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Hair Coloring Tutorial by LauraHollingsworth Hair Coloring Tutorial by LauraHollingsworth
All characters from the coloring examples are from The Silver Eye webcomic, by yours truly! :iconthe-silver-eye:
Download to see the super huge fullsize file!

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Resources
The most handy hair structure tutorials are this video by Proko and this
blog post.These are useful for thinking about the direction hair locks flow with different styles: 1 2 3 4 5 | Painting Realistic Hair | Shading with gradients: 1 2

Tutorials by me including: Gimp Brush Dynamics, Coloring Eyes and Coloring Method.

Final Thoughts/Dissing of smudge tool
As I was looking for other hair tutorials to plug, it made me sad. Sooo many of them recommend techniques that leave you with blurry hair, whether from the smudge tool, the airbrush tool, fuzzy brushes, or brushes with low opacity. I think rendering with only the smudge tool on hair is the Comic Sans of digital painting and it's a sure way to make any painting look amateurish.

When I first started digital painting I wasted months and months on the smudge tool. It only made ugly art worse and stole time away that could have gone towards getting better at Ye Trusty Paintbrush Tool. It might be a tool lots of people use, but smudge gets no mercy from me.
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:iconsailor-crystal-moon:
Sailor-Crystal-Moon Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Interesting!
(Also, yay, a GIMP tutorial!)
Reply
:iconbethandkate1997:
BethandKate1997 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2018
cool. 
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:iconblack-cat16:
black-cat16 Featured By Owner May 28, 2018
This is perfect if it comes to all hair colours except white. It gives me hell. Can you give some tips, please?
Reply
:iconlaurahollingsworth:
LauraHollingsworth Featured By Owner May 28, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Here is an example of a white haired character that I painted: Faolan for Tigryph by LauraHollingsworth   Here is a value scale: www.beginnersschool.com/wp-con… With white hair you need to be gentle with your values, it doesn't have much contrast. Based on that value scale, I would have most of the hair in mid values at 2-3, some brightest highlights at 1, some shadows at 4, and maybe a few strands at 5 in the darkest part of the shadows, but I wouldn't go darker than that (unless the lighting is super baroque and dramatic). White hair is also very reflective, and it takes on the hue of its surroundings. That's why it has a teal tint in my example instead of being pure greys. I always incorporate a bit of the background color like that when I'm painting white hair. I hope this is helpful, let me know if you have any questions!
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:icongreebs232:
Greebs232 Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2018  Student Digital Artist
this is so perfect so very very perfect <3
Reply
:iconpinchback:
pinchback Featured By Owner Edited Aug 26, 2017   General Artist
 Excellent, thanks! Sad to say I use smudge tool quite a bit; happy to learn a new technique
Reply
:iconomniscientllama:
omniscientllama Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2017  Student Digital Artist
this is really useful. thank you <3
Reply
:iconkatiestarrk:
KatieStarrK Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I really love this tutorial! But what magic gradient brush do you speak of?? 
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:iconlaurahollingsworth:
LauraHollingsworth Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Do you mean the gradient tool? (I made this tut three years ago, I don't know if I said something about a gradient brush :XD:)
Reply
:iconkatiestarrk:
KatieStarrK Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yes the gradient tool. Is this in photoshop or paint tool sai? (Or neither. Also thanks for responding!)
Reply
:iconlaurahollingsworth:
LauraHollingsworth Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
This is in gimp, but both photoshop and sai (and really most art programs) have a gradient tool.
Reply
:iconkatiestarrk:
KatieStarrK Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh! That's awesome that that's in gimp! Thank you!
Reply
:iconkearanorriscomics:
KearaNorrisComics Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2017
Awesome tips! Thank you so much! I have tried the smudge tool and it hasn't helped, this looks like it will though!
Reply
:iconfrost-raining:
Frost-Raining Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
......gradients......

AH THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS IT IS ACTUALLY VERY HELPFUL
Reply
:iconlaurahollingsworth:
LauraHollingsworth Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Gradients are my best friends! You are welcome!
Reply
:iconfrost-raining:
Frost-Raining Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Seriously though. This actually is helpful.
Reply
:iconnolmet:
nolmet Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2017
Finally, a tutorial I can follow! Yay! Thank you so much.
Reply
:icondevduck01:
devduck01 Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for sharing :-)
Reply
:iconredjanuary:
redjanuary Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much for the tips... I am never touching the smudge tool now :D (Big Grin) 
Reply
:iconlaurahollingsworth:
LauraHollingsworth Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
That's what I love to hear!
Reply
:iconjasonepic1212:
JasonEpic1212 Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2016   Artist
The first guy in the brown hair category looks like Jesus. And also really healpful tutorial!!
Reply
:icont0asssty:
t0asssty Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks ^^ this is really helpful (:
Reply
:icontastyraindrop:
tastyraindrop Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm trying to place all the TSE faces I don't recognize...
Reply
:iconpoi5onxda66er:
Poi5onXDa66er Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2016  Student Digital Artist
SO HELPFUL!

