Exercise 19: Braiding

How Exercises work and how can I participate?

  • On Mondays we will create a new exercise with a new topic and goal with either a 1 week or 2 week goal.
  • The community will submit their own work along with myself and provide feedback or tips on the submissions.
  • On Friday, February 14th THIS post will be updated with the new images and any learning tips and techniques learned along the way.
  • How can I participate? – Read the exercise challenge below and submit your image via the “Submit Image” button below.

One (1) Week Drawing Exercise 19 (E19) – Braiding

EXERCISE: Create 5 examples of braiding on the given worksheet

Braiding is more than just a hairstyle for girls. Braiding refers to the overlapping and look of intersecting strands whether it be hair, leather, chain link, etc. This is a simple exercise one you understand the way different strands lay over each other. This isn’t to say men can’t have braids either. Look at the Lord of the Ring movies for example, and how they treat braids on male characters. The “look” of braiding can also be found in armor, clothing, and accessories. It is a simple yet basic skill to have at your disposal.

What should you look at for doing this exercise?

  • What “trick” you will use to remember how to place the braids. Either remember the zig-zig in the middle or replicating the shaping of the bumps.
  • Look at real life references and examples. Study how the light affects the different strands and how it gives it form.
  • For hair, remember that loose strands will escape from the hair and it won’t all be slicked back into the braid.

For this exercise, there are 5 concepts that you can practice on. Each slightly different from each other but all exploring the same concept.

1. The first a simple braid front shot. Figure out which way you will draw braids, and which works best for you!

2. The second  braided armor. This is a tight braid pattern, that will curve around the form of the arm.

3. The third is the handle of a weapon. This is a tight braid to practice. Keep the lines more straight, less curvy.

4. The fourth is a braid that falls on the shoulder. This is when the hair is pulled back and is brought around to one side.

5. The fifth is a braid that starts near the hairline and gets pulled in the back. This is to practice braids at different angles.


Download this Exercise Practice Sheet on Braiding HERE . There is a layer that hides all the markings below!


GOAL: To acquire another skill set to add to your knowledge for purpose of future use.

I will go over drawing realistic braiding in this weeks livestream (hopefully Twitch will be working, if not I’ll notify everyone on our Facebook page).

RELATED TUTORIALS: Character Based and Getting Started.

Need some visual references or examples? Braid references are everywhere, just search for “braids” 😉

The Results Update – Friday, February 14th 2014. 

This week I’ve been working with learning the different techniques artists use to create the braided pattern, as I found out there were many. Rather than only choosing one, three examples of the process were included in this Braided Reference resource that was created to help out with creating your own braids. As noted, the ones with the “X” above them aren’t wrong, just inaccurate. In comics, manga, animation, or any media that relies on quick paced results, braids that are simplified are often used, hence why they are not wrong.

The different ways to create the braid are as follows

  1. Repeated Shape – Create that shape with three pointed corners and a smooth one, and repeat it down the line while mirroring the shape on the opposite side.
  2. Zig-Zag Pattern – First draw a tight zigzag going down the line you want the braid to fall on. Then create a curved line going upwards until you meet with the “stopping point”
  3. Curved Live – I would consider this one the most difficult but it’s when you draw a curved line in sequence and then repeat it on the opposite side, not mirrored, but slightly higher or lower. Finish it off with the zigzag going down the center to connect the two!

Lastly, it’s important to note that the braided pattern can be used for more than just hair. You can see the pattern in weaponry, armor, tiles, and within various other patterns. It’s not just for girls either. If you look at even newer fantasy movies like the Hobbit, both the dwarves and elves are lavished with braids intermingled in their hair.

You can download the full size Braided Reference: HERE


The user submissions this week were fantastic and in these two shaded submissions, they really understood the braided pattern and how to apply it in their work. The linework example is my own and was meant to showcase the pattern of the braid, i didn’t expect users to render and shade the example practice sheet but these two users went above and beyond the call for this week. Besides one of the examples losing the pattern near the top both submissions showed great examples of using the braided pattern!

BRaidingexamplesRemember: You can always submit an exercise even after the week is over! Check back next week for the newest exercise.

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3 Responses to “Exercise 19: Braiding”
  1. Posts: 6
    kazejin says:

    wuuut didnt see its only one week ;o and didnt finished :(

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