Can someone please give me some tips for sketching hair in charcoal?
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Thread: Can someone please give me some tips for sketching hair in charcoal?

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    Can someone please give me some tips for sketching hair in charcoal?

    I've been trying to figure this out for weeks. I've studied drawings, I've experimented, I've looked through books and endless web searches. I just can't make it click.

    I'm not looking to do the highly detailed style where you go inch by inch and spend hours rendering. I'm looking for a quick, loose, sketchy way of suggesting hair. Examples:

    Name:  Beatrice_Alice_Fielden.jpg
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Size:  33.2 KBName:  Richard_W_Hale.jpg
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    It seems like it should be simple. Sketch out the major locks, fill all in with a midtone, slashes of dark for the obvious shadows, kneaded eraser to pull out some slashes of highlight. But I can't make it work. FWIW I'm using soft and medium vine and 6b compressed with a kneaded.

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    Can you do highly realistic hair? I have this feeling one first has to learn to do highly detailed work before one will be able to do the shortcuts, though I am not too sure of this.

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    Practice?


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    Nathan Fowkes does some excellent portrait work in charcoal, and his blog has lots of demos and tips—I'd definitely recommend checking it out. Here's a good example:

    http://nathanfowkes.blogspot.com/201...and-video.html

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    treat it as a mass. most of the time it appears as one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Drawing hair in charcoal is like drawing hair in pencil

    http://iainmccaig.blogspot.com/2010/...draw-hair.html
    Was going to post that myself with pretty much the same thing you said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    Was going to post that myself with pretty much the same thing you said.
    Pretend I just pressed the thanks button for you!

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    You don't get better at drawing by doing web searches. Once you get better at drawing and seeing the correct value relationships, you can draw hairs like those you posted. Try using harder compressed charcoal, the grains are finer and more smooth.

    Sargent emphasizes the economy of line and value, you want to get everything down on one stroke if possible, and that requires you to be proficient at drawing and shading. Control your strokes and evaluate both the drawing and value at the same time, meaning that the edges of your charcoal needs to be in the right place and the value of your charcoal needs to be the right value, at the same time. You can go over a stroke over and over again until you get it right, but each time you do, the stroke becomes more and more unharmonized, in that the charcoal particles begin to accumulate unevenly, unless you smooth them out(this doesn't matter if you are making something very dark, but in light areas, this is a disaster).

    You don't have to draw like this to perfection for every small crevice and strand of hair, and this is a reason you need to be more proficient at drawing to pull this off, because you need to learn to ignore certain things and emphasize others-to design the values and their relationships- to make an impression of hair.

    Also to keep in mind, your stroke should follow the direction of the hair. In general, you have to get better at drawing, and it would help you if you can post some of your charcoal drawings for critique.

    Last edited by Vay; September 28th, 2012 at 02:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vay View Post
    You don't get better at drawing by doing web searches. Once you get better at drawing and seeing the correct value relationships, you can draw hairs like those you posted. Try using harder compressed charcoal, the grains are finer and more smooth.

    Sargent emphasizes the economy of line and value, you want to get everything down on one stroke if possible, and that requires you to be proficient at drawing and shading. Control your strokes and evaluate both the drawing and value at the same time, meaning that the edges of your charcoal needs to be in the right place and the value of your charcoal needs to be the right value, at the same time. You can go over a stroke over and over again until you get it right, but each time you do, the stroke becomes more and more unharmonized, in that the charcoal particles begin to accumulate unevenly, unless you smooth them out(this doesn't matter if you are making something very dark, but in light areas, this is a disaster).

    You don't have to draw likes this to perfection for every small crevice and strand of hair, and this is a reason you need to be more proficient at drawing to pull this off, because you need to learn to ignore certain things and emphasize others-to design the values and their relationships- to make an impression of hair.

    Also to keep in mind, your stroke should follow the direction of the hair. In general, you have to get better at drawing, and it would help you if you can post some of your charcoal drawings for critique.
    Isn't that what I said?


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Spot View Post
    Isn't that what I said?

    Let's imagine you, as an art teacher. Your daily routine is to spend a second at the beginning of class to yell the word "practice". All is well, that is until the school's administration catches up with you.

    Administrator 1: What the hell is going on in that art class?
    Administrator 2: A student said that the teacher yells "practice" at the beginning of every class and leaves.
    Administrator 1: Well that is not acceptable. I will handle this.

