Types of hair.
Keep in mind that no two heads of hair are the same, so not all hair can or should be drawn the same way. You’ll want to switch up your technique based on how hair texture, volume, colour and style vary between people. For example, a Black person’s braids, whether they’re styled in cornrows, box braids or a simple three-strand plait, may require a different treatment than a white person’s braids, due to differences in texture or styling.
To convey thicker or more voluminous locks, focus on creating generous contours that convey fullness and volume. Unless the hair is naturally straight and smooth or has styling product in it, there will be hairs that curl out and away from the central line of the braid. Don’t forget to include these organic variations; details are what make your hair truly life-like.
To differentiate coarser hair from smoother, try switching your brush, pencil or line weight. One approach is to give more definition and sharpness to individual strands for coarser hair. And for finer consistencies, give your lines a more uniform flow, rather than accentuating individual strands. You can find tutorials online that will walk you through drawing many different textures of hair and braids.
More tips for easy drawing.
If you’re working with digital drawing tools, use separate layers for each step or colour. That way, you can easily toggle between elements and make edits without worrying about tearing up your drawing paper with an eraser. Just scale back the opacity, draw over your preliminary lines on a new layer and keep what you like.
Once you’ve got the basic steps ingrained, you can adapt them to experiment with other types of braids, such as a fishtail, French braid or plaits. Don’t be discouraged if your braids aren’t perfect on your first go. Keep refining your shapes and shading and you’ll discover they come out more natural with each try.