how to draw mouths

How to Draw Mouths – Drawing Turorials and Coloring Tips

Have you ever struggled to draw realistic and expressive mouths? Do you wish to enhance your artistic skills and bring your characters to life? Look no further! In this article, we will provide you with step-by-step tutorials and valuable tips to help you master the art of drawing mouths.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, these techniques will take your artwork to the next level. From understanding the anatomy of the lips to exploring different styles and expressions, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to unlock your creativity and embark on a journey of artistic growth.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn the fundamentals of mouth placement on the face for accurate drawings.
  • Understand the anatomy of lips to create realistic and expressive mouth designs.
  • Explore the options of detailed or stylized mouth representations according to your artistic preferences.
  • Gain insights into the internal oral anatomy, including teeth, gums, and tongue, for enhanced realism.
  • Discover tips for portraying different emotions through the mouth to add depth to your character illustrations.

Face Anatomy: Placing the Mouth

Understanding the placement of the mouth on the face is essential for creating realistic drawings. The position and angles of the mouth can greatly affect the overall facial expression and likeness of the subject. In this section, we will explore the different views and positions of the mouth, providing guidelines for accurate placement.

The Five Main Views and Positions of the Mouth:

  1. Front view: When drawing a face head-on, the mouth is positioned in the center, below the nose. The width of the mouth varies depending on individual features and gender.
  2. 3/4 view (right and left): In this angle, the mouth is slightly shifted to one side. Pay attention to the alignment and proportion of the lips to maintain symmetry.
  3. Profile (right and left): When drawing a side profile, the mouth is seen from the side. The curvature and shape of the lips should be carefully observed to capture the unique characteristics of the subject.

Vertical and horizontal positioning of the mouth on the face is equally important. The vertical placement of the mouth is often determined by the position and size of the nose. The horizontal positioning can be influenced by factors such as the width of the face and the placement of other facial features.

By understanding face anatomy and mouth placement, you’ll be able to create more accurate and lifelike drawings. Remember to observe and study reference images to further enhance your understanding of different mouth positions and their relation to the overall face.

Keep practicing and experimenting with different angles and positions to master the art of placing the mouth on the face!

Lips Anatomy: Structure and Importance

The lips are not just a functional part of the mouth; they also play a crucial role in facial expressions and conveying emotions. Understanding the anatomy of the lips is vital for creating realistic and expressive mouth drawings. Let’s explore the different parts of the lips and their significance:


The filtrum is the vertical groove located in the center of the upper lip. It starts from the base of the nose and extends downwards, dividing the upper lip into two symmetrical sections. The filtrum adds depth and character to the upper lip, and capturing its shape accurately is essential for achieving lifelike mouth drawings.

Cupid’s Bow

The cupid’s bow refers to the distinct curve on the upper lip, resembling an upside-down “V” or the bow of Cupid, the Roman god of love. This feature contributes to the overall shape of the lips and greatly influences their appearance. Paying attention to the cupid’s bow is crucial for capturing the individuality of a person’s lips in your drawings.

Upper and Lower Lips

The upper and lower lips form the main structure of the mouth. The upper lip is usually thinner than the lower lip and has a slightly different shape. The lower lip is generally fuller and more prominent. Understanding the proportions, curves, and volumes of both lips is essential for creating realistic and aesthetically pleasing mouth drawings.


The commissures are the corners of the mouth where the upper and lower lips meet on both sides. These corners play a vital role in expressing different emotions and should be carefully observed and depicted. They can turn upwards or downwards, depending on the expression, adding depth and character to the mouth drawings.


The chin, although not directly part of the lips, is closely connected to the overall structure of the mouth. Its shape can influence the alignment and appearance of the lips. Understanding the relationship between the lips and the chin is crucial for achieving accurate and realistic mouth drawings.

lips anatomy

Lip Structure Description
Filtrum The vertical groove on the upper lip
Cupid’s Bow The distinct curve on the upper lip
Upper and Lower Lips The main structure of the mouth
Commissures The corners where the upper and lower lips meet
Chin The lower part of the face directly below the lips

Detail vs. Stylized Lips

When it comes to drawing lips, artists have the creative freedom to choose between portraying them in intricate detail or stylized simplicity. Both approaches offer unique opportunities for artistic expression. Understanding the essential elements of the lips can help you decide which style best aligns with your artistic preferences.

