How to draw Afro textured 4c hair - an explanation/Tutorial
For those of you that don't know what 4c hair is, 4c hair is a hair texture type that contains coils to small and tight that the hair appears to be more puffy rather than curly ( like to photo below ) this is in NO WAY to be confused with curly hair. there is a drastic difference.
As a black artist that primarily draws characters with 4c hair, I’ve been asked many times to do a tutorial on 4c hair so here we go~
before we get into 4c hair, lets take a moment to fully understand it by talking about hair texture in a general sense first
let’s take a look at this example of straight hair vs curly hair ( 1 type straight hair vs 3 type curly hair )
If you take a moment to compare the two you’ll notice straight hair is flat, it has no texture. Straight hair perfectly hangs down similar to liquid-like silk. It’s lack of curl pattern is the reason as to why it hangs perfectly flat.
curly hair on the other hand doesn’t lie down flat and silky like straight hair, It’s more thick. Curly hair in it’s raw and unstyled state has a trapezoid like shape this is because the sides of the hair spread more outward.
So why is this? Why is straight hair flat and curly hair thick?
the answer to that question is a thing called piling up. When it comes to hair texture, the shape of the hair strands aren’t the only thing that matters, its how the strands coexist with each other, Curly hair strands coexist by piling up on top each other.
moisture also effects hair texture too, different hair types absorbs moisture differently, thus the thickness of each hair type is different.
.....soooo, how does this all relate to how to draw 4c hair??
Well let’s take a look at the drawing below. Notice how the arrows go outward more as the hair texture gets curlier. As we’ve already discussed, this is because hair piles up, The curlier the hair texture, the more it piles up on each other, the bigger it gets, the more outward the arrows go.
Out of any hair texture, 4C hair has the most curls. Because of this, the hair piles up on each other so much that it doesn’t lie down flat like straight hair, nor does it make a trapezoid like shape like curly hair, it instead becomes more cloud like.❤️
This is what you need to take into account when it comes to drawing 4C hair.
Think of it as piling up a bunch of cotton balls on each other. The most cotton on top of top to lead to a bigger patch of cotton. this is 4c hair.
How to not draw 4c hair:
Garnet fanart. Let’s talk about Garnet Fanart. I notice a trend that when artists draw Garnet from Steven universe, her hair texture is usually changed to 3 type curly like texture. This subtle form of White washing has confused me because this is inaccurate.
Garnet’s hair is in the shape of a cube. Though 3 type hair piles up on each other, it isn’t curly nor thick enough for their hair to stay in the shape of a cube. Curly hair lies down more than 4c hair. So garnet’s hair being in the shape of a cube is a dead giveaway that it is 4C. Why do you think hairstyles like flat tops are usually seen on black men with 4c hair? It’s because, the 4c hair texture is thick and strong enough to stay in whatever shape you put it in.
please, if you’re drawing a character with 4c hair, avoid drawing it like curly 3 type hair, this is very anti-black and texturist.
So, how do you draw 4c hair?
honestly, its the most easy thing in the world
i wanna clarify that blobby looking 4c drawings ( like the one on the top left ) can work depending on how cartoony your art style is.
Another thing that I want to greatly clarify when it comes to drawing 4C hair is, YOU. DONT. NEED. TO. DRAW. EVERY. HAIR. STRAND!.....like, seriously. I’ve gotten many messages about how 4C hair is hard to draw, and it’s always left me confused; but then I find out that the same people that have trouble drawing 4C hair, attempt to draw every single strand of hair. This is unnecessarily time consuming because it’s merely impossible to get every single detail down, especially when you have a simple cartoon style. 4C hair does not require much effort, all you’re doing is drawing lumps. It’s that simple, nothing more nor nothing less.
The reason why I greatly advise all of you to avoid drawing every single hair strand is because in real life, when you look at a 4C textured Afro, your eyes don’t pick up on each individual hair strand like straight or curly hair. 4C hair, appears to be more undefined and cloud like, so attempting to draw each and every individual strand is unnecessary and will most likely end up looking inaccurate.
Anyways! that’s it for now! there will be a part 2 to this tutorial that will come out next week! i hope you guys have learned from this and apply it to your black character in your art!~