BASICS | Curly Afro Hair
- tool: markers
- difficulty: easy
Before jumping into the next colour scheme on my list, I thought it might be a good idea to have a little break between such long tutorials and have smaller tutorials on basic colouring and marker techniques. Today is a special post, because there has been a request on colouring curly afro hair and I was asked, if I could write about it. So here it is, a mini tutorial on afro hair.
As I already mentioned in the introduction: this tutorial focuses on the hair only. I haven’t photographed all the colours I used, but these are the main ones (especially base colours) I picked to colour the picture.
The base colour for the afro hair is a darker medium brown and I wanted to avoid pure black, since it makes the hair look flat and lifeless. It is perfectly fine to pick a darker colour as the basis, but it does function as the highlight as well, so there should enough leeway for going darker.
Key to colouring curly afro hair successfully is to think of the hair as a three-dimensional object, rather than a flat surface. It has light areas as well as shadows. Drawing every single stand of hair will not result in a better looking outcome either, just ‘hint’ at them. The 2nd image shows what looks better (top image) and what should be avoided (bottom image).
I started adding the volume with the same colour as the one I used for the first layer with the brush tip in small circular flicking motions.
Now that the main shadow area was drawn, I applied a darker and slightly desaturated brown within the darker area (for better definition of the curls) and only sparsely on the top of the hair, where the most light hits.
To finish off the hair I applied a dark rich purple on the very darkest parts of the hair, keeping it to a minimum. Again, I only added the colour mostly on the bottom side of the hair in the shadow. You my wonder why I picked a purple colour for this, but I like dark colours to remain a bit of vibrancy, which can be easily lost when using blacks or greys. Due to the brown underneath, the purple does appear greyish with a hint of purple, whereas a grey/black would make the colour look rather dull.
With the hair all done, just like the rest of the colouring, the picture was finished. I hope you enjoyed the little tutorial and next time I will talk about colouring hair a bit more.
© Aileen Strauch, first published on the Letraset art blog in 2013