How To Draw Braids – The Best Ways To Draw A Braid

How To Draw Braids Drawing Techniques

The best blog on how to draw braids for beginners and artists looking to learn how they can draw braids different ways.

The Introduction

This is an in-dephth page on how to draw braids. Have you ever thought of the many ways you can draw braids?  

On this page I will show you 4 different drawing techniques that you can use to make drawing braids easy. Braids hairstyles are often avoided by artists because of the amount of work it can take to draw in detail.

Why Braids Are Great?

The braids look works extremely well in spring and summer looks for hairstyles. Hair braids also look fantastic in fashion illustrations, beauty art, and portraits. There is something magical about the braids hairstyle. Although there are many amazing things hair stylists are able to do with hair.

When braids are well drawn on characters for comic books, anime, or portraits it makes the subject looks even more appealing. Braids can make your character sexy, fun, strong and sometimes playful depending on their facial expressions as well.

Excited yet to learn these 4 braids drawing techniques? 

Let's dive in!

Who Am I?

Kenal Louis The Artist of The Content

The Artist Behind This How To Post
My name is Kenal Louis.
I am a digital illustrator and traditional visual artist who loves to draw. I create a lot of line drawings using ink pens and I also produce some digital painting illustrations.

Over the past 8 years I've done freelance graphic design work and some editorial fashion/beauty photography.  Art is my passion and I am in pursuit of living my life as an artist. In the journey I hope to teach, inspired and encourage other artists like myself or just beginning their journey.

I am an artist for hire and occasionally create album cover art for musicians.

STAY IN TOUCH WITH ME.

Drawing Method 1 - How To Draw Braids Realistic Step by Step

This first drawing technique on drawing braids is focused on realistic braids. This style of braids is also known as box braids. After learning how to draw braids this way, you will be able to do it from memory in no time. How refined and polish your braids will look in your beauty or fashion illustrations or art will depend on you practicing. 

how to draw realistic braids step

Step 1:
Draw two parallel lines adjacent of each other. You can choose which direction you want the lines to go line the image seen above.

how to draw realistic braids step

Step 2:
Draw two more lines in the middle of the lines you drew in step 1. This time make sure they are closer to each other, but with enough space between them to where they are not too tight.

how to draw realistic braids step

Step 3:
Draw diagonal lines crossing the first line in the middle coming from the opposite outer lines. See the illustration for an example. I recommended drawing from the bottom to the top.

how to draw realistic braids step

Step 4:
After you've drawn the lines diagonal of each other like seen in the 3rd step. You can erase the outer lines you first drew in step 1. Now, draw a curve line to connect the tips of the diagonal lines.

how to draw realistic braids step

Step 5:
Your draw of the braids should look like this. You would have created a contour line drawing of the braids.

how to draw realistic braids step

Step 6:
After completing Step 5, you can lightly draw a fill within the shapes of the braid. This step is to prepare you for the next step, which concerns lighting your subject. 

how to draw realistic braids step

Step 7:
Now that you've shaded in the fill you need you think about your light source. Where is the light coming from to light your model or character? Is is the left or right. Wherever the light is coming from shaded a darker area opposite of the light source.

realistic braids drawing

Step 8:
Once you've shaded the braids according to your light direction. You can draw small strokes in the upward and downward direction of the braids. The strokes should be different lengths. Try to draw them quick so that they look more naturally drawn.

realistic braids drawing

Details Will Only Help

Just drawing a strand of braids or a row is not enough. You will need to practice this technique in application. The best way to get good at something and to develop is by actually doing and practicing. Remember the saying "Practice makes perfect." 

Okay. Maybe practice doesn't always makes for perfect, but you will certainly improve as an artist. 

Continue reading or scrolling down to see the other techniques. I believe this first step by step drawing of the braids was the most difficult, but it is achievable.

Towards the end I will show you a few drawings with the braids techniques in application.

Drawing Method 2 - Drawing Braids Step by Step Easy

The second drawing technique is all about keeping it as simple as possible.

How To Draw Braids

Step 1:
Draw a line vertically like the one that you see above. The line you draw is going to serve as a path line direction for how the braid will be created.

