How to Draw a Mouth – Part 6

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 Teeth

Add Tones to the Top Gums


In the next few lectures, we will work on shading the gums and teeth. Let’s focus on the gums first.

Using your mechanical pencil, start at the corner of the mouth and fill in all of that dark area just inside the mouth.


For the gums themselves, look for lighter and darker areas and shade accordingly. Look for areas between some teeth that might be darker or lighter than others.


Under the lip should be very dark because the lip is casting a shadow onto the gums. So make sure to apply more pressure on the gums just under the lip.


Keep shading the rest of the gums in the same manner. Be aware of the curves that go around the top of each tooth. Be careful not to shade over areas of highlight on the gums. Also, make sure to maintain the shape of the gum line as you shade.


Remember that the darkest areas should be just under the top lip and at each corner of the mouth.

Blend the Tones of the Top Gums


Now let’s blend the gums. Use a tortillion to lightly brush over the gum line along the top of each tooth.


Next, blend the lighter areas of the gums. Be very careful as you blend around the highlights of the gums to leave them open.


Then work your way toward the darker areas of the gums. As you shade under the top lip, blend in a sideways motion. You can blend in between the teeth in any direction that seems most practical.


Continue until you finish blending the gums.


Use the tip of your kneaded eraser to lift the tiny highlights on the gums.


If necessary, sharpen up the cast shadow just under the lip to make the top lip really stand out. Lightly smooth it out with a tortillion.

Shade the Front Teeth


In order to shade the teeth, we can mostly use the residue on our tortillion. Begin by blending the outline of the central incisors to soften the edges.


Wherever we see highlight areas on a tooth, we can sketch that in with the tortillion. We can use the light box and grid for proper placement.


Keep the highlight area of the tooth solid white as you use the tortillion to lightly shade the rest of the tooth. We want to make the lightest of tones without leaving the entire tooth completely white. Also, by softening the outline of the tooth earlier, it leaves the edges darker and gives our tooth a bit of a three-dimensional appearance.


With the kneaded eraser, soften up the outline of the highlight on the tooth to make it less pronounced.


Lightly shade around the highlight again with the tortillion to fill in areas that should not have been lifted with the eraser.


You can make very thin highlights on the tooth and along the gum line with a wedged shape of your kneaded eraser. Keep working the tortillion and eraser as needed until you have a well-blended, realistic tooth with light shading and some highlights.


Move on to the next tooth. Repeat the same process. Look for highlights first. It appears there is only one main highlight on this tooth. Use the residue of the tortillion to add some light values. Use the kneaded eraser to lift out smaller slivers of highlights.


Continue shading the remaining two central incisors. These should be slightly darker than the teeth above since they sit a little farther back. Look for guidelines made during the line drawing that indicate areas of highlight.


Shade the lateral incisors next. Keep using the same process, softening the edges of the teeth and shading inside, leaving room for highlights. While pulling the highlights for these teeth, I found out that I preferred shading over the entire tooth area and then lifting the highlights afterward rather than outlining the highlight area with a tortillion first. So from this point, I’m deciding to redo the two front teeth and shade the remaining teeth in this manner.

Finish Shading the Teeth


Shade the canines next. Lightly shade each canine tooth. Take note of which spots on each tooth are darker or lighter and require more or less pressure from your tortillion.


Certain spots in between some of the teeth may require more darkening than the tortillion can provide. When necessary, use your pencil to very lightly shade near where teeth meet each other and have darker tones.


Lightly blend the outline of the remaining teeth. Use the tortillion to blend inside each tooth.


Keep looking for areas of the other teeth that need additional shading from your pencil.


Then brush over any additional pencil tones with a tortillion.


Take a final look at all of the teeth to see if any finishing touches are needed. For the most part, we are now finished with drawing and shading the teeth.

Finish Shading the Inside of the Mouth


Using a mechanical pencil, let’s shade all of that space between the teeth. This dark-to-light contrast will do a lot for enhancing the overall look of our mouth drawing. We are going to do basically the same thing we did at the corner of the mouth. Use lots of dark pressure to make the space inside the mouth very, very black. Trace around the edge of each tooth as you shade between them to maintain the proper shape of each individual tooth.


Now that we have a nice, solid, dark color between the teeth, we should very lightly and carefully go over the area with a tortillion. As you do this, there is no need to blend over the outline of each tooth again. Just blend the black area between the teeth.


There is not a lot of gum line visible at the bottom. Still, we can shade the bottom gums in a similar manner as the top. Use the light box and the grid to shade one square at a time. There is no cast shadow like at the top. We can just plan to leave the highlight areas open and shade around them with our pencil. Carefully blend with a tortillion to complete the gums.


Let’s take a look at what we have and make sure the teeth are complete before finishing the rest of the mouth.


Everything looks pretty good, but there’s one tiny part I want to fix. There should be more shading on the back tooth on our right side (the left side of the face) since the back teeth recede away from us. So let’s correct this with a little more pencil shading and blending with a tortillion.

How to Draw a Mouth – Part 7

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