Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Coloring Straight Hair

I'm back! It was a fabulous trip to Utah, and I met lots of neat people, saw some great stores, and even had time to visit some family. Before I leave town again, I wanted to post a quick tutorial on coloring straight hair. I will post hair colors, coloring curly hair, and stuff like that in the future. For now, this is the most basic method of coloring hair with Copic Markers.

Coloring Long, Straight Hair
The technique I'm working with today is easiest done with brush nib of Sketch or Ciao markers, though it can be done with the fine point from Copics, it will just take a lot more streaking.

The picture I'm coloring today is of this simple girl that I just drew with a 0.2mm Multiliner SP onto color laser copier paper. In the artwork you can already see where the light is coming from and where the deepest shadows will be. Here are a few things to consider before we finish coloring the picture.

To really get nice looking hair you have to understand a few things about hair:
• Hair is not all one color
• Hair catches light in small clumps, not flat
• Healthy hair is shiny, and shiny things have more contrast
• Hair has layers, a front side, a backside, and it curves around your head

When coloring hair, keep in mind:
• ALWAYS color in the direction the hair grows
• Streaks are OK, and the back of the paper doesn't need to be soaked.
• Try lots of different color combos until you get the look you want
• Pay attention to where you put your shadows.
• As you layer colors, leave bits of the base color peeking through to give your hair dimension.

Feathered Strokes
As you begin coloring hair you should practice on some scratch paper to get the technique down. I've noticed in my classes that a lot of people have trouble with basic feathering using the brush nib.

This technique is useful for feather blending, making grass, and other basic coloring so if you are not comfortable with feathering I urge you to practice, practice, practice!

I feather by holding the brush at a slight angle and lifting up at the end of each stroke. Consistency is the key. I want each stroke to start in the right place and lift up in the same place as well.

I want my hair to look a nice golden blonde color, so I'm going to lay down a base color of YR21. (Other good pale blonde base colors include Y00, Y11, Y21, YR31, though you should experiment on your own). You can see that with one color her hair looks OK, but it's not very exciting.

To make the hair appear shiny I am leaving highlights along the sunny front edge of the hair, and along the top of her head where the hair curves down to hang straight. The hair will be slightly darker on the shadow side of her head and down behind her head along the back of her neck.

Now I can accent her hair and darken it up by adding streaks of Y28. To get thinner streaks I hold the marker more vertical and use only the finest tip of the brush. I deepen the darkest shadow areas by letting the base colors dry then adding another layer of color. Always color in streaks and leave some of the lighter areas show through. This keeps the hair from looking too flat.

Notice how the darker yellow really tones down the hair. Now it looks more believable as a hair color and you can see shape of her head better. I hope this helps you as you color. Have a great day!

24 comments:

Lina said...

Fantastic tutorial - thank you :)

Perky Nihilist said...

This tutorial is amazing. I've been trying to color hair and haven't had satisfying results. Your directions were just what I needed.

Thanks so much.

Danielle said...

Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial! I've just started using copics and I'm still trying to get it right! lol

Joseline said...

Thanks for the tutorial Marianne. My only problem with coloring hair is getting the shadow and highlights in the right direction. I'll keep trying! ;o)

Viv said...

You are a STAR!!!!!
Viv xx

Summerthyme Studio said...

Great Lesson Marianne!! This is one i've been needing!!!!

Hugs,

Vicki

Trena in Naperville said...

Marianne, welcome back. :o) Glad you had a nice trip. Great tutorial on hair - I always have a challenge with the highlights, so I really appreciate the information you shared!

Take care and STAY POSITIVE!

Carla said...

Great tutorial Marianne. This is REALLY helpful! Thanks so much.

Nora said...

Marianne, it was fun visiting with you last Saturday in Bountiful. Thanks for the tips on coloring hair, since I've been having some issues with that lately.
~hugs~

Pam said...

Marianne, thanks so much for sharing this tutorial. Absolutely wonderful!
~Pam L.
http://stampsinc.blogspot.com/

msfreida said...

What a fabulous tutorial... Perfect timing too! :) I definitely need some practice on my highlights and shadows. I will be using your examples as a guide. Thanks so much!

usmc_honey said...

Thank you for always sharing such great information.
Andrea

Sarah {SCS: Sairabee} said...

Hey Marianne, I'm wondering if the applications for the Eau Claire, WI class were sent yet? I registered for the location notifications (twice I believe) quite awhile ago, and never got anything. I'd really like to attend. If you could email info to sairabee at yahoo dot com, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

Louise said...

Great tutorial, thank you for sharing your expertise.
Louise x

broni (waterchild12) said...

This was a great lesson, Marianne! It's always hard for me to make hair look believable! Thanks!

Kathleen said...

Thanks for sharing this great tutorial. Kathleen

nikkinix said...

Great tutorial - wow I'm getting pretty good at this now :)

Any chance we can get a tutorial on colouring curls or ringlets or even afros, how awesome would that be !!??

daniel john said...

It is difficult to coloring my hair,because my hair are so curly. I don't have an idea to color my hair properly. I will wait for your response.
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Jeong said...

Hair is the most hardest part for me to colour especially black hair. I just can not seem to manage the shading. This tutorial will insure that I do a better job next time, thanks. auto insurance companies

Arsalan said...

Wonderful stuff, it is so much useful indeed. Thank you for the post.

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Jason Bishop said...

thanks to you because before this i was doing something wrong while coloring my hair..

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