My manga characters’ hair never looks right. Where am I going wrong?
Alice Daniels, England
Hair is always a tricky component to any character drawing. Whenever I begin a portrait, I usually have two things in mind when it comes to hair: the start of the flow (establishing the point of origin on scalp), and its overall movement – will it stick up in all directions, or form a gentle slope down the character’s neck, for instance.
Planning the flow and movement, and making it convincing to the eye may seem like a challenge at first. Start off by looking at hair in simple sections, as opposed to attempting realism by painting every strand – which is a pretty respectable talent on its own, but not quite what we’re looking for in manga style. Details like hints of stray strands can be added in later on.
As crazy as some manga hairstyles can get, it’s important to play between fantasy and reality carefully. Essentially, what we’re looking for is to create a believable hair structure that will not only complement the character’s face, but also help in giving appeal and identity.
Focusing on separate portions of the hair instead of fussing over details simplifies the process.