how to draw dreads

How to Draw Dreads – Drawing Turorials and Coloring Tips

Have you ever admired the intricate beauty of dreadlocks and wondered how to capture their unique texture and style in your drawings? Whether you’re an aspiring artist or simply curious about the art of drawing, this article will provide you with step-by-step guidance on how to draw realistic dreads.

From understanding the basics of different dreadlock styles to mastering shading and adding accessories, we’ll cover it all. By following these tutorials and incorporating the coloring tips, you’ll be able to create stunning dreadlock drawings that truly come to life.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn the basics of different dreadlock styles to accurately depict dreads in your drawings.
  • Gather the necessary tools, such as pencils, erasers, and blending stumps, to create stunning dreadlock artwork.
  • Follow our step-by-step instructions to sketch the scalp outline, add volume and texture, and incorporate shadows and highlights.
  • Enhance your dreadlock drawings by adding accessories and details like beads and bands.
  • Explore advanced techniques to take your dreadlock drawings to the next level.

The Basics of Drawing Dreads

Before you delve into the intricate art of drawing dreads, it’s essential to grasp the basics. Understanding the different types of dreads will enable you to accurately depict them in your drawings. Let’s explore the various types of dreads:

1. Traditional Dreads

Traditional dreads are the most common and widely recognized type. They are formed by allowing the hair to naturally lock and create rope-like strands. These dreads can vary in thickness and length, providing a versatile option for artists to portray.

2. Sisterlocks

Sisterlocks are a smaller and more delicate version of traditional dreads. They are typically tiny and require a meticulous locking process. Artists drawing sisterlocks should emphasize the precision and intricacy of each individual lock.

3. Freeform Dreads

Freeform dreads, also known as organic or neglect dreads, develop naturally without any manipulation or maintenance. They have a unique texture and tend to be less uniform compared to other types. When drawing freeform dreads, focus on capturing their untamed and wild appearance.

Understanding the characteristics of each type of dread will serve as a foundation for creating realistic and captivating dreadlock drawings. Now, let’s dive into the tools you’ll need to bring your artistic vision to life.

Gathering Your Tools

To create stunning dreadlock drawings, you’ll need a few essential drawing tools. These tools will help you bring your artistic vision to life and capture the unique texture and intricacy of dreadlocks. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, having the right tools makes a significant difference in the quality of your artwork.

Here are the essential tools you’ll need:

  1. A high-quality pencil: A pencil is the foundation of any drawing. Opt for an HB or 2B pencil, as they offer a good balance between darkness and smoothness. These pencil grades allow you to easily create light, wispy strokes for the individual strands of hair and darker lines for the shadows.
  2. An eraser: Mistakes happen, even to the most skilled artists. Having a good eraser is essential for correcting errors and refining your drawings. Look for a soft eraser that doesn’t leave smudges or damage your paper.
  3. Drawing paper or sketchbook: Choose a smooth, heavyweight paper or a dedicated sketchbook for your dreadlock drawings. The paper’s tooth will affect the texture and blending capabilities of your pencils and blending tools. Experiment with different paper types to find the one that suits your style.
  4. A blending stump or your fingers: Blending stumps are cylindrical tools made of tightly rolled paper used to smudge and blend pencil lines. They create smooth transitions between shades and help you achieve a realistic look. If you don’t have a blending stump, you can always use your fingers. Just be mindful of smudging the rest of your artwork.

With these drawing tools at your disposal, you’re ready to embark on your journey to create stunning dreadlock drawings. The next section will walk you through the step-by-step process of drawing dreads, so you can bring your artistic vision to life!

drawing tools

Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing Dreads

Mastering the art of drawing dreads requires a systematic approach. Follow these step-by-step instructions to create realistic and dynamic dreadlock drawings.

1. Sketch the Scalp Outline

Begin by sketching the outline of the scalp. Use light, loose strokes to create a rough shape that will serve as the base for your dreads.

