How to Draw Lips in 4 Steps With Photoshop

It's easy to learn how to draw lips when you are able to break down the basic shape into a series of planes. Specifically, while learning to draw female lips is an art exercise in understanding the mouth itself, we will only deal with a light smile so you can have a feel for this facial feature.

Lips are a very sensitive and multi-functional organ. We use it to shut food in, articulate sound for communication, feel temperature, create facial expressions to show emotions, and are considered an erogenous zone.

The latter has the most meaning in media around the world. Explicitly, a woman's lips are an expression of fertility and sexuality. According to psychologists, it serves as a sign of maturity when lips become more full on a women due to high levels of estrogen.

It is no wonder makeup is used to make the lips more attractive in that regard. Compared to make up on the rest of the face, lipstick colors are much more rich and have varying levels of glossiness. Our lip drawing will not only draw the lip, but the glossy shine too.

How to draw lips: drawing the planes

The lips can be divided into three different sections: underneath the nose, the upper lip, and the lower lip. One thing to learn how to draw lips properly is to understand the planes. That is, when you're looking underneath the nose, you will see a groove in the center followed by two planes on either side.

For the upper lip, it is a series of four planes. The central two plane protrudes out and at an angle to form the dip while the sides taper off. Of course, to draw a mouth in its complete state, you need the lower lip. Most of us make the mistake of assuming that it's just an oval lining completing it. However, that is not true.

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While the areas underneath the nose and the upper lips are crisp creases, the lower lip is not. For the lower lip, there are two bulges to either side. That means the lower lip isn't as smooth as we like to think. With this in mind, draw a rough sketch of the planes on a new layer.

Fill the layer with a neutral color of your choosing. Then, use dark versions of that color to fill in the main sections of the lips while using a lighter color to fill out the rest of the lower face. This is important as drawing just the lips won't look as good without understanding all the fleshy bits that surround it.

How to draw lips: blocking in texture

As you begin, use a chalk brush to block in color based on the planes. Notice the colors carefully. It’s best to set the brush on a low pressure setting so you don’t have deep colors. As well, when you paint with a lighter pressure, you can apply more strokes to the same area to create textures better.

Learning how to draw lips here will begin with the upper lip. You want to fill up the upper lip first with increasingly dark colors. When necessary, use the smudge tool to blend in the gesture lines or extend the ending tips of the upper lips. The idea is to create the beginnings of smooth skin around the lip area.

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The lower lips can be blocked in as well. The difference is that you want to use a tone that is darker than the rest of the skin but still lighter than the tone used for the upper lip. The reason for this is because light seldom reaches the upper lip leading to the mouth opening.

Still, block in a large area of shadow on top of the lower lip just underneath the upper lip. This will create a small illusion of a cast shadow being shone down. Continue to block in other areas of skin based on the plane sketches to finish off this phase.

How to draw lips: refining textures

The textures of the lips is actually easily filled in with just the chalk brush tip. The hard edges, when going over an area lightly, will create bands of individual color variations. You will want to draw these lines vertically, at an angle, using the opening of the mouth as the central area to fan out.

Once you are done with the textures of the lips, the next step would be to outline the upper lip to form the 'Cupid's bow.' For this, use a small chalk brush and gently glaze the outer perimeters of the upper lip. At the same time, connect this to the lines that form the philtrum (central dip that links the upper lip to the nose).

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You will also need to do this step for the lower lip. There is a difference, however. Instead of drawing the entire bow of the lower lip, you will only need to draw the area in the center to outline the chin. This is because the curvature of the lower lip near the ends blend in to the rest of the skin.

Remember that the lower lip has two planes? To make it show up, use a lighter color to highlight the bulges found on the left and right sides of the lower lip. If your lip drawing is partially open, finish off blocking in the teeth as well as suggesting bits of the tongue.

How to draw lips: light reflections

As mentioned before, learning how to draw lips, especially the female lips, will require emulating makeup. While rich color is important, it is the sheen that makes the lips stand out the most. Using a high pressure setting, select a light color, preferably white, and dab on areas of shine on the lips.

The first area is around the very top of the upper lip. Since this portion is the first thing that any light source will hit, there should be a very thin band of gloss. You may also whiten the teeth while you are at it should your lip drawing show bits of the inner mouth.

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The same process will need to be applied to the lower lip. While there is a thin section of gloss near the underside just above the chin, there is an entire surface area that will glisten in the middle. Once more, this is due to the puffiness of the side planes of the lower lip. Draw this in with a larger chalk brush tip.

While we are on the lower lip, there are still a few things to take care of if you haven't already done so in the previous step. The first is emphasizing the chin. First, apply a shadow to create the chin. Then, use a small brush to draw in a boundary between the lower lip and the chin.

The second step would be to blend in the sides of the lower lip with the rest of the face. This part is a bit tricky as you do you want to draw too hard as that will destroy the textures. With a round brush, gently pad in the skin color into the lower lip. You can also use the round brush to flush out the smooth skin on the rest of the face.

Lastly, try to emphasize the shadows of the mouth a bit. You can try using the burn tool and have it darken the area inside the mouth. Otherwise, you can do this on a different layer and then adjust the opacity of the cast shadows until you are satisfied with it. After, you can merge all the layers together once you are satisfied. This covers most of learning how to draw lips. The rest is up to practice.