    The next day, BlackSpot is fired to be replaced by a speaker device, one that Administrator 1 got at radioshack for $25, cutting the school's cost of a teacher's salary. The next week, the whole of Britain followed suit, each art teacher fired and replaced by a speaker device, and then the whole of Earth and its every nations.

    My Sketchbook

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vay View Post
    Let's imagine you, as an art teacher. Your daily routine is to spend a second at the beginning of class to yell the word "practice". All is well, that is until the school's administration catches up with you.

    Administrator 1: What the hell is going on in that art class?
    Administrator 2: A student said that the teacher yells "practice" at the beginning of every class and leaves.
    Administrator 1: Well that is not acceptable. I will handle this.

    The next day, BlackSpot is fired to be replaced by a speaker device, one that Administrator 1 got at radioshack for $25, cutting the school's cost of a teacher's salary. The next week, the whole of Britain followed suit, each art teacher fired and replaced by a speaker device, and then the whole of Earth and its every nations.
    Okay. Point taken. Sorry. See even I can be wrong.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    Moral of the story. No one this board gets paid to give advice to other CA members (unless they're instructors and specifically for TAD).

    Just some information may be more valuable than others.

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    Okay let's all sit around and snipe at people until they offer us some money, because that's what discussion boards are all about. it makes the boards so fun to go to.

    Drawing hair is not difficult once you start thinking about hair like a mass as stated before. Hair flows like water, or cloth. The most common mistake made when drawing hair is to think of it as little individual strands - the truth you must realize is, in most drawings, unless they are life size you can't draw tiny strands because taken by themselves they are too small. So if you use a line, you are illustrating at least 10-12 strands at a time. Hair gives off a "halo" if the person has frizz (most people with seemingly straight hair do)

    You want to get some good drawing classes that teach you how to measure shapes, the angle and depth of value. All you need is a straight edge held straight up and down, a straight arm, and one closed eye. You also need two black index cards with tiny holes poked in them to measure value against your source. These tools can be used to apply to anything; people, hair, objects, you name it.

    Here is a breakdown of how my initial lines would look on this drawing:

    Name:  sargent.png
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    I would start with enveloping the head to get the initial shape, then blocking in large areas, then starting on the intial tone, then I would begin to finely model the form.

    Last edited by Izi; September 28th, 2012 at 06:05 PM.
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    [QUOTE=Izi;3545190]Okay let's all sit around and snipe at people until they offer us some money, because that's what discussion boards are all about. it makes the boards so fun to go to.


    Oh what, Iain McCaig isn't good enough?

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    Name:  hairsketching.jpg
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    sorry

    newest sketchbook
    oil paintings

    "Have only 4 values, but all the edges you want." Glen Orbik
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post

    Oh what, Iain McCaig isn't good enough?
    No apparently not. Don't be helpful anymore.

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    [QUOTE=dpaint;3545249]
    Quote Originally Posted by Izi View Post
    Okay let's all sit around and snipe at people until they offer us some money, because that's what discussion boards are all about. it makes the boards so fun to go to.


    Oh what, Iain McCaig isn't good enough?
    Fucking troll comment.

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    Fucking troll comment.
    Naomi, I can see that you are pretty fired up right now (as evidenced by that other thread), but can't you see that going around to various threads and replying in such a hostile way only contributes to the problem that you are currently having with the forum?

    It's not constructive.
    Cooler heads prevail.

    Also, I think dpaint is one of the most helpful people on the forum. Getting upset at someone who offers ridiculous amounts of help and info to hundreds of artists DAILY isn't gonna help your case. Yeah, he's a little crusty about it sometimes, but that's what I meant by the "tough love" nature of it in the other thread.

    Just because someone isn't holding your hand and patting you on the head doesn't mean they are trolling. In my opinion, at least.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty View Post
    Naomi, I can see that you are pretty fired up right now (as evidenced by that other thread), but can't you see that going around to various threads and replying in such a hostile way only contributes to the problem that you are currently having with the forum?

    It's not constructive.
    Cooler heads prevail.

    Also, I think dpaint is one of the most helpful people on the forum. Getting upset at someone who offers ridiculous amounts of help and info to hundreds of artists DAILY isn't gonna help your case. Yeah, he's a little crusty about it sometimes, but that's what I meant by the "tough love" nature of it in the other thread.

    Just because someone isn't holding your hand and patting you on the head doesn't mean they are trolling. In my opinion, at least.
    I love you man!
    As for being crusty I'm not the one who's best contribution to this site was posting beaver shots of themselves

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