How to Draw a Mouth – Part 5

How to Draw a Mouth – Intro

How to Draw a Mouth – Part 1

How to Draw a Mouth – Part 2

How to Draw a Mouth – Part 3

How to Draw a Mouth – Part 4

How to Draw a Mouth – Part 5

How to Draw a Mouth – Part 6

How to Draw a Mouth – Part 7

How to Draw a Mouth – Part 8

Shade the Upper Lip

Shade Above the Lip


Put an initial layer of base tone over the area above the lip, down to the corner of the mouth. Shade very lightly, using diagonal strokes. Look to see which areas need to be darker, like the area we designated earlier just under the nose, just above the upper lip, and at the corner of the mouth.


Start blending. Begin with the lighter areas first before blending the dark. Blend into what was already blended earlier to make a smooth flow from one part to the next. Again, the direction doesn’t matter too much for this base layer.


Darken the lines at the corner of the mouth, and then blend those tones with your blending stump.


One thing we should focus on is the light hitting between the nose and the top lip. This would be a good place to use our kneaded eraser to pull out some highlights. I’m putting the light box back on to get a better look at where to lift the graphite. Gently go over the edges with a tortillion.

Add Tones to the Upper Lip


Moving on to the upper lip now, a close look at the reference photograph shows a lot of vertical lines on the lip. So let’s apply the initial tones with a vertical motion. Stop just short of the top border of the lip and the highlights.


Continue to go up and down as you work your way across the upper lip.


Work on the darker shadows on the lower part of the upper lip next. For simplicity’s sake, shade in a horizontal motion above and below the long highlighted strip to avoid shading in this narrow highlighted area. Use more pressure to make these areas darker.


Now go over the first area of the upper lip where we made vertical strokes, but this time, use a horizontal motion. I think a crosshatch pattern like this is a good method for shading lips, because if you look closely at a photograph of lips, they often have a surface texture consisting of both vertical and horizontal lines.

Blend the Tones of the Upper Lip


Rather than the blending stump, I’m going to use my tortillion to blend the upper lip, since there are a lot of tight areas to maneuver around. Begin by blending the main crosshatch area of the upper lip. Be careful when blending around the highlight areas to keep those areas white.


No on to the lower part of the top lip. Use a sideways motion to match the pencil strokes.

Add Darker Tones to the Upper Lip


To help you add darker tones to the upper lip, you can turn the light box on to get extra support from the grid squares and the reference photograph. There are a lot of shadow areas on the lower areas of the upper lip around that highlighted band.

Start shading the corner of the upper lip. Outline the bottom edge of the upper lip too. This will serve as a noticeable separation of the upper lip and the gums below it. Underneath this line will be all shadow, so you can make this line very, very dark.


While we are here, let’s make another application of vertical strokes along the first areas of the upper lip we shaded. This will help to make these midtone areas of the lip a little darker, as they should be.


Now, let’s continue darkening the shadow areas of the lower part of the upper lip around the long highlight strip. Sketch in details that go into the band of highlight as needed.

Add Final Details to the Upper Lip


We can use our tortillion now to start blending. Start above the lip to blend the strip just along the top border.


Now we’ll work on blending the lip itself. Let’s do the midtone part first. Try to maintain the little light rim we have going along the top and, of course, work around the highlights. Work on blending the shadowy area of the lower part of the upper lip next.


Still using the tortillion, look at the big area of highlight on the lip. Using the reference photograph as a guide, we can cut little lines of graphite into the highlights with the tip of the tortillion. This creates the appearance of the lip’s texture within the highlights.


Go on to the bottom long highlight band now. Take your tortillion to lightly blend over this area, since in reality it is not as bright as we have it. Then, similarly to what we did with the big highlight, take your tortillion to add texture. If the tortillion alone is not enough, use your pencil to add details to these darker areas first before smoothing them over with the tortillion.


Lightly draw a few vertical lines to enhance the texture and the highlights of the lip. Use your mechanical pencil, as these should be very fine lines. Draw the lines so they go from darker areas into the light areas. After you smooth these lines over with a tortillion, it should result in an image that has the look and feel of a realistic lip drawing!

How to Draw a Mouth – Part 6

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