how to draw anime hair

How to Draw Anime Hair – Learn Drawing Various Anime Hairstyles

Anime hair is perhaps the most iconic aspect of anime characters; therefore, it is an essential skill if you are interested in learning how to draw anime characters. We will find that the drawing process is the same with both anime girl’s hair and anime boy’s hair. Anime characters are very androgynous and, in many ways, the hair becomes a contextualizing factor of character genders. There are also various ways to create anime hair for both female and male anime characters, which makes anime hairstyles a fun drawing exploration.



An Easy Guide to Drawing Anime Hair

In this tutorial on how to draw anime hair, we will find that the drawing process is quite simple and allows for a lot of creative exploration. Once the drawing process is broken down into its basic fundamental steps, you can then play around with changing hairstyles for various anime characters.


Necessary Materials

This tutorial is done with a digital device; however, it also applies to drawing processes that utilize traditional mediums. You will want to have some basic materials, such as a pencil for sketching, pens, and markers for coloring. Once you have the necessary materials, you can then find a space that will be conducive to focusing while you go through the drawing process. All necessary materials can be found through the links below:

  • Pencils
  • Ballpoint Pen
  • Ruler
  • Sharpener
  • Eraser
  • Good Paper (200 g/m – 250 g/m recommended)



A Guide on How to Draw Anime Hair

In this tutorial, we will learn how to draw both anime girl hair and anime boy hair. We will learn how to establish the face in its basic structure, and then proceed to the drawing process of creating a hairline for both the female and male anime hairstyles. We will learn how to form the hair in a way that looks natural and seamless on the anime characters. We will look at two unique anime hair drawings for both males and females, this way we can explore different styles and how they fit with anime characters. Now that we know what to expect, we can get into the tutorial on how to draw anime hairstyles.


Step-by-Step Guide on How to Draw Girl Anime Hairstyles

Let’s look at a more realistic hair formation, where we explore the potential of line work to bring emphasis to the structure of the hair. We want to look at how the character can be enhanced by the addition of a hairstyle, which can transform the overall aesthetic of the character.


Step 1: Sketching the Face of the Anime Character

Drawing hair is not an isolated task within the genre of anime. We want to know what our character will look like and how the hair can add to their overall aesthetic. We can begin with a simple drawing of a circle and grid to establish the different features.

anime hair reference

We then can lightly erase that grid and use the ghost lines of that grid to help us establish features on the face. It’s always good to start with the eyes of the character, as well as forming the facial structure.


anime hair drawing

We want to make sure that we give the eyes some detail, this is because we will be drawing hair with detail. You want to make sure there is consistency in the character design.


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We can start to draw in the nose and eyes of the character, remember, with feminine qualities we want to make sure that the lips have more volume. We also want to make sure that the nose is quite subtle and the jawline is sleek and petite.

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Making sure that our female character has feminine qualities is going to contextualize the hairstyle as feminine. Of course, a hairstyle can do this on its own, but working with more than a single factor in character design is going to emphasize the hairstyle a little more.

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Step 2: Sketching the Hairline of the Anime Character

Once we have a basic sketch of the character we can now draw in the hairline. Drawing the hairline allows you to establish how the hair will form around the head and facial structure.

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We can also add in surrounding features such as the ears, as this will give more context to how the hairline forms on the side of the head. The hairline and the ears become a reference point for drawing in the hair. From here we will start to work on light sketching of the hair structure.

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Step 3: Sketching the Hair of the Anime Character

As we draw in the hair of the character, starting with the fringe. We always want to draw the hair slightly floating above the scalp as this will suggest volume and height in the hair. We can also start making general strokes of strands that fall alongside the face.

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In this case, let us give the character bangs and ponytails by drawing a fringe and hair tied up on each side of the head. We want to make sure that the hair always extends beyond the scalp because female hair is generally long and voluminous.

