How to Draw Realistic Lips Step by Step

Here is an easy step by step tutorial on how to draw realistic lips.

Lips are fairly simple to draw, but the key part that makes them look realistic or not is how well shaded they are and the values (degrees of shading from white to black) you add to your drawing.

That is why the most important tool you need is a soft pencil.

In this tutorial, I used a mechanical pencil (0.7 mm), but the lead is quite soft so it works. As long as I maintain a soft hold on the pencil, I can create soft strokes that blend well.

If I need to smudge, I just use my finger – But a rolled up tissue or a smudger tool works well too.

I also used cardstock printer paper and the small eraser at the end of my mechanical pencil. It helps to have an eraser that can erase in small details (one that is relatively pointed or can be kneaded).

The great thing about drawing is that you don’t need professional art materials to create beautiful drawings. It is all about the work you put into it.

Spend time with your drawing, if you work with your drawing for 10 minutes, it’s going to look multiple times better than a drawing you spent only 1 minute with.

how to draw lips

How to Draw Realistic Lips: Easy Step by Step

how to draw lips step by step

Step 1: Draw a horizontal line lightly with your pencil.

how to draw lips

Step 2: Draw a short vertical line down the middle of the first line. Draw this line lightly because we’re going to erase it later.

how to draw realistic lips

Step 3: Draw a “v” shape just above the short vertical line we made. This will be the top of the lip, or what they call the Cupid’s Bow.

how to draw realistic lips step by step

Step 4: Draw lightly lines that extend from the “v” to the ends of the first line.

This will create the shape of the upper lip, so you can change up the ship according to the lip you are drawing.

TIP: Draw the outer lines of upper lip very lightly and softly. Creating a very dark, bold singular line for the upper lip can make it look less realistic.

how to draw lips

Step 5: Draw a curve for the bottom lip.

How to draw lips easy

Step 6: Draw a dip in the middle of the lips where the upper and bottom lips meet.

How to draw lips step by step

Step 7: Softly darken the line where upper and bottom lip meet, along the horizontal line that we first drew in step 1.

For this tutorial, we will keep this line fairly straight for the purpose of simplicity, but every lip has a different curve or shape to this line.

how to draw lips easy

Step 8: Erase the short vertical line at the center of the lips.

how to draw lips easy

Step 9: We are going to start shading the bottom lip now.

The lips have wrinkles that extend vertically. That is why when you shade, shade in up-and-down strokes.

With shading, I like to start off lightly, and as I develop the drawing, I add more darker values little by little.

Also, smudging helps a lot when you are initially shading in a drawing. I just used my finger, but you can use a rolled up bit of tissue or a smudger tool.

easy lips drawing

Step 10: Shade the upper lip in the same way: Make soft, light strokes going in an up-and-down direction. And smudge to create that soft blended gradation.

TIP: My drawing might look messy right now, but I will be adding more layers so I don’t worry too much about it. Drawings always go through this phase and it’s important to keep moving forward and not end it here. The more time you spend with a drawing, the more dimensional it becomes.

easy lips drawing step by step

Step 11: In this step, I accentuated the center of the lips near the dip and darkened the horizontal line of the mouth.

This horizontal line will be one of the darkest parts of the lips, so we will gradually darken it more and more as we go along.

how to draw lips

Step 12: For this step, I darkened the corners of the lips, as this will be another dark area of the lips.

I also darkened the bottom of the lips, where the bottom lip meets the chin. This area dips down and usually has a lot of shadow in it.

How to Draw Lips

Step 13: I shaded in the lips more to make it darker. I also added more lines (wrinkles) to the lips in an up-and-down direction.

how to draw lips

Step 14: I added much more darker values to the center of the lips.

how to draw lips

Step 15: In this step, I did some shading for the philtrum (the cleft right above the lip) and more shading near the chin (although it’s not necessary since we are focusing on the lips).

For the lips, I erased the outer line of the upper lips because it was becoming too bold. It’s important that shading be the start of the lips and not a distinct line.

I also created a highlight spot at the center of the upper and bottom lips. You can create this highlight area using your eraser and just erasing a tiny dot from your shaded area.

how to draw lips easy

Step 16: Keep shading and making the lips darker little by little. As I made the lips more darker, I also kept erasing the highlight spots at the center of the bottom and upper lips.

The highlights are thus more visible in this step than in the previous step.

how to draw lips step by step

Step 17: The last step is to truly accentuate the really dark areas of the lips. These areas include the horizontal line of the mouth, the sides near the corner of the lips, and below the lips where the chin starts.

Scroll down for guidelines on how to shade more and where to put your highlights.

For the really dark areas of the mouth, like the center horizontal line, the corners of the lips, or right below the bottom lip – Make sure these areas area as dark as possible.

Don’t be afraid at this point to make these areas as black as you can. This will make it more realistic.

Tips for Drawing Lips: Highlights and Shading

Here are some extra guidelines for your lip drawings so you can draw them as realistic as possible.

how to sketch realistic lips
how to shade sketch lips

The Finished Lips Drawing

how to draw lips

Related Blog Posts:
How to Draw a Realistic Eye
26 Pencil Sketches of Faces
How to Draw a Butterfly Step by Step
40 Easy Drawing Ideas for Beginners

Thank you for stopping by this blog post!

I hope you were able to find these steps and tips helpful to make drawing lips a little more easier.

Like all things in takes practice, but with this knowledge, I hope you have everything you need to draw realistic lips.

I hope you have a wonderful day or night wherever you are and take care!

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  • I can’t stop taking a close look at this sketch
    Your way of using minimum color really is impressive It must have taken long hours to create this beautiful sketch Such refreshing art, thank you for creating this.

    • I know my lips used to be the flaw of my art but now they look like they belong it my art. Not just like I took a 6 year old and made them draw it.