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How to Draw a Realistic Mouth

Learn how to draw a realistic mouth from artist Rebecca Schweiger in this Howcast drawing tutorial.


I'll now share with you how to draw a realistic mouth. I'm going to be using drawing pencils. There are a variety of different drawing pencils that you can use. If you'd like, you can just use one pencil or you can use 3, 4, or more. The different pencils will just show different types of shading from lighter tones to darker. I'm also going to use a gum eraser, it looks like chewing gum. I like to also use a regular eraser from a pencil.

As you start, the most important thing with drawing is to just relax, to have fun, and to see that drawing or any sort of art is a mode for you to express yourself. I'm going to start with a lighter pencil, it's an HB pencil. I'm going to start by just sketching the shape of lips. Every type of mouth is different, and no 2 mouths are the same, so this can be a base for your drawing. You can learn certainly a lot of different techniques. I definitely suggest finding a picture, a friend, or even grab a mirror and look at yourself. Whenever you look at something, it's always very, very helpful when drawing.

We'll start with the upper lip, and basically it's almost like a V. You draw a V. Then the top of the lips are almost like a straight line, like a slope. I will change it slightly, but it's very helpful to start with a very, very simple shape. The bottom lip is basically a big curve. Then you have the parting of the 2 lips. Again, you have a straight line, another straight line, and then almost a big fat U that connects them.

What we're going to do is we're going to give a little more detail to the shape. It's always great to start very simple, and then you can bring a little more detail into it. In fact, the little V is going to be curved. The top here of the 2 lips are curved. I'm drawing right over the lines that I had. If you want, or if you prefer, you could always erase the lines that were underneath. It's completely up to you. Always when you're drawing, you want to find the way that feels right for you. These lines coming down, instead of being totally straight, they get a little thinner and there's a little curve at the bottom.

The top lip is always a little wider than the bottom lip. I'm going to bring in the bottom lip, and again, I'm just going to bring in a little more shape. It's best to look at someone's actual mouth so you can really capture that shape. I'll take my eraser and erase anything that I no longer want in the drawing.

I'm going to come back into that line that separates the top lip and the bottom lip. Actually all that is, is that when the lips are together, you see a line separating them. I'm going to bring that in. Again I have that really basic line. I'm just going to give it a little more detail, and it's basically a long wavy line, so it does something like this. It almost looks like a couple of mountain tops. Perhaps you practice on the side or on another sheet of paper, just practicing these different shapes. You don't always have to draw everything right on your drawing. It's very, very helpful to practice on the side, as well.

What we're going to do is we're going to bring in some shading. What we want to focus on is, where is the darkest part of the lips and where is the lightest part of the lips? When we bring in shading, the whole purpose is that right now it just looks like a flat drawing with lines. When we bring in shading, the whole drawing really comes to life. I'm going to focus on the darkest areas first. The top lip tends to be darker, so I'm going to bring in some dark shading, and perhaps where the lips meet, it's even a little bit darker. As I'm shading, all I'm doing is I'm using the tip of my pencil in a back-and-forth mode. It's a diagonal, but you can do it in a different angle. If you prefer to even go across or up-and-down, that's okay, too. You always want to experiment and find what feels right for you. There's no one way to draw.

I'm going to bring in that shading to the darkest possible areas. The top lip, although darker, maybe it's not the same exact color. Maybe some areas are a little darker and some areas are a little lighter. I'll experiment with my pencil and experiment with my shading. This line where the lips meet tends to be pretty dark, so I'll use the tip of my pencil to just bring in a finer, darker line.

I'm going to focus on the bottom lip and I'm going to use a lighter pencil. I'm really going to focus on how 3-dimensional the lip is. The bottom lip always comes out and has a little more life force than the top lip. I'm literally drawing curved lines, just like this, like a backward letter-C, to just show the 3-dimensional shape of the lip. On the other side, it's going to be an actual C-shape. Right in the center, the backward C and the forward C can really meet one another. Right now, it looks like a hairy lip, but as you continue with your shading, these lines are all going to blend together. You're focusing on, and basically just with the side or the tip of your pencil, coloring in areas of the lip. One thing to imagine is if your eyes only saw in black and white, what would you see? Because when you're using pencil, you have all of these different shades of gray. One thing that's helpful also is an area will look lighter especially if the background is darker. Under the lip is usually a little bit of a shadow, so I'm going to draw that shadow in. You can instantly see how that bottom lip feels more 3-dimensional.

Most importantly above all when drawing, you really want to bring your own personality and your own essence into your drawing. You want to think about what is it that you're really wanting to express when you're drawing. With pencil, you can always shade with your finger. I'm going to go back into that bottom lip and just shade a little bit. I'm going to make that top lip even darker, maybe not everywhere, but maybe just in some places. As I'm drawing, I'm not necessarily thinking what the finished product has to look like. I realize that I'm going to erase, I'm going to add to the drawing, the drawing is going to change. I don't need to know what the finished product's going to look like. For me, what's most important is that I'm enjoying the process.

You're going to continue bringing out areas that are darkest, areas that are lightest. I'm going to take my eraser now. On the bottom lip, usually, there are some highlights. Although I've shaded the bottom lip, now I'm going to erase some of the shading that I put in there. I'm going to use different types of erasers now. I'm going to use the back of a regular eraser, just to create some fine lines. I'm going to continue creating lights and darks, different shapes, different shading, making changes, most importantly enjoying myself, relaxing, expressing myself through my drawing until I get to a point where I'm really happy with my drawing.

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