How to draw a braid

Have you ever wondered how to draw a braided hair? The braid goes perfectly well with summer-inspired fashion illustrations and flirty designs, but it seems so hard to draw. This step by step tutorial will show you how to draw a braid the easy way. Once you master the technique you will draw braids of any length and shape: single or double braids, updos with braids…the possibilities are endless! A well-drawn braid will make your model look more girly, sexy and playful, plus they are incredibly fun to draw. Are you ready to start?

Time, Tools and Difficulty:

Time to complete the tutorial: 4 min
Tools you’ll need: drawing paper, a pencil, and an eraser
Difficulty level: 4/10

How to draw a braid in 8 steps:

Step 1: Draw the braid’s blueprint

Draw a Centerline for your braid with the needed length.
Draw the outer lines that will be the frame of your braid. Consider that braids are thicker in the beginning and get much thinner in the end.

Step 2: Draw the first strand

Begin with a small semicircle. Its start and end should touch the Centerline. Don’t make it too round or too eclipse.
The outer line is parallel with the inner one. Also the former starts a little higher than the latter.

Step 3: Here’s the secret

The inner line of the second strand starts at the same point where the previous inner line ends. It closes the first strand forming a nice curve. Stop when you reach the Centerline.
Imagine a horizontal line crossing the last drawn strand right in the middle. From there you will start the outer line of the new strand. Keep it parallel with the inner and finish in the Centerline again.

Step 4: Play on repeat

The next shape closes the top one with its inner line.
The outer line starts in the middle of the outline of the top shape.

If you push harder or draw a small dot where the inner part starts this will give more dimension to your braid.

Its corresponding outer line is still parallel, beginning half the size of the previous strand and ending in the Centerline.

Step 5: Drawing more

Close the previous strand, draw the parallel outer line.

Step 6: Keep on repeating it

Keep doing it until the braided frame ends. Remember to follow the lines of the frame you have set. Draw an elastic band to hold your braid. Make sure the last strand and the band to have the same width.

Step 7: After it ends

Draw a diamond overlapping the bottom of the braid. This will be for the rest of the hair.

Step 8: Add some realism

Shape the diamond making it smooth and adding some hairs.
Add fine lines in different sizes to every strand. The fine lines should follow the curve of the strand and be drawn both at the start and at the end of it. Draw some lines from the uppermost strands to help blend them with the rest of the hair.

Got it? I challenge you!

Braids look even better when a little life and joy is added. Try to draw a Centerline that is not perfectly straight, but has some movement. Push your imagination!
If it is hard for you to follow the curves, just remember to rotate the paper to position the braid vertically like you are already confident drawing it. From then on just follow the frame of the braid.

If you want to further enhance your skills and learn how to draw hundreds of hairstyles go check out my online course on “How to Draw Hair

It doesn’t look right! Common mistakes:

Mistake 1: The inner line is too far to close the upper strand. Try to draw them both the same size.

Mistake 2: The elastic hairband results too big for the braid. Try to add a little bit of hair or just make the band smaller.

Mistake 3: The fine lines are in the wrong direction because of the twisted braid form. Always follow the curve of the strands when drawing those tiny hairs. That’s how you don’t get confused.

Mistake 4: If you make the outlines of the braid first and then the Centerline you can get a braid that looks too thin in the end and is hard to draw.

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