Lips are an important part of the face and artists who specialize in drawing realism, faces, and the like should have a good understanding of how to draw lips. Even if you’re not aiming for one of the above types of art, learning to draw lips can be a handy skill that you can incorporate into many forms and styles of art.
In this article, we’ll go over tips on drawing lips, the supplies it will require, mistakes to avoid when drawing lips, easy steps, and projects on drawing lips, and answer some frequently asked questions.
Tips for How to Draw Lips
There are some pretty basic tips that any artist can follow in order to draw lips. In this guide, we’ll be covering some in-depth tutorials as well, but first, let’s start with the basics.
- Find a reference – References are an important tool when it comes to art and thanks to Google, you should easily be able to find a good reference image of the type of lips you want to draw.
- Use light strokes – Keep it as light as possible when sketching. Using light strokes will be helpful later on when you are erasing guides and filling in details.
- Sketch out an outline – You’ll want to start by sketching out an outline of the lips. Begin with an isosceles triangle. Draw a line through it, halfway down. Create a cupid’s bow for the top lip, using the center line. Finally, add a curved line for the bottom lip.
- Erase the triangle – This step is simple and self-explanatory. Erase the triangle so that all you have left is the outline of the lips.
- Add in shading – First, you’ll want to decide on where the light direction is coming from and where it hits the lips. Then you can start shading. Remember to leave the lightest shaded parts as the parts where the light is hitting the lips.
- Finish with details – Finish your lips with some extra details. For example, add in wrinkles to the lips (softly). Blend out the bottom lip with a blending stump, avoiding the light parts. Use a kneaded eraser with the lighter areas – this will create a glaring effect. Do the same steps for the top lip. Finally, touch up the darker shadows by making them darker.
These tips are simple and straightforward and will help you to achieve a generic lip drawing. However, there are many styles and positions in which you can draw lips. Above all, remember to practice and have fun.
Supplies You’ll Need for How to Draw Lips
The supplies you use will depend on the type of art you are doing. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll focus on traditional art in this guide. So, when it comes to traditional, hand-drawn art, these are the basic supplies you’ll need:
- Sketching pencils (HB, 2B, 6B, and 9B)
- Inking pens
- Blending stump
- Reference photos
- Markers or colored pencils
- Tools such as rulers and other guides (optional)
Common Mistakes When Drawing Lips
Like with most things in life, there are several common mistakes you can make when drawing lips. Anyone can make these mistakes, advanced and beginner artists alike, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you make them.
These mistakes include:
- Using hard strokes – One of the most common mistakes an artist can make when drawing lips is to use a hard touch instead of a light one. Hard strokes should be reserved for specific places such as the corners of the lips or underneath the bottom lip.
- Making the teeth too straight and too white – Teeth are not perfect, no matter what social media influencers will have you believe. When drawing realistic teeth, you’ll want to shade or color them a bit and create teeth in various shapes and sizes. Add in some gaps or slight indentions between each tooth.
- Not adding enough details – Leaving out details such as lip wrinkles, shading, and light effects can cause the lips to look too flat and unrealistic. So, make sure to add those details to achieve a great lip look.
- Making it too glossy – When it comes to the highlights we discussed earlier, adding some gloss is nice but don’t overdo it. Making the lips too glossy can cause them to look unrealistic.
Easy Steps How to Draw Lips
Here I will discuss another easy-to-follow step-by-step process on how to draw lips.
Start by sketching a circle. Add in two lines: a vertical line and a horizontal line. Both lines should meet and be in the center of one another. They should also be drawn slightly outside of the circle in all four directions.
Use more shapes: a triangle will make up the basic shape of the lips while an ellipse should be drawn in the bottom half of the circle.
Add in some details. Erase the lines and create rounded corners. Create an overhang at the bottom of the top lip. Sketch in some lip wrinkles and add teeth between the indention of the lips.
Add in shading and lighting. Figure out where the light is coming from and shade accordingly. Then use a blending stump to blend out the darker areas. Also, take the time to use an eraser to add highlights and create more volume.
How to Draw Lips: 15 EASY Drawing Projects
1. How to Draw Anime Lips
Anime is a popular cartoon form that originated in Japan. This art style has become especially popular among young artists who appreciate this art form and style.
With many people wanting to learn how to draw anime, learning how to draw anime lips is pretty important.
Painter Artist has a step-by-step guide on drawing both female and male anime-inspired lips. This tutorial is made for beginners and is easy and straightforward.
2. How to Draw Kissing Lips
Kissing is one of the best signs of affection, love, and intimacy one can portray. For those who want to draw kissing lips to show affection in their art, How to Drawa has a great tutorial detailing the steps to illustrate kissing lips.
3. How to Draw Male Lips
When it comes to lips, female and male lips are generally drawn differently. While male lips can certainly be drawn more feminine and flamboyant, if you’re aiming to draw a masculine mouth, then you’ll need to understand that the mouth should be flatter and less full than that of a female.
There are other differences when it comes to male vs female lips but either way, Drawing Now has some great advice and tips on how to draw male lips that you should definitely check out.
4. How to Draw Biting Lips
Biting lips can be a form of seduction, innocence, or just related to thought or concentration. Regardless of what you’re going for in your art piece, Real Arts Real People teaches you the steps to draw biting lips.
They even have a video on it for an easy-to-follow process.
5. How to Draw Smiling Lips
If you want to depict happiness, joy, or even sarcasm in your art piece, then you’re probably going to want to draw smiling lips.
With this tutorial from Easy Drawing Tips, you can learn the easy step-by-step process to draw a basic, toothy smile.
6. How to Draw Big Lips
Big lips are beautiful. Women oftentimes will use makeup products to make their lips appear fuller, or even opt for cosmetic surgery to achieve their desired full-lip look.
