How To Draw Lips

Expressively or Poutingly

Cruel Lips or Smiling with Laughter?


How To Draw Lips

How to draw lips can be described verbally as full, sensuous, passionate, voluptuous, pouting and fleshy.

But how does one describe these with only a line or lines in a drawing?

See the basic structure in the two illustrations below and, once mastered, you can draw anyone's lips.

Marylin Monroe's lips would not fit in well on an old man's face—it would be out of place—and so the overall effect must be one of unity. An old man's face would probably only have slits for lips or something that looks like a gash!

Initially, establish what your facial characteristics will be, these must add to the overall image. We have to assume here you wish to draw a complete face where all the features fit in well with a coherent whole?

Observe the mouth has two parts; upper and lower lips while each lip is divided into two and three parts each. (see illustration)

The shape of the lips is nearly always determined by the teeth; buck teeth tend to make the lips fuller while toothless people have no lips but a slit.

The upper lip can be divided into three parts and the bottom one two. The bottom lip is usually more rounded than the upper one.

Viewed in profile, the lower lip can often protrude beyond the upper and of course the reverse can be true—both lips should be drawn together, not separately.

As most light sources are above, there will be more light on the lower lip so it will be a lighter value while the top lip is usually in shadow.

There are variations in all lips but mainly they will be:

  • Thick or thin
  • prominent lower lip
  • prominent upper lip
  • receding lower lip
  • receding upper lip

These are noticeable looking at a person's profile, not full face.

Please upload any of your how to draw lips or drawings you have completed on your very own page here; (see "Upload Your Own" in the left column) let others share your artwork and give helpful advice. 

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