hair

Learning how to draw anime hair is important in creating an anime character. Even if you are only drawing the head, hair is a must unless the character you want is bald, which is quite rare in anime drawing (even the old people have hair if you notice). The hair gives your anime drawing more movement and flair so it’s a must to learn. 


  • Clean sheet of paper
  • Pencil
  • Pen
  • Eraser
  • Coloring materials


Decide on the basics.

  • Which way is your character facing (front, side, quarter or backwards)?
  • In which direction will the hair go?
  • What length of hair do you want?
  • What type of hair?
  • Do you want to draw bangs?

Only when you have decided on the answers to the questions above and you have drawn the face will you proceed with the next steps.

Straight hair and spikes

  • Draw light arrows to represent the direction of the hair.
  • Follow and connect the arrows like triangles to make the spikes.
  • This works the same way if you are drawing long hair.
  • Use long pencil strokes for long hair and short strokes for short hair.
  • When drawing a female’s hair, soften the lines a bit.

Curves: waves, curls and ringlets

  • Drawing wavy hair is pretty much like drawing straight hair except the lines are curved. Use continuous lines with varying widths in between.  You may start with straight line from the scalp then move to waves as you work your way down the length of the hair.
  • Curly hair have curves much closer to one another and the lines tend to be much shorter. The curls do not have to originate from the character’s scalp and it is permissible to draw curls from anywhere around the hair. The more curls you draw, the more volume the hair will have.
  • Ringlets are drawn in a cylindrical or spiral fashion. They have to look connected and neat, unlike the curls. Ringlets also decrease in size going to the tip of the hair.

Finishing up

  • When you are satisfied with the way you have drawn the hair, trace it with a pen, erase the pencil lines and color.


    • When drawing hair with curves, remember to draw the curves in the same direction. Waves, curls and ringlets drawn in opposite ways will be a distraction to the overall drawing. You don’t want to draw too much attention on the hair.
    • Coloring and shading hair depends on the view of the character and the supposed “light source” of the cartoon. There is usually a highlight or shimmer near the top of the head and it looks much like a lightning bolt or zigzag shape in lighter color than the hair.
    • Adding bangs can be done too. Drawing bangs is like drawing straight hair or spikes. Just follow your arrows and connect them.
    • Remember that hair is supposed to be poofy so don’t be scared to draw hair that is not very close to the head line.
    • Although it is not very common, there are characters with a shaven head. In this case, follow the normal head line and draw dots close to the scalp to represent the skinhead.

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