How to Draw Natural, Textured, Afro Hairstyles (Afros, Locs, Braids, Twists)
In this tutorial, we’ll draw afros, locs, braids, and twists, which are all popular hairstyles for natural, afro-textured hair. Please note that this isn’t an exhaustive list; there are a plethora of styles and options available.
Type 4 is coily hairu2014or very tight curls, which are typically quite voluminous. Denser curls or coils will typically result in volume that you would not see in straighter hair, according to the Andre Walker Hair Typing System.
Take note of the differences between Type 1 (straight) and Type 4 (coily) hair when parted.
The scale relates to the density or tightness of the coils, which affects how the volume is distributed on the head. Type 4 hair is generally divided into 4A, 4B, and 4C, but some people may have more than one type.
Here’s an example of how we could use those basic contours and add varied lines to begin to define the hair’s shape; for more information on drawing this type of hair, see my How To Draw Natural Afro-Textured Hair tutorial.
Volume is redistributed when afros are pulled back; use varied lines to further define the forms and create an organic look and feel. These are just a few examples of afros that can be worn in various styles or parted ways.
Locs are thick “locks” of hair that are permanently bound in strands. When drawing them, I like to approach them as a long, cylindrical shape, and in this tutorial, I’ll use a variety of organic lines to achieve a more natural look.
I like to draw a head of hair in a series of layered, cylindrical shapes, starting at the hairline and building up from there. It’s also important to consider how the lines move and flow on the skull.
Note the varied lines on the outer contours of the strands. Then, personally, I like to add a little implied texture with line. Note the purple ovals here; they visually represent the depth of the loc. Notice how it visually implies the circumference, in comparison to the green line, which visually implies the circumference.
Let’s try some variations, and I’ve blocked out some other ways to wear locs below.
You can refine your work with varied lines once you’re happy with where your shapes have been placed.
Finally, line can be used to add more volume and texture to an image.
4. How to Draw Braids
Braids and locs have some visual similarities; both are cylinder-like when considering basic shapes. Braids can be created and worn in a variety of ways; I’ve worn braids both layered and flush against my scalp, and the difference is exactly as it sounds.
The hair is sectioned and braided in a layered fashion in the first style, which is similar to the concept we discussed in the previous section of this tutorial. I drew some simple lines to determine how I wanted the hair to flow. The outer contour of the braid is a big difference in how I like to draw braids; I prefer to draw them with a more uniform look.
Because braids are braided in a repetitive fashion, I like to draw them with a series of swooping lines, as shown in purple, and then the same kind of lines, in the opposite direction, as shown in blue. When drawing this style with line, I like to focus on the general texture and pattern that these lines create.
In some styles, the hair is sectioned but braided in a way that conforms to the head; these styles come in a wide variety of patterns and beautiful, artistic interpretations. Note the visible scalp area. I like to start by blocking out basic shapes, then continue by drawing a braid-like pattern on top, keeping the flow that I created in mind as I draw.
Let’s take a look at some more examples, remembering that hair can be partially braided! Once again, I started with basic contours to help me figure out what I want to draw, where the hair will go, and how it will sit on the head.
Then, using the same pattern-making method, I followed my guidelines, keeping in mind that I don’t like to put too much emphasis on geometric perfection in my personal, stylistic choices. Interpret this however best suits your artistic goals.
Let’s look at drawing two stranded twists. You’ll notice that the basic shapes are similaru2014again, I like to think about long, cylindrical shapes when I’m drawingu2014but we’ll use a different pattern: instead of three braided strands, we’ll use two twisted ones. The blue line shows how I’d start the strand, and the pink line shows how I’d “close” it.
Remember that the way the hair sits on the head can vary! Let’s try the same techniques with the hair layered on the head in a different way. I started by blocking out the forms (in green), then added detail and pattern using the method described in blue and pink.
So, when drawing this type of twist, keep the context of the other styles in mind; you’ll notice similarities in layering and volume, but a difference in pattern. Let’s try some more examples. Start with basic contours and shapes. Consider how you’d like the strands to sit on the head.
Then, similar to braids, you can refine your initial concept while keeping pattern and variation in mind.
And There You Have It
We’ve looked at a variety of hairstyles that are popular with Type 4 hair, but this is by no means “the end”u2014there are so many different ways to style hair! Hopefully, this tutorial gave you some insight and inspiration to go draw and experiment with your own lovely looks. If you enjoyed this tutorial, here are some others that you might enjoy!
How do you draw ideas?
Ideas for Drawing: Imagination
- Create an alternate cover for your favorite book or album.
- Illustrate a scene from your favorite song.
- Draw a scene or character from your favorite book.
- Illustrate your favorite fairy-tale.
- Invent your own insects.