How to Draw White Hair With Pencil


Ok; a real common question that I get asked
is how do I do white hair or white beards? I thought I’d take just a few minutes here
to show you the fundamentals. I thought maybe I could get enough across that you can have
a chance to play. This is, you know, just a section of a beard off of one of my portraits.
And you’ll see that there is some depth and there are, you know, beard hairs over the
top and, you know there’s layering, and yet I’m not going to, you know, create all of
that layering at once. And so this is my method. I use a 2B pencil even though I’m working
with a blonde or a white haired person, a white beard. The reason is because I want
that extra lead. I want to get there quick. I don’t want to overwork it. But I need clean
edges too. So I lay down a series of clean edged patches. I want them to be random enough
that they don’t just look like little rows of squares and triangles and all that kind
of stuff. But because I have this 2B pencil and I’m working on a white piece of paper,
it’s going to look plenty dark. And I don’t want to have too much in the white areas.
I’m creating some negative spaces. And I’m putting it on light enough that I can take
it off. Want to have those clean edges.Ok, let’s just go ahead and brush that. I get
to really take advantage of this because of the graphite–the extra graphite. The 2B is
just right for that. And I’m going to brush this as much as I want to. The nice thing
about this is it’s going to hold the detail because I have clean edges. It’s not like
the stump, which very well would take a lot of your graphite into–over the white places.
And also work it down in the fibers of the paper so I couldn’t get it off as easy.Now,
every time I brush this, it recedes what was white, back. Now I have a chance to come in
here with my eraser. I want to make a very substantial blade, something that is going
to hold up and yet have a sharp edge. And I want to be able to come in here now and
I’m going to take some of these, I’m going to clean them up and I’m also going to run
them through so that it’s more like a hair instead of just coming to an abrupt end. I’ll
decide on a few of those. And what’s happening here is every time I do something like this,
this is now the highest part of the beard. I don’t want to overwork this but you could
get as much density as you like. You have to experiment with what kind of a structure
is going to really be believable. But I think you can see I’m running it right through many
of the places that had nothing but the graphite on there.Ok, now I get to brush it again.
Guess what’s going to happen? We’re going to go ahead and push some of that or, you
know, distribute some of that extra graphite onto the white. Now it is no longer as white
and bright and I can take out a whole brand new stroke over the top of it. And every time
I do that, what I–the last one I take out is going to be the brightest one. Now you
may have to come in and sharpen something up. But you want to be very careful if you
use a pencil to not put borders on your strokes–I mean on your strands of hair. It’ll completely
defeat the purpose. We want edges to value; we don’t want to have everything outlined.
Ok.So now I’m going to come back in here with my 2B and maybe I’ll emphasize a couple places
that I want to go down through, be a little deeper. Ooh! Getting a little dark there.
Ok, so now we have some extra lead. And I’m going to brush it. Good to go in different
directions. I think. Now let’s go ahead and get our eraser again. I’m going to create
a brand new fresh edge, and I’m going to try to make a hair in the foreground. I’m going
to clean up one of those ones that was there, see what we can do with that. And I want to
be careful not to have it just be one white streak all the way through. I’d like to have
an apex to that too, a brighter portion to demonstrate contour and curve. So it might
be that I can take it out of the center and let it fade away into the rest of it. Again,
if you realize what I’m doing with my eraser, I’m using my tapered stroke. So it always
has a transition. I can go ahead and brush that and knock that back. As soon as I’ve
done that, I can come in here with a whole brand new bright stroke and make that in the
foreground instead. So many things that don’t pick up on the camera. We’re going to try
and solve that eventually but got to make do with what we have right now. Are you getting
the idea though? Every time I brush this and I make a brand new stroke, I have a chance
to create more depth. Some of you may have the electric eraser. If you did and you might
as well use it. But you don’t have to. I’ve done many beards without ever having an electric
eraser. But I just wanted to show you how clean the paper can actually get. You might
come in with a harder pencil to clean up the edge, making sure that you do not create a
line. Be very, very careful. Another reason why I wanted you to really become sensitive
and have the control so that you can do some things like this without creating a whole
other situation. I’m going to go ahead and brush it. Ok. If you had a part that really
needed to be dense, you know, thicker where you weren’t looking down so far, you could
actually come in here and take off a little bit in an area and make sure that it doesn’t–it
looks like it’s a little thicker and that’s why it’s a little lighter. So that is the
principle. I thought that might help some of you and have an answer to your questions.
So let’s go ahead and have fun drawing.

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