Day 3 // How to Draw a Mouth

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Today our focus is learning to draw the mouth. The mouth can be challenging because it can move — a lot! Far more than any of the other facial features, so there is a lot of room for variation and different mouth poses to study. Still, it’s important to break it down into those basic elements. From there we can begin to simplify how we depict the mouth.

Range of detail

Minimal Depiction

The least amount of information you need to communicate the subject matter. 

Photo Reference

To draw something include all possible elements and details - in a photo-realistic way.

Basic Elements



Upper Lip

Lower Lip

Lines & Shines





Relative value of upper and lower lip

Shadows under lip

Shadow on philtrum

Keep looking for more!


Fill up a sheet with as many different mouths as possible. First, observe mouths in many positions performing various actions. Opened, closed, smiling, laughing, shouting — and then try to replicate that in a stylized way. Practice with basic shading and try to make mouths in many shapes and sizes.


Keep researching, observing and learning! I’ve made a Pinterest board full of additional resources to help you continue your mouth-drawing journey.

This lesson is a part of a month-long series that will get you you familiar with the basics of drawing humans, and help you develop your own people-drawing style. To learn more, check out the People Skills Intro, or continue on to the next lesson below.

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