Duration: About 20 minutes
In theory, it shouldn’t be difficult to draw a mouth, but details can be tricky. Lips can quickly look as if they are wearing dark red lipstick or you are faced with the problem that the whole mouth looks two-dimensional. But it is not impossible to draw a natural-looking mouth! With a few tricks and a little practice, anyone can succeed.
These three circles form an excellent foundation for the entire mouth. Even though I usually write that circles or other supporting lines do not have to be perfectly the same size or length, it is important today to draw three circles of fairly equal size.
The first element based on the circles is the line between the two lips. The upper circle is ideal for drawing the small arc in the middle of the upper lip. When drawing the line, you should be careful not to draw a straight line and always lead the ends a little upwards in the corners of the mouth.
From here on we first concentrate on the areas around the lips. This way we can already plan the volume and shape of the lips and still make corrections.
Let’s start with the philtrum, the area above the upper lip that looks like a U-shape. The sides of the U would end in the nose, but for now we concentrate only on the mouth alone. At this stage, we already have an idea of what the upper lip might look like.
For the lower lip we draw a shape that looks like a trapezium. It marks the place where a shadow is cast from the lower lip to the chin. The bend on the upper line should be as close as possible to the two circles.
Finally, we draw triangular areas around both corners of the mouth, because there are always shadows in the corners of the mouth.
And that would be our setup already. If something looks strange, you should correct it now before we start shading and modelling.
For years I made the mistake of drawing the lip contour first and then wondered why it always looked like lipstick.
Natural lips have no sharp edge. The red fades softly into the skin colour, so it is best to work carefully from the inside to the outside with the pencil.
As a rule, the upper lip is always shadier and darker than the lower lip, but in order not to create strangely unnatural looking inequalities here, the top of the upper lip can be shaded in approximately the same darkness. However, you have to be careful that the shadow does not go too deep! The middle of the two circles should remain white.
Since it is now difficult to see the edge between the two lips, we take a softer pencil and redraw the lip line. Since there are always a few wrinkles in the lips, it is best to hint at them.
Now the shadows in the corners of the mouth can be drawn gently.
The u-shaped thing becomes a convincing philtrum with the help of soft shadows. However, the soft shadows should not reach all the way to the lip contour, because this fine area stands off and catches a lot of light.
For my drawing I notice that the shadows on the lips are not dark enough, unlike all the newly drawn shadows. I make up for this so that depth is created.
I personally find it easier to draw the lower lip after I have placed the shadows down to the chin.
Depending on the volume of the lower lip, a strong or less strong shadow can now be created directly on the surrounding area.
Once this is done, you can draw the lower lip. But here you should take care to leave the middle part of the two circles bright, because these parts always stick out the farthest and light falls on them. Outside the circles you should get darker to give the lips a three-dimensional look.
Isn’t it nice how helpful the circles are even so close to the finish line?
Finally I would always recommend to draw very fine and light shadows in the whole lower area.