This tutorial will teach you how to draw curly hair on Procreate easily step by step. This tutorial is for beginners.

How to Draw Curly Hair on Procreate [Easy Beginner Tutorial]

Drawing curly hair can be a serious challenge.

There are so many types of curl patterns and textures to draw, that it can get complicated when you’re starting on a blank slate.

I’ve already covered how to draw kinky hair, afro hair, twists, and dreads.

In this post, I want to talk about how to draw a girl with curly hair in Procreate.

I will only use free brushes that come in Procreate so you don’t have to buy anything extra. But I will mention drawing resources you can use to enhance your learning.

I also have a few hair tutorials here if you want to check them out.

I will be breaking it down into easy steps so you can follow them no matter how old you are.

Here’s what you will learn to draw:

Add highlights in your drawing wherever necessary

Let’s begin.

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I am currently using an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil to create all my illustrations. But you can use any tool – a pen and paper or Photoshop because the drawing method remains the same.

Let’s begin.

How to Draw a Girl Curly Hair for Beginners using Procreate

I’ll begin with drawing the head first, and then draw the curly hair over it.

Remember to create new layers and keep your artwork separate.

Meaning, that your outline will be on one layer, your hair color will be on another, your skin color will be on another layer, and so on.

This is because if you want to change the skin color later (to complement your hair color), you don’t have to redo the whole illustration.

So, I prefer keeping different items on different layers.

This will make it very easy to manipulate layers and change colors. If you’re just getting started with digital art, please read these posts to understand what I mean:

Step 1: Draw the character

I’m going to start with a simple cartoon face first.

I won’t go into detail with drawing the head because this post is on curly hair. I’ll start with the outline.

Draw an outline of the head.

I’m only drawing her to the shoulders because this article is mainly about getting the curly hair right.

Let’s move on to coloring.

Next, I’ll just color her skin a nice medium brown color and add some blush to her cheeks, nose, and shoulders to give her skin some warmth.

I’m drawing this on 2 new layers underneath the outline layer.

I’m using the Bonobo brush in Procreate (it’s free in the app) to do this.

Color the head any skin color you want

Next, I’ll color her eyes white and add brown lipstick to her lips using the Dry Ink brush in Procreate (also free in the app).

I mainly use the Dry Ink and Bonobo brush to draw my characters and hair in Procreate. These are very beautiful and versatile brushes.

Add more details to the face

Step 2: Draw the curly hair base

Before you draw any hair on a character, always take a moment to think about the shape of the curly hair.

If you can just sketch a rough outline, it will help you visualize how you want to draw your curly hair and what shape it must take.

So, on a new layer over the outline layer, I’m going to go in with a bright color and just roughly draw the shape of the curly hair like this:

Draw an outline of the hair

Next, I’m going to change the opacity of the sketch layer to 50% or lesser so that I can start drawing the curly hair on the character.

Now on a new layer, I will use the Dry Ink brush in chocolate color and draw the curly hair base.

You can use any color to draw the curly hair – for this drawing tutorial I’m using brown.

Pretend you’re drawing a cloud when you’re drawing the curls – only increase the tightness of the curves so you get something like this:

Start outlining the curly hair base

Once you’re happy with the shape of the curly hair, go ahead and fill it in completely with the same color you’ve just used.

You should get something like this:

Color the base of the hair

Don’t worry if your hair layer overlaps a little of the face, or the outline – it’s alright – we will make it look better later.

Step 3: Add curls and definition to the curly hair

Now, it’s time to add more definition and details to the curly hair.

I’m now going to take a darker color than the color I previously used for the curly hair (dark chocolate brown) and increase the thickness of the Dry Ink brush.

Then in the hair, I will add springy curls and waves like this:

Draw dark curls in the background of the curly hair base

The idea is to make the curls look more voluminous.

Once you’re done, decrease the thickness of the brush and use a light chocolate brown color to draw springy curls on top of the previous layer.

Remember to draw the curls in the direction of the hair growth like this.

Draw curls going outward in the direction of the growth

Take your time with this.

You want to vary the length of the curls as well as the type of curl – this will give your curly hair a more organic and fresh look.

Once you’re done with 1 side, do the other.

The green arrows represent the direction of the hair growth – this will help your hair look more real.

Draw more light curls outwards in the hair

Now, we’re nearly done.

We can definitely leave it like this.

But if you want your hair to look more voluminous, you can add stray hairs.

So far, we were sticking to drawing all the curls inside the curly hair base.

Now, it’s time to break the rules.

So, I’ll go in with a very dark chocolate brown (close to black) and draw thick curls like this:

Using a dark color draw small stray curls all over the hair

At this stage, don’t be afraid to draw stray curls that come out of the base – this will look like curly hair frizz that every single curly girl has!

It will give the hair a very natural look. So, be generous with these curls.

Draw stray curls outside the hair to make the curls more heavy and realistic.

We’re done drawing the curls.

But we can add some shadows to make the hair look more 3D.

Step 4: Add shadows and highlights to the curly hair

So, on a new layer, I’m going to go in with a medium purple and draw shadows gently under the head.

This is going to be the curly hair shadow. Here, the hair is more dense and light doesn’t hit this part. We want it to look heavier.

Remember to use the bonobo brush for this.

Using the Bonobo brush in Procreate, add shadows underneath the hair

Once you’re happy with how the shadow looks, change the blending mode to “Multiply” and change the opacity to 45% or less.

You’ll get something like this:

Change the blending mode and opacity of the shadow layer.

Now, I will add some highlights to the face, especially the nose and cheeks. You can read this post to learn more about how I add highlights and shadows to my drawings.

Add highlights in your drawing wherever necessary

And voila!

We’ve learned how to draw curly hair on Procreate!

Takeaway – How to draw curly hair + Resources

I hope this in-depth tutorial was helpful to you, and that you were able to learn how to draw curly hair on Procreate.

Drawing hair does get much easier with practice.

You can also get these beautiful curly hair brushes on Procreate if you’re finding it difficult to draw curls and want a shortcut:

procreate curly brushes

Trust me. Also, drawing with references helps! You can look at stock photos to see what shape of hair you want before you start drawing curls.

One of the best parts about drawing in cartoon style is that you don’t need to complicate things by adding too much texture. You just have to get the shape right and draw a few lines in the direction of hair growth.

I have a post that you can read on how to find your art style

If you’re looking to improve your drawings faster and want to really draw as a hobby or even pick up drawing professionally, I highly recommend picking up this beautiful online course that teaches you how to draw female cartoon characters.

Use code STRAYCURLS-10 to get a 10% discount!

This class will teach you how to draw a female character from scratch!

Draw a female character from scratch.

If you are just getting started with ProCreate, I highly recommend this course: Procreate for Beginners: Digital Illustration 101

It will help you learn Procreate within a day or a week at most. I found it super helpful!

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