Learning how to draw a cartoon mouth is vital to creating expressive and engaging cartoon characters.
The mouth is a vital part of not only a cartoon character’s face, but their personality as well. The mouth can be used to show emotion and expression. It’s also the element that allows your cartoon character to find his or her voice!
Read on to learn eight approaches for drawing a cartoon mouth.
These easy methods of drawing cartoon mouths can be altered and augmented to your liking, resulting in infinite variations. Try them all and let us know which one is your favorite!
1. A simple line
The simplest way to draw a cartoon mouth is by adding a line in the lower center of the face. A slight upwardly turned curve makes for an understated smile. A downward-curved line makes it a frown. A simple straight horizontal line indicates a neutral expression.
2. Augmented simple line
This takes the previous method one step further. You can augment a simple line style mouth by adding dimple-like details. Simply draw a parentheses shape, on one or both sides of the mouth, to add extra character to an expression. As you can see here, what would otherwise be a neutral expression has a little bit more nuance; the slight wrinkle on the outside of the mouth indicates a wry or uncertain expression.
Other variations are absolutely possible, too. For instance, a simple tongue descending or ascending from the mouth line creates a cute effect!
3. Tiny oval
This mouth really amounts to no more than drawing a tiny number zero below your cartoon character’s nose. Yet with such a simple stroke of the pen, you can create much emotion on your cartoon character. The tiny oval-style mouth can show shock, surprise or speechlessness. Take further by adding upwardly or downwardly turned eyebrows, which can really add to the expression.
4. Wavy line
A wavy line isn’t just for drawing patterns — it can make a dynamic cartoon character mouth. A simple wavy line can show unhappiness, as if a character is on the verge of tears; it can also be used to show shame or discomfort.
5. Two-part line
To make this type of mouth, you’ll double up on the “simple line” technique. Start by drawing a simple, slightly curved line. Choose one side, and acting as if the line has a hinge joint, draw a second simple line connecting to the first, as a diagonal echo of the first line. This “two part” line easily shows a bit of motion around the mouth, as if the mouth is open or the character is talking.
6. Lipstick lips
Oo la la! Adding plump, pretty lips can give cartoon characters a feminine and ladylike look. To attain this look for your cartoon characters, start by drawing a simple line. Then, on the top of the line, draw two little mounds, almost like the top of a heart, to form the upper lip (the lines can be rounded, or sharper and more linear). Below the line, draw a rounded shape to form the bottom of the lip. Your cartoon character is ready to hit the town!
7. Exposed teeth
Let your characters show their pearly whites! Draw an outline shape to form your character’s mouth (it could be a smile, a frown or, as shown in this example, a slightly rounded rectangle shape). Fill in the outlined shape with a grid to serve as teeth. Easy as that!
8. Wide open mouth
Your cartoon characters might need to open wide for a variety of reasons, whether they’re paying a visit to the dentist, singing loudly along with their favorite song or screaming. To make a wide-open mouth, draw a large circle or oval. Fill in the lower portion with two bumps, like the top of a heart. Then fill in the upper part with a dark color. Sometimes, artists will even add a teardrop shape dangling from the top of the mouth to show the tonsils.
Want more? Add to your characters’ faces with our companion posts on how to draw cartoon eyes, ears, and noses!
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