2. Add the Dread’s Path

Next, add the path that the dreadlock will follow. Keep in mind that dreads are not perfectly straight, so add slight curves and bends to make them look natural.

3. Build Volume

Start building volume by adding thickness to the dread. Use darker pencil strokes to fill in the dread, gradually increasing the width as you move away from the scalp.

4. Add Texture

To create the texture of dreadlocks, use short, sketchy strokes in the direction of the dread’s path. This will mimic the tangled and matted appearance of real dreads.

5. Incorporate Shadows and Highlights

To enhance the realism of your dreadlock drawing, add shadows and highlights. Observe the direction of the light source and use darker shades for areas in shadow and lighter tones for highlights.

Remember to blend the shadows and highlights with your fingers or a blending stump to achieve a smooth transition between tones.

“Adding texture to the dreadlocks is crucial in capturing their unique appearance, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different strokes and techniques to achieve the desired effect.” – Professional Artist

Example of a dreadlock drawing in progress:

dreadlock drawing tutorial

Continue practicing these steps and refining your technique to create stunning and lifelike dreadlock drawings.

Adding Accessories and Details

Enhance the visual appeal of your dreadlock drawings by incorporating accessories and details. By adding beads, bands, and other accessories, you can elevate your artwork to the next level of realism and intricacy. Here are some tips and techniques to help you bring your dreadlock drawings to life:

Incorporating Beads

One popular way to accessorize dreadlocks is by adding beads. Beads come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, allowing you to create unique and personalized looks. To draw beads, follow these steps:

  1. Sketch the outline of the bead using light pencil strokes.
  2. Add details such as patterns or engravings to the bead’s surface.
  3. Shade the bead to create dimension and reflect light.

Remember to consider the placement of the beads within the dreadlocks. Beads can be sporadically placed or evenly distributed, depending on the desired effect.

Using Bands

Bands are another popular accessory for dreadlocks. They can be made of various materials such as rubber, fabric, or metal, offering different textures and styles. Here’s how you can incorporate bands into your dreadlock drawings:

  1. Draw the dreadlock first, adding texture and volume.
  2. Place the band around the dreadlock, ensuring it fits snugly.
  3. Add details to the band, such as patterns or embellishments.

Experiment with different band placements and styles to create a diverse range of looks in your artwork.

Adding Other Accessories

Explore other dreadlock accessories to further enhance your drawings. Examples include feathers, shells, or ribbons. These accessories can add unique elements to your artwork and help tell a story or convey a specific theme.

Don’t forget to pay attention to details such as the texture and pattern of the dreadlocks themselves. Each dreadlock may have slight variations in thickness, direction, or length. By adding these subtle details, you can achieve a more realistic and lifelike representation of dreadlocks.

Get inspired by different hairstyles and cultures to add diversity to your dreadlock drawings. Experiment with different accessories and patterns to create visually stunning and captivating artwork.

drawing details

Visualizing the above tips, here’s a table that showcases different accessories commonly used in dreadlock drawings:

Accessory Description
Beads Small decorative objects threaded onto dreadlocks for added style.
Bands Elastic or decorative bands used to hold dreadlocks together or as adornments.
Feathers Natural or synthetic feathers added to dreadlocks for a bohemian or tribal look.
Shells Seashells or shell-shaped accessories attached to dreadlocks, bringing an oceanic touch.
Ribbons Colorful ribbons woven or tied around dreadlocks to add a touch of whimsy or femininity.

Improving Drawing Skills with Printable Practice Sheets

Practice is essential for enhancing your drawing skills. To help you master the art of drawing dreads, we have prepared printable practice sheets. These sheets are specifically designed to provide additional guidance and exercises that will further enhance your ability to portray realistic dreadlocks.

With these practice sheets, you can refine your techniques, improve your line work, and perfect your shading. They will help you develop a better understanding of the intricate details and textures that make dreadlocks unique. By consistently practicing with these sheets, you will gradually enhance your drawing skills and gain confidence in creating lifelike dreadlock illustrations.

