A good hair day at last!

I have probably prattled on quite a bit about how much trouble I have drawing hair. I think because I find it so difficult I tend to leave it until the last thing to do. It always ends up being a bit of an afterthought and/or, in a rush to get things finished, I don’t pay it as much attention as I do the rest of the portrait. Consequently my hair always looks a little …flat.

I have developed a few crafty ways to avoid drawing hair all together; turbans, buzz cuts and my personal favourite negative space!

I think there is a saying something along the lines of if you don’t like doing something, you should tackle it head on (pardon the sort of pun there). Maybe I just made that up. I don’t know, but it sounds like it should be an adage of some sort. So I set myself a challenge to do a hair study. No distracting facial features allowed… yikes!)

I can’t really remember where this reference photo came from. I think it was a video on Instagram and I just took a couple of screen shots with my iPad until I got something I liked. Choosing a braid turned out to be a most fortuitous, albeit unconscious, decision. It enabled me to break it down in to manageable chunks. Literally, I went braid by braid, doing each one individually, before moving on to the next.

For this drawing I used a selection of my Tombow monos; a 6B for the darkest and 5H for the lightest, then an H and a 2B for the in between. I used Cretacolor Monoliths for the bow in her hair.  These are a woodless pencil; so basically solid graphite.  I had hoped they would bring a nice sheen and ‘satin-y’ feel to the ribbon, making it look quite different to the rest of the portrait. Alas, I don’t think you can really see much difference.

Graphite pencil illustration of hair braid

I wanted to add something to finish this drawing. I feel like this is where I fall down a bit with my art work. I have a nice drawing but I don’t really know how to elevate it to the next level so to speak. So after weeks (and weeks) of procrastinating (and some encouragement from the amazingbelindaxiaillustration, I finally took the plunge deciding to apply gold leaf to the background.

I have never, ever, done any gold leafing before, but I always think it looks super cool and how hard can it be?! It’s just gluing paper to paper right? Craft 101. Yeah. No. When they say gold leaf is delicate they are not kidding. Oh my god. This stuff tears and breaks in to tiny little pieces as soon as you touch it! Consequently I now have a house full of little bits of gold leaf.

The finished product may look a little ‘rough’ but I actually didn’t want a perfectly smooth gold background. I am pretty happy with the end result. What do you think?


4 thoughts on “A good hair day at last!

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