Emphasizing Essential Parts

To create realistic-looking lips, it’s important to emphasize certain key elements. These include:

  • The commissures: These are the corners of the mouth where the upper and lower lips meet. They play a crucial role in defining the shape and expression of the lips.
  • The lower lip: The lower lip is often more pronounced and fuller than the upper lip. Paying attention to its shape and volume will add depth and realism to your drawings.
  • The “V” shape: The area between the upper lip and the nose forms a distinct “V” shape known as the filtrum. Accentuating this feature can help give your lips a lifelike appearance.

By focusing on these essential parts, you can create lips that are visually appealing and engaging.

Exploring Different Styles

Aside from detailed realism, there are various stylized approaches to drawing lips. Artists often experiment with different styles and variations to add personal flair to their work. Some popular lip styles include:

  1. Cartoon lips: Bold, exaggerated lines and simplified shapes are characteristic of cartoon lips. This style is commonly seen in animated characters.
  2. Realistic lips: This style aims to capture the natural texture and shading of lips, mimicking their appearance in real life. It requires meticulous attention to detail.
  3. Minimalistic lips: Minimalistic lips focus on simplicity and clean lines. They are often represented with minimal detail or even as a single line or curve.

Experimenting with different styles will allow you to explore your artistic range and discover what resonates with your unique vision.

stylized lips

Detail vs. Stylized Lips Comparison

Aspect Detail Lips Stylized Lips
Approach Realistic rendering with fine details Simplified representation with varying degrees of abstraction
Time Commitment Requires more time and attention to achieve intricate details Allows for quicker execution due to simplified forms
Artistic Expression Provides an opportunity to showcase technical skills and realism Allows for personal interpretation and stylization
Appeal Attracts attention with intricate textures and lifelike features Creates a unique and stylized visual impact

The comparison table above highlights the key differences between detail lips and stylized lips. Consider your goals, preferences, and available time when deciding which style to use in your artwork.

Oral Anatomy: Teeth, Gums, and Tongue

An understanding of the internal anatomy of the mouth is crucial for drawing realistic mouths. To accurately depict the elements of the oral cavity in your mouth drawings, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different parts of the mouth, including the teeth, gums, and tongue.

The teeth are not only essential for chewing and digestion but also contribute to the overall aesthetics of a smile. They come in various shapes, sizes, and arrangements, which can greatly impact the appearance and character of a drawn mouth. Pay close attention to the details of individual teeth, such as their position, shape, and texture, to bring authenticity to your artwork.

The gums are the pink tissues that surround and support the teeth. They provide stability to the teeth and protect the underlying structures. When drawing the gums, consider factors like their color, texture, and contours. Creating accurate gum lines and ensuring proper proportionality between the gums and teeth will enhance the realism of your mouth drawings.

The tongue plays a crucial role not only in oral function but also in artistic representation. It aids in speech, taste, and swallowing, while also adding depth and character to mouth drawings. The tongue’s shape, texture, and positioning within the mouth can greatly influence the overall composition. Capturing these nuances can further bring life to your artwork.

Understanding the oral anatomy of teeth, gums, and tongue will empower you to create realistic and detailed mouth drawings. Let’s take a closer look at each component:

1. Teeth

The teeth are divided into four main types: incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. Each type has a specific function and characteristic shape. Here is an overview of the different types of teeth:

Type of Teeth Description
Incisors Located at the front of the mouth, incisors are typically thin and sharp, used for cutting food.
Canines The canines are the pointed teeth next to the incisors. They have a more robust shape and are used for tearing food.
Premolars Premolars have a flat surface with cusps, allowing them to chew and grind food.
Molars Located at the back of the mouth, molars have a larger surface area and are responsible for grinding and crushing food.

Understanding the form and positioning of each type of tooth will help you achieve accuracy in your mouth drawings.

2. Gums

The gums, also known as gingiva, are the pink tissues that surround the base of the teeth. They help protect and support the teeth while acting as a seal to prevent the entry of harmful bacteria. When drawing the gums, consider the following:

  • Color: The gums are typically a light to medium pink color, but they can vary in shade.
  • Texture: Gums have a slightly bumpy texture, resembling an orange peel.
  • Contours: Pay attention to the curve and contour of the gum line, ensuring it complements the teeth and fits naturally within the mouth.

Adding these details will make your mouth drawings more lifelike and visually appealing.

3. Tongue

The tongue is a versatile organ that plays an important role in both oral function and drawing realistic mouths. Consider the following aspects when depicting the tongue:

  • Shape: The tongue is muscular and flexible, capable of assuming various shapes and positions within the oral cavity.
  • Texture: Depict the texture of the tongue, which is often rough due to the presence of tiny bumps called papillae.
  • Position: The position of the tongue can enhance the overall composition and indicate different speech sounds or facial expressions.

