A 3-step guide to creating futuristic hair

Clean and colourful are the watch words when you're concepting styles that don't exist yet, says concept artist John Staub.

Whenever the word futuristic comes to mind, I think of shapes that are simple, sleek and efficient. If these design elements can show through in the overall look then I think a convincing, futuristic hairstyle can be created. One thing I do is to look at fashion related media. By doing so I can get a good idea of what are the most modern and trendy styles.

Playing around with a variety of overall shapes can really get the ideas flowing. The key is to keep these shapes simple: they can even be geometric in design.

Adding unnatural colours and bright, eye-catching shades is another element that could give your hair design that futuristic feel. I usually think of those bright neon and saturated colours that you would find in a club or bar. For me, colours that cannot be found in the natural world work best.

01. Throwing shapes

3-step guide to futuristic hair

Be bold and loose with your sketch strokes to begin with

I'm using Photoshop to execute this demo. In this image I sketch out the overall design of the hairstyle. I keep it to a very simple shape to give it that modern feel. Here I have chosen a diamond type shape that's going to govern the overall design.

02. Chocablock mon

3-step guide to futuristic hair

Choose your colours and start blocking

I block in the light and shadow areas of the hair. I have chosen a natural brown hair colour for this particular tonsorial design. It is important not to get caught up in painting the individual strands of hair at this point and focus on blocking in the large areas.

03. All is light

3-step guide to futuristic hair

Individual strands and light are for the last stages

I add the lighter values and colours to the hair and begin rendering in detail, slowly working on smaller areas until I begin painting in individual hairs. Even though I start rendering out details, I still make sure I don’t break that overall diamond shape I established at the start.

Words: John Staub

John Staub is an illustrator and concept artist based in the Bay Area, currently specialising in the games and publications field. This article originally appeared in Imagine FX magazine issue 101.