Double-Duty Tutorial: How to Draw the Human Mouth Two Ways!

Today we have a special double feature, two step-by-step tutorials in one post! You will be learning how to draw the mouth two different ways: One mouth slightly open with teeth showing, and one set of relaxed lips.

The mouth is the one facial feature that can change most drastically with movement. Its curves and lines can express many different feelings and emotions, so it is great to learn how to draw it with ease by breaking it up into shapes and later applying this technique to different angles and points of view.

drawing lips shape guides
Drawing anatomy in general gets easier when you can simplify it through more basic shapes that, together, make up a larger entity.  In the case of lips, you can break it up into various ovals and a very curvy heart in the middle of the top lip to give shape to the cupid’s bow. Lips come in all shapes and sizes, so practice this technique with different lips to see how it can adapt to these differences.

Step by step guide for drawing slightly open lips

Step 1:

drawing lips step 2

As usual, you wan to begin with a soft lead pencil -like a 2B or 4B- to sketch the basic shape. draw the outlines of the lower and upper lip along with the teeth and, very lightly, mark where the highlights of the lower lip will sit. If the lips have lipstick or lipgloss they will probably be shinier than lips with no makeup, so take this into account when you are laying the basic groundwork for where you will place the highlights.

Step 2:

drawing lips step 3

Now that you have drawn the basic shapes and have checked for any mistakes, you can start shading the darkest shadows with a 4B pencil. In this case, the mouth is slightly open so the darkest areas will be found inside it, around the teeth. With a 2B pencil, shade light shadows over the teeth right under the lower lip. This is also a great time to start shading the upper lip and drawing the little creases that we can see on it. Leave a white area on the top part of the upper lip where the light hits it and create a highlight.

Step 3:

drawing lips step 4

drawing lips step 5

Now you can move on to the lower lip. Begin by shading the darkest point right under the bottom of the lip. This shadow plays a huge part in giving the lip dimension and the look of volume. Then, with a lighter pencil (something like a 2H) lightly shade around the highlights and give them more shape.

Step 4:

drawing lips step 8

Keep building up the darker areas around the highlights to make them pop. That’s it! Now let’s see how to draw relaxed lips.


Step by step guide for drawing relaxed lips.

Step 1:

Drawing lips relaxed step 1

Delineate the horizontal point where the lower and upper lip meet through a line like the one above. Notice how the it curves inward and outward following the shapes we established earlier on in this post.

Step 2:

drawing lips relaxed step 2

With either a 2B or 4B pencil, shade the darkest areas of where both lips touch as well as the corners of the mouth. Afterward, begin to lightly shade the lower and upper lip, as well as the shadows around the corners of the mouth.

Step 3:

drawing lips relaxed step 3

With a 2H pencil draw around the highlights of both the upper and lower lips and shade around them. Also draw light lines to create the creases on the lips.

Step 4:

drawing lips relaxed step 4

Continue to build up the shadows until you are happy with the result.

drawing lips relaxed

And there you have it! Two quick and easy tutorials to draw realistic and three-dimensional lips.

This tutorial is just the start! Learn how to draw all the facial features for portraits rendered in stunning human likeness! It’s as easy as downloading our FREE drawing facial features PDF eGuide, made exclusively for Craftsy.

Get the FREE Drawing the Human Face PDF eGuide here!

Which other part of the face would you like to learn how to draw next?



(Speaking as a complete beginner) I feel like there’s a huge gap/jump in information between steps 1 and 2 for the relaxed lips…


The open mouth is the open bow and the closed mouth is the closed bow….very simple…..never thought about it like that before but it works for me!!


I like the that is shut, the one that is open not so much because I personally think that the lower lip is too big.


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