How does a character’s movement affect the way their hair moves? Part 2

Hair is a huge part of anime, and is used as an expressive device to show both movement and emotion in a character. Having the hair move in the right way will not only help make your work believable and immersive, it will also help tell your story to the audience!

So let’s take a look at how the movement of a character’s body affects their hair! This time we’ll be adding a few environmental variables like wind and water.

Before getting started on this half of the article, make sure you check out the first part here.

We’ll be using the following colours to represent body and hair movement, so look out for pink arrows for body and pink for hair!

Shaking head

Maybe your character got their hair wet and they’re shaking off the water, or maybe they’re strongly denying something with a violent head shake? The movement of the hair is really important in showing to the audience just how much the character is shaking their head.

We want to show the hair moving in the opposite direction to that which the character is moving their head in. So when the head spins left, the hair twists right!

The hair takes a while to catch up with the movement of the head, so as the character turns their head from right to left, the hair is still swinging to the right. The tips of the hair, the back section of hair, and any stray strands should be flicking in the opposite direction to the face.

Pro tip!

For the back section of hair, try making it flow from the top left to bottom right (or the opposite, for the other direction), and have the tips of the hair curl forwards around towards the character’s face.

Strong wind

Depending on the strength of the wind, the amount the hair billows around the face will change. When the wind is coming from the front, we will sometimes see the fringe or shorter front sections of hair pushed up by the wind.

Shorter areas of hair at the front will be pushed up and back, and the rest of the hair is being pulled down and back. It’s good to add lots of variety to the sections of hair – have some going up and some down to show the strength of the wind.

Pro tip!

The hair by the side of the face takes most of the force of the wind in the root area, which is why it is being pushed down and back rather than up! The shorter fringe section in the very front is being grabbed by the wind, and takes the main force of the gust all along the strand of hair, which pushes it up.

Underwater (face up)

When a character is in water, their hair is much less affected by the pull of gravity. Hair billows up all around the face, in all directions. The hair is also pushed apart by the water, so we see lots of smaller wavy strands rather than large sections.

When a character is face up in the water, the hair will billow up in front of the face. The key is to draw many thin, wavy strands of hair spreading outwards, while having some areas of hair around the face stick to the face.

Pro tip!

Having hair moving in all directions, with all of the tips of the strands curled will make the hair look like it’s swaying and billowing in the water.

Underwater (upright)

When entering into water upright, the hair floats upwards away from the body. In this case, we see slightly larger sections of hair, with fewer fine strands, as the character has entered the water upright, meaning the hair hasn’t been messed up too much.

Pro tip!

Have the finer strands of hair at the edges billow up and away from the main section of hair to improve the effect.


Dancing often involves a lot of swaying or moving from side to side, and drawing super bouncy hair with lots of movement will really help make the action look more lively and dynamic.

Having the hair flick up far away from the face will make the dancing look more bouncy and vigorous. Try making both the main section of hair (in this case, the pigtails), and the side of the fringe flick up and out from the face.

Pro tip!

Take a look at the tips of the hair, and you’ll see the hair bouncing up on the right hand side has the tips curving down, and the hair swinging upwards from the left hand side of the face has the tips curving upwards too. Try to draw the tips of the hair curving in opposite directions on each side, and this will emphasise the jumping, swaying motion.

Wet hair

Ok this one isn’t exactly about the movement of hair, but it is an important “state” that we need to learn how to recreate. When the hair is wet, the strands of hair are soaked, weighing them down and making the hair stick to the scalp. We see much less volume in the hair in this state, and any curls or flicks are usually reserved for just the ends of the hair.

For long medium length hair like we have here, we want to emphasise the weight of the hair, having each strand hanging down limp by the face, and taking away any volume from the top of the head.

Pro tip!

Drawing wet hair is similar to drawing very straight hair – make sure to give it plenty of weight, and keep the strands straight.

That brings us to the end of this rundown of different hair movement! Hopefully this will help you expand your repertoire and draw hair accurately in all different situations.

Also, remember to check out the first half of this article if you haven’t already!

How does a character’s movement affect the way their hair moves? Part 1

How does a character’s movement affect the way their hair moves? Part 3

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How does a character’s movement affect the way their hair moves? Part 3