Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Spicing up black hair

Many people ask about black hair. how to colour it and all that and I see many tutorials going through many greys to colour black hair. Okay that makes sense, but don't you want to spruce it up a little?
By now there are enough tutorials on blending, and colouring and all that, so I wont go into that.
Here is how I do black hair.
The most amazing thing is, I actually USE black! Unless I've inked in a lighter colour. If I ink in grey I wont make my darkest colour darker than that grey but that's another matter.
These 3 illustrations all have black hair, but they're all different because of the under colour and highlight. (I've listed the colours beside each). You'll see that each of the hairs has a different colour highlight, but what else is that the black area is also holding onto characteristics of the base colour.

Different Ethnicities have different types of black hair. Blue-black is most common, and brown black and then the grey black. More than that black hair can be very shiny and reflective so it will reflect much of the surrounding colour. if your person is in a cold environment, it would serve you well to do some cool colours for the under colour of your hair. if they're near a fire, a warm or red tone would really help enhance that in your image.
Cedarseed has dome a nice little chart of Human Types.

Now here is the step by step of the colouring hair process

Please forgive the image quality in these. I took photos as I went and they just didnt turn out as well as I like. It was dark.

Step 1
 here is just a base coat of a red colour. I choose R27 for this one. It doesn't have to be smooth or perfectly clean. Just slap it down.

Step 2
I added a layer of R59 (not R56 as I indicated in the picture. That was a typo) I used the brush nib to stroke in the colour and left some zig zaggy hair shines along the high points of her bangs, hair and ponytail. This is a style thing. you can make hair shines/highlights in as many ways as there are people on the planet. This happens to be my way. I tend to draw rather rounded characters so the jagged highlights are a nice contrast for me. anyway, blend that all smooth with your original colour R27

Step 3
Now I'm adding black. Bring it right on up to the highlight but leave a little bit of both colours showing in the highlight. that will add some dimension to your overall highlight colour. (why did I write R53? Its R59!)

Last step
 take your original colour and blend the black into the highlight a little. you don't have to. you can leave the highlights pure red but I find that blacking them out a little helps unify the overall look of the hair.

The very first picture in this entry in the final scanned sketch if you want to see the colours a little better.

I hope this was useful to someone, and maybe gave you some ideas for taking your Copics to the next level!

Side note (AKA shameless plug)
My sister and I are having a give away on our other blog for our Studio. Check out The Gurukitty Studios Blog for a little give away and for updates on the projects we have going on. You'll see we're keeping very busy! Go check it out! its done.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who have followed my blog! Please don't forget to check out my other blogs like Animated Guru where I post all my art projects, works in progress etc, the before mentioned Gurukitty studio's blog, and Experimental Guru where I (occasionally) post tutorials and information on other art mediums I use!

Thanks for following me, I appreciate all your support and wonderful comments! <3


  1. WOW, what an awesome tutorial! I will definitely be using this ;D

  2. thanks cassie! glad you like it :D

  3. Thanks so much. I really liked this version so much more than the grey/blacks that you often see in papercrafting.

  4. Glad you enjoyed it :D Yes I prefer a little colour thrown into anything meant to be colourless really!

  5. Great tutorial! You make it look so easy! Thanks for sharing your secrets with us!

  6. This is brilliant! Thanks so much!

  7. This is wonderful, will definitely be experimenting since I LOVE the effect you acheived!

  8. btw, are these girls you've drawn? an idea for a future digi set is girls with attitude or something--they could be holding gifts or wine or martini glasses or flowers or a baby or just have their hands on their hips etc. those type often seem very popular, and you've gotten a lot of expression in these ones.

  9. @happycrafter
    ya, They're just some doodles I whipped off for the sake of the Tutorial.
    If you think there is a call for them, I'll add them to my to do list page :D

  10. Put them on the list!! I like your way as I'm tired of grey-black always being the thing... (Plus I only own two greys so there wouldn't be much blending for me...) And why is this telling me that grey is spelled wrong? I thought in the States, we could spell it grey or gray... I just Googled it and saw A for America, E for England. Now you know too... :)

  11. ROFL! Trina you're hilarious :D
    Yes, I'm not fond of the greys for hair D: I don't have many greys either.
    E for canada too! cuz we spell like the english LMAO!

    They're on the list!

  12. TY for this tutorial I just used it to color hair teal and black.. Love the look

  13. Awesome! Thanks so much for the tutorial. Tracy (PresentStorm) sent me over when I commented about how awesome the hair looked on one of her images. She said she used your blog...it's great. I want to try it!

  14. WOW, thats awesome! thank you :D
    Glad everyone is finding this tutorial useful :D


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...