Drawing mouths and lips
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how I draw mouths and lips using the technique that I use; there are many other ways to learn how to draw mouths and lips, but I’ve found this method to be the most appropriate and simple to understand.
1. How to draw a mouth: Simplified structures
A simple exercise demonstrates that the mouth is more than just a straight line when closed and a crescent when open; it has its own volume and can be imagined from perspectives other than the eyes (see images 1, 2, and 3).
2. How to draw the mouth: Key elements
The mouth is a cavity that contains important elements that will help us draw the mouth, such as the teeth, tongue, and even the gums, as well as other elements such as the uvula, palate, all of the different teeth, tonsils, and so on.
3. How to draw lips: Simplified structures
Lips are important components of the mouth, so let’s try to depict them separately from the mouth and in their most basic forms. In this image, we can see how to draw the lips step by step using rounded, curved, and elongated structures.
We look at the Cupid’s bow, commissures (where the top and bottom lips meet), and the philtrum to learn more about the lip.
5. Different shapes of mouths and lips
Making a character’s lips and mouths is a matter of experimenting with different thicknesses of the lower and upper lips. A small mouth is usually associated with a small or shy character, while a large mouth is associated with more expressive characters. Thin lips can define a masculine character, while thick lips can define a feminine character.
7. Expressions and emotions through lips and mouths
Different expressions and emotions can be conveyed through the lips: challenging, fearful, sensual, and so on. To convey anger, we show an open mouth (screaming) complete with teeth and gums.
8. Different styles to draw mouths and lips
I wanted to combine manga, realism, cartoons, Disney, and my own style in the following image.
9. Mouth and lips integrated into an illustration
I wanted to create a subtle expression and keep the image dynamic while trying to step outside of my comfort zone; designing characters with exaggerated and/or marked expressions is fun and beneficial. You can learn more about how to draw a nose at How to Draw a Nose.
How do you shade facial features?
To create a shadow, shade up into the outline of two small ovals for the nostrils, then start shading a slightly lighter shade as you move toward the center of the nose from the left side.
How can I practice face drawing?
Here are some portrait drawing tips:
- Start with the eyes and work your way down to the nose and mouth.
- Allow the darkness of the hair to aid in the creation of the lighter edge of the face.