Hair Today…Gone Tomorrow

Jennifer Dove’s Copic Corner – Hair
Image contributed by Simply Betty  –

It’s fancy seeing you here again, at the Copic Corner. The next few tutorials I will write are going to get you started on coloring images of people. We will go over different color choices and different styles of coloring. This article is all about coloring hair. I want to share with you two different styles of coloring and let you decide which one works for you. The two methods will be smooth blend and flick blend with highlight. No matter what technique you prefer, the hair should always go in the direction that the hair would lay naturally. 
Smooth Blend  – With the smooth blend method you are simply coloring the hair using the normal way of blending. Leave your lightest color visible where you wish to have the highlights, and your darker tones where you want the shadows. When I use this method I like to put darker tones in the hair that surrounds the face, like a frame. It has more impact. 

1.  Start off by coloring the base coat of the image (for easier blending) using the lightest color. 
2.  Add the darkest shade along the images hairline, at the crown of the head, as well as the bottom of the hair. Remember, if the hair is appearing to go behind the image, this would also be dark as the face and over hanging hair would block it from the light source. 
3.  Using your medium tone, you will slightly blend out the darkest tone. If your blending isn’t perfect, that is okay as texture in the hair gives more character. 
4.  Blend out the medium tone using the lightest color, just slightly overlapping the color. Leaving some of the original light tone is great as this makes the highlighted areas stand out a little more. 
Flicking Blend – If you want a more dramatic look for the hair you might want to leave white highlights. To do this you need to determine where you want the highlights to be. You will leave this white. When doing this technique you will want long fine strokes and you will not be blending them smooth. It is very important that you place the strokes in the direction the hair would lay naturally. 
1.  Using long strokes (in the direction the hair will lay), apply your lightest color in a flicking motion. Leave only the area you wish to be highlights in the hair. (Refer to image one for flicking direction.) 
2.  Using your darkest tone, flick where you wish the darkest part of the hair. The flicking motion should be heavier at the beginning of the stroke to narrower at the finish of the stroke. Don’t use too much of the darkest tone or you will run out of room for the remaining tones to be added. 
3.  Add the medium tone, slightly overlapping the darkest tone in a similar stroke as the darkest. Both darkest and medium tone will be colored over the lightest tone but not as far. 
4.  Next, come back over the edges of the medium tone with the lightest, flicking towards the white area and thinning the remaining white area out until you get the desired highlight thickness. If you bring too much of the lighter tones in, you can have a tendency to smooth out the “texture” too much. You can always flick more of the dark back in to fix this. 

Note: If you run out of room for the white, just make sure the “white” area remains at least the lightest color. This still leaves a wonderful effect as well. 

Here are some fun color combinations to try. 

Coloring hair will take a little practice in order to get just the right flick. But with practice, you will achieve success. Have fun and don’t forget… it’s just paper and ink. 
Here are some more samples of images colored up using these techniques.  These images all came from if you want to get yourself some to try.

One thought on “Hair Today…Gone Tomorrow

  1. Was looking for tutes on copic coloring – hair and lo, and behold I found your blog! Been looking around and love your work!

    Funny thing, I was looking for straight hair tutes because **I just got Big Gun Love Lola** for a Valentine's card…and you have her here! Perfect.

    Thanks for sharing your talents! If I was closer to AZ I would consider coming to a class!

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