Instead of trying to do individual strands with the pencil try to do strands with the eraser. Using the highlights the eraser will create to show depth. Take a look at my gallery for examples of the technique.
When drawing hair, it's really a matter of shapes rather than lines. If you're going for photorealism, which is more what you're doing here. Focus on the general shape of the hair and then the shapes inside it, building them on top of one another and layering them.
It makes sense in my head.
You've got the right idea here lighting-wise,but each strand of hair doesn't need attention, I guess is the nutshell version.
I think your shading in the face is really good and so are the shapes in the hair. I just think you lose a lot of depth because you made all of the hair one shade. A good thing to do is to block out any areas you intend to have bright highlights. Or any highlight for that matter. You will always be able to go in and make certain things darker but it is a lot more difficult to try and bring the white of the paper back again.
Very true. Thanks for the advice! Drawing hair realistically has always been a problem for me. I've got the face down and then when I start on the hair, it drives me nuts! Not to mention all the hours I spend on it, trying (but failing) to make it look real.
But I'll tell you something that you can try if you want to. Something that I've done a couple of times when I actually draw people First, draw lines in the shape you want your hair to look (in the instance of drawing in black and white, the amount of pencil strokes you use to fill in the shape of the hair will greatly affect how the "color" of the hair will turn out. For example, if wanted blond hair you'd use less lines and leave more of the white background of the paper) Then, use your finger or smudge stick, if you have one, and smudge the hair...area. After that, draw the flow of the hair again. Then, you smudge, draw the lines, smudge again, etc. until you're satisfied. Also, smudge harder in areas where the shadows lay. If you have to, take your pencil and color in those areas a little darker, and rub it. This is pretty much the main color and the shadows of the hair. Then take a small eraser and erase to create the "highlights" of the hair (basically where the light source is hitting) and gently draw and smudge (VERY gently) I'm gonna be a little critic here and say that if you added more tiny highlights the left side of her bangs and maybe near the bottom to really emphasis depth and give the impression her hair is more smooth and shiny. That's just my opinion, her hair still looks really good anyways.