How to sketch afro hair

Written by carl hose
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How to sketch afro hair
Capture the tight curls of the classic afro hair-do on paper. (Image by Absoluv; via Flickr.)

One of the most challenging aspects of drawing people is getting the hair right. Shaping and getting the texture are two elements that need to come together to make hair look natural on a sketch. An afro is a thick-growing hairstyle that was very popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The hairstyle is relatively simple to capture in a sketch. Even if you're new to drawing, you can learn to sketch a natural-looking afro with just a little practice.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Place the tip of your pencil beside one side of the face to which you want to add the afro hair. Draw a short, curved line followed by another. Keep drawing these curved lines clockwise, overlapping each of the lines. Continue to draw these lines all the way to the opposite side of the face.

  2. 2

    Sketch small U-shaped curves inside the outline of the hair. Afro hair is made up of many tight little curls. Draw these lines throughout the outline of the hair to give it the look of tight curls. To get a realistic texture, you'll need a lot of the lines. Don't worry about being neat. Overlap the curls to give the illusion of thickness.

  3. 3

    Go over the outline and apply enough pressure to darken the lines. Apply light, short strokes of pencil lead randomly to the outline to give the impression of wild strands of hair. Avoid a perfect helmet shape. A real afro is probably not going to be perfect. Go back over the hair to add shading throughout the curls. This will help you give the hairstyle depth and the illusion of the hair moving in different directions. Realism depends upon changing the direction of your pencil strokes.

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