Fuller lips are also popular in art with many artists choosing to draw fuller, plump lips on their faces.
This tutorial from DragoArt will teach you the steps to draw a basic set of beautiful and full lips that will look great on any character you’re drawing.
7. How to Draw Cartoon Lips
Different from anime lips, cartoon lips are more basic, whereas anime lips can be more detailed. Think of cartoons such as Fairly Odd Parents, Rugrats, and The Powerpuff Girls.
Some artists prefer the simplicity of cartoon lips over anime lips, and if you’re one of those artists, then you should check out the tutorial by How to Draw Funny Cartoons on drawing cartoon lips.
8. How to Draw Lips from the Side
Drawing lips from a frontal view is the easiest method of drawing lips, but if you want to take it a step up and try something a little more advanced, you can always try drawing lips from a side view as depicted in this tutorial by Rapid Fire Art.
They make the process quite easy, and it’ll be nice for a side profile view of your character.
9. How to Draw Cute Lips
Drawing cute lips can be fun and give your character an adorable and innocent look. To achieve the ultimate cute-lip look on your drawing, try following the tutorial by 23i2ko.
Their lips are super cute and would like fantastic on any character, especially younger characters!
10. How to Draw Puckered Lips
Drawing Now has a great tutorial on drawing puckered lips – lips that are puckered out in a kissy formation. These lips are super cute and would look great on female characters who are posing for selfies or just want a puckered lip look.
11. How to Draw Pouty Lips
Pouty lips are cute and can portray a character who is pouting for something they want or is pouting because their feelings have been hurt.
Wonder How To has a great video tutorial on drawing pouty lips that anyone is sure to be able to follow.
12. How to Draw Lips with Tongue Out
Drawing lips with a tongue sticking out can be fun and emotive. There are plenty of scenarios in which someone would want to draw a tongue sticking out such as a character who is being playful or bratty.
iHeartCraftyThings has a tutorial on how to draw lips with a tongue sticking out and their process seems quite easy and straightforward.
13. How to Draw Lips Step by Step
If you’re looking for an easy step-by-step guide on how to draw basic but beautiful lips, The Drawing Source has a great in-depth tutorial to do just that.
Their tutorial walks you through the entire process to achieve a basic and detailed lip look for your art piece.
14. How to Draw Digital Lips
If you’re a digital artist or want to explore digital art, you should check out Steemit’s tutorial on drawing digital lips with a painting software and a tablet. We recommend software such as Paint Tool Sai, Photoshop, or even Procreate.
15. How to Draw Different Types of Lips
There are so many ways you can draw lips and mouths and lips can tell a lot about a character’s personality and emotion. If you’re looking for different ways of drawing lips, check out Easy Drawing Tips tutorial.
How to Draw Realistic Lips Step-by-Step
If cartoon, anime, or basic lip shapes aren’t your thing and you want to create something more realistic, I’ll go over some step-by-step instructions on how you can draw your very own realistic lips.
First, sketch out a horizontal line with your pencil or tool of choice. Make sure your strokes are light and that you’re not pressing too hard. Avoid making dark strokes as the light strokes will be easier to erase when needed.
Create a vertical line that extends down the middle of the first line. The line should be short and the stroke should be kept light again in order to create an easier process of erasing later on.
Add a V shape at the very top of the vertical line. This will depict the cupid’s bow of the lip. You can make the V wider or thinner depending on how big you want the cupid’s bow to be.
Sketch out light lines that go from the tips of the V to the ends of the horizontal lines. Again, use light and soft strokes in this step.
Gently add a curve extending from the sides of the horizontal lip and downward to create the bottom lip. Do this for both sides.
Create a small curved line, or a “dip”, in the center of the lips. This will be where the top and bottom lip meet and will show a small gap between the lips so that the lips do not appear flat and as one instead of two.
Make the center line darker with soft strokes. You can create this line curved if you want or keep it straight depending on the style of lips you’re aiming for. Also in this step, erase the vertical line as it is no longer needed.
Time to shade! Shade the bottom lip first and add in some vertical wrinkles while shading. With shading, it’s best to start with light strokes and then darken them as you move on.
You can also smudge and blend to create even more shading.
Repeat these steps for the top lip as well.
Add emphasis to the details. Darken the center, corners, and the bottom of the lip to add volume and more realism.
Continue shading, creating darker strokes where necessary. Keep in mind where the light source is coming from and work from there. In this step, you can also use an eraser to create highlights where the light touches the lips.
And there you have it. You should now have drawn a perfect set of realistic lips.
How to Draw Lips FAQ
Why is it so Hard to Draw Lips?
As a beginner, it may seem difficult to draw lips. You’ll need to learn the structure of the lips, learn how to draw a good outline, and learn how to properly shade them to make them look good.
Though it may seem hard at first, the more you draw them, the easier it will become and you’ll soon be a lip-drawing master.
Why is Drawing Lips Important?
The lips are an essential part of any face drawing and can express a lot of emotion in your art piece. The lips can be made to show sad, angry, happy, sarcastic, seductive, pouty, and other emotions.
With emotive lips, your character is able to express emotions without having to say anything.
How Can I Improve my Lips Drawing?
Improving your lip drawings will take patience and practice but there are some easy steps you can follow to improve your lip drawings.
- Use a reference photo or two.
- Tracing is OK to learn – just don’t take credit for what you trace!
- Keep the light source in mind.
- Practice, practice, practice.
Learning how to draw lips can be a tedious and long battle and many artists struggle with it. However, lips are an important part of any face, and as long as you practice, follow our tips and advice, and use the drawing projects we listed, you should be able to draw lips in no time.