How To Draw Braids

Step 2:
Draw a shape at the top left of the line you first dew. The shape should resemble a candy corn or half of a heart shape.

How To Draw Braids

Step 3:
After drawing the first shape, repeat the drawing on the opposite side of the vertical path line you dew in step 1. However, this time make sure the second shape is behind the first shape.

How To Draw Braids

Step 4:
In this step you are going to repeat steps 2 and 3 downwards until you get to the bottom of the path line.

How To Draw Braids

Step 5:
Once this braids drawing is completed. You can then tie the end by rounding the end as you see in the image above. By doing this you create an impression of a hair tie.

How To Draw Braids

Step 6:
To then finish the drawing you can draw the loose end of the braids tip. Looking at it almost resembles a paint brush head.

How To Draw Braids

Step 7:
Now it's to experiment. Experiment by twisting the path of line in the shapes you desire. Once you have your path lines drawn, you can then star the process of drawing the braids.

On Keeping The Drawing Simple

This style of braids is suitable for anime, comic books, and cartoon characters. There is not a lot of details required to get the desired look of this braid. It's still a box braid style, but not extreme in details. If you are working on an anime like or simple character this technique is perfect for that.

Drawing Method 3 - How To Draw Braids Simple Step by Step

Simplicity. This technique for drawing braids is the most simple tutorial on how to draw braids. It is the shortest step by step drawing guide with literally just 3 steps. This simple braids drawing allow you to be able to create braids easy.

A Stylistic Approach To Drawing Braids

Drawing Method 3

Step 1:
This first step like the previous drawing methods is about drawing the path. The an S-curve line as seen above.

Drawing Method 3

Step 2:
Now, draw the first shape at the top of the line like a diamond without a top.  The shapes bottom tip should align with the S-curve line.

Drawing Method 3

Step 3:
Repeat step 2 and continue to re-drawn the shape repeatedly along the path line. However, be sure to start to slowly make the shape more thin as you draw it to the end of the path line.

Drawing Method 3

Step 4:
In this final step you can then decide to erase the middle line for the pathway in order to redraw them slightly bent. Now, this braid style is complete.

Drawing Method 4 - Drawing Dutch Braids

The fourth and last drawing method tutorial on how to draw braids is in the style of dutch braids. The style is different, but still produces a very beautiful outcome for the hair braids.

Drawing Method 4 - Drawing Dutch Braids

Step 1:
Sketch your figures head and think about how you would like the  big braid to roll off of them. In the sketch above I drew this front portrait sketch and dew the path line of to the left side like and S-curve.

Drawing Method 4 - Drawing Dutch Braids

Step 2:
To create the dutch style braid you are going to draw to curved lines like the letter "C" coming from the two outer lines. See the example above.

Drawing Method 4 - Drawing Dutch Braids

Step 3:
Once you've started to draw the c-like shaped, continue repeating the step until you've reached the bottom of the path line. Be sure to scale the size down as progressively as you can.

Drawing Method 4 - Drawing Dutch Braids

Step 4:
After you've reach the end tip. You can either draw lines twisted at the end or draw a brand to tie the end of the braid. Then draw the tip shape almost like the hairy end of a lion's tail or paint brush tip.

Drawing Method 4 - Drawing Dutch Braids

Step 5:
Shade in the inner parts of the braid in order to fill it in. After your first shade is done as evenly as you can, we are can then add more value to the braid.

Drawing Method 4 - Drawing Dutch Braids

Step 6:
Now, you can erase the middle shapes that make up the braid to give the impression of highlights. 

Final touches can be done to your drawing in order to add more details to the dutch style braids . This type of braids can be enhanced with more shading in value and drawing strokes similar to the very first how to draw tutorial at the top of the page.  The strokes should be uneven in length and flow well along the path of each braid tie. In addition, flying hairs can be drawn around the braid to make it look more realistic.

Drawing Braids In Application

The first time I attempted to draw braids was in 2016. I begin to work on this art series called the Royalty Art series and one of the persons I was illustrating was actress, musician and model Zoe Kravitz. At first I did not have an exact method or way to draw the braids on the beauty.

I searched online and found quite a few resources of various types of braids and practiced until I was ready. So since I was not ready at the moment I was creating the artwork of her. I ended up illustrating her with dreadlocks instead because it was simpler in order to get the artwork completed within a certain time-frame.

