How To Draw Lips

How To Draw Lips

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How To Draw Lips


Lips are a fascinating and alluring feature of the human face. Drawing lips with precision and realism is a skill that can enhance your artistic abilities, whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the techniques, tips, and steps you need to create realistic and captivating lips in your artwork.

Understanding Lip Anatomy

Before you dive into drawing lips, it's crucial to have a basic understanding of their anatomy. Lips are not just two simple lines; they are complex structures with unique characteristics. The key elements of lip anatomy include:

  • Vermilion Border: The well-defined, slightly darker edge that outlines the lips.

  • Cupid's Bow: The distinctive "M" or "W" shape in the center of the upper lip.

  • Upper Lip: This portion is usually thinner and has a more defined shape.

  • Lower Lip: The lower lip is usually plumper and has a fuller appearance.

  • Philtrum: The groove or dimple above the upper lip, extending from the nose.

  • Commissures: The corners where the upper and lower lips meet.

  • Lip Creases: The small wrinkles and lines that give lips texture and character.

By understanding the anatomy of lips, you'll be better equipped to draw them accurately and with attention to detail.

Materials Needed

Before you start drawing, make sure you have the necessary materials. Here's a list of what you'll need:


Choose high-quality drawing paper that suits your preferred medium, whether it's graphite, charcoal, colored pencils, or pastels.


A range of drawing pencils with different grades, from 2H (hard) to 6B (soft), is recommended. A kneaded eraser and a sharpener are essential as well.

Reference Images

Collect images of lips from various angles and under different lighting conditions. These references will help you understand the nuances of lip structure and shading.

Blending Tools

You can use blending stumps, tortillons, or your fingers to blend and smooth your shading.

Colored Pencils or Pastels (Optional)

If you want to add color to your lip drawings, have a set of colored pencils or pastels ready.

Drawing Lips: Step by Step Guide

Start with Basic Shapes

To create realistic lips, begin with basic shapes. Draw a simple outline of the mouth's general shape. You can use an oval or a slightly curved line, depending on the desired lip shape.

Define the Vermilion Border

Next, outline the vermilion border. This is the most crucial line in lip drawing, as it separates the lips from the surrounding skin. The vermilion border is usually slightly darker than the rest of the lips.

Create the Cupid's Bow

Focus on the upper lip to create the cupid's bow. Draw the distinctive "M" or "W" shape, which varies from person to person. Ensure that it's symmetrical and well-defined.

Draw the Upper Lip

Complete the upper lip by adding its contour and paying attention to any unique features or wrinkles. Keep in mind that the upper lip is typically thinner than the lower lip.

Define the Lower Lip

Move on to the lower lip and draw its contours. The lower lip is usually fuller and has a rounded shape. Pay attention to any specific features or creases.

Add the Philtrum and Commissures

Include the philtrum, the groove above the upper lip that extends from the nose, and the commissures, which are the corners where the upper and lower lips meet. These details add realism to your lip drawing.

Shade and Add Texture

Now, it's time to add shading and texture. Observe your reference images carefully to understand the areas of light and shadow. Use different pencil grades to create depth and dimension. The lip creases and wrinkles should be shaded delicately to give the lips a natural look.


To achieve a smooth and realistic look, use blending tools to gently blend the shading on the lips. Blend in the direction of the natural contours of the lips.

Refine Details

Pay close attention to the small details that make lips unique. Adjust the shading, shape, and texture to capture the individual characteristics of the lips you are drawing.

Final Touches

Review your drawing and make any necessary adjustments. Use your eraser to clean up any stray marks or smudges. Finally, sign your artwork and consider adding color if desired.

Tips for Drawing Realistic Lips

  • Study Different Lip Types: Practice drawing various lip shapes, sizes, and textures to enhance your versatility as an artist.

  • Use Grids: If you're struggling with proportions, create a grid on your reference image and transfer it to your paper to ensure accurate placement of features.

  • Pay Attention to Light and Shadow: Understanding the interplay of light and shadow is essential. Observe how light falls on lips, creating highlights and shadows.

  • Experiment with Different Mediums: Don't limit yourself to pencils; try other mediums like charcoal, pastels, or even digital tools to explore new textures and styles.

  • Observe People: People-watching is a great way to understand the diversity of lips in real life. Pay attention to the lips of friends, family, or strangers to improve your observational skills.

  • Be Patient: Lip drawing requires patience and practice. Don't get discouraged if your early attempts don't meet your expectations.

  • Seek Feedback: Share your work with fellow artists or mentors for constructive feedback. Learning from others can be incredibly valuable.


Drawing realistic lips is a skill that can greatly enhance your artistic abilities. By understanding lip anatomy, using the right materials, and following a step-by-step approach, you can create captivating and lifelike lips in your artwork. Remember to study various lip types, experiment with different mediums, and, most importantly, practice regularly. With dedication and patience, you can master the art of lip drawing and elevate your artistic prowess. So, pick up your pencils, and let your creativity flow through your fingertips as you embark on your journey to capture the beauty of lips on paper.

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