How to

How to Draw a Smile Step by Step

Smile drawing step by step

Drawing a smile may seem like a daunting task, but with the right techniques, anyone can create a realistic and professional-looking drawing. In this tutorial, we will take you through the process of drawing a smile step by step, from the initial guide lines to the final shading. Whether you are a beginner artist or have some experience, this tutorial will provide you with the necessary skills to create a beautiful smile drawing.

Step 1 – Draw the Guide Lines for the Smile

Smile guide lines drawing

To start, draw a pair of lines – one vertical and one horizontal. The horizontal line should pass through the middle of the smile, ensuring that both halves of the mouth are symmetrical. The vertical line should be positioned at the level where the corners of the mouth will be, ensuring that the lips are not skewed to one side.

Step 2 – Outline the Shape of the Lips

Smile lips outline shading

Based on the guide lines from the previous step, sketch the outer shape of the mouth. Use straight lines to create a flattened “M” shape for the upper part of the lips, and a curved line that transitions into straight lines at the corners of the mouth for the lower part. Starting with a simplified outline allows you to easily make corrections and ensure that you achieve the desired shape.

Step 3 – Outline the Shape of the Mouth

Smile mouth drawing

Next, add the inner shape of the lips within the outer drawing. Use straight lines for the upper portion of the inner shape. Once completed, you can erase the horizontal guide line to declutter your drawing.

Step 4 – Outline the Combined Shape of the Teeth

Smile teeth outline drawing

Inside the mouth, outline the upper row of teeth and suggest the bottom row. Remember that the front teeth are longer, and as you move towards the back of the mouth, the teeth appear shorter due to perspective. Consider the shape of the jaw and the angle at which the mouth is drawn to create a realistic representation.

Step 5 – Space Out the Teeth

Smile teeth spacing drawing

Before drawing each individual tooth, create vertical divider lines to estimate their size. Keep in mind that the teeth in the back will be partially hidden and appear narrower, while the front teeth are generally larger. By spacing out the teeth correctly, you can achieve a more accurate representation of the smile.

Step 6 – Outline the Organic Shape of the Lips

Smile lips details drawing

Now, you can create a more organic outline of the mouth using the construction drawing as a guide. Outline the lips and add smaller curves to make them appear more natural and lifelike. These lines can be darker than the construction lines, but avoid making them too dark to allow for easy corrections. Erase the construction lines once you are satisfied with the final shape.

Step 7 – Draw the Individual Teeth

Smile teeth drawing

Referencing the construction drawing, add in the individual teeth. The construction lines serve as guides, making it easier and faster to place the teeth accurately. Drawing the teeth is a crucial step in achieving a realistic smile.

Step 8 – Clean Up the Drawing

Smile line drawing

To finalize the drawing, erase all the construction lines. You can then trace over the cleaned-up drawing with a darker pencil stroke or a black pen/marker to enhance the lines. If you are concerned about making mistakes, using a pencil allows for easy erasing.

Step 9 – Shade the Mouth

Smile mouth shading

In this tutorial, we will focus on minimal shading. Begin by darkening the inside of the mouth with a very dark grey or black. You can use a pencil, paints, or markers for shading, but pencils are recommended for easy error correction.

Step 10 – Shade the Gums

Smile gums shading

Use a lighter shade of grey to fill in the gums. The gums should be lighter than the shaded inside of the mouth.

Step 11 – Shade the Lips

Smile lips shading

Shade the lips with a slightly darker grey than the gums. Leave a few lighter spots to create highlights, giving the lips a shiny and three-dimensional appearance. These highlights add depth and realism to the drawing.

Step 12 – Finish the Smile Drawing

Smile drawing

To further enhance the three-dimensional effect, add generic shading to the drawing. Consider common lighting conditions, such as a well-lit room or daylight outside. Shade the areas below the upper lip, at the corners of the mouth on the bottom lip, and on the back row of teeth to create shadows. The bottom row of teeth should be slightly darker than the top row to account for less light reaching them. Once you complete these shading steps, you will have a finished drawing of a smile.


This step-by-step tutorial has demonstrated how to create a realistic-looking smile through basic line drawing and simple shading techniques. These principles can be applied not only to drawing smiles but also to other body parts and objects. Begin with a construction drawing, followed by a line drawing, and then add shading. As shown in this tutorial, even simplistic shading can greatly enhance the appearance of a smiling mouth compared to a drawing without shading alone.

For more information on drawing lips, check out the following resources:

  • How to Draw Different Types of Lips
  • How to Draw Lips From 3 Different Views

For drawing the whole face, consider these tutorials:

  • How to Draw a Female Face Step by Step Tutorial
  • Tips on Drawing the Same Male Face of Different Ages

Alexia Young

Hello and welcome to the world of Alexia. I am a passionate and dedicated artist who loves to create beautiful, mesmerizing art for everyone's walls. I believe in the importance of encouraging people to express their creativity and be happy.

Related Articles

Back to top button