Rendering hair is dictated by several factors: the type of hair, its color, texture, quantity; the arrangement and styling of the hair; the personality and mood of the sitter; and the light effect upon the hair.
For this lesson I have chosen the profile view as it lends itself to a more direct understanding of hair rather than the frontal pose where one is confronted with the issue of foreshortening and perspective. I’ve taken a small departure from the usual working method whereas it is highly advisable to bring all of the elements of the portrait up simultaneously I’ve left the hair at an initial beginning stage: the arabesque.
The arabesque, as the starting point, is critical to establishing the likeness. Many beginning artists begin with the face and ‘grow’ outwards. At first this may seem the easier way, but it is a poor method and instills many bad habits that will prove difficult to break. The arabesque is especially critical when embarking upon the hair. Attempting to render the hair working from the inside out, hair lock by hair lock, piece by piece, is a recipe for disaster. The hair will result in being either too small for the head or too large.