Drawing Mouths

Drawing Mouths

Drawing Mouths Is Easy When You Know What Not to Draw

There are a few basic tips to know that will help you with drawing mouths. I probably learned these tips around high school when a friend of mine was drawing a portrait for art class. There are just basic guidelines to follow when drawing the lips and teeth, and if you’ve attempted to draw a beautiful smile but the end result looked like a bunch of chicklets, then these rules are definitely for you as they were for my friend.



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Keep It Simple!

When drawing the mouth you should keep it even simpler than when drawing the nose. Less is definitely more when drawing mouths.

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mouthsmilingsimpleDon't Draw the Teeth!

What do you mean don't draw the teeth?! Never draw hard lines for the teeth or you'll end up with the chicklets issue. Instead, draw the gums. Let the gums define the teeth. If the smile is just showing the top teeth, then draw the outline of the bottom of the teeth.

You will get a better drawing if you stay away from trying to draw the teeth themselves.

Instead, lightly draw the outline of them using the gum line, then lightly draw lines that suggest the teeth.


Your teeth drawings will definitely improve if you follow this rule. As for the lips, they can be drawn fairly easier than teeth.

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mouthclosedsimple lipsThe Top Lip

The lips take on more of the shape of a squished heart; well, at least the top lip does. It's almost like two small waves that start at the end of the mouth and roll all the way to the center where they meet. In the middle of the two waves is a little trough. This little trough or indent is what gives the mouth its heart-like shape.


 When drawing a smiling mouth, notice how the muscles around it push the cheeks away from the mouth and stretch the lips. The cheeks create big parentheses around the mouth. When drawing mouths, knowing how the muscles of the face work is definitely to your benefit. Looking in the mirror and studying how they move is one of the easiest ways to start!

The Bottom Lip

The bottom lip is the easiest part of the mouth to draw. It usually is the bigger of the two lips, unless you have "Angelina Jolie" lips. Either way, it can be drawn using the same basic shape. The bottom lip looks like a stretched letter "W or U."


When drawing the bottom lip, it rarely ever connects to the top lip with a hard line. Where the two lips meet, it's most effective to draw a thin, dark line. This is actually where you can start drawing the lips, as it will be easier to draw the shapes for the top and bottom.

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Stop getting caught up with drawing the shapes perfectly and draw what you see. The shapes are just so you can start learning to break things you see into manageable, familiar shapes. Try to use as few lines as possible. Your lips will look a lot better! Also remember that your lips are not flat. It is always better to try and visualize your subject in 3-D. This will help you avoid drawing Wal-Mart smiley faces! We don't want to keep it THAT simple!


If you can follow those few simple rules for drawing mouths, you should get the hang of it in no time. I have created a small downloadable reference file to use for practice. The mouths are mine, but if you've been using the other reference sheets, then you're probably used to my beautiful mug by now. Like always, there are plenty of magazine and reference books to look through for images to practice with as well. Your own face is always good practice, especially if you're on a budget, but you will have to get a mirror!
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