Pencil Portraits - Drawing the Mouth

Step 1 - The Line Drawing
Step 1 - The Line Drawing

The mouth is the second most expressive feature of the face. Great care should be taken in drawing its shape as it is a key element in achieving a likeness.

Start by drawing the subtle shape of the line that is formed as the lips meet. This will create a natural expression for the mouth.

The top lip has its characteristic bow shape which varies considerably from person to person. The bottom lip is usually larger than the top and more creased with vertical stretch lines.

Step 2 - The Basic Tones
Step 2 - The Basic Tones

The upper lip slopes inwards and is normally darker in tone as it is shaded from the light.

The lower lip is more fleshy with a stronger muscular structure. It tends to catch the light and is further distinguished by the shadow below its pouting form.

Step 3 - The Final Tones
Step 3 - The Final Tones

In the final stages of drawing the mouth, tone is used to soften the edges and refine the detail. Not only should it highlight the surface texture of the skin, but it should also make you more aware of the muscular structure that lies beneath.

There is a subtle softening around the edges of the lips which helps to blend them comfortably into the face. Note how the detail at each corner of the mouth diffuses into a small area of tone.