Drawing braids can be challenging as it requires multiple lines to achieve the desired look. But there are several tips you can use to make it simpler.
Start by drawing out your basic shape, which should include zigzag lines and curves to represent hair strands.
At the core of drawing braids is creating their basic outline shape using straight lines to divide into sections that will later be filled in using curved shapes. This technique applies to drawing any shape object as well as braids - and forms part of this guide on how to draw them.
Use the outer shape lines as guides, then draw two more closer-spaced lines within them as guides to create the "organic" curves of a braid.
Starting with the zigzag lines as guides, draw individual segments that compose the braid. Each segment should start out thinner at its top before becoming thicker as they progress downward - this mimics how real hair grows, helping you create more realistic looking braid sketches. If possible, use real hair as reference while looking up pictures of braids online can provide great ideas as well.
Braids, by definition, feature curved lines. When drawing hair, these curves give volume to the locks while making it appear more realistic. To draw them properly, sketch rough guidelines with your reference image for guidance before beginning this step.
Draw a zigzag line across this guideline, drawing an arch shape at each point of zigzagging, to represent braided rope. Repeat this process until you have created an array of curvy lines which loosely represents one.
As soon as you start shading, make sure that you use light pressure so your pencil doesn't leave a visible mark on the paper. Use dark splotches on top corners and lighter splotches in the center for shading areas of the braid - avoid darkening all of its center without adding texture! If you overdarken this entire area instead, your braid could end up looking flat without depth and texture.
When drawing braids, it is crucial to use contour lines that reflect movement and shape to achieve realistic-looking braids. To draw contour lines, begin by identifying your light source and mapping out areas of shadow and highlight using an HB pencil - then lightly sketch in your outline using this method.
Once this step has been accomplished, draw two curved lines coming down on either side of the center line you drew earlier. Make these wider at the top and narrower as they approach where hair will be tied - this will ensure that you create an appropriate proportions in your braid.
Create construction lines as your guide when drawing the actual shape of a braid, using them to outline its form and incorporate its zigzag line that folds under each strand of hair strands - this step may prove challenging but will result in more realistic drawings of braids! Finally, add darker lines where shadowed areas on hair strands exist to give your drawings more depth.
Begin shading by following the outline of a braid as your guide and using a light pencil to map out areas of shadow and light with short, random lines using light shading pencils. This will add depth, contrast and texture to your drawing.
Start creating anime and manga-inspired braids by sketching a line that represents the shape you would like the braid to have, then draw several zigzag lines which indicate its outer form. At this point you may also add basic contours of its tail end if desired.
Once all zigzag sections have been filled in with smooth wavy curves, fill each of them out by filling each corner of each zigzag line with them and interlocking as you travel down strands. Avoid making these curves too dark; otherwise your braid will appear too harsh. Keep in mind that hair never appears uniform; try making each of the wavy curls slightly different than one another to achieve a more realistic effect.