I actually have been as intimidated about trying to do Carrie Fisher’s “Leia Organa” hair as much as trying to capture the smooth skin tone transitions on her face. For one, the image I am working from is a black and white photo where her hair comes out almost one tone. So I pulled down a color photo to get better references for highlights and color but the pose and lighting are completely different. The challenge is to envision the hair I am referencing with the lighting in the image I am working from and also to give it a sense of shape/dimension.
Shape can be given by drawing lines that follow the shape of the head; however, when you are using dark shades with not much difference in tones, how do you get the lines to show enough to depict the lay of the hair. I may have actually have lucked out by using a base color that is lighter than the color I plan to use for the darkest shade. The highlighting is more of a challenge because the color photo has so much more than the black and white, which means I will have to wing it a bit. In addition, in the color photo, Carrie’s hair is not as groomed as it is in the black and white. I assume it was taken later in the day after several takes.
All in all, I am pleased with the start I’ve made. I just thought you might enjoy hearing the thought processes that go into completing an image I am working on. Remember, I am still fairly new to this digital stuff.