How to draw lips – 10 easy steps


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In this tutorial I will teach you how to draw lips in 10 easy steps using a simple triangle shape. You can create different kinds of lips by making small changes in the first step. I came up with this method one day by somehow associating a pair of lips with a bow and arrow haha.

I always receive messages from readers who have tried this tutorial and say it works great for them. I hope it works for you too! Enjoy!

I will be using the following materials for this tutorial:

– Mechanical Pencil with 0.5mm HB Ain lead
Derwent Graphic 6B Pencil
Kneaded Eraser
Blending Stump
Smooth Bristol Paper




How to Draw Lips

Step 1: Draw a Triangle

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Draw a long isosceles triangle. Partway down draw a curve (similar to a “u” shape). Draw a straight horizontal line between the “u” shape and the base of the triangle. The longer you draw the horizontal line, the wider the lips will be. The shorter the line, the more plump they will be.

“But what if I want to draw this on a face, Darlene?” Check out my tutorial on drawing faces to find out where you should place your triangle. It covers proportions and will help you determine how long the triangle should be as well as how wide the lips should extend taking other elements of the face into consideration.

Step 2: Draw a bow

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Create the outlines for the top lip by making a shape that looks similar to a cupid’s bow.


Step 3: Draw the bottom lip

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Create the bottom lip by drawing a curved line which goes no further than the triangle’s base. Complete the opening of the mouth by using the horizontal line as a guide.


Step 4: Decide on the light direction

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After erasing the triangle, determine where the light source is coming from. For this example, the light source is coming from the top right. I’ve outlined the areas I want to highlight as well as added a cast shadow on left side of the bottom lip.


Step 5: Shade the top and bottom lip

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Shade both the top and bottom lip leaving the areas mentioned in STEP 4 the lightest. As you can see there is a dark shadow under the bottom lip. It starts to fade on the right side to show that the light source is coming from the upper right.

Step 6: Add lip wrinkles

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Create some lip wrinkles using a 0.5mm HB pencil. You don’t want to press too hard or else it will be difficult to achieve the effect in the next step.

Want to find out how to incorporate lip wrinkles in your drawing without making them look unnatural? Try the contour shading technique as mentioned in my shading tutorial :)

Step 7: Blend the bottom lip

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Using a blending stump (learn how to use one here), smooth out the shading on the bottom lip. Avoid areas mentioned in STEP 4. Those areas will make the lips appear more plump and round. You will notice that the lip wrinkles slowly start to blend in with the shading. But they shouldn’t disappear!


Step 8: Clean up highlights

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Go over the lighter areas with the pointed end of a kneaded eraser and clean up the highlights to create the glare effect.


STEP 9: Repeat

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Repeat STEP 7-8 for the top lip.


Step 10: Touch ups

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Using a 6b pencil, darken the shadows in areas such as the outer edges of the lips, under the bottom lip, the wrinkles and the corners of the lips.

You can change the size of the lips by moving the horizontal line up (to make the upper lip thin) or down (to make to make the upper lip thicker). Also, adding more glare will make the lips look even more plump.

If you liked this tutorial, check out how to draw lips from the 3/4 view!

Have any questions or requests? Let me know in the comments! Don’t worry if your drawing doesn’t turn out the way you expected it to on the first try. Keep going at it and you will understand and grasp each step. It will become much easier! Also, don’t forget to experiment with different triangle shapes and positioning of the guides in STEP 2. If you enjoyed this easy step by step tutorial on how to draw lips, please share this post using the share buttons below to support RFA :) Thank you!

If you want to find out how to draw lips on a face, click here!

Lips sent in by you guys!

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Check out RFA’s reader submitted art gallery!

Darlene created RFA In 2013 with the goal of sharing simple yet detailed drawing tutorials with other artists on the world wide web. She is a self taught pencil portrait artist and Youtuber.


  1. Wow! thank you, I’m improving my skills in drawing realistic stuff since I’m used in drawing anime so I thought I should try in another level, now… I’m thinking on how to send my results since I just started like now… 👍👍👍

  2. Hi Darlene
    Just into my second month of drawing after returning from overseas inspired by visiting some great museums and homes of artists. Now trying to learn as much as possible and having lots of fun. Found your page via Pinterest and just followed the tutorial on lips. Really enjoyed it – thank you very much. I will certainly continue to check other tutorials to keep learning.