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We can draw in some general directional lines of how the hair will fall alongside the character from her ponytails. We want to make sure that each segment of hair flows in the direction it is tied up in or falls in.

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We can also draw hair that flows from the ponytails and falls on each side of the face, this way we give some length to the tied-up hair. Try to keep the lines quite loose and vague, we don’t need to work in too much detail.

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We now want to lightly erase our drawing because we will now use these ghost lines to make a more refined drawing. By doing this we create a better and more refined drawing with a more detailed layer of sketching.

anime hair drawing 12


Step 4: Refining the Face of the Anime Character

Now we should have a basic guideline sketch of how the face and hair work together to create a unique character design. This is where we can start working on some more refined sketching details to emphasize all the features of the anime character.

anime hair drawing 13

We want to work on all the features of the face making sure we build the character so that the hair does not look out of place. In many ways anime hair is not just about the hair itself but how it suits the anime style and therefore the character’s features.

anime hair drawing 14


Step 5: Refining the Hair of the Anime Character

This is where we can start to work in some bold lines that give the hair a more distinct outline, making it a little more animated. We can also start to use ghost lines to assist us in making more refined lines in the correct directions.

anime hair drawing 15

We can also start to embolden lines in their different sections to create distinctions, such as the outlining of the fringe and the hair at the back of the head that is tied up. Try to keep outlined lines slightly bolder than the lines within each segment.

anime hair drawing 16

You can also keep the fringe hair a little more detailed to suggest that it is sitting in the foreground, and the ponytails a little less detailed. This is a great way to bring a more realistic quality to the anime hair drawing depth between the long anime hair and the shorter hair.

anime hair tutorial

Lastly, as an extra bit to bring more texture to the hair, you can work in some lighter shading in the different segments, to suggest variety in the layers. This gives the long anime hair more three-dimensionality and volume, which is good for anime girl hair.

long anime hair

Otherwise, that is it, a basic few steps on drawing long anime hair in the context of a female anime character. Anime hairstyles are interchangeable between male and female characters. This particular method is more of a realistic way of drawing girl anime hair step-by-step.

how to draw anime hair


Step-by-Step Guide on How to Draw Boy Anime Hairstyles

We will proceed to do a similar anime hair tutorial, where we look at how to draw boy anime hair step by step. We will work on a more cartoonish style of drawing hair for this particular anime hair tutorial, this way we have an understanding of two different approaches to drawing anime hairstyles.


Step 1: Sketching the Face of the Anime Character

Again, we want to start by drawing the face of the character, we can do so by establishing the shape of the face with grid lines for different features. Again, we want to start with the eyes to center the character’s features.

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Making sure we have a character’s face fleshed out will determine what type of hairstyle will suit the character. The eyes are particularly important as they carry a lot of emotions for the character.

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Take your time working on the features of the male anime character. Some ways to give a masculine quality to the character is to make the eyes more square and the jawline more squarish.

anime hair drawing 22

Another way to do this is to be less emphatic with the lips, this way they seem more muted which is a common characteristic of male anime characters. Try to keep them quite simple with linework.

anime hair drawing 23


Step 2: Sketching the Hairline of the Anime Character

Play around with how you would like the hairline to fill in on the forehead of the anime character. Try to imagine what the character would look like with a buzz cut as a way of determining the hairline. We can also add in the surrounding features, such as the ears to emphasize the hairline and where hair will fall once drawn in.

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We can also try to work with a more defined jawline, this way we give a more masculine quality to the anime character. Try to work a little on the features to make sure you are happy with them so that once we erase the drawing slightly, we have a good reference to work with.

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Step 3: Refining the Face of the Anime Character

 This is where we can slightly erase the features of the character to now start working over it with more refined details. Again, working in layers is a great way to capture the qualities as best as possible with a more refined sketch with each layer.

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Once we have done this we can work over the eyes, nose, and mouth just to make sure that we are completely satisfied with how the features appear. We can also start to sketch in some hair along the hairline, to start establishing the positioning of the hair.

