Can you help me paint wet hair being flung in an arc?
Richard Gill, Canada
Wet hair needs to be treated differently compared to dry hair. Its properties change when it’s drenched, and this needs to be clearly reflected in your art.
I use form to paint hair. First, I imagine the movement that I want to capture – in this case a dynamic hair flip. Next, I look for reference images for the finer details of how the movement should be portrayed: for example, the position of the head and hair at certain moments.
After I’m satisfied with the general pose of the character and their hair, I focus on how to give it the wet feel. Water changes the weight and the texture of hair dramatically. Hair strands become heavier and darker, and are reduced significantly in volume. It’s also at its maximum length when it’s wet, and strands tend to stick to each other, forming clumps.
When wet hair moves in an arc, it’ll be straighter than dry hair. The clumps will move as separate entities in the direction of the arc. The closer the hair is nearer the scalp, the straighter it appears. The wet clumps then start to thin out, and become separated near the ends, which is caused by water dripping off it. Once I establish the hair’s form it becomes easier to paint.
Study how water changes the hair, the flow of the hair and the anatomy of a single clump, before starting to paint.
Putting your research together to come up with a rough form will serve as a guide and help you finish the painting.