This week I've been working with learning the different techniques artists use to create the braided pattern, as I found out there were many. Rather than only choosing one, three examples of the process were included in this Braided Reference resource that was created to help out with creating your own braids. As noted, the ones with the "X" above them aren't wrong, just inaccurate. In comics, manga, animation, or any media that relies on quick paced results, braids that are simplified are often used, hence why they are not wrong.
The different ways to create the braid are as follows
- Repeated Shape - Create that shape with three pointed corners and a smooth one, and repeat it down the line while mirroring the shape on the opposite side.
- Zig-Zag Pattern - First draw a tight zigzag going down the line you want the braid to fall on. Then create a curved line going upwards until you meet with the "stopping point"
- Curved Live - I would consider this one the most difficult but it's when you draw a curved line in sequence and then repeat it on the opposite side, not mirrored, but slightly higher or lower. Finish it off with the zigzag going down the center to connect the two!
Lastly, it's important to note that the braided pattern can be used for more than just hair. You can see the pattern in weaponry, armor, tiles, and within various other patterns. It's not just for girls either. If you look at even newer fantasy movies like the Hobbit, both the dwarves and elves are lavished with braids intermingled in their hair.
I personally use the repeated shape technique, though I think I might try the zig-zag pattern at some point, to better suit my cartoonish style.