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
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
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
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.
If you’re stuck on this step or not quite sure how to do it, click here to watch me draw it step by step on YouTube with plenty of examples!
Step 4: Decide on the light direction
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
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
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
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
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
Repeat STEP 7-8 for the top lip.
Step 10: Touch ups
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.
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 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.
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Click here to learn how to draw 10 different kinds of lips (smile, frown, smirk, etc).
More Lip Tutorials:
Drawing lips from the 3/4 view
Want to try a different method? Here’s a more simple one:
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.
Well described post! Thanks for sharing useful information about shadow making. I got some great information that I really didn’t know.
Really good work!!
hi Darlene, Ive never caught a pencil till now… I m 19 now, yet ur subtle techniques made it very simple… And most importantly your “voice” is of the best and sweet ones that my ears have heard…. The second half reason for your succees is your voice…
i like turtels
Sweet mother of Jesus, you’re amazing! I have never seen such realistic lips with such simple steps. Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Looks great! But now I have to find tutorials on drawing triangles and cupid bows.
tank you so much i really like all these and all the steps are clear
you’re such an incredible artist. i am in awe! thanks for sharing your talent. once i read your tutorial on drawing eyes, i literally draw them everywhere! thanks so much. so helpful! i have attempted a face but its the hair that i get stuck on. do you have any tips?
Thank you Kerry :) I have a full tutorial on hair here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGcOEkl1coU&lc=Ugyl2EQkosfeS6b4KCJ4AaABAg
Hope that helps!
thanx so much. i am doing gcse art and the topic i choose was human figure and i would like to study you as part of my artist research. would you mind if i used your images in my art book?
I would be honored :) Please feel free to use any of the images for your research project :)