Hello fellow artists! Wow, it’s been such a long time since I posted a tutorial on RapidFireArt! Sorry for the long hiatus.
Over the next few months I will be posting regularly, so please follow me on Facebook or RFA if you want to see more ‘how to’ articles.
Today, I will be showing you how to draw a smile with teeth using a pencil in a simple way. Drawing teeth can be a huge struggle for beginners. When I drew teeth for the first time, they looked crooked, dark, and altogether creepy! If you always avoid drawing toothy smiles, this tutorial is just for you!
For this tutorial I used the following materials:
– Blending Stump (with a fine tip)
– 0.5mm HB and 4B Ain lead
– 6B Derwent Graphic Pencil
– Canson Sketch Paper (First time trying this cute travel-sized sketch pad. It’s completely different from the Canson Bristol Paper I usually draw on. Blending with this sketch paper is not as easy. I got a lot of tiny blotches here and there. So I spent a bit of time erasing.
How to Draw a Realistic Smile with Teeth
Step 1: Draw a Hammock Shape
Draw a hammock shape with a vertical line down the middle.
Add 2 diagonal lines on each side and 2 curves about a third or quarter of the way up depending on where you want to position the top and bottom sets of teeth.
Step 2: Draw the lips
Draw the lips by following the outer lines.
Step 3: Draw the teeth
Using HB lead, draw the 2 front teeth and work your way out, alternating from one side to the other in order to keep track of the sizing for each tooth. Do the same for the bottom. Remember not to draw the outlines too dark. You want the lines to be subtle or it will be hard to erase later.
It’s tempting, but try not to make each side mirror images of each other. Each tooth has a unique shape and alignment. They should have slight differences from each other if you want to draw more realistic teeth.
Step 4: Erase all guidelines
Erase all the lines from step 1. Make sure everything looks good before you move on to the next step. Any flaws will be hard to correct after step 5.
Step 5: Shade and blend
Now it’s time to shade everything but the teeth. First, let’s start by using the 4B lead to give the lips and gums some tone. The inner areas of the top and bottom lips should be dark so that they do not blend in with the gums and teeth. Highlight the gum area directly above each tooth and darken the areas in between them. Using a 6B pencil, darken the corners of the mouth and gradually go lighter as you reach the middle to show the tongue.
Now blend everything using a blending stump.
Step 6: Shade each tooth and blend
Shade each tooth one at a time using an HB pencil, leaving certain areas highlighted to give the teeth more shape and make them appear glossy. It is important to use HB lead to prevent yourself from shading darker than you need to. Go over each tooth with a clean blending stump to smooth out the harsh lines. Stay within the lines when you are blending.
UPDATE: If you’re stuck on any step, please watch the video version of this tutorial where I draw a smile with even more details, step-by-step.
Step 7: Touchups on your smile drawing
Create a fine point with your kneaded eraser and dab away at highlights to brighten them up. Notice that I made the top set of teeth slightly brighter than the lower set to bring them forward. I can create the reverse effect by making the lower set lighter in value. However, the effect is limited by the placement of each tooth in step 3.
Using a 0.5mm 4B lead, add definition to the edges of each tooth by giving them clean and sharp outlines. Be careful not to lose those clean edges when blending around the teeth. Stay within the lines!
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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.