If you define individual locks too much, there’s a tendency for it to come out looking like a string mop. And if the edges are too hard, it tends to sit on the head like a leather helmet.
To solve the “string mop” problem, group the strands of hair into large masses and look for soft edges. This detail of a painting by Harry Anderson has the hair flowing in broad, wavy shapes. He has also softened the edges at the temple, just to the left of her eye, and where the hair meets the neck.
Tom Lovell has kept a soft edge on the temple, all the way from the ear to the bangs. The hair grows back from this point, and it’s almost never a sharply defined edge. Note, too, that the curls along her neck are stated in large masses, without inserting many lines in the direction of the hair growth to define individual hairs or locks.
Anders Zorn uses a big bristle brush to sweep up individual locks into simple patches of highlight.
On Friday, don't miss Part 2: "Hair: The Ribbon Secret"
And if you're in New York City, tomorrow, Wednesday, please come to my digital slide show "Dinotopia: Behind the Scenes" at the Society of Illustrators, 128 E. 63rd St., 6:30-9:00. Admission to benefit the Society $10/$6 (Students).
Tomorrow: Art By Committee