How To Draw Lips


In this tutorial, we will be learning how to draw lips. This is a very important skill for any artist to learn, as the mouth is one of the most expressive features of the human face. There are many different ways to draw lips, and in this tutorial, we will be covering a few basic methods. Let’s get started!

What Tool Will I Need?

You can use any type of pencil in any grade for this tutorial. But for this tutorial we will be using a 2B. Not all drawing pencils are the same. I find that the best drawing pencils have a better stroke and quality to them. A little disclosure: I am personally using a Graphic tablet for this tutorial. But you can get the same results using pencils.

Anyway, here are the tools you’ll need:

  • 2B Graphite Pencil
  • 4B Graphite Stick
  • 1 Kneaded Eraser
  • Paper Towel for Smudging

Step 1

First, we use the 2B pencil to outline the lips lightly. I say lightly because we’re going to need to erase some of these lines later on. Here, it’s just a straight line. This will be the middle of the lip.

Step 2

We then begin drawing the contour of the top lip and lower lip. The top lip is usually thinner than the lower lip. But for now, we’re going for a more exaggerated look.

Step 3

We now sketch out the mouth itself in the middle. We sketch out a little gap barely showing the front teeth.

Step 4

Now, we draw the texture of the lips themselves. We sketch in the contour lines first. Your strokes should be light and fast. Make sure to keep in mind to think in 3D. In this example, you can see how the contour curves outward to the left and right, and in the middle of the lip, it’s straight. Think of it as a 3d model with a wireframe.

Step 5

Using the contour lines as guidance, we then finish the bottom lip by adding more contour lines.

Step 6

We then repeat the same step in Step 5 for the top lip.

Step 7

With the contour of the lips done, we then use our paper towel to smudge the lines. Smudge the lines in the direction the lines are facing. This will make sure everything is uniform and overall it’ll look realistic. Smudging them from left and right will make the lips look tacky.

Step 8

This is what the sketch looks like fully smudged. It looks like a big blur, but in the next steps, we will start to add more texture to the sketch.

Step 9

With either your 2B Pencil or your Graphite stick, begin to press slightly hard on the paper to add the shading in the middle of the lip. Usually, the middle of the lip has a shadow. That’s because the top lip sits on top of the bottom lip, creating a shadow.

Step 10

Get your paper towel and start smudging the shading you sketched. Remember to shade in 3D, shading WITH the contours in mind.

Step 11

We will now get started on the highlights. Let’s get our kneaded eraser and knead it to a point. Our light source is coming from the top left. So start doing light dabs following the contour of the lips.

Step 12

We add more highlights on the lips according to where the light source is.

Step 13

Then, add a secondary shade to the middle of the lip making this shade a little darker than the last shading we did.

Step 14

Start smudging the secondary shading. The reason why we add a secondary shading is to make the lips more 3D.

Step 15

With the secondary shading done, let’s darken some of the outer parts of the lips. I usually darken the top portion of the lip, the sides, and the bottom, to give the sketch more depth.

Step 16

With the shading done, we then get our paper towel and smudge the highlights.

Step 17

We grab our kneaded eraser again and we do quick strokes once again to add more refined highlights in the areas where the lip is facing toward the light source.

Step 18

With the highlights done, the lips are finished. But I decided to take it a step further and add shading to the top of the mouth and the bottom of the mouth. I then draw the sides of the face as well.

Step 19

I then grab my paper towel and start smudging the shading around the lips. With that done, the sketch is finally complete.


You’ve now learned how to draw lips. This is a great way to start learning how to shade and how to think in three dimensions. Stay tuned for more tutorials on how to draw facial features! Thanks for reading!

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