9 Tips for Painting Hair


“A Quiet Storm” (pastel, 15 3/4 x 15 3/4 in.) by Michele Ashby

Michele Ashby shares some quick tips that can make a difference in your next painting.

  • Turn your substrate around if you’re struggling – sometimes a different viewpoint can make you see better and understand more
  • Don’t try and paint every strand of hair
  • Sometimes less is more  
  • Try holding your pastel loosely twisting and turning it between your first two fingers
  • Adjust your pressure 
  • Adjust your hand and forearm positions for different mark-making 
  • When you think you’ve finished with hair – you won’t be. There’s always those lovely fine wisps going in different angles that will make a portrait sing! 
  • Look for those areas where you can add extra boldness of colour
  • Think about bringing in your background color too


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