By accurately representing the teeth, gums, and tongue in your mouth drawings, you can achieve a higher level of realism and capture the essence of an expressive mouth.

oral anatomy

More Accessories and Details for Personality

When it comes to drawing mouths, adding accessories and details can elevate the personality and uniqueness of your characters. It’s all in the little things that make a big impact! Let’s explore some options for mouth accessories and other details that can bring your mouth drawings to life.


mouth accessories

Piercings are a popular choice for adding a touch of individuality to character designs. From lip rings to tongue piercings, there are various types to choose from. You can experiment with different styles and placements to match your character’s personality or narrative. Remember to consider the aesthetic appeal and functionality of the piercing in relation to your character’s overall design.


Braces are not just for orthodontic purposes; they can also be a charming detail in mouth drawings. You can depict different types of braces, such as traditional metal ones or more modern invisible aligners. Consider the age and personality of your character when deciding whether to include braces. They can add a relatable touch or symbolize a specific period in your character’s life.


Scars can add depth and intrigue to mouth drawings. Whether it’s a subtle lip scar or a more dramatic facial scar that intersects the mouth, scars can convey a character’s history and experiences. Think about the placement, shape, and texture of the scar to ensure it aligns with your character’s backstory and overall aesthetic.

“Accessories and details in the mouth area can provide valuable insights into a character’s personality and experiences, making them more relatable and memorable.”

Incorporating accessories and details into your mouth drawings allows you to showcase your creativity and create distinctive characters with unique stories to tell. Remember to balance these elements with the overall composition of your artwork for a harmonious and visually appealing result.

Expressions: Conveying Emotions through the Mouth

The mouth is a powerful tool when it comes to expressing emotions in artwork. Through subtle changes in the shape, position, and movement of the lips, you can effectively communicate a wide range of feelings. In this section, we will explore different emotions and provide tips on how to accurately depict them through the mouth. By understanding these expressions, you will bring depth and realism to your character illustrations.

Neutral Expression

The neutral expression is the basis for all other emotions. It represents a calm and relaxed state, where the lips are neither pulled up nor down. To convey this expression, ensure that the upper and lower lips are aligned and the corners of the mouth slightly curved upwards.


The smile is a universal symbol of happiness. To capture this emotion, depict a wide, upward curve of the lips. The teeth may be visible, but it’s important to pay attention to the natural placement and shape of the smile. Avoid making the smile too forced, as it can appear unnatural.


When portraying sadness, the corners of the mouth should droop downwards, while the center remains relatively neutral. The lower lip may be slightly protruded, indicating a subdued or melancholic emotion. It’s important to find a balance between a subtle expression and one that clearly conveys sadness.


To depict dislike or disdain, the mouth can be shaped into a slight frown. The lips may be pressed together, and the corners may be slightly tugged downwards. Emphasize tension in the mouth to effectively communicate this negative emotion.


When capturing anger, the mouth often takes on a clenched or tightened appearance. The lips may be pressed firmly together and the corners pulled downwards. Additionally, the teeth may be exposed through a snarl or partial opening of the mouth. It’s important to convey a sense of intensity and aggression through the mouth.


When illustrating fear, the mouth often opens wide to breathe in more air. The lips may be stretched horizontally, exposing the teeth and creating a gaping expression. Be sure to display tension in the mouth and emphasize the widening of the eyes to effectively evoke fear.


Surprise is often characterized by an open mouth and raised eyebrows. The lips may be slightly parted or shaped into an “O” to convey astonishment. It’s crucial to capture the dynamic and transitory nature of surprise, illustrating the moment of realization or shock.

By understanding how the mouth conveys emotions, you can add depth and personality to your character illustrations. Experiment with different shapes and positions of the lips to accurately depict a wide range of feelings. Remember that the key to capturing emotions is in the subtleties of the mouth, so pay attention to the details.

expressions through the mouth

“The mouth is the gateway to the soul, revealing emotions that words cannot express.” – Emily Roberts

Simplified Structures for Drawing the Mouth

In this section, we will guide you through the process of drawing the mouth using simplified structures. By breaking down the complex form of the mouth into simpler shapes, you will gain a better understanding of its basic structure and volume.

To start, we introduce the concept of representing the mouth as a sphere. This simplified structure serves as a foundation for depicting the mouth with different perspectives, giving your drawings a more three-dimensional appearance.

