Learn About Drawing
Lips and the Mouth

drawing lips 1

Drawing lips requires a lot of attention to detail in order to create a mouth that looks both natural and convincing. What makes the lips and mouth challenging to draw is that we often see them as flat, when they're actually curved. Another problem is that the lips can form a variety of different shapes depending on the expression of the subject.

To start this drawing lips lesson let's look at the bone structure that makes up the mouth.

The Jaw and Teeth
The jaw is the only bone in the head that actually moves. It attaches to the rest of the head just in front of the lower part of the ear. The 'U' shape of the jaw can be compared to a horseshoe.

The teeth also fit this 'U' shape and it is important to remember this when drawing lips and the mouth at all times. If you have a piece of bread somewhere I would suggest taking a large bite out of it and look at just how round the shape of your mouth really is! I have been guilty of drawing 'flat' mouths in my own work, but before I realized how round the mouth is I wasn't sure where I was going wrong in my drawings.

The teeth in your mouth drawing should never have dark lines indicating each individual tooth. It is ok to indicate some shading on the teeth close to the outer parts where the teeth begin to disappear under the lips. This will help to give depth to your mouth.

The Lips
Now that we have the shape of the mouth clearly in our minds, let's examine the structure of the lips and see how they fit over those bones. The upper lip is a little like an 'M' and the lower lip a little like a 'W'. The lips stretch over the teeth so keep the round shape of the jaw and teeth in mind at all times - they're important.

drawing lips step 1Upper Lip
Start the upper lip with two upside down 'U' curves and remember to draw lightly. Now draw two smaller 'U' curves but this time draw them right side up. The two curves attach to the bottom of each of the first curves. They should be much smaller than the first curves you drew. These will make the little bump you see in the middle of the lip. The last thing to do is erase the parts of the first curves that cross into the smaller curves you just created.

drawing lips step 3Lower Lip
Like the upper lip, we'll draw a curve and cur away a small part of it with another curve. This time the main curve will be 'U' shaped, and the small part to cut will be the upside down 'U'.

That's it for the basic shape of drawing lips.

Let's take a look at drawing lips from the side. Notice that the front lip sticks out more than the lower lip. This is true in most cases. Remember that the lips follow the teeth and in most people the upper teeth lay over the lower ones in a natural over bite. For people with an under bite this rule does not apply. The lower lip will stick out more than the upper lip.


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