Guided Exercises for Improving Drawing Skills

Each practice sheet is accompanied by guided exercises that focus on specific aspects of drawing dreads. These exercises will help you break down the process into manageable steps, allowing you to gradually refine your technique. By following the instructions and practicing regularly, you will notice significant improvements in your ability to capture the essence of dreadlocks.

Here is an example of the exercises you will find in the practice sheets:

  1. Line Work: Practice creating clean and confident lines to form individual dreadlocks. Pay attention to the flow and thickness of each line.
  2. Shading:

    Remember to use hatching and cross-hatching techniques to add depth and volume to your dreadlocks. Focus on creating smooth transitions between light and dark areas to achieve a realistic three-dimensional effect.

  3. Texture:

    Experiment with different stroke patterns to create the unique texture of each dreadlock. Try using short, curved strokes to imitate the appearance of tangled hair.

  4. Consistency:

    Maintain a consistent style throughout your drawing. Ensure that the size, shape, and direction of the dreadlocks remain consistent across the entire artwork.

By practicing these exercises and incorporating the techniques into your own artwork, you will gradually develop a strong foundation in drawing dreads and improve your overall drawing skills.

# Exercise
1 Line Work
2 Shading
3 Texture
4 Consistency

These exercise sheets are an invaluable resource for artists of all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner looking to learn the basics or an experienced artist seeking to refine your technique, these practice sheets will serve as a valuable tool for improving your drawing skills and mastering the art of portraying realistic dreadlocks.

drawing practice sheets

Practice makes perfect, and with these practice sheets, you are one step closer to becoming a master of drawing dreads.

Historical Significance of Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks, a unique and distinct hairstyle, carry a fascinating history that spans thousands of years. From ancient civilizations to modern times, these intricately coiled locks have held cultural and religious significance across various regions of the world. Let’s delve into the rich historical narrative of dreadlocks and explore the ancient hairstyles that have left an indelible mark.

Ancient Civilizations and Dreadlocks

Ancient cultures such as the Minoans, who thrived on the island of Crete around 2000 BCE, are believed to have adorned dreadlocks. Artifacts and frescoes depicting individuals with tightly coiled locks serve as evidence of the presence of dreadlocks in ancient times.

The ancient Egyptians, known for their advanced civilization and rich cultural heritage, also embraced dreadlocks as a significant hairstyle. Ranging from commoners to nobles, both men and women alike wore dreadlocks. In fact, the pharaohs themselves, including Tutankhamun and Cleopatra, were known to don this iconic hairstyle.

Ancient Greece, renowned for its contributions to art, philosophy, and literature, also showcased dreadlocks as an integral part of its society. Greek depictions of dreadlocks were often associated with individuals who were spiritual leaders, known as the Diodochi, or individuals who lived reclusive lives in wilderness.

The Cultural and Religious Significance of Dreadlocks

Beyond their presence in ancient civilizations, dreadlocks hold significant cultural and religious meaning. In various regions across the globe, dreadlocks are revered as a symbol of spirituality, wisdom, and cultural identity.

“Dreadlocks are not just a hairstyle; they are a testament to one’s soul and their connection to their roots.” – Rastafarian proverb

In the Caribbean, Rastafarianism, a religious movement that emerged in Jamaica during the 1930s, adopted dreadlocks as a symbol of resistance, African heritage, and spiritual enlightenment. Rastafarians believe that wearing their hair in dreadlocks helps them cultivate a deeper connection with their African roots, and it serves as a manifestation of their commitment to purity and natural living.

In North Africa, particularly among the Maasai and Himba tribes, dreadlocks play a vital role in cultural expression and identity. These nomadic tribes use intricate braiding techniques to create intricate dreadlocks that symbolize age, social status, and rank within their communities.

From the indigenous people of Australia to the Sadhus of India, dreadlocks continue to hold cultural and spiritual significance, transcending borders and time.

history of dreadlocks

The history of dreadlocks unveils the remarkable journey of this hairstyle throughout the ages. From ancient civilizations to modern-day cultural movements, dreadlocks serve as a testament to the enduring significance of diverse hairstyles and their profound impact on human expression and identity.

Tips for Achieving Natural-looking Dreads

Drawing dreads in a natural and realistic manner requires careful consideration of various factors. To help you achieve natural-looking dreads in your artwork, here are some valuable tips and techniques to keep in mind.

Vary the Thickness of the Dreads

When drawing dreads, it’s important to avoid uniformity in thickness. Natural dreads vary in size, so incorporating this variation will add authenticity to your drawings. Experiment with different widths to create a more realistic representation.

Emphasize the Curve and Direction

Dreads don’t grow linearly; they have organic curves and twists. By emphasizing the curve and direction of each dread, you can add movement and dynamism to your drawings. This enhances the natural look and prevents your artwork from appearing stiff.

Pay Attention to Texture

Dreads have a unique texture that sets them apart from other hairstyles. To achieve natural-looking dreads, focus on capturing the texture in your drawings. Use short, curved lines to represent individual strands and add shading and highlights to mimic the depth and dimension of real dreads.

“Varying the thickness, curve, and direction of the dreads is crucial for creating natural-looking artwork. By paying attention to these details, you can bring your dreadlock drawings to life.”

Incorporate Loose Hair and Flyaways

Real dreads are not perfectly neat; they often have loose strands and flyaways. Adding these details to your artwork will make your drawings appear more realistic. Use a combination of thin lines and subtle shading to depict the stray hairs, but be careful not to overdo it, as too many loose strands can make the dreads look messy.

Study Reference Photos

When in doubt, refer to real-life examples. Study reference photos of natural dreads to observe the way they fall, the variation in thickness, and the overall appearance. Pay attention to different hair types and dread styles to develop your understanding of the subject.

To put these tips into practice, here is an example of how natural-looking dreads can be achieved in a drawing:

natural-looking dreads

Common Mistakes How to Improve
Drawing dreads with the same thickness and length Experiment with varying the thickness and length to create more natural-looking dreads.
Forgetting to add texture Use short, curved lines and shading to capture the texture of dreads.
Drawing dreads in a stiff, uniform pattern Emphasize the curve and direction of dreads to create a more dynamic and organic look.

By following these tips and practicing regularly, you can enhance your dreadlock drawings and achieve a natural and realistic representation of dreads.

Coloring Your Dreadlock Drawings

Adding color to your dreadlock drawings can bring them to life and make them more visually captivating. In this section, we will explore different coloring options and provide tips on achieving realistic shading and highlights in the hair.

Coloring Options

When it comes to coloring your dreadlock drawings, there are several options to choose from:

  • Paints: Paints, such as acrylic or watercolors, can be used to achieve vibrant and bold colors. They are especially effective in creating textured and layered effects in the hair.
  • Crayons: Crayons are a versatile coloring tool that can be used to achieve both soft and vibrant colors. They are ideal for creating smooth color transitions and adding subtle details.
  • Markers: Markers, such as alcohol-based or water-based markers, offer precise and intense colors. They are great for adding fine lines, patterns, and intricate details to your dreadlock drawings.
  • Colored Pencils: Colored pencils are a popular choice for adding color to drawings. They can be layered and blended to create realistic shading and highlights. Colored pencils also provide excellent control and precision.

Choose the coloring option that suits your style and preference. Experimenting with different mediums can also lead to unique and interesting effects in your dreadlock drawings.

Tips for Realistic Shading and Highlights

Creating realistic shading and highlights is essential in bringing depth and dimension to your dreadlock drawings. Here are some tips to achieve a natural-looking effect:

  1. Study reference photos: Look at reference photos of real dreadlocks to observe how light interacts with the hair strands. Pay attention to where the highlights and shadows fall.
  2. Layer your colors: Build up layers of color to create depth and richness in your dreadlocks. Start with lighter shades and gradually add darker tones to create realistic shading.
  3. Blend with care: Use blending techniques such as cross-hatching, smudging, or burnishing to seamlessly blend your colors. This will help create smooth transitions and avoid harsh edges.
  4. Add highlights: Use a white colored pencil or a light-colored marker to add subtle highlights and reflections to your dreadlocks. This will make them appear more three-dimensional and realistic.

Remember, practice is key to improving your coloring skills. Experiment with different techniques and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. With time and practice, you’ll be able to create stunning and vibrant dreadlock drawings.

coloring dreadlock drawings

Coloring Option Pros Cons
Paints – Vibrant and bold colors
– Textured effects
– Layering capability
– Requires drying time
– May require more control and precision
Crayons – Versatile
– Soft and vibrant colors
– Smooth color transitions
– Limited color range
– Can be difficult to achieve fine details
Markers – Precise and intense colors
– Ideal for fine lines and patterns
– May bleed through paper
– Limited blending capability
Colored Pencils – Layering and blending capability
– Excellent control and precision
– Requires more time and patience
– Limited coverage for large areas

Consider the pros and cons of each coloring option to determine which one suits your artistic style and desired outcome.

Fine-tuning Your Dreadlock Drawings

Once the main elements of the dreadlock drawing are complete, it’s time to add those finishing touches and refine the details. These steps will help transform your artwork into polished and professional-looking dreadlock drawings.

Refining the Outline

To enhance the overall appearance of your dreadlock drawing, take some time to refine the outline. Pay close attention to the shape and contour of the dreads to ensure accuracy. Use light, confident strokes to define the edges and create clean lines.

Adding Texture

Texture is key to bringing your dreadlock drawings to life. Consider the texture of different hair types and incorporate it into your artwork. Use varied line weights and strokes to depict the unique texture and pattern of each dread. Experiment with cross-hatching or stippling techniques to create depth and dimension.

Adjusting Shading and Highlights

Proper shading and highlighting can make your dreadlocks look more realistic and three-dimensional. Take a step back and evaluate your artwork, looking for areas that need more shading or highlights to enhance depth and volume. Use gentle, gradual shading techniques to create subtle transitions between light and shadow. Add highlights sparingly to emphasize the natural shine of the dreads.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments and try different techniques until you achieve the desired effect.

To visualize the process of fine-tuning your dreadlock drawings, take a look at the example below:

Before Refining After Refining
Fine-tuning dreadlock drawings - Before Fine-tuning dreadlock drawings - After

As you can see, the refined dreadlock drawing on the right showcases improved detail, texture, and shading compared to the original version on the left.

By following these steps and paying attention to the finishing touches, you can elevate your dreadlock drawings to a new level of realism and professionalism. So, grab your drawing tools and refine those dreadlocks to perfection!

Taking Your Dreadlock Drawings to the Next Level

Now that you have a solid foundation in drawing dreads, it’s time to explore advanced techniques that will elevate your artwork to new heights. These advanced dreadlock drawing tips will challenge you to push your skills further and create even more realistic and eye-catching dreadlock illustrations.

advanced dreadlock drawing tips

Mastering Intricate Details

One of the key factors in creating realistic dreadlock drawings is paying attention to intricate details. Take the time to observe the natural patterns, twists, and turns of real dreadlocks. Then, use finer drawing tools such as thin mechanical pencils or fine-tipped pens to capture these details in your artwork. By carefully representing these intricacies, you can bring a new level of authenticity to your dreadlock illustrations.

Advanced Shading Techniques

Shading is crucial in adding depth and dimension to your dreadlock drawings. To take your shading skills to the next level, experiment with techniques like cross-hatching, stippling, and blending. These techniques can help you achieve a more realistic texture and volume in the hair. Remember to observe the light source and determine where the shadows should fall, adding a touch of realism to your artwork.

Adding Accessories and Styles

To make your dreadlock drawings stand out, consider incorporating various accessories and styles. Use beads, bands, feathers, or ribbons to add visual interest and personality to your artwork. Additionally, explore different dreadlock styles such as braided, interlocked, or twisted dreads. This experimentation will not only enhance your drawing skills but also allow you to showcase diverse and unique dreadlock designs.

“By integrating intricate details, advanced shading techniques, and creative accessories, artists can take their dreadlock drawings to a whole new level of artistry.”

Techniques Description
Intricate Details Focus on capturing the twists, turns, and natural patterns of dreadlocks using finer drawing tools.
Advanced Shading Experiment with cross-hatching, stippling, and blending to achieve realistic texture and volume in the hair.
Adding Accessories and Styles Incorporate beads, bands, feathers, and explore various dreadlock styles to enhance the visual appeal of your artwork.

By incorporating these advanced techniques and pushing the boundaries of your creativity, you can create truly stunning dreadlock drawings that captivate viewers and showcase your artistic expertise.


Drawing dreads requires practice, patience, and attention to detail. Throughout this article, we have provided step-by-step tutorials, tips, and techniques to help artists master the art of drawing dreads. By following these guidelines and experimenting with different approaches, artists can create stunning and realistic dreadlock drawings.

Starting with the basics of understanding the different types of dreads, we have guided artists through the process of sketching the scalp outline, adding texture, shading, and incorporating accessories and details. We have also discussed the historical significance of dreadlocks and provided tips for achieving natural-looking dreads in artwork.

Coloring plays a crucial role in bringing dreadlock drawings to life. In the previous sections, we explored different coloring options and techniques for achieving realistic shading and highlights in the hair. We also discussed how to refine and add fine details to the drawings, taking them to the next level.

So pick up your pencil, paper, and tools, and let your creativity flow as you unlock the secrets of drawing dreads. With practice, dedication, and the skills learned from this article, you’ll be able to create stunning dreadlock drawings that showcase your talent and captivate viewers.


What are the basics of drawing dreads?

The basics of drawing dreads include understanding the different types of dreads and their characteristics.

What tools do I need for drawing dreads?

To draw dreads, you will need a pencil (preferably HB or 2B), an eraser, drawing paper or a sketchbook, and a blending stump or fingers for blending and smudging.

Can you provide step-by-step instructions for drawing dreads?

Yes, we have detailed step-by-step instructions that guide you through sketching the scalp outline, adding the dread’s path, building volume, adding texture, and incorporating shadows and highlights.

How can I add accessories and details to my dreadlock drawings?

You can incorporate beads, bands, and other accessories into your artwork. We also provide tips on adding different textures and patterns to the dreads for added realism.

Are there printable practice sheets available to improve my drawing skills?

Yes, we offer printable practice sheets specifically designed to help you master the art of drawing dreads. These sheets provide additional guidance and exercises to enhance your ability to portray realistic dreadlocks.

What is the historical significance of dreadlocks?

Dreadlocks have a rich history dating back thousands of years. They were present in ancient civilizations such as the Minoan civilization, ancient Egypt, and ancient Greece. Dreadlocks also hold cultural and religious significance in various regions around the world.

How can I achieve natural-looking dreads in my artwork?

You can achieve natural-looking dreads by varying the thickness, curve, and direction of the dreads. This helps to avoid stiffness in your drawings.

What coloring options can I use for my dreadlock drawings?

You can use paints, crayons, markers, and colored pencils to add color to your dreadlock drawings. We provide guidance on selecting colors and achieving realistic shading and highlights in the hair.

How can I add the final touches to my dreadlock drawings?

You can refine the outline, add texture, and adjust shading and highlights to add the final touches to your dreadlock drawings. These steps help create a polished and professional-looking artwork.

Are there advanced techniques for drawing dreads?

Yes, we explore advanced techniques such as intricate details, advanced shading techniques, and additional accessories and styles that can be incorporated into dreadlock drawings to push your skills further.

How can I improve my drawing skills when it comes to dreads?

Practicing regularly and following the step-by-step tutorials and tips provided in this article will help you improve your drawing skills when it comes to dreads.

Similar Posts