This instance in the body of artwork I've been creating was just one moment I sought to find an alternative way to create what I wanted. Later on I started the sub series call the beauty queen collection.

Zoe Kravitz - Beauty With The Dreadlocks

Zoe Kravitz

Drawing Braids vs Painting Braids

In a universal way drawing and painting braids can be done the same way. The only thing that changes is not so much the technique, but the medium you choose to create your artwork in. Below is a step by step sequence of images showing the process of this illustration that I created of a beauty I met on Instagram.

Digital Painting Of Braids
Digital Painting Of Braids
Digital Painting Of Braids
Digital Painting Of Braids
Digital Painting Of Braids Detail
Digital Painting Of Braids Detail
Digital Painting Of Braids Detail

The Final Illustration Of Kailynd

"Beauty Queen Kailynd"
Follow her on Instagram @kailyndyy

In just a year after beginning this sub series I created an artwork of Kailynd an aspiring model I connected with on Instagram. Although this illustration was digital, I painted the same technique to create the braids are used was the first one seen on this blog.

I begin drawing to Hair in a similar way that I would with Dreadlocks. Meaning and curved tube like shapes. I added value to each braid with the use of lighting direction, which produced the highlights and shadows that would light the hair. Knowing where my light source was coming from help me understand how late would hit the braids.

Braids Are Repetitive

Once I had this step done I added a little bit more contrast to make the hair and the overall at work look more realistic. The process for this took some time and hours to do alone before I could even start to draw in the actual braid lines. I spent the time working and thinking of how the light would be captured by the hair on the models head.

After this step was done I then went into the steps to create the braids on her head as seen in the first drawing method. This same exact technique was used to create a pattern seen in braids.

Upon finishing the strokes and the details of the braids on her hair, I begin to use define detail techniques I showed and method for the flying hair strands. This was done in combination with painting highlights over here to make it appear shinier and again real.

This was the first time I was successful at painting and drawing braids in a completed artwork. After the creating the art piece I felt proud because much Labor went into creating this hair, skin, lighting and all the other details.

More Examples of Box Braids Drawings

The Lion of Judah with Braids
The Lion of Judah with Braids
An African Mask Drawing With Braids
 African Mask Drawing With Braids

Tight Braids Hairstyle vs. Big Braids

Drawings With Braids
Drawings With Braids Incorporated

I remember as a child growing up in a Haitian household when my mother would do my sisters hair. I would sit there and watch her braid my sister’s hair and it seemed to take forever. What took her 8 to 13 hours to braid felt like an entire day.

Why Braids Hurt

My sister would complain about the pain she felt as my mother braided her hair. This used to make me glad that I was a boy and had short hair.

Decades later here I am whining about the pain of drawing great. Truly, the pain of creating artwork with braids doesn't even compare to the actual pain of getting braids done. Now, of course getting your hair braided is not always painful.

This does depend on how big or small the braids you are getting done are. Another thing that can determine how painful the process can be is how close and tight the braid is to your scalp.

Choosing A Direction To Go With Your Braids

As an artist I think visually drawing or painting braids take either more or less time depending on the same aesthetics. For instance drawing braids as cornrows is much more tedious than drawing a big fish tail braid behind your subjects head.

Truly, it is remarkable how much more braids can make an artwork magnificent. However, it does require patience and time. If you are stuck and don't have any Idea which braided hairstyle you should go with, you can take a look at The Right Hairstyles for inspiration. They created this amazing blog post, which features a list of braided hairstyles you can get inspired by.

Now that I have shown you these four ways on how to draw braids, you are ready. The only thing left now to do is to practice. You can do so with a journal or by experimenting in a piece of art that you are working on. Whether you are creating an anime character, portrait of a person, or doing some sort of fashion illustration, if you know have a few different ways you can approach making drawings with braids

Interested in learning more and seeing more posts like this one? Subscribe to the Kenalsworld site updates for how to draw posts below. You can also visit the "How To Draw High Heels" page if interested in creating shoe illustrations.

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Kenal Louis

Artist & Author of Kenalsworld

Kenal Louis
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