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Hair Coloring Tutorial by lostie815 Hair Coloring Tutorial by lostie815
All characters from the coloring examples are from The Silver Eye webcomic, by yours truly! :iconthe-silver-eye:
Download to see the super huge fullsize file!

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Resources
The most handy hair structure tutorials are this video by Proko and this
blog post.These are useful for thinking about the direction hair locks flow with different styles: 1 2 3 4 5 | Painting Realistic Hair | Shading with gradients: 1 2

Tutorials by me including: Gimp Brush Dynamics, Coloring Eyes and Coloring Method.

Final Thoughts/Dissing of smudge tool
As I was looking for other hair tutorials to plug, it made me sad. Sooo many of them recommend techniques that leave you with blurry hair, whether from the smudge tool, the airbrush tool, fuzzy brushes, or brushes with low opacity. I think rendering with only the smudge tool on hair is the Comic Sans of digital painting and it's a sure way to make any painting look amateurish.

When I first started digital painting I wasted months and months on the smudge tool. It only made ugly art worse and stole time away that could have gone towards getting better at Ye Trusty Paintbrush Tool. It might be a tool lots of people use, but smudge gets no mercy from me.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconambrosiak:
Ambrosiak Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2015  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
Smudger and strander here....will have to figure out how to use the polygonal tool, never works as nice as yours for me.  Beautiful tutorial
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:iconabiyow97:
abiyow97 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for this! I've been drawing my hair strand by strand so it was really hard for me. I'll use this technique from now on
Reply
:iconrookie141:
Rookie141 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
wow, that's a cool method with giving the hair different colors already in the flat colored phase
Reply
:iconroccenere:
RocCenere Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I just wanted to let you know that I have referred people to this tutorial to help them get an idea on where to start with hair. (:

Amusingly, one of the things I find most interesting about this tutorial, aside from the painting techniques, is that each face of each of your characters in structurally different.  Cheekbones, jawlines, nose shape, brow shape, all different.  It's really wonderful to see!
Reply
:icontereseantonsen:
TereseAntonsen Featured By Owner May 7, 2015  Professional General Artist
Thank you so much for this, I have wanted to learn how to color hair better and more simply, but not found out how really, I am so gonna try this. :)
Reply
:iconkubuk13:
kubuk13 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for an awesome tutorial! 
Reply
:iconsameh-koko2:
sameh-koko2 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2015   Digital Artist
awesome :D
Reply
:icondeideiblueeyez:
deideiblueeyez Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
That awkward moment when you think the "Not recommended" shading techniques look just as good as the "Recommended" shading techniques :x

I get what you're saying, that it can cause unneeded stress to use those methods, but I believe if you use them right they can give a piece a sort of charm; looking at your art I can tell those methods wouldn't work for you because it requires something more refined and exact, more realistic, which paintbrush can give you. That all being said, I'm using paintbrush and gradients, slowly and with much torture.
Reply
:iconpinulqarium:
Pinulqarium Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2015
Excellent tutorial!
Reply
:iconevildollie:
evildollie Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
hi i used your tutorial for this fav.me/d8j2hfv
but i dont think i did very well :meow:
thanks for it anyway ^_^ 
Reply
:iconelementaljess:
ElementalJess Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Fantastic. Thanks!
Reply
:iconevon-adaunt:
Evon-Adaunt Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This was very helpful.  But one tiny thing, you can't just say not to use a particular style of shading I actually use smudge and doge/burn together and my hair turns out fairly well.  You can state that you wouldn't recommend using those tools but don't say out right not to use them it can be taken the wrong way.  Just a little tip but I'm no authority.
Reply
:iconlostie815:
lostie815 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you, I'm glad you found it helpful!

I'm not seeing where I outright said not to use a particular style of shading (though I know I make it abundantly clear which tools I dislike). The "Not Recommended" section is just stating what I wouldn't recommend. That doesn't mean I'm trying to forbid anyone from using whatever tools they want. Thanks for your feedback.
Reply
:iconevon-adaunt:
Evon-Adaunt Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I just don't want you to get the haters out there on your case.  ^^  Just looking out for you.
Reply
:iconlostie815:
lostie815 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Aw, thank you :aww:
Reply
:iconevon-adaunt:
Evon-Adaunt Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey artists gotta look out for each other ^^
Reply
:iconsakiru1:
Sakiru1 Featured By Owner 6 days ago
"my hair turns out fairly well." Sure Evon, with your childish style. But you're right, you're not an authority. Maybe in twenty years, your drawings will match these.
Reply
:iconevon-adaunt:
Evon-Adaunt Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Childish?  Its just a different style and you're just hating.  And I was only trying to make sure the artist's tone of voice wasn't taken the wrong way.  And the artist appreciated my comment anyways.
Reply
:iconsakiru1:
Sakiru1 Featured By Owner 6 days ago
It's just look like you're drawing with a mouse on Paint. You're really not in the best placed to criticize her, just say'in. She just told you to shut up politely, but you're so egocentric that you didn't notice :D
Reply
:iconmaplejazz:
MapleJazz Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Do you have a tutorial on how you did the feathers? I loved the last drawing!! or even a finished painting of the last girl?

