How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 6

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Intro

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 1

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 2

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 3

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 4

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 5

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 6

Shade the Cowboy’s Head

Lightly Shade the Head


This is where you begin shading the head. We are basically going to shade the entire head with an HB pencil very lightly in one direction.


Begin at the forehead and work your way down the bridge of the nose. While we are here, we might as well erase this guideline that we used earlier to place the eyes.


Shade around the cowboy’s right eye on our left. Then shade the bridge of the nose. While shading the nose, keep in mind the surfaces on each side of the bridge of the nose.


As you get closer to shading the cowboy’s left eye on our right side, sketch in a few extra details typically found around an eye. If you still have a guideline mark in the white of the eye like I do, be careful to not get rid of any surrounding details when erasing it.


Continue to lightly shade the rest of the face. Stay consistent with your pencil strokes.


Keep at it by shading the same light tones over the cowboy’s beard, neck, ears, and hair. At this point, the entire head should have a layer of graphite that is very light in value.


After you’ve created a good base, you can add a bit more shadow. Make it slightly darker on the left side of the face, or the cowboy’s right side. Add additional shading under the brim, and take note of other shaded spots of the face, like on the ear, under the earlobe, and around the eyes.

Shade the Cowboy’s Eyes


Switching over to a sharp 2B pencil, we’ll work on the eyes next.


Starting with the eyebrows, draw fine hairs but build up the thickness in layers. Use short lines while drawing the eyebrows to make them appear textured and shaded. Draw your lines in the same direction as the growth of the hairs.


Next, make the lines around the cowboy’s right eye on our left a bit darker. Also, outline the edge of the iris and darken the pupil in the middle.


Now let’s make the iris a little darker. Outline the top of the iris along the eyelid. This mark represents the shadow the eyelid is casting onto the iris. As you shade the rest of the iris, make sure to leave the highlights white. We can also draw the eyelashes now. Make sure you don’t put them too long.


Outline the other eye now. Put a very light shading on the white of the eye but not enough to cover all of the space.


Work on the shading for this eye in the same manner as the other one. Shade the pupil a dark black. Outline and shade the iris, remembering to darken under the top eyelid. Again, make sure to leave the highlights white. This is very important in adding realism to the eye. Darken the eyelids on the top and bottom too.


Finally, add in some eyelashes. Like I said before, they shouldn’t be too long. You can check the reference picture to make sure you’re drawing them the right length.


We want to make sure the hat stays a darker value than the values of the man’s face below the hat. You want to make sure there is a clear separation between the hat and the head. Work to darken up the brim to separate values that are similar.

Shade the Ear


Now we will move on to shading the ear. This is mostly a matter of outlining and shading carefully selected darker layers over the lighter areas.


Sticking with the 2B pencil, outline and shade the V-shape found at the lower ear.


Work your way up to shading the top of the ear. Shade the middle of the ear too. Use a variety of tones to build up more realism.


Use the sharp point of your pencil to better define the coil, or helix, around the outer edge of the ear. Leave a little space between it and this other part so it looks like two sections going down.


Add a little more shading on the earlobe. Finish up by placing the shadow that is found under and behind the lobe. Make the darkest tones closest to the ear.

Draw and Shade the Hair


We are almost finished. The next thing to do is to shade the hair and beard. You’ll want to shade this area in a similar manner as the eyebrows.


Start with the hair. Instead of shading the entire area a solid color, use small lines.


Place these lines closer together just under the brim and above the ear. This creates the appearance that the hair is darker in these areas. Use tightly packed lines to shade the darkest areas.


Part of the beard should be lighter because it is not fully grown in. You should still be using lines to create the appearance of hair. As you move toward the back of the beard, make the hair darker.


After you’ve completed the hair and beard, add the finishing touches. This includes making the shadow created by the brim more pronounced and adding darker values around the hairline.


And that is how you draw a cowboy hat on a cowboy’s head!

4 Replies to “How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 6”

  1. This was a lot of fun. I liked drawing the tent too. I’m pleased with the tent but will draw the hat tomorrow. Your instructions are helping to plan where to start a drawing. Thank you..

    Not looking forward to drawing teeth but I will do this exercise too. I’ve been slow getting started but am picking it up each day.

    1. That’s so great to hear, Valerie! Just work at your own pace, and keep having fun with the act of drawing rather than the end result. Then you will always have something to look forward to, regardless of the outcome!

  2. I really enjoyed following along with your video “cowboy hat” I haven’t done any pencil drawings in years and this for a first drawing I think I did pretty good. You have a pleasant voice and speak slowly and clearly so it is easy to follow instructions…. looking forward to the next. Thank You

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment, Kathy! I’m glad to hear my videos are helping you. Let me know if there’s anything more I can do to increase your progress.

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