Let’s begin with a step-by-step guide:

  1. Draw a circle to represent the sphere that forms the overall shape of the mouth.
  2. Divide the circle into half using a horizontal line to indicate the separation of the upper and lower lips.
  3. Next, add a curved line within the lower part of the circle to define the outline of the lower lip.
  4. For the upper lip, draw an elongated “M” shape in the middle part of the circle to create the cupid’s bow.
  5. Extend the sides of the upper lip outward to create the corners of the mouth.

simplified structures for drawing the mouth

Key Features of Simplified Mouth Structures
Sphere Shape Representing the mouth as a sphere provides a basic framework for understanding its form and volume.
Upper and Lower Lips Distinguishing between the upper and lower lips establishes the overall shape of the mouth.
Cupid’s Bow The cupid’s bow creates the characteristic shape of the middle part of the upper lip.
Corners of the Mouth Extending the sides of the upper lip outward forms the corners of the mouth.

By mastering the simplified structures of the mouth, you will have a solid foundation to build upon when adding details and refining your drawings.

Key Elements in Drawing the Mouth

To create realistic mouth drawings, it’s important to pay attention to key elements such as the teeth, tongue, and gums. By accurately depicting these elements in your artwork, you can enhance the overall realism and portrayal of emotions in your mouth drawings.

The Teeth

The teeth play a significant role in defining the structure and appearance of the mouth. When drawing teeth, consider their placement, size, and shape. Remember that teeth are not perfectly aligned and symmetrical; they have individual characteristics and imperfections. Pay attention to the shading and highlights on each tooth to add depth and realism.

The Tongue

Depicting the tongue realistically can bring a sense of life to your mouth drawings. Observe the shape and position of the tongue within the mouth. Include details such as taste buds and texture to make it more authentic. Additionally, consider how the tongue interacts with the teeth and gums when rendering different mouth expressions.

The Gums

The gums provide a foundation for the teeth and contribute to the overall shape of the mouth. Pay attention to the contour and dimension of the gums to accurately depict their role in supporting the teeth. Consider the color variations and texture of the gums to add realism and depth to your mouth drawings.

By understanding and accurately representing the key elements of the mouth, you can create realistic and expressive drawings that capture the intricacies of human emotions. Now, let’s explore some tips on how to depict these elements in your artwork:

  • Study anatomical references: Reference images or study guides that illustrate the structure and details of the teeth, tongue, and gums. This will help you understand their individual characteristics and how they interact with each other.
  • Practice shading and highlights: Use subtle shading techniques to create depth and dimension in your mouth drawings. Pay attention to the way light interacts with the teeth, tongue, and gums, and emphasize highlights to make them stand out.
  • Experiment with different textures: Mouth textures can vary depending on factors such as age, health, and ethnicity. Practice creating textures that accurately reflect the characteristics of different individuals.
  • Observe real-life references: Pay attention to the mouths of people around you or use mirrors to observe your own mouth. Notice how the teeth, tongue, and gums move and change shape during various expressions.

By honing your skills in depicting the key elements of the mouth and incorporating these tips into your artwork, you’ll be able to create captivating and lifelike mouth drawings that convey a wide range of emotions. Keep practicing and experimenting to unleash your artistic potential.

key elements in drawing the mouth

Different Mouth and Lip Shapes

Creating unique and expressive characters involves understanding the various shapes of mouths and lips. By experimenting with different lip thicknesses, Cupid’s bow variations, and mouth widths, you can add diversity and intrigue to your artwork.

The shape of the mouth plays a significant role in defining a character’s personality and features. Whether you’re aiming for a sultry pout or a quirky smile, paying attention to mouth shapes is crucial in creating believable and engaging illustrations.

“The mouth is often referred to as the window to the soul, and rightly so. Every individual has a distinct mouth shape that contributes to their overall facial expression and communication style.” – Jane Rodriguez, Professional Illustrator

Exploring Lip Thickness

Lip thickness is a defining factor in mouth shape variations. Some individuals may have naturally thin and delicate lips, while others boast full and plush pouts. Experiment with different lip thicknesses to add depth and realism to your characters. From pencil-thin lips to generously voluminous ones, each lip thickness brings a unique charm to your illustrations.

Playing with the Cupid’s Bow

The Cupid’s bow, located at the center of the upper lip, contributes to the overall shape of the mouth. Some individuals have a prominent and well-defined Cupid’s bow, while others may have a subtle or rounded one. Consider the Cupid’s bow variation when depicting different mouth shapes, as it greatly influences the character’s appearance and expression.

