Tutorial- How to draw a mouth/ lips

Hey guys!

Today’s tutorial is going to be about how to draw a mouth. Now lips can be one of the trickiest things to draw because it’s their texture that makes them look realistic. So let’s go ahead and get started.

1. I like to start by drawing the center line. This helps decide what shape the mouth will ultimately take. So here’s what we have when we begin. Notice how this line is thick at the center, then thins out, and then thickens at the corners again? The thick areas are usually where your lips part, even when it is closed. (Seriously. Try it!)

2. Now let’s get the basic shape around this line. Note how the dip in the center of the upper lip corresponds with the lowest point on the center line, as well as that on the lower lip. Make sure to draw those two diagonals on top of the lips- these are the little raised lines you see between your nose and your mouth.

3. Let’s begin shading. Using a lighter pencil (I’m using a 3H), or the same pencil with lesser pressure, fill in the entire area in and around the mouth. Make sure the guidelines are still visible, though.

4. Make semi triangles on the corners of the lips, like so.

5. Make two lines across the lips. On the upper lip, the line will start slightly off-center and curve away from the center. On the bottom lip, it’ll start at the center and curve very slightly, in the opposite direction.

6. Okay, time to add some dimension. Using the lines we just made as guidelines, draw lines all the way across the lips. These should curve away from the center. Make sure they go slightly more horizontal towards the outer corner. This helps show the plumpness of the mouth- the more horizontal the lines, the thicker the center of the mouth looks as compared to the ends, and the greater the curve, the plumper they lips appear.

(Oh no! I lost the photo for this step! Sorry! Check the next photo to see what I mean.)

7. Now add a few more strokes, slightly darker than the ones we just made, originating at the center line. These won’t go all the way across- not even halfway across, really. This will make the center line appear like a feather, but that’s okay.

8. Repeat the same, this time, starting at the outer edges, pointing upwards.

9. Using a blending stump, blend along the curves we made- not horizontally. This will make sure all the tones are softly blended, while making sure the difference is still visible. (I used cotton buds as an alternative to blending stumps before I bought the latter. They work fairly well, too!)

12. Find the center of the lower lip and draw a triangle each on both edges, both pointing inwards.

13. Blend these in, allowing some of the blending to go all the way across the lip.
Now for the two little diagonals on the top. Add a few lines like in the picture below. Make sure there is some space between the lines and the upper lip. This adds dimension; the skin immediately around the lips always appears lighter as the mouth protrudes.

14. Colour in the lines we just drew with a pencil around 2 shades darker, let’s say, an H. Blend out the edges till they’re nice and soft. Notice how, at the little rectangle we made at the center of the Cupid’s Bow, the colour is the darkest at both the vertical ends and softens out to the center. I also blended the colour out to the left, making it lighter as it approaches the next line. There’s not much I can explain about this- if you look at the skin above your mouth in the mirror, with a light source to your left, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Also, blend the outermost corners of the mouth downwards slightly- this area is almost always shaded.

15. Below the lower lip, leave some lighter space and colour it in with the H pencil, just like we did the upper lip- well, without the Cupid’s Bow madness! See how the “light spaces” get broader towards the outer corners? This, again, helps create an effect of protrusion. Like before, blend it out so the lines are not so sharp.
Now to the finishing touches. Darken the center line we drew in the very first step. Add a few flecks on the lips using an eraser, concentrating them mainly at the center of both lips (and making sure to follow the original curved strokes we made). As always, add or erase lines as you please, till you’re happy with the finished product.

Voila! You just drew a mouth!
Note: This is just a simple mouth. Once you get a hang of the basic anatomy, go ahead and try copying one out from a reference. You’ll realize just how many different types of lips there are! I tell you this- references help open your mind to all the different forms and shapes that exist. They helped me gauge the placement of lines and colours. 🙂
I really hope you guys liked this tutorial and found it helpful. I’ll see you on my next tutorial!
Thanks for watching!



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