In this Design Cuts Live session, we were joined by Claudia Riveros of Riveros Illustrations. What Claudia enjoys most is helping her community to grow their design skills by creating helpful resources and easy to follow tutorials! So today Claudia taught us how to draw realistic hair and although she used Affinity, many of the techniques she used were helpful across many other softwares.

Create the Canvas

Create a new file by pressing the plus sign on top. You can change the dimensions as you like or use the default option to begin. 

The best thing about working with Affinity is working both with vector and pixel. Click on the small dot in the top left corner to work on the pixel persona. 

Draw the Hair

Click on the brushes and select the hairbrushes. Choose the Sketch It Out Brush and start by drawing wavy lines. Make sure to make fluid and flowy lines rather than crooked lines to make them look like actual wavy hair strands. 

Pro tip: Don’t think about individual hair strands, rather think of all the strands that you’re going to work on. Some strands will be darker and some will be lighter. 

Go on the layer and create a new fixed layer. To draw the main shapes, choose the Main Shapes Harsh Brush and pick a neutral color. With the brush, create neutral colored lines over the lines you drew previously on the composition and fill the area drawing more wavy lines. 

Create another pixel layer and pick a lighter color. With the same brush, create the areas of hair that are closer to you and reflect the light. 

Choose the Eraser Brush, lower the opacity and clean up the edges. 

Pro tip: Remember, the light is focused in the centre rather than the edges of the hair. 

Create a new pixel layer. Choose the same color as you first chose and make it a little darker. Make the centre of the hair darker by coloring in that area. Use the Eraser Tool to blend in the edges, making them smooth. 

Add a new layer and blend the hair by choosing a different color and coloring between the different tones of hair. You can also use the Smudge Tool to do this. 

Add a new layer and pick a lighter color. Lower the opacity and define the areas you want. 

Add Base Colors

Pick the Detail Strong Brush and add a new layer. Pick a darker tone color and put the opacity at 40. Add definition in the darker areas of the hair.

Choose the Smudge Tool and blend the areas to make the hair look flowy. Pick a lighter color and add more definition. Take the Smudge Tool again and blend the hair areas. 

Pro tip: Leave some areas of lines in between two tones of hair so that it looks more natural. This also helps in creating a 3D effect. 

Pick a darker color again and define the darker areas. 

Add Details

Add a new layer and lower the opacity. Select the Details Strong Brush and pick a saturated color. Add vibrancy between the light and the dark-colored areas.

Lower the opacity of the brush to 17 and draw a big line towards the centre. Similarly, repeat the process of adding vibrancy on the top hair. 

Once this is done, lower the opacity of the entire composition.

Add another pixel layer and pick a darker version of the saturated color. With the Details Strong Brush, repeat the process and highlight the darker areas. 

Lower the opacity of this saturated layer to about 60%. 

Add a new pixel layer and add some white lines with the High Details Brush. This will make the hair look more natural and realistic. 

Add a new layer and with the same brush, choose a darker color to highlight the shadows. This will create more definition. 

Once this is done, add a new layer and pick the Highlight Brush and Paint Brush. Choose a white color and highlight some areas. 

Add the last pixel layer and pick the Long Strand Detailed Brush. Pick a dark color and lower the opacity and size. Create some extra hair coming out to give it a natural texture. Lower the size of the brush to 30 and create loose hair. This will make it look more realistic, natural and flowy.

The final texture of the hair is ready. 

You can also change the color of the whole composition of the hair as you like. 

Here are some other textures of hair designed by Claudia. See the images below for reference.