How to

How to Draw Lips Step by Step

Master the Art of Drawing Lips with Expert Guidance

Drawing lips may seem challenging, but with a step-by-step tutorial, you can easily achieve realistic and natural-looking results. While eyes are often considered the most expressive feature of the face, lips come in a close second (some argue they may even tie for first!). In this tutorial, we will explore the process of drawing lips in a realistic and naturalistic style. While this guide provides an excellent introduction to drawing lips, stay tuned for future articles that delve deeper into the structure, anatomy, and placement of lips on the human head.

Essential Materials for this Tutorial

  1. Drawing Board: A lightweight and sturdy drawing board made by Helix.
  2. Bulldog Clips: Easily attach your paper to the drawing board for convenient removal and tutorial photos.
  3. Kneaded Eraser: Utilize the General’s Jumbo Kneaded Eraser, perfect for realistic drawing.
  4. Drawing Pencils: HB, 2B, and 4B Staedtler Mars Lumograph graphite pencils are ideal for this drawing.
  5. Drawing Paper: Opt for Canson Recycled Bristol paper for this tutorial.

Unveiling the Basic Structure of Lips

Before we delve into a more detailed exploration of lip anatomy, let’s start by understanding the basic structure and features that are vital for drawing lips. The upper lip consists of three significant forms: the central portion, known as the heart-shaped tubercle, and the two sides that slope downwards from the tubercle. Additionally, above the tubercle and just below the nose, you’ll find a groove called the philtrum. On the other hand, the lower lip consists of two bulbous, pillowy forms enveloped by a ridge along the bottom. At each corner of the mouth, you’ll notice a node or mediolus, creating a fleshy protrusion. Lastly, between the lower lip and the chin lies a furrow known as the mentolabial sulcus. Remember that these features can vary in prominence depending on the individual, lighting, and head position.

Step 1: Establishing Proportions and Angles

Begin by establishing the basic proportions and angles of the lips. Use the “guess and check method” to estimate proportions and verify accuracy through measurements. Pay attention to subtle perspectives in the lips, comparing angles to horizontal lines for reference. Comparative measurement helps ensure the correct height and width of the lips. Remember to measure from specific points to maintain accuracy.

Step 2: Sculpting the Lips Using Straight Lines

Next, start drawing the outline of the lips using straight lines. Imagine “sculpting with a pencil” as you trace the lines over the form of the lips. Focus on evident angle changes, marking points and aligning them using an axis line. Double-check the relationships between points to ensure accuracy.

Step 3: Drawing Overlapping Lines

Overlapping lines create depth and dimension in your drawing before adding tone. Highlight essential overlaps, such as the tubercle in front of the lip or the soft edge between the lower lip and the visible ridge. Avoid drawing sharp, dark lines where soft edges exist. Save yourself work by omitting unnecessary lines that will later require softening.

Step 4: Adding Shadow Shapes

To enhance the realism of your drawing, indicate the shadow shapes within the lips. Simplify the shape and focus on major angle changes. Keep in mind that some initial lines may become obscured once you introduce shading.

Step 5: Starting to Add Values

Begin adding values to your drawing by filling in the darkest and most evident shadow shapes. Use light values to assess accuracy before committing to darker values. Building up values in layers allows for adjustment of proportions and value relationships.

Step 6: Building up the Values

Continue building up and darkening values in the lips. Observe and establish gradations, particularly in the upper lip and at the corners of the mouth.

Step 7: Analyzing the Value Range

Note that the value range in the lips is not a full range from 1 to 9 on the value scale. The lightest value lies between 3 and 4, while the darkest value falls somewhere between 8 and 9. Determining the value range helps guide your shading process and establish benchmarks for comparison.

Step 8: Drawing the Value Extremes

As you progress, you’ll encounter darker accents. Begin drawing them as soon as possible when they are evident and easy to locate. Pay attention to areas where the ridges catch light versus areas in shadow for accurate depiction.

Step 9: Analyzing Edges

Edges play a crucial role in achieving a convincing result. Lips primarily consist of various degrees of soft edges, with some sharper edges present. Identify the sharpest edge, typically found along the line where the lips meet, and delineate it accurately. Observe the variations in edge quality along this line and other areas to avoid generic and artificial appearances.

Step 10: Adding Smaller Details

Now, focus on capturing minute details, such as subtle lip lines or wrinkles. These lines follow the form of the lip, resembling cross-contour lines. Drawing them correctly ensures a natural, three-dimensional appearance. Remember, the amount of detail you include is a matter of personal preference and can vary based on your drawing approach.

Step 11: The Finished Drawing

Congratulations! You’ve reached the final stage of your lip drawing. Take a step back and admire your creation. Throughout the process, remember to embrace the slow and methodical approach to drawing lip lines, ensuring variation in spacing, value, angle, and edge. To practice further, download the reference photo and an infographic recapping the steps.

Enjoy the satisfaction of mastering the art of drawing lips step by step. Remember, this tutorial merely scratches the surface, and further exploration awaits. Keep practicing and experimenting with different techniques to elevate your artistic skills. Happy drawing!

Downloadable Resources:

  • Reference Photo
  • Infographic Recap

Liked this tutorial? Share it with others who share your passion for drawing. Explore more drawing resources, including lessons on realistic eyes, eyebrows, ears on toned paper, and portrait drawing.

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.

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