How to Draw Curly Anime Hair – AnimeOutline

How to Draw Curly Anime Hair – AnimeOutline

This tutorial shows how to draw curly anime or manga style hair. It consists of six steps with easy to follow examples as well as a video.

How to draw curly anime hair step by step

Curly hair is somewhat rare in anime and manga. It can also be a little more difficult to draw than straight hair. This tutorial shows one way to draw such a hairstyle with a very detailed examples to make it easy to follow along.

You can see the main stages of the tutorial in the preview image above but there are additional illustrations in some of the steps.

Unless drawing digitally it’s recommended that you use a pencil and start with light and easy to erase lines. You can darken them before shading.

Above is a video version of the curly hair drawing. You can watch is for an ever more in depth breakdown of the drawing process

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Step 1 – Make an Outline Drawing of the Head & Shoulders

Curly anime hair head drawing

Before drawing the hair you should make a basic outline drawing of the head and shoulders (as shown in the example above).

For a detailed explanation of the structure of an anime head see the following guide:

How to Draw an Anime Face (Structure & Proportions)

Even though a large part of the head will eventually be covered by the hair it’s still good practise do draw it out entirely. Doing so will help you avoid mistakes and will make it easier to see how much volume the hair should have.

Step 2 – Draw the Hair Along the Forehead

Curly anime hair front drawing

As with most hair drawing tutorials here on AnimeOutline the hair in this example will be broken up into three sections (front, sides and back) each shown in a different color to make it easier to distinguish between them.

For more on this drawing approach read:

How to Draw Anime and Manga Hair – Female

For this particular hairstyle (curly hair) the front section is quite simple. First draw a little clump of hair in the middle with a wave in it’s shape to show that it’s curly. Draw the rest of the hair swept to the sides. You can show some folds in the side swept parts with a few tiny lines near near their bottoms.

Step 3 – Draw the Hair Along the Sides of the Head

Curly anime hair sides drawing

The side section of the hair are the most important to this particular hairstyle as they are what will really show off the curls. You can think of their shapes as a spring or a long orange/apple peel.

Draw the curls hanging pretty much straight down and make them narrower near the bottom with tiny splits on their very ends. You can also give them a few hints of hair folds as little curvy or wavy line segments of different length.

Step 4 – Draw the Hair on Top & at the Back of the Head

Curly anime hair back drawing

Draw the top/background part of the hair following the head near the top and getting wider as it goes down to the shoulders. Add a few folds around the neck area and make these somewhat wavy to help show that the hair is curly.

Curly anime hair line drawing

Clean up the drawing by erasing the parts of the head covered by the hair once done.

Step 5 – Outline the Hair Highlights

Curly anime hair highlights drawing

Before shading outline some highlights along the forehead and side sections of the hair. These will show light reflecting from the hair’s smooth surface and will give it a somewhat shiny appearance.

Please note that if you are drawing digitally you can simply add these in with in a new layer over top of the shading. You can also do the same with a white correction pen if drawing on paper. Alternatively you can also create them by simply leaving some white spots as you shade.

For other styles of anime and manga hair highlights see:

Different Ways to Draw Anime Hair Highlights

Step 6 – Add Shading to Finish the Messy Hair Drawing

Curly anime hair drawing shading

For the final part of the drawing process you can add some basic shading. Start by filling out the entire area of the hair with grey (excluding the highlights). If you would like to create a colored drawing instead then simply use any color you like instead of the grey.

Curly anime hair shadows back drawing

Generally the shadows depend on the type of lighting an object is in. For this tutorial the shading is done in a very generic way as though the character is in a well lit environment (such as daytime outdoors).

The shadows initially shown in blue just to make them easier to see but you can simply make them a light grey (or a slightly darker version of the hair color).

First darken the area between the neck and the side sections of the hair. As this area is somewhat hidden less light will tend to reach there.

Curly anime hair shadows front drawing

Next add some shadows along the forehead area (as shown).

Curly anime hair shadows sides drawing

For the side sections first shade the inner parts of the curls. Next add some tiny shadows around the folds.

Curly anime hair drawing

Once all of the shadows are in place you should have a finished drawing of a curly anime/manga hairstyle.


Curly hairstyle tend to be less common in anime and manga than straight hair. They also tend to be more detailed and thus a little more challenging to draw.

Hopefully the detailed guide provided in this tutorial has helped you gain a better understanding of how you can create such a hairstyle.

For more similar drawing guides see the following:

  • How to Draw Anime Pigtails Hair
  • How to Draw Messy Anime Hair
  • How to Draw Anime “Hime Cut” Hairstyle
  • How to Draw Anime Hair Over One Eye
  • How to Draw Anime Characters Tutorial