Im not kidding I absolutely loved the final result there and really wish to see it as a finished piece.

also your comment on the smudge tool and some of your samples - it directly made me think of an artists work  :iconsakimichan: sakimichan on DA, and this artist is in no way what I would label an amateur, however it does look like its possible that they use the smudge tool while also being able to sharpen or define their work more somehow than your sample shows. I mean Im all new to this Digital stuff, but it was an interesting thing that the sample specifically reminded me of their style. although I would say your tutorial does give to a cleaner sense and a sharper outline then the [typical] smudge tool, and that artist, to me does seem to have the lines slightly more defined or something....
Reply
:iconlostie815:
lostie815 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! That last drawing is my favorite one from these. :D Sorry, I don't have a feather tutorial, here is the finished drawing, though: lostie815.deviantart.com/art/T… and also a feather study if you want a closer look at how I drew them: lostie815.deviantart.com/art/F…

There are a couple of advanced artists like sakimichan who render using the smudge tool and the paintbrush tool. I think their process is to use the smudge tool mostly in the earlier stages (which dulls the colors and messes with textures/edges, but I digress), then they go over that and finish the drawing using the paintbrush, which brings the texture and sharpness back in. I think the reason sakimichan's art still looks advanced is because most of the final product you see has been rendered with the paintbrush.

I prefer using just the paintbrush and color picker tool for rendering because it retains more colors and textures, plus since you're just rendering with one tool it really helps your drawing look unified in the end, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference.
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:iconnoebelle:
noebelle Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Awesome tutorial, thank you!
Reply
:iconkatrueyumenikki:
KatrueYumeNikki Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
what program did you use (to do that)?
Reply
:iconlostie815:
lostie815 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Reply
:iconkatrueyumenikki:
KatrueYumeNikki Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you very much! though did you used gimp to do the linearts?
Reply
:iconlostie815:
lostie815 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Yep, used it for everything!
Reply
:iconkatrueyumenikki:
KatrueYumeNikki Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
God i have no idea of how to do lineart with gimp
Reply
:iconbeegbot:
Beegbot Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2015  Student General Artist
gosh, this helps a lot!!! thanks so much!!
Reply
:icontheparakeet:
TheParakeet Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
I love this tutorial! Its very useful! Thank you so much!
Reply
:iconautumnczun:
AutumnCzun Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks, I'll try using your advise. ^^
Reply
:iconkiki-of-music:
Kiki-of-Music Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
WHY IS THIS NOT A DAILY DEVIATION.
Reply
:iconbenmaffin:
benmaffin Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2014
sweet
Reply
:iconfrienddesign:
Frienddesign Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!!!!!!!!
Reply
:iconoliriv:
Oliriv Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much, I did't have any idea of hoe to color hair :D
you are fantastic!!!!
Reply
:iconpsycho23:
psycho23 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hair is one of the hardest things for me to colour. This is really going to help me. Thanks!
Reply
:iconmao-kyoku-kon:
Mao-Kyoku-Kon Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2014  Hobbyist
 :iconohmyglobplz: it's amazing, thanks 4 share!!
Reply
:iconcozy1299:
cozy1299 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014
thanks!
Reply
:iconaquaaurion:
AquaAurion Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I never thought of using gradient or overlay before =O thank you for enlightening me!
Reply
:iconsilnev:
Silnev Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2014
great tutorial. :D
Reply
:iconanamated:
Anamated Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I saw this posted on tumblr a few months back and and I wanted to let you know that this is such a big help to those of us working on our digital painting.  Thank you again for putting it together and putting out here :)
Reply
:icondeidarafangirlartist:
Deidarafangirlartist Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very well put! I'm guilty of using the hell out of my blur/smudge tool~ Thank you for taking the time to make this
Reply
:icontenkamchi-sama:
Tenkamchi-Sama Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
not that i dislike your style, it's just that i feel uhm... your way of putting things feels somewhat arrogant... no.. not really arrogant... ah... i'm not a native speaker... i have trouble finding words in english...

uh... it's that every artist has their own way of doing things, and if I use dodge and burn, to make the hair glow in the light, for example, or smudge, to make them look softer, it is my way of doing things...

i do like the idea with the gradient... and shading itself...

but ah... i hope you understand what i meant by this... sorry for my crap english!
Reply
:iconlostie815:
lostie815 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for your input!

I write these tutorials as if I were making them for my younger self when I started drawing. I know that it's blunt and that it's sarcastic, but this is a tutorial I wish I had found when I was a beginner instead of listening to ones that recommended smudge/dodge tools. I think that they detract from the quality of a digital painting, that doesn't mean that people have to agree with me, or that they can't use them. If someone like my younger self reads this tutorial and decides to stick with rendering with the paintbrush, I believe it would save them a lot of time and hassle, and to me that is worth the risk of upsetting those who might disagree.
Reply
:icontenkamchi-sama:
Tenkamchi-Sama Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
well, then it's okay...
I just wanted to point that out^^

I think that every scenery requires different styles and so on, therefore i usually dislike one-method-tutorials^^

I like your motivation for doing this, it seems somewhat... how can I say...? it's almost cute^^
Reply
:iconlone-wolfkay:
Lone-wolfkay Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is brilliant will this work for Manga Studio 5?
Reply
:iconlostie815:
lostie815 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
It should, though the tools probably have different names.
Reply
:iconlone-wolfkay:
Lone-wolfkay Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Still have gradient, but yeah, different names just have to fidget around with the paint setttings (water colour, oil and something else)
Reply
:iconrainymeadows:
RainyMeadows Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Awesome! Can this be done in Photoshop?
Reply
:iconlostie815:
lostie815 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Absolutely! Some tools might have slightly different names, though.
Reply
:iconrainymeadows:
RainyMeadows Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Thanks. I'll be sure to remember this in the future.
Reply
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