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Step 4: Drawing Less Detailed Hair on the Anime Character

This time we are going to do a more cartoonish and vague hair structure on the anime character. This particular anime hair drawing style is quite common and gives the character a different aesthetic.

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We can draw this hairstyle by establishing the fringe with a basic zig-zagged pattern. Once we have done this, we can start to fill in that pattern to create a less detailed effect in the hair.

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What starts to give the hair more definition is the outline of the hair structure and how it sits on the head. This means we can fill in the entire hair structure and keep adding these jagged edges to create shape in the hair.

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This is where we can play around with how the hair sits around the head and how messy or neat the hair can appear by how many jagged edges we add to the hairstyle.


This is a great way of giving an anime character a hairstyle without too much line work. It becomes a little more animated and cartoon with less realistic lines, but can work well with specific anime styles.

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Lastly, as a last resort to give it a little more shape, you could add in some highlights. These can be very simplistic light lines or shapes in the hair, which can work well to shape these types of vague anime hairstyles.

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This can be a great addition to anime hairstyles that is super simple and more shape-dependant than detail-dependent. This way of drawing anime hairstyles can work well as a way of emphasizing other features of character as well.

anime boy hair

That is it! This is a different way to draw an anime boy’s hair or an anime girl’s hair, in a way that is a little different and more cartoonish. Different anime hairstyles are going to have different effects on the character. So you want to make sure you have options for your anime hair drawings.

anime hairstyles



Tips to Remember

  • First, establish the shape of the head. You want to start from the basics, such as head shape, facial features, and ultimately the hair.
  • Work out the features of the character. Hair is never an isolated structure on anime characters, which means we want to make sure that we work the hair into an established drawing.
  • Make sure you have established the hairline. Draw in the hairline for your anime hair drawing, as this way you can establish the hair more accurately on the character.
  • Consider how hair affects the character. Knowing different hairstyles will enable you to be more creative with your hair choices when it comes to drawing anime characters.


Whether you are drawing long anime hair or short and spiky hair, you always want to make sure you have different references. This anime hair tutorial is a great anime hair reference to work out different anime hairstyles and is useful to come back to when you need to understand the drawing process a little better.


Take a look at our anime hair drawing webstory here!



Frequently Asked Questions


How Do You Draw Different Anime Hairstyles?

The first thing to do is to explore various anime hair references. Looking at anime hair references is going to help you gain an awareness of how different hairstyles affect the character. Anime hairstyles can range from realistic to cartoon- it all depends on what style you would like to draw your anime characters in. If you are going with a more realistic effect, you will find that layering becomes more of a strategy to achieve this aesthetic in your anime hair drawing. However, if you approach a more cartoon-styled anime hair drawing, you will then be more loose and vaguer with your hair formation. This means you can keep lines a little less smooth and organic by drawing them quite geometrically around the head of the anime character.


How Do You Distinguish Between Girl and Boy Anime Hairstyles?

In many ways, anime characters can be androgynous-looking; therefore, it can be difficult to distinguish between male and female characters. However, there are subtle facial features, wardrobe choices, and specific facial characteristics that can define a character as a male or female character. Hairstyles can do this as well and in the most obvious ways, we can use anime hairstyles to distinguish between male and female characters. The obvious ways are  length, where male characters often have shorter hair and female characters often have longer hair. This is a great way to determine gender when the facial features are neutral and androgynous.

Cite this Article

Matthew, Matthysen, “How to Draw Anime Hair – Learn Drawing Various Anime Hairstyles.” Art in Context. February 5, 2023. URL:

Matthysen, M. (2023, 5 February). How to Draw Anime Hair – Learn Drawing Various Anime Hairstyles. Art in Context.

Matthysen, Matthew. “How to Draw Anime Hair – Learn Drawing Various Anime Hairstyles.” Art in Context, February 5, 2023.

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