Deviant Login Shop  Join deviantART for FREE Take the Tour


Submitted on
July 8, 2012
Image Size
2.3 MB
Submitted with


82,824 (48 today)
5,395 (who?)
Hair Walkthrough by agent-lapin Hair Walkthrough by agent-lapin
3.Not really fitting into the category<

This isnt much of a tutorial, I'm just going to briefly explain & show my work process when coloring hair. Hope this is helpful, I realise it's almost like a full drawing walkthrough but I tried to concentrate more on the hair ok ;_; LOL


^ Final

PLEASE FULL VIEW otherwise you wont see squat

1. Sketch
Probably quite selfexplanatory;; just sketch the hair vaguely - doesnt really matter if's neat or not. I tend to move things around, as you can see - tons of clips/hard edges everywhere cause I'm changing things so often. I had a problem with the face here so It's even messier than usual :c

2. Lineart
In a dark color than black I just line the sketch. I often end up changing a few things, as you can see on the left side of her hand/arm. I used to use those "red lines" (temporary lineart) for the hair strands/detail;; but recently I've stopped doing that because It would make the result look much flatter.
Later, I put the lineart on multiply with around 80% opacity

3. Base color
I went ahead and did everything apart from the hair. I usually color hair in last/near last anyway. I just fill the lineart with the lightest base color; usually quite saturated because the amount of blending done later will desaturate it a bit anyway.
I only use two colors - I then add the darker tone, which here is a purple. I do my best to stay away from those lighter-darker same color combos. Using SAI's marker tool I just progressively "mix" the two colors together by creating strands and such.
Sometime I use the airbrush tool to just add a bit of color (for example, here;; Pink/skin on the hair near the face; purple/pink on top and bottom of hair)

4. Blending
Here is where I do everything. This is litterally the longest step - if the whole process takes three hours, this takes about 2who hours and a half of that time. I'm sorry I cant explain it more that by just a single image ;_;
Once I finish coloring everything I Merge the lineart with the base colors, duplicate it, and start repainting over the drawing. There's nothing complicated to this - it's jsut time consuming. Taking SAI's brush tool, I just alternate between various colors of the hair + A darker blue/purple to blend in the lineart with the colors, and give the hair a bit more depth at the same time. Small areas like the bottom bits of the hair are the easiest, while larger areas like the bangs are kind of tedious to do. I dont like when you can see too many strokes of different colors (simply because it looks messy);; I rather a smoother look, which I personally find harder to do on large areas. Harsher lines, like for example the hair being pulled back, tend to be harder for me too since I usually just go with the flow? Hors here I have tocontrol more and I'm not good at that LOL.
When doing this try not to completley darken up the whole hair (something I tend to do when coloring blonde hair...)
This is all done on the same layer

5. Fixing up
Here's where I fix everything that didnt end up too good in the last bit - new layers with the marker tool, pass over those areas that are too dark, or not dark enough, or maybe too blue or too purple. (for example, I added more light strokes in the bangs of the hair, and darkened up the "back" of the hair that seemed too bright)

6. Strands
My hair tends to look quite "fix" at this point, so I go and add some looser strands, usually in places like the bangs and the sides of the face. This is done with the pen tool, and i just blend them into the existing hair by erasing the tips at low opacity.

7. Light
Either light blue + overlay or Light blue + luminosity/dodge/idk what it's called - I just add in strands with the pen tool, then use the eraser at low opacity to make the tips of these strokes softer/more blended into the drawing. Layer usually ends up near 10-20% Opacity

8. Shinies
Probably the funnest part ;_; using luminosity/dodge/etc or overlay, I just add in some small dots in the hair (and everywhere else actually) along the area where there is more shine~

9. Effects
Simply some fiddling around with layermodes (overlay; multiply; Screen) and colors (here, blue + pink) to attempt and make the colors be a bit more harmonized :c
I also sharpen on GIMP
the end :c
Add a Comment:
Lust-love-and-pain 2 days ago  Student General Artist
This is incredibly helpful QAQ thank you for being amazing. 
Yameo Mar 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That tutorial is pretty helpful, and clear, at least to me. 
Makes me want to try a few new things c:
Thanks for making it!
agent-lapin Mar 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No problem!
F-Xavier Mar 2, 2014  Student General Artist
i'm sorry but i still don't quite get it how you have the lineart and suddenly the finished process look like as if you don't have a line art D'':

need help ;w;!

btw i really really REALLY love your drawing style :heart: :heart: !
agent-lapin Mar 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
the lineart is merged early on and i start painting on the same layer for the whole rest of the process
F-Xavier Mar 3, 2014  Student General Artist
ah i see! thankyou very much! ;w;!
GeeknGood Feb 10, 2014  Student Digital Artist
how is this helpful?
kiefers24 Dec 8, 2013   General Artist
what is it called the brush or what type of brush?
agent-lapin Dec 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"brush" haha
When you put the basic colors, you put them all in a single layer? (skin, hair etc..) And if yes, the lineart is above or below the colors? And then you merge with the colors and blend? :)

However thank you for this tutorial ^^
Add a Comment: