How to draw Braids in Procreate

How to draw a braid, a fishtail braid, and a braided hairstyle using Procreate.

Braids seem hard to draw, but they’re pretty easy!

In this tutorial, you’ll learn easy ways to draw a basic braid, a fishtail braid, and a braided hairstyle.

I’ll be using Procreate, however, you can easily follow these steps even if you don’t have an iPad.

Let’s go through what we’re going to be doing in this tutorial.

  1. Tools I’ll be using
  2. How to draw a basic braid
  3. How to draw a fishtail braid
  4. How to draw a braided hairstyle
  5. Extra tips and tricks
  6. Final words

Ok, let’s do this!

Tools I’ll be using

For this tutorial, I’ll be using:

  • iPad Pro
  • Apple Pencil
  • Procreate app

I’ll be also using brushes from my Perfect Portrait Brush Bundle for Procreate since it has graphite and hair-brushes. However, you can use any brushes you want.

If you would like to test these brushes out, here’s a free sample for you.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

How to draw a basic braid

How to draw a regular braid

Step 1 - Draw two lines

Let’s start by softly drawing two lines that go slightly inwards.

Draw two lines

These lines will determine the space that your braid will be in.

Step 2 - Cut it in half

Add a soft straight line in the center of the two lines you made before.

Make a line in the center of the first two lines

This will be the center of your braid.

Step 3 - Zig-Zag it out!

Make a new layer.

On this layer, create a zig-zag line on top of the line you made in the middle.

Draw a zig-zag line on top of the line in the center

When you make this line, keep in mind that the zig-zag should be bigger on the top and smaller on the bottom of your braid.

Step 4 - Add curved lines

Start elongating the lines from the zig-zag to create a longer curved line that touches the one that is on top of it.

Elongate the lines in the zig-zag to start creating your braid

Step 5 - Finish both sides

Repeat step 4 in all the lines from the zig-zag.

Elongate all the lines in the zig-zag

Step 6 - Add the end of the braid

Using curvy lines that look a bit like an “S”, add the hairs that stick out from the point where the braid is tied.

Draw the hair that sticks out at the end of the braid

Add a few soft lines to create the hair tie.

Add a few lines to create a hair tie

Step 7 - Add the hairs that join the braid to the head

Elongate the lines on top of the braid using four straight lines.

Add lines that join the braid to the head

Once you have that, add some extra lines that fan out in the center of them.

Add more detail to the hair that joins the braid and the head

Turn off the layer where you have the guidelines, and, there you have the basic sketch for a regular braid.

Step 8 - Start adding shadows

Make a new layer.

Start adding shadows in the center and the edges of the braid.

Start to add shadows

This step is only to map out where the shadows will go, so don’t worry too much about making it look like hair just yet.


Step 9 - Make it hairy!

For this step, I’ll be using a Procreate hair brush on a new layer to create the hair strands and make it look more like hair.

Draw more hairs on the edges and in the middle of the braid, saving an area in the center of each hair strand for the highlights.

Make it look like hair using a hair brush for procreate

Continue doing this with the whole braid.

Continue to add detail to you braid

Once you’re done with this step, turn off the layer where you made the sketch.

Step 10 - Add shadows and details

Make a new layer.

Start making darker hair strands on the edges of each strand of hair in the braid to give it more dimension.

Add more shadows and details

Do this with all the braid.

Draw a few lines to add a hair tie where the braid ends.

Step 11 - Add highlights

Merge all the layers.

Using an eraser brush, start adding highlights to the center of each hair strand.

Add highlights

Do this with the whole braid until you’re happy with how it’s looking.

Step 12 - More shadows, highlights, and crazy hairs!

To finish your braid, start adding some extra shadows in the darkest areas.

Continue to build up the shadows and details

Continue to add shadows and highlights until you are happy with how it’s looking.

To make your braid look more realistic, start adding small hairs coming out of each section of hair.

Add hairs to make it look messier and more realistic

Continue to add light hairs all over the braid.

Step 13 - Finishing details

Using an eraser add some final hairs and highlights.

Add some finishing highlights

Continue to add these extra hairs until you like the way it’s looking.

And there you have it, you just drew a braid!

How to draw a fishtail braid

For this tutorial, I recommend finding some reference images.

It’s always a good idea to thoroughly look at pictures of what you want to draw, this will help you recognize shapes and will make your drawing experience easier.

How to draw a fishtail braid

If you look at a fishtail braid, you’ll notice that the sections of hair used to make the braid are smaller than in a regular basic braid.

You’ll see that drawing a fishtail braid is similar to drawing a regular braid.

The main difference will be the size of the zig-zags you draw when you’re creating the sketch.

With this in mind, let’s start.

Step 1 - Draw two lines

Start by softly drawing two vertical lines that are slightly pointing inward.

Draw two lines

These two lines will determine the area that your braid will have.

Step 2 - Add a centerline

Softly add a line that cuts those two lines in half.

Add a line in the center

This will be the center of your braid.

Step 3 - Draw a small zig-zagy line!

Make a new layer.

On this layer, draw a zig-zag line to mark the center of the braid.

Draw a zig-zag line in the center.

The gaps in this zig-zag should be small for it to look like a fishtail braid instead of a regular one.

Step 4 - Add curved lines

Start to elongate the lines in the zig-zag with lines that finish as an upward curve.

Start o elongate the lines in the zig-zag

These lines should reach the two lines you drew at the beginning of this tutorial.

Do this for both sides of the braid.

Finish both sides of the braid

Step 5 - Add a tail to that fishtail!

Once both sides are done, it’s line to add the hairs that are sticking out of the braid.

So, at the endpoint of the braid, add soft curvy lines to create the tail of the braid.

Add the hair that sticks out at the end of the braid

Once you like how this is looking, add soft curved lines where the braid and the lines you did before meet to create the hair tie.

Draw a hair tie

Step 6 - Join your braid to a head

You’re almost done with your braid sketch.

To finish, go to the top part of your braid and elongate the lines at the top to create sort of a “folding fan” shape.

In the center of this, make more soft lines following the shape of the “fan”.

Join the braid to the head

And there you have it! That’s the main sketch of your fishtail braid.

Step 7 - Start to add shadows

In this step, you will gently start to map out where the shadows will go.

Make a new layer.

Start to add soft shadows where on the edges of the braid and in the center area where the zig-zag is.

Add also shadows where the braid meets the head, and on the “tail” of your braid.

Start to add some shadows

Try to not get too caught up in this step, the idea is just to map out the shadows, it doesn’t need to be perfect.

Step 8 - It’s hair time!

Make a new layer.

I’ll be using my procreate hair brushes for this part, you don’t need to use a hair brush but it will make your hair drawing experience easier.

Here’s a free sample of the brushes I’m using in this tutorial if you would like to try it out.

With the brush, start to add hairs in the areas where you added the shadows.

Use a hair brush to make your drawing look more like hair.

Continue to do this in the whole braid.

Once you’re done with this step, you can turn off the sketch layer.

Extra tip: You can use the same brush like an eraser to tidy up your drawing a bit. Using the same brush you’re using to draw as an eraser helps all the lines look cohesive and the drawing seems more realistic.

Step 9 - More shadows and details

Start to make darker hair strands in the areas where there are more shadows, like in the center, and the edges of the braid.

This will help you clean up the edges of your drawing a bit.

Add more shadows and details

Once you’re done with this, add a few soft curved lines at the end of the braid to draw the hair tie.

Add value to the hair tie

Step 10 - Add highlights

Merge all the layers but the layer where you have the sketch.

Using the hair brush as an eraser, start to add subtle highlights in the center of the hair strands.

Continue adding highlights

Softly bring up the highlights, try not to go super hard on this step, and this way you’ll have more values which will help your drawing look more realistic.

Step 11 - More shadows and highlights

Make a new layer and continue to build up the values of the dark areas.

Add more shadows, haighlights, and details

Once you’re happy with how it’s looking, merge all the layers and start to bring in some finishing highlights with the eraser.

Continue to do this until you’re happy with how your braid is looking.

Continue to add highlights

Step 12 - Finishing touches and wild hairs!

To finish your braid, start adding soft single hairs all over your drawing to make it look a bit messier and not so perfect.

Add extra hairs to make your drawing more realistic

We have too many hairs to be able to keep them all in order, so adding some wild hairs helps you create a real looking braid.

Continue to add wild and crazy hairs all over your braid.

Add crazy hairs all over your drawing

Once you like how it’s looking, pull out the eraser tool and continue to add some wild hairs.

Add some finishing highlights, and there you go!

Add some finishing highlights

You drew a fishtail braid!

How to draw a braided hairstyle

I’ll be using this reference image to do this tutorial.

How to draw a braided hairstyle

Step 1 - Break it down in geometric shapes

Let’s start by mapping out the area that the hairstyle covers.

Draw rough lines that help you determine the space that the braids will have.

Map out the shapes

Don’t worry about it looking perfect.

Step 2 - Divide the head and create tubes for the braids

Make a new layer.

Let’s divide the head in sections where the braids will be.

Draw “horizontal” lines that divide the head in sections.

Start to add sections to the head

Now draw perpendicular curved lines to divide those sections into small squares.

Create small squares in the head

Now, let’s start making the braids.

Draw two lines from the center of these squares, they will sort of create a “tube” where each of the braids in the hairstyle are.

Start to draw tube shapes where the braids will go

Continue to do this with all the hair.

Look at your reference image during this step to see where the braids go for each of those small squares.

Add tubes for all the tiny squares

After you’re done with all the squares, continue to add tubes for the braids that are missing, like behind the head, the bun, etc.

Finish to draw the tubes where the braids will go

Look at your reference image to make sure that the braids are in place.

It’s not necessary that you follow it exactly, but the reference image will help you get an idea of how the hair behaves.

Step 3 - Divide each tube

Go to each of the tubes and make a line that divides the tube in two parts.

start to break the tubes in half

This line doesn’t have to be exactly in the center of each tube.

Do this with all the tubes.

break all the tubes in half

Merge all the layers you’ve made so far and rename it “Base”

Step 4 - Bring in the zig-zag!

Make a new layer.

Over one of the centerlines of a tube, draw a zig-zagy line.

start to add a zig-zag in the center of the tubes

This zig-zag should be smaller the more down you go in the braid.

This will be where the hairs intertwine on each braid.

Continue to do this.

Add a zig-zag in all the tubes
Pro tip: Since all the braids go in different directions, you won’t be able to see the center of all of them. Some of them will be in a side view, to achieve this in your drawing, do some small “C” shapes all over some of the tubes.
If a braid is on the side, draw c shapes

Step 5 - Add curved lines to make them look like braids

Start to elongate the lines on the zig-zag with curved lines to turn the tubes into braids.

Begin to make the tubes look more like braids

Do this with all the tubes.

Turn all the tubes into braids

Step 6 - Add ends to the braids and connect them to the head

A braided hairstyle can end in a bead or with the hair that is left on the braid.

In this case, I’ll draw beads to finish the braids.

At the end of each braid, draw a small circle to create the beads.

FInish the braids with beads

You can draw more than one bead or beads with different shapes in a braid to make it more fun.

When you’re done with that, it’s time to join the braids to the head.

To do that, add some lines going out of the top of the braid that fill the square space on the base.

Add some lines to join the braids to the head

Once you’ve done that, turn off the base layer, merge all the other layers and rename it “sketch” to keep your illustration organized.

Step 7 - Bring some tones

Make a new layer.

Start to softly add some shadows where you see them in your reference image.

Start to add some value to your drawing

Do this in all the illustration.

Don’t worry about making it look like hair just yet, just have fun mapping out the shadows.

Step 8 - Hair it up!

Make a new layer.

Using a brush for hair, start to make it look more like hair.

Use a Procreate hair brush to make them look more like hair

Take your time and have fun on this step.

This is just the base of the hair so don’t worry too much about it being perfect.

Step 9 - Bring in the highlights

Using the same brush you used before as an eraser brush, start to slowly build the highlights of each braid.

Add some highlights
Extra tip: keep in mind that the braids that are in the shadow areas will have softer highlights than the ones that are more illuminated. Make sure that they have different values of line.
Continue to add highlights

Step 10 - Finesse the shadows and lights

Continue to go over your illustrations adding shadows and highlights until you are happy with how it’s looking.

Add more shadows and highlights

Step 11 - Finishing touches and baby hairs!

Merge all the layers except the sketch.

Add some small hairs coming out of the braids to make them messier and more realistic.

Do this with a small brush and a small eraser brush to add more detail into your artwork.

Draw some messy hairs and some baby hairs

Add some baby hairs coming out at the base of the forehead to finish your illustration.

Add more baby hairs

And there you have it! An illustration of a braided hairstyle!

Extra tips

  • Remember when you’re drawing braids to make the top part a bit thicker than the part of the braid that is in the bottom.
  • When you’re adding the hair and the shadows, start softly and slowly build the drawing up, it’s important to have different values of line when you’re drawing hair to make it look realistic.
  • Adding small extra hairs will always make your braid illustration look more complete, so add them slowly and build them up to create a more realistic illustration of a braid.
How to draw Braids with Procreate

Final words

That’s all folks! 

That’s how you can easily draw braids even if you’re a beginner!

I would love to hear from you.

Which of these tutorials was your favorite?

Let me know in the comments.

I hope you found this helpful!

Until the next time.

Stay awesome!