Painting hair: 7 top tips

Painting any subject requires a certain knowledge of various painting techniques. But sometimes, it's the little details that can cause the biggest issues. When painting a portrait, most artists don’t give a second thought about the hair of their model or sitter. However, an altered hairstyle or hair colour can dramatically change our perception of a person’s face. Sadly, most of us have noticed this fact only after receiving a bad haircut!  

I have painted many head studies over the years and have completed quite a few portrait commissions. Throughout the years I have learned some key concepts to consider when painting hair. Keep these tips in mind and you will not be stumped when you are staring at a head full of curls! 

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Jonathan Hardesty has been exhibited in invitational shows throughout the United States. His work is featured in various collections around the country. He currently teaches online at