Learning how to draw lips is important if you are interested in drawing portraits. All people have different features and some people have a thinner upper lip while other people have a full bottom lip.
Learning how to draw accurate proportions including ears, eyes, noses, and lips is important for drawing realistic portraits.
This tutorial is perfect for a beginner and advanced artist.
Learn how to draw realistic lips by using the grid method.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase by clicking on an affiliate link, Nevue Fine Art Marketing may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Affiliate relationships include, but are not limited to, Bluehost, Tailwind, Skimlinks, SareASale and StudioPress. To learn more visit Affiliate Link Disclosure Policy
To learn how to use the grid method, check out How To Draw Realistic Drawings, Video Course.
Drawing supplies needed for this lesson:
To learn more about drawing pencils, read Best Drawing Pencils For Beginners And Professional Artists.
Referance image courtesy of Pixabay
Step 1 Draw Grid
Make a grid on your reference image with 1-inch blocks. Notice how the block goes off the end on the right-hand side. This is perfectly fine because you still need to get the lip’s proportions on the right side.
You can change the reference image to black and white easily with Photoshop. Changing an image to black and white will make it easier to see the subject’s value changes.
Draw the same number of blocks on your drawing paper using a 2H pencil.
Use light lines so it will be easier to erase the gride lines.
Step 2 Lip Line Drawing
Draw what you see in each book to ensure the proportions are correct for the drawing.
To be more accurate with your proportions, use a Derwent Scale Divider with the grid’s guidelines.
Erase all of the grid lines after you have completed the line drawing of the lips.
Use light pressure when you are erasing, so you do not damage the tooth of the paper.
Step 3 Shade Upper Lip
Start adding value to the darkest areas of the lips. In this reference image, the darkest areas are the top lip, the corner of the lips, the cracks, and the bottom and top lips’ separation.
Use a 2H pencil to start adding the values. The 2H pencil will allow you to reach the paper’s valleys, so there will be no little white dots that a softer lead produces.
Step 4 Shade Bottom Lip
In step 4, you will start to add value with the 2H pencil on the lower lip. Notice in the reference image that the lower lip is lighter than the upper lip. This is because the light source is coming from above.
Step 5 Focus On Light Source
Drawing lips is like drawing two cylinders. The bottom lip and the top lip are curved, and light reacts to them, similar to a cylinder. The lightest area will be where the light hits the surface, and the values will get darker as the lips curve away from the light.
Continue adding value to the upper lip and study the reference image to identify the lightest areas. Always work from dark to light and fill in any spaces you might miss while drawing.
Step 6 Continue Shading Mouth
Continue adding graphite to the darker areas of the bottom lip. Make sure that you add the values slowly. It is easier to make an area darker than it is to make it lighter.
Don’t be concerned with all of the little cracks on the lower lip at this point. It will be easier to use an eraser to pull out the highlights, which will create the illusion of cracks. At this point, you are only concerned about is the shape of the lips.
Step 7 Draw Lips Wrinkles
Add in the lip wrinkles with an HB pencil. Use light strokes to create wrinkles. Look at the reference image to study the lip wrinkles.
It is not important to draw in every wrinkle. When drawing a human face, sometimes less is more in a drawing.
Notice how every wrinkle line is not the same. Some are long while others are shorter, and some go up ad down while others go horizontal.
The important thing to remember is that every line needs to follow the shape of the moth.
Step 8 Shade Around The Mouth
Shading around the lips will make it easier to draw the lips’ soft value changes from this point on.
The values around the lips will help to see the values on the lips.
Notice how the lips tone appears lighter after adding the value around the mouth.
It is possible to see the curved line of the lips and allow you to make any necessary adjustments to your lips drawing.
Step 9 Draw In The Highlights With Eraser
Start using your erase to draw in the highlights. To learn more about drawing with an eraser visit, Drawing With An Eraser.
Lightly tap off some graphite where the highlights are. When you are done, smooth the values with a blending stump. This will create a glair effect.
Take some time on this step. You will want to add some more graphite to certain areas. Continue to erase, blend, and add graphite until you are happy with the outcome.
Pay close attention to the shape of the lips and soft values.
Step 10 Repeat
Continue adjusting the values and highlights of the lips. The more you repeat these steps the more realistic your drawing will look.
Final Thoughts On How To Draw Lips
Studying tutorials about specific facial features will help you to draw a professional portrait drawing.
Practice this step by step tutorial over and over until you feel comfortable drawing mouths. Once you feel confident drawing this example, go to Pixabay and get other reference images of lips.
All faces look different, so practicing drawing different size lips with different shapes will enhance your drawing skills. Facial expressions will also change the way lips look.
Drawing Lips Tips:
- Study the shape of the lips
- Identify where the light source is coming from
- Identify where the darkest areas of the mouth are
- Use the grid method to make sure the proportions are accurate
- Add value slowly
- Don’t be too concerned about the fine details until the end