Mastering The Art of Drawing a Braid A Step-by-Step Guide

how to draw a braid


Drawing a braid might seem like a complex task, but with the right techniques and a bit of practice, you can create stunning braided hairstyles in your artwork. Braids are not only a beautiful addition to portraits and character illustrations but also a valuable skill for any aspiring artist. In this article, we will take you through a step-by-step guide on how to draw a braid, from understanding the basic structure to adding intricate details, allowing you to enhance your drawing skills and bring your artwork to life.

Understanding the Basics

Before you start drawing a braid, it’s essential to understand its basic structure. A braid is essentially a series of interwoven strands of hair. Typically, they come in three main types: the simple three-strand braid, the French braid (or Dutch braid), and the fishtail braid. Begin by deciding which type you want to draw and gather reference images for better accuracy.

Sketch the Foundation

Start your drawing by outlining the basic shape of the braid. If you’re drawing a three-strand braid, draw three parallel lines close to each other, curving gently to follow the shape of the braid. For a French or Dutch braid, draw the central section thicker and add two thinner sections on each side. In the case of a fishtail braid, draw two thicker strands diagonally and thin strands from the sides.

Adding Texture and Volume 

To give the braid depth and dimension, add texture and volume to the individual strands. Use light, curved lines to create the illusion of hair strands and emphasise the twists and turns in the braid. Remember that the outer strands will appear slightly flatter, while the inner strands will have more depth.

Interweaving the Strands 

Now comes the fun part—interweaving the strands. Start by drawing one strand crossing over another and use a wavy pattern to indicate the twisting motion. Continue this process, alternating the strands, until you’ve completed the entire length of the braid. For a French or Dutch braid, follow the same principle, but incorporate the thinner side strands as you go along.

Adding Details

To make your braid look more realistic, add finer details. This includes drawing small wisps of hair escaping from the braid and giving the strands a slightly irregular, organic appearance. Remember that braids are not perfectly uniform; there may be some variations in thickness and tightness.

Shading and Highlights

Shading is crucial to give your braid depth and volume. Use your preferred shading technique, whether it’s hatching, cross-hatching, or blending with pencils, to create shadows on the inner parts of the strands where they overlap. Additionally, add highlights along the raised portions of the braid to enhance the three-dimensional effect. This step can significantly improve the realism of your drawing.

Final Touches 

Finally, take a step back and evaluate your braid. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure that it looks balanced and well-executed. Pay attention to the details, such as stray hairs and overall symmetry. Don’t be afraid to erase and refine areas that need improvement. Consider the lighting in your artwork to ensure that the braid fits seamlessly into the scene.


Can you braid short hair?

Cornrows, mini braids, French braids, and Dutch braids are some of the best braids to try if you have short hair. While you may not have a lot of hair to work with, these styles look good on any length.

Is it OK if I braid my hair?

Though braiding is good for the hair, avoid any tight braiding styles as it strains the hair roots. Making tiny braids can lead to itching of hair and will cause damage to the hair shaft. The best way is to keep changing hairstyles.


Drawing a braid can be a challenging but rewarding experience for any artist. By understanding the basic structure, sketching a strong foundation, adding texture and volume, interweaving the strands, and paying attention to details, you can create a realistic and visually appealing braid in your artwork. Remember that practice is key to mastering this skill, so keep experimenting and refining your technique. With time and dedication, you’ll be able to draw beautiful braids that enhance your illustrations and captivate your audience.

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