  3. This does not work for me, I need some Hong more detailed in explaining things. If you could do that’ll be great. Thanks

  4. I found your site 20 min ago and already extremely excited. Been drawing for years but fell I reached a stopping point and need directions to move forward. I look forward to working with u and your site. Into portraits right now, but hair is kicking my butt, and making me wanna pull mine out…..What I’ve seen so far your site is great and helpful to artist at all levels of experience. Thank you, Dave or Late nite lol

  5. Hi! I’d just like to say that your tutorials have really helped me. This is the best I’ve drawn in years! Maybe if you’re experienced with drawing in color you could make a video about it? I’ve only ever drawn in black and white! Once again, thanks for the amazing tutorials :)

    • Hi Phoebe, I’m actually really awful with colored pencils. If I ever learn to use them right, I’ll make a tutorial on it for sure :)

  6. Hey, I’m only 13 but I like your technique it really worked for me. I’m used to sketching animals like horses and I can almost do a fair side view of a persons face. But the point is that I really love your works that you post on here and I’m looking forward to another one.

  7. Hey I’m only 13 but I used your technique and it works really well for me. I don’t have all of the different pencils or paper but with what I had it at least didn’t turn out terrible lol.

  8. Wow I fifnd these soooo helpful! The lips didnt turn out as they were supposed but I am still new to half of this stuff. Do post a tutorial on how to shade with color pencils!

    • Hi Haniya, please feel free to send me your drawing via the contact page. I can give you some constructive feedback.

      Sorry, I’m not very experienced with drawing in color. Maybe that’s a tutorial I can make in the future :)

  9. I’ve always had a calculated way of doing portraits (specifically when scaling and placing) and things like eyes and lips always had no emotion and plumpness, but your tutorials have made my portraits more natural. Thank You so much. I will definitely be emailing you for more advise!

  10. Thank you for this amazing tutorial! Lips has always been a weakness in my portrait. I would literally spend hours just on the composition of lips and never seem to get them to look the way I intended them to be. So far I’ve tried this method on 2 types of lips and I’ve managed to get them right in just 1 try. It’s very effective! Thank you! :)

    • Hi Leonie, can you kindly point out those areas to me? I tried to include as few images as possible to keep the page load time reasonable. If you find that the content is lacking clarity, I will try my best to make it better :)

  11. Thank you so much for this tutorial, it’s a life saver. I used to be hesitant and very much afraid to draw lips, but now I feel I can do great :)

  12. Hi darlene,
    I tried to do this but it didn’t work out. The picture came out arkward and I can think of better things for me to draw! Like eyes! Would you mind if I emailed you a picture of it so you can give me some tips?
    XxX Abby :) ♥ ♡★☆★♡♥ (:

  13. Thank u so much darlene, it is really useful.. M sketching for the first time n M finding it much easier than what i thought..

    • Hi Cindy, you can make them thinner by decreasing the triangle’s height and smaller if you make the horizontal line shorter :)

  14. Darlene, your work is so great….and so benificial ….helpful…..clear and therefore easy to follow…
    Thank you so much….

    I just found your site tonite….I will be here a lot……not sure how to post, but I’ll try

    Thanks again
    Merry Christmas !

    • I’m glad you stumbled upon my site Cally! Let me know if you have any questions! I’m available via email (

      Merry Christmas to you too!

  15. Im learning to draw girls faces and I like to draw big lips .. but I have a problem to draw lips from the side and from 3/4 side. Do you have any tips for that and how to draw sexy lips?? thank you!!!


  16. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I was trying to learn how to draw lips! This really helped me with my portrait of a girl crying. Your tutorials are amazing!

  17. This is a bit little but I would like to say that I’m very happy that I stumbled upon your website. It’s really well detailed and I really like the multiple steps. Anyways, continue the good work.

  18. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I managed to draw a complete portrait using your tutorials. It helps so much, I can’t even tell you! I’ll send you the picture later :)

  19. Your method is so much better than the way I learned this. I like how you can adjust the lips to make them more full or thinner with ease and without all the extra smudges.

  20. I am going to send you my results as you have made this more clear to me than anyone ever has! You should teach a formal class even if it is online, sign me up! :)