Ninique's Minidollz

Tutorials - Hairstyles 1

This is the second in a series of two tutorials that shows how to make different hairstyles for your pixel dolls. In this one, I will explain different variations of updos.

I will often only touch on shading, because I want to explain a lot of different styles, so if you don't know how to shade hair, I suggest you read my Hairstyles 1 tutorial first. There are also a lot of animated gifs, and you're welcome to save them in order to examine each frame properly.

Here is the palette we'll be using. Colour F is a blend color, it normally won't be part of hair palettes you'll find. To make it, take colour D, lower the saturation and raise the lightness. . . or if you're lazy, you can take it off the eyebrows XD


Jump to:

Pulled Back Hair

Result: Pulledback (with part) Result: Pulledback
  1. In the first hairstyles tutorial, I explained the inwards and outwards parts. Now I will show you a third option: pulled back hair. You can do this either with or without a part, depending on the style you'll be going for after. I'll be showing both at the same time.

    So first you need to draw the hairline, as well as the outer outline of the hair. You can check out Dea's Guide if you don't know where to put the hairline. I personally like to use the highlight of the base's forehead as guide.

  2. Erase the base under the hair, then flood fill it in colour D. I like to take the opportunity to correct the outline if neccessairy

  3. Now you start shading. You need to put very little of colour B, especially at the front, or else it will look like there's way too much volume. In fact, as you see, a few pixels is often enough. You can shade more near the ears.

    Notice the difference between the two versions. When there's a part, the strands go diagonally, whereas when there is no part, they go straight up.

  4. Continue shading with colour C. You can correct the Color B shading at this stage if you see you put too much of it, or if it wasn't placed properly.

  5. Put just a little highlights, and place them more towards the front than.

  6. Now if you want it to look more realistic, you can shade the front outline a lighter colour. (here, I used a combination of Color B and C) Then, take Colour F to antialias the outline and blend it in. If you have a part, also put a couple of pixels of Colour F in the front section of the part.

    Also, shade under the ears. You can use colours C or D for that.


Result: Bangs
  1. As for anything else, Start with the outline. Put the hairline higher that it normally would be, then draw a soft curve just above the eyebrows. You can make this style with or without a part, just like normal pulled back hair. In this example, she has a part, but if you don't have one, just use the technique described above to shade the non-bangs part of the hair.

  2. Now, you could leave it the way it was, but it's a little plain, so erase some parts and with the curve tool and/or pencil, draw little triangles where the bangs might have separated (I know the animation is a bit gif-eaten, but I realised it too late and can't do much about it)

  3. You don't have to do this either if you're not going for that look, but I like to also add a few strands of non-banged hair on either side. (Again, I appologize for the deeds of the gif-monster in the animation)

  4. For the shading: You shade the bangs with vertical strands, and the top part just like normal parted hair. Notice there is very little of Colour B in the shading.

  5. To make it look more realistic, you can shade part of the outline, as well as the line at the top of the bangs that's adjacent to lighter shading.


Result: Bun
  1. Now for something easy: a bun. For the outline, draw an semi-circle on top of the head. Don't make it too big. Remember: buns are usually made near the back of the head, not straight on top.

  2. Put the shading towards the sides and a bit at the bottom, and the highlights in the middle top.

Two Buns

Result: Two Buns
  1. For this type of bun, I find it easier to draw the outline freehand rather using the curve tool. So just draw an approximate shape (it helps to zoom in a lot when drawing things freehand) then clean it up. For the sake of this tutorial, the two buns are going to be exactly the same because I'm lazy, but you don't have to do that.

  2. Darker shades go at the bottom and close to the head. You can draw little strands in the buns if you have room. Stray hairs are a nice addition ^^


Result: Ponytail (behind head) Result: Ponytail (on shoulder)
  1. The problem with ponytails is that they are often at the back of the head, and hidden by the neck. When dolling, you need to actually draw them in anyway, or else it won't be clear that the doll has a ponytail.

    Now if you're going for a low ponytail, (with the elastic near the nape) often just a few pixels around the neck would be enough. You don't even need an outline.

  2. However, if the ponytail is high, and especially if the hair is pretty long, the hair tends to go rest on the shoulder, so you can draw the ponytail on the shoulder.

    Outline it with the curve tool, and just shade it like you would shade normal straight hair. You can also add stray hairs.

Pig Tails

Result: Pig Tails
  1. Pig tails tend to curve either inwards or outwards. Here I'm making them curve inwards because I find it's easier to draw, and looks better anyway. Outline them using the curve tool in several shots. Here I've made both exactly the same, because I'm lazy, but you don't have to.

  2. Shade them as you normally would shade hair. Concentrate the the shading at the bottom, and at the top where the hair curves out from the head. Make sure to keep that curve in mind when drawing the strands in.

Plaits / Braids

Result: Plaits
  1. Plaits (braids) can be a nightmare for the novice doller. You have to draw them freehand, because or else, they will just look like two stiff straight lines. To start off, I'm using an inwards part (see hairstyles 1) because since plaits are usually located near the ears, the hair tends to drop down. I also drew two temporary green lines with the curve tool, to serve as guides.

  2. Now you need to take your pencil tool, zoom in a lot, and draw little C shapes in opposite directions along the whole length of the green line.

  3. Clean up the outline and erase the green line. you don't neccesairly have to make it 1 pixel wide *everywhere*. Also, draw in the end of the hair with the curve tool, like if it was a tiny ponytail.

  4. To shade, take ever section of the plaits as if it was a little ball. Shade the bottom like a ponytail. You can also correct the outline if you see it doesn't look good. Don't forget the elastics.

Fancy Updo 1

Result: Fancy Updo 1
  1. Now for a fancy hairdo: On unparted hair, start by drawing some c-shaped squiggles at the top of the doll's head.

  2. Clean up the outline. Not everything has to be closed up, and you can add some pixels sticking out.

  3. It's kinda hard to explain how to shade this, as it's a bit random. Like with the bun, keep the darker shades at the sides and a bit at the bottom, and the lighter shades near the middle top, but here you can play on that a bit. I also like to add some stray hairs.

Fancy Updo 2

Result: Fancy Updo 2
  1. Start with parted hair. Take your pencil tool and Colour A, then just stipple some random dots in two bun-like shapes.

  2. Clean out everything and flood-fill it Colour D

  3. To shade this, you basically have to go the same way you did the outline: random dots. As with everything else, concentrate the darker shades at the bottom and near the head.

  4. Now add some curls sticking out. Usually I'd add them directly underneath the buns, but in this case I didn't have enough room so I put them behind the ears. To shade them, draw diagonal lines, alternating light and dark colours. If your base is really small and the curls end up being only a pixel wide, it may not be neccessairy to shade them.

Final Result:

result doll

I finally settled on the pig tails, since I liked how they
turned out the best