How to Draw a Mouth – Why Male and Female Lips are Different


Check out this video snippet from the full Sycra Yasin course on how to draw a mouth


How to Draw a Mouth and How to Draw Lips – Noticing the Differences Between Males and Females

Want to know how to draw a mouth and how to draw lips? Then you’ll probably want to know all about the differences between male and female mouths. Well, looks like you came to the right place!

Here, you can see the male mouth drawing on the left and the female on the right. Notice a clear difference already? Even with just these simple lines to represent the middle line of the mouth, you can see that the male mouth appears flatter, while the female mouth is more defined and curvy.

We’ll continue to build on this concept as our lesson on how to draw a mouth and how to draw lips progresses.  The main reason for the difference in the two mouth drawings is that the male lips tend to be thinner, while the female lips are usually thicker.

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Shading the Upper Lip

When learning how to draw a mouth and how to draw lips, it’s important to remember the upper lip is only lightly defined when drawing the male mouth.

See how the shading is left very light? The only real line work added at this stage is a light line to indicate the mid-point on the upper lip. You can see this light shading in action on the curved line of the upper lip in the example above.

When drawing the female mouth and learning how to draw lips, notice how the outline of the upper lip is more pronounced. This means you can add in more shading.

Shading becomes even more important if you are trying to represent a woman wearing lipstick, because this will generally darken the color of the lips.


Shading the Lower Lip

For the male, the lower lip is not going to be very defined. You can see in the example that a line has been drawn to establish the lower lip, but this line does not extend up towards the corners of the mouth.

The only real shading that has been added here helps to show the thickness of the lower lip by indicating the shadow under it.

For the female you can use a line to fully establish the outline of the lower lip. Notice in the above and below examples of the female mouth drawing that the creases at the side of the mouth have been darkened to give a more three dimensional feeling to the edges of the mouth.

Some shading has been added to the upper lip, but not as much shading is added to the lower lip. This is because of the angle of the overhead light will cause the upper lip to be in shadow.

When learning how to draw lips, notice how the natural gloss and wetness of the lips will often catch the light on the lower lip and create a nice highlight from the overhead lighting, giving them a lighter appearance.


Here is a close-up view of the shaded male mouth drawing.


Here is a close-up view of the shaded female mouth drawing. When learning how to draw a mouth, notice how some additional light shading has been added to the area just below the lower lip to help give more depth to this part.


Drawing the Male and Female Mouths from the Side View

When learning how to draw a mouth and how to draw lips, it’s good to know there’s no real magic to drawing the drawing the lips from the side view.

In fact, you might even have covered this in some of our previous lessons. The real difference here is between the thickness of the lips.

For further reading on how to draw a mouth, we recommend Draw Real People! by Lee Hammond. 

Back to our lesson, you’ll see the same guidelines for placing the mouth half way between the nose and the chin still apply.

However, with the female mouth, you can see the lips are thicker, which means the distance between the nose and the upper lip is smaller.

Here’s a List of the Main Differences to Look Out For When Learning How to Draw a Mouth:

  • The male lips tend to be less full and flatter
  • The male’s upper lip isn’t as tall as the female’s
  • There is less shading on the male lips
  • The male lips should not be fully outlined
  • The shadow cast by the lower lip is lighter in the female
  • Women’s lips are more rounded and curvy

In the next lesson on how to draw lips and how to draw a mouth, you’ll put all of your mouth drawing knowledge together as you learn how to draw mouths when the teeth are showing.

PS. If you enjoyed this course on how to draw a mouth, you might also like this course on how to draw a realistic mouth with Francis Vallejo.

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  • holytoaster says:

    Very helpful. Trying to learn the basics of humans and animals and this set me straight when I got stuck.

    • Chris at PencilKings says:

      Hello there! We really appreciate your feedback and I’m glad this post helped you out when you got stuck. Feel free to ask us any questions about art – we’re always here for all artists :-)

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