Top Tips Series 4: Graham Bradshaw – March 2013

This is the last in a series of 4 top tips posts by pencil artist Graham Bradshaw. Here, Graham explains how to draw hair out of focus & on dark areas and how to take care of yourself when you draw. For a catch up on Graham’s previous posts, visit: Series 1, Series 2 and Series 3.

Drawing Hair Out Of Focus

This technique is very easy; draw the hair in the same way as in the previous post then simply go over it using a paper blending stump & that’s it!



Drawing Hair Over A Dark Area

This is something I struggled with at first & it takes much longer than drawing normal hair. The principle is the same in that you’ll still need to plan the direction & flow of the hair before you continue (fig1). Then take a soft 9B pencil and draw around every individual hair (fig2) then fill in the background (fig3).








Go back to a 2B or pencil of your choice & draw around the hair again making it appear as thin as possible (fig4). Then use a 5H & feather the edges of every hair to make it look less sharp & more refined. You’ll notice that some parts of the hair strands will be darker in areas; use the 2B or 5H to close these areas creating the illusion of real hair as a result (fig5).





All artists are in it for the love of it otherwise we wouldn’t spend countless hours doing what we do; it’s the love of drawing which keeps us motivated. At times we can over do it, get tired or even frustrated that things are not going as planned. This is the time to walk away & get a coffee, chill out, compose yourself then return to your drawing once you’re in the right frame of mind to continue. Resting is very important especially for your eyes; I once saw a Tweet by Pixar who explained the importance of resting your eyes using the 20-20-20 rule. Pixar Pro Tip: The 20-20-20 rule says that for every 20 minutes you spend staring at a drawing, you should spend 20 seconds looking at objects 20 feet away. This all comes down to time management which is very important, for example if I spend 8 hours an evening working I’ll only spend 6 hours of that drawing, the rest of the time I’m taking regular breaks.

More experienced artists may have better methods, easier & faster tips that may help you better. I’m by no means an expert in drawing but I’ve enjoyed spending the time explaining to you the techniques I’ve taught myself & the methods I’ve learnt from others. Thanks for reading & I hope this can help you in some way.