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How to Draw The Mouth, Lips and Teeth

July 2, 2009

Continuing with my series of portrait drawing tips, today I will be focusing on the lips and mouth. The lips aren’t as complex as the eyes, but many people find them challenging and they should not be overlooked. Here are some tips to keep in mind while drawing the mouth and teeth:


  1. Unless a person is wearing lipstick, the lips are not that much darker than a person’s skin tone. The shadows and highlights are what differentiate the lips from the rest of the face.
  2. The top lip is a plane that angles toward the face at the bottom, which means that the majority of it is in shadow. The highlight is usually at lips-shapesthe top edge of the lip.
  3. The bottom lip is more rounded, and so has a highlight in the middle. It often casts a bit of a shadow as well.
  4. Lips are made up of a collection of ovals.
  5. The line between lips is not a solid line, it is often a broken line of varying weight.
  6. Lips are not smooth, they actually have many tiny wrinkles in lips-shapes2them. Drawing some of these will make your mouths look more realistic.
  7. Men generally have thinner lips, while women’s are more full.


When drawing teeth:


  1. The upper lip will cast a shadow on the top edge of the upper teeth.
  2. Pay close attention to how individually teeth overlap each other, not many people have a perfect chiclet smile!
  3. The rows of teeth are curved, so the teeth at the corners of the mouth will be in shadow.
  4. Teeth are NOT white! They are mostly in shadow, except for a sharp highlight that will make the tooth appear wet and shiny.

Stay tuned for a step by step tutorial on how to draw the lips and mouth!

On the Web:

Visit Stan Prokopenko’s blog for a detailed illustration of the anatomy of the mouth and his tutorial.


From → Drawing

  1. Ace work. You have brought in a recent devotee. Please maintain the fabulous writings and I look forward to more of your entertaining updates.

  2. Nice work! I think it’s important to be able to create a nice facial to be able to sketch a realistic character! 🙂

    • Thanks Martin! It’s all about knowing how to draw the individual features, then putting it together!

  3. ronald permalink

    th lips in profile is the most easyist all you have to do is draw the shape of a heart and theres your lips

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. How to Draw Lips - Tutorial | Learn to... Art!
  2. All About Drawing Realistic Portraits in Pencil | Learn to... Art!

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