This answered a lot of my questions and gave me a lot of ideas!

Thank you so much!
Reply
:iconvip4-life:
vip4-life Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016  Student
One word to describe this: BAE
Reply
:iconunicorndraws101:
unicorndraws101 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks , helpful
Reply
:iconmidnight21:
midnight21 Featured By Owner May 27, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
hey there's nothing wrong with the smudge tool, especially when you're coloring with just a digital mouse...

But thanks for the tutorial XD
 
Reply
:iconxnana-tan:
xnana-tan Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2016
digital drawing with a mouse is like traditional drawing with a ballpoint though.. ;;;
Reply
:iconkahasyn:
Kahasyn Featured By Owner May 19, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing tutorial, thanks for making it! :love:
Reply
:iconwwwpaithancom:
wwwPaiThancom Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2016   Artist
Thanks for making! The large one i could not open. Can you check?
Reply
:iconlaurahollingsworth:
LauraHollingsworth Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
It worked for me. Here is a direct link to the image file: orig15.deviantart.net/d94a/f/2…
Reply
:iconkristov-c077x:
Kristov-C077X Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
this was so helpful to me, you have no idea
Reply
:iconrasaom:
RasaOm Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
amazing
Reply
:icondaylhop:
daylhop Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2016  Student Digital Artist
This was a big help! I was looking for answers at 1:21 AM and stumbled upon this...thanks for the insight.
Reply
:iconsumo-strawberry:
sumo-strawberry Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
lol, same here- difference is it's 1:22 :D
Reply
:iconmadimizer:
madimizer Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2015  Hobbyist Filmographer
I was just looking through old art tutarials I pinned and I was like "wait is that Carswell Thorne's forehead?" then I saw levana and Kai and realized that you were the artist of those incredible fanarts. :o
Reply
:iconlaurahollingsworth:
LauraHollingsworth Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Lol! Good eye! :XD:
Reply
:iconguardiangraphixx:
GuardianGraphixx Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
OMG I LOVE YOU!
thank you so much :D
Reply
:iconlaurahollingsworth:
LauraHollingsworth Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
You're welcome! :)
Reply
:iconnumbai:
Numbai Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2015  Student General Artist
ahh 
i need a white hair tutorial ;;
Reply
:iconlaurahollingsworth:
LauraHollingsworth Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
The method is essentially the same. The gradient you start out with just goes from nearly-white to a middle grey. I like to give the grey a slight blue-ish tint in most lightings.
Reply
:iconnumbai:
Numbai Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2015  Student General Artist
Ahh
Thank you! Okay then
I'm gonna start being amazing! òuó
Reply
:iconmeeshell-art:
Meeshell-Art Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How do you use the polygonal selection tool exactly when it is straight lines?
Reply
:iconlaurahollingsworth:
LauraHollingsworth Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
It helps if you're working on a largish document (I normally work at 3500x2333 pixels) and when you're selecting it helps to be zoomed in 100%, or more if needed. You just use as many points as you need to make it appear smooth from afar. It takes more going around curses and a lot less going along straight lines.
Reply
:iconmeeshell-art:
Meeshell-Art Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah ok so just zoom in, and click around the lines a lot? Might try it.
Reply
:iconmaisunadokei1856:
Maisunadokei1856 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015
Thank you for this. I was doing all the wrong things. Repeatedly. (save for the burn tool because I can't even do some wrong things properly)
If I may ask, what are the acceptable uses of the smudge tool?
Reply
:iconeowynjedi:
eowynjedi Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2015  Hobbyist
Wonderful tutorial! I tried out just the gradient trick and it's basically MAGIC.
Reply
:iconkayyeh1:
kayyeh1 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
what program do you use?
Reply
:iconmoondragonwings:
moondragonwings Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2015
This technique looks like it will make life extremely simple! Thanks so much for it!
Reply
:icongemmillw:
gemmillw Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2015
Make things as simple as possible and no simpler.  You nailed it.  
A tutorial is always a place to start. This combined beautiful examples, with simple easily emulated ideas which cross software platforms. I was encouraged and look forward to trying your approach in the near future.

Thank you for taking the time to make this available to others.
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