Convert hair to 3D mesh? (not edges)

I am looking for a way to convert particle hair systems to a mesh, or get a mesh that copies the shape of the hair (and specifically, how its children clump up around parent particles.) I am doing cartoon/anime style characters. I want the styling flexibility of particle hair, and the nice detail when rendered. However, I also want a way to generate outlines to get the cartoon effect. I can do this with freestyle on most of the character, but on particle hair, freestyle puts lines down each stroke of the hair. But in a cartoon drawing, the outline is around the more abstract shapes or clumps formed by the hair. So, I am trying to generate a mesh I can use to get these freestyle lines.

I am already aware that I can convert the particle system to a mesh. However, this just gives me edges and vertices. I can extrude these or convert them to curves and extrude them, but that does not match the original shape of my hair style.

Is there a way to generate a mesh based around the shape formed by children clumping around a parent particle?

hi drudge,
i’m not sure if we share a same goal but i also had a issue converting hair particle into mesh while preserving the overall shape of the hair.
i found there’s no one-click solution built into blender, so i searched for a way and got a pretty nice solution.
here’s my work-around:

1.convert the particle into ply-lines(edges)
2.conver the poly-lines into bezier curves(select the poly-lines and hit Alt+C)
3.bevel and taper to shape them (proerties panel> Object data> Geometry)
4.convert it back to mesh(again Alt+C)

you need to do a little bit of tweaking and configuring in bevelling and tapering using curve objects, but you can have a fine control over the shapes of each strand without losing overall children clamping shape of your hair particle.

this worked fine for me and hope it does for you too.