How to Draw Manga Hair

Learn how to draw manga hair from art instructor Chris Hart in this Howcast video.

Here are some hints for drawing manga hair for a girl. Now I picked a character that has a lot of elements to it. For instance, she’s got a ponytail. She’s got the famous manga ear strands. She’s got a brushed-back set of bangs. So all these things together combine to make a nice-looking hairstyle. Now you’ll notice that the hair doesn’t paste right to the top of the skull. This is the basic underlying look of the head.

So what you want to do is when you draw bangs, you don’t want to go straight down unless you’re doing sort of a kimono-style girl where it’s very severe. You want to brush it back, like there was some wind, just a more natural look. Look how low down on the forehead it goes. You see? It was nice and low. It doesn’t give her a lot of forehead to look at, because that’s not as attractive. Now we’re also going to give her some of those famous manga strands of hair, and they’re not strings. See how this comes out a little bit? Out a little bit, comes down. See, there’s a little volume here, right here, and it’s thinner here.

Now to make sure she looks like she has some depth, we’re also going to put it on the other side as well. And we’ll add some strands here, some little bit of line work so it doesn’t look just empty. And now we’re going to work on the ponytail. A ponytail is simple, but there are a few tricks you need to know. For instance, it starts at the top of the head, not the bottom. And it goes up before it goes down. So we’re going to draw it up high like this. It goes up. Make it nice and full like this, but rather than go straight down, let’s give it a little twist.

So we’ll do something called a reverse curve. See how it curves this way? But then it goes back and curves in the opposite direction. This is a very important concept in many things, including drawing the body. It’s a pleasing way to draw. It’s attractive to the eye, a reverse curve. It’s a ponytail. We’re going to add a little more thickness to the line below, because light hits from above here. It does not hit down here. So that will be thicker, and look a little like shadow. Comes back down in here, tapers to the end.

And I’ll add a little doo-dad here. Shade on the bottom for the same reason. And now that this is curving here, we’ll curve back the other way. Add a little tuft of hair that’s being held into place by the doo-dad, like that. And if you want you could even add a couple striations, give it a little like that so it’s a little fantasy-looking. And there are some tips for drawing manga hair.