Varying Mouth Width

Mouth width is another essential aspect to consider when drawing different mouth shapes. Some individuals have a narrow smile, while others possess a wide and infectious grin. By adjusting the width of the mouth, you can capture a range of emotions, from a shy smirk to an exuberant laugh.

Remember, practicing and experimenting with different mouth and lip shapes will enhance your artistic abilities and help you create captivating characters. Don’t be afraid to explore the limitless possibilities of mouth variations, as they are key to bringing your illustrations to life.

Mouth Shapes

Common Mouth and Lip Shapes

Mouth Shape Description
Thin Lips Lips with minimal fullness and volume
Full Lips Pouty and plump lips with noticeable volume
Heart-shaped Lips Lips with a pronounced Cupid’s bow and a narrow chin width
Bow-shaped Lips Lips with a gentle and curved Cupid’s bow
Straight Lips Horizontal and evenly aligned lips with a minimal curve
Wide Smile Mouth with a broad width, showcasing a radiant smile

Drawing Mouths and Lips in Different Styles

Once you have mastered the basics of drawing mouths and lips, it’s time to explore different styles that will bring uniqueness and versatility to your artwork. Whether you prefer a realistic approach or want to dive into the world of anime or cartoony aesthetics, there are various styles to choose from.

Let’s take a look at some popular drawing styles for mouths and lips:

  1. Anime Style: Anime is known for its exaggerated and expressive features, and the mouth is no exception. Thin, curved lines are used to depict the lips, and the overall shape can vary depending on the character’s emotions and mood.
  2. Realistic Style: In a realistic style, attention to detail is key. Pay close attention to the subtle curves and shadows that form the lips. Study photographs and real-life references to accurately capture the intricacies of the human mouth.
  3. Cartoon Style: Cartoonists often simplify mouth shapes for a more playful and exaggerated look. Wide smiles, exaggerated expressions, and simple lines are characteristic of this style.
  4. Disney Style: Disney animations feature distinct and iconic mouth shapes. The lips are often emphasized with smooth curves, and characters’ expressions are well-defined and full of life.
  5. Personal Style: As an artist, you have the freedom to develop your own unique style. Experiment with different shapes, sizes, and proportions to create a distinctive look that reflects your artistic vision.

Remember, drawing mouths and lips in different styles is a great way to showcase your creativity and expand your artistic repertoire. By studying and practicing different styles, you can develop a diverse range of characters and add depth to your artwork.

drawing styles

Now that you have explored different styles for drawing mouths and lips, it’s time to put your skills to the test. Practice sketching and experimenting with various styles to find the one that resonates with you the most. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different techniques and create your own signature style. Happy drawing!


Congratulations on completing this comprehensive guide on how to draw mouths! By following the step-by-step tutorials and implementing the valuable tips provided, you now have the tools to improve your mouth drawing skills and create realistic and expressive characters.

Remember, practice is key to mastering any artistic skill, so make sure to put in regular practice sessions. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles and techniques to find what works best for you. Drawing mouths can be a joyful and creative process, so embrace the journey and have fun along the way!

In summary, this guide has covered essential topics such as face anatomy, lips anatomy, mouth placement, detailed versus stylized lips, oral anatomy, expressions, simplified structures, key elements, mouth and lip shapes, and drawing in different styles. By thoroughly understanding these concepts, you are equipped to create diverse and captivating mouth drawings that bring your characters to life.

Now, armed with your newfound knowledge and skills, it’s time to pick up your pencil and start drawing! So, dive into the world of mouth artistry, unleash your creativity, and watch as your characters come alive on the page. Happy drawing!


What are some tips for drawing realistic mouths?

Some tips for drawing realistic mouths include understanding the placement of the mouth on the face, studying the anatomy of the lips, and paying attention to key elements such as the teeth, tongue, and gums.

How can I accurately depict different emotions through the mouth?

To accurately depict different emotions through the mouth, pay attention to factors such as the shape of the lips, the position of the corners of the mouth, and the curvature of the lips. These elements can help convey emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and surprise.

What are some variations in lip shapes and thickness that I can experiment with?

To create diverse and interesting mouth designs, you can experiment with variations in lip shapes, such as thin lips or full lips, and lip thickness. You can also explore variations in other factors like the Cupid’s bow and mouth width.

Can you suggest some styles for drawing mouths and lips?

Some styles for drawing mouths and lips include anime, realistic, cartoon, Disney, and personal styles. Each style offers its own unique approach to depicting mouths and can add versatility to your artwork.

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