How to Draw Anime Mouth Expressions and Lips

A beginner-friendly guide to learning how to draw a great-looking Smiling Anime Boy with easy, step by step drawing instructions and video tutorial. Great for beginner artists!

Anime Mouth Expressions and Lips step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 8
Complete Smiling Anime Boy drawing

Jump to the step-by-step instructions.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the mouth is its door (in fact, the Japanese words for "mouth" and "door" are related).

This easy, step-by-step mouth drawing tutorial can help you to add anime mouth expressions and lips drawings to your favorite manga characters.

First, we'll draw an anime character wearing a bright smile.

Then we'll discuss the basic line structure of different mouth drawings and the emotions they evoke.

Finally, we'll talk about drawing lips with realistic detail.

And, if you'd like to also draw those cute anime eyes, see this drawing guide.

Step-by-Step Tutorial for Drawing a Smiling Anime Boy

Smiling Anime Boy drawing - Step 1

Anime Mouth Expressions and Lips step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 1

1. Begin by drawing a grid of guidelines. Draw a straight vertical line and a straight horizontal line that meet each other at a perpendicular angle. This grid will help you place all the other elements of your drawing.

Next, draw a circle enclosing the top half of the grid. This will become the top of the boy's head. The horizontal line should cross the bottom of the circle, sectioning off about 1/8 of it.

By the way, we teach more details about how to draw a face step by step in this tutorial.

Smiling Anime Boy drawing - Step 2

Anime Mouth Expressions and Lips step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 2

2. Draw the rest of the face below the circle. Extend a long curved line from just above the horizontal grid. Loop it below the circle, meeting the vertical line at the bottom. Reconnect it just above the horizontal grid line on the opposite side.

Use curved lines to enclose the ears and detail within them. The ears should be centered on the horizontal grid line.

See this tutorial to learn more about how to draw an ear.

Smiling Anime Boy drawing - Step 3

Anime Mouth Expressions and Lips step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 3

3. Next, draw the eyes. The bottom line of each eye should rest on the horizontal grid line. Place these lines halfway between the vertical line and the side of the circle.

Enclose a circle above each line, with a small shaded circle inside. Use these curved lines to shade the rectangular top and sides of the eye.

Use a curved line to indicate the bridge of the nose just above the junction of the gridlines. Then, enclose a pointed eyebrow above each eye. Note that one is slightly higher than the other.

Erase the horizontal grid line.

Smiling Anime Boy drawing - Step 4

Anime Mouth Expressions and Lips step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 4

4. Draw a small curved triangle shape to indicate the nose. It should cross the bottom of the circle, to one side of the vertical line.

Then, use curved lines to outline the open, smiling mouth. Center the mouth over the vertical line, halfway between the bottom of the circle and the chin. Don't forget the teeth and tongue.

Draw a pair of curved lines below the head to indicate the neck.

Smiling Anime Boy drawing - Step 5

Anime Mouth Expressions and Lips step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 5

5. Erase all remaining guidelines. Use curved lines to sketch the rectangular hairline, the loose lock of hair, the shoulders, the neck of the shirt, and the contour of the neck.

Smiling Anime Boy drawing - Step 6

Anime Mouth Expressions and Lips step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 6

6. You could stop there, but why not give the boy some wild anime hair? Use curved lines that meet at jagged points.

This guide will teach you more about drawing anime boy hair and hairstyles.

Smiling Anime Boy drawing - Step 7

Anime Mouth Expressions and Lips step-by-step drawing tutorial: step 8

7. Color your smiling anime boy. We've given ours a fiery hair color. Notice, too, how the shading adds an extra dimension to the face.

Anime Mouths and Expressions

When you look at the anime mouth illustrations below, what do you see? These simple lines can tell you so much about the character's emotions.

In the first column, you see a mouth at rest. The line of the mouth is horizontal. The character is neither overly happy, sad, nor angry. It's just a normal day.

Below the normal mouth, you will find a mouth that is turned down at the corners. Does it make you feel a little sad? This anime character is unhappy.

The bottom mouth is oddly shaped - rounded, but not an oval or a circle. The teeth are visible at the top, and multiple lines contour the stretched skin below. This character is puzzled or confused. Can you imagine him saying, "Huh?"

Look at the next column. The first mouth, upturned at the corners, is easily recognized as smiling and happy.

So is the second with its open-mouthed smile, revealing tongue and teeth.

The final mouth expression drawing is open wide, forming a peanut shape. Short lines indicate strain all around it. This character is yelling, in anger, fear, battle, or desperation.

These are simple line drawings, however. Let's flesh them out and add more detail as we learn about anime lips.

Anime Mouths and Expressions reference drawing

Drawing Anime Lips

Manga-style lips come in many varieties. Consider the different lips illustration below.

The first set of lips resembles the simple line drawings of mouths discussed in the previous section. Notice the slight "M" shaped contour at the middle of the smiling mouth. This gently suggests the bottom of the cupid's bow, the curve of the upper lip.

Many male anime characters may be drawn with simple lips such as these.

The next illustration shows lips that are a bit more voluptuous - anime girl lips. The central portion of the mouth is the same, but two curved lines above it highlight the top of the cupid's bow. The line below it is extended, highlighting the fullness of the lower lip.

In the third drawing, you can see how shading enhances the femininity of the lips. The upper and lower lips are slightly different shades. A lighter color is used to add shininess or highlights to the lower lip.

What effects should all of these facial expressions and types of lips have on your characters? Try your hand at the smiling anime boy portrait and discover what emotion the character feels.

Drawing Anime Lips reference drawing

What to draw next?

Does the smiling boy in your drawing look happy? If so, you've succeeded. But can you draw him with mouth shapes expressing different emotions?

If you can, then try also drawing more complete facial expression with eyebrows, eyes, and the mouth. See this page to learn how to draw angry, happy, scared, confused, or shocked face.

Beginners are encouraged to draw the same character over and over, with different expressions each time. Can you adjust his manga mouth to make him look sad, angry, or afraid?

For additional practice, see these tutorials: anime boy crying, mad anime girl, and confused anime face. You could even sketch a vampire mouth drawing.

Looking to perfect your anime drawing skills? Our series of free tutorials will teach you everything you need to know about drawing anime and manga characters, from faces and bodies to facial expressions and emotions, hair, clothes, and complete anime and manga characters. See all easy anime drawing tutorials.

Easy, step by step Smiling Anime Boy drawing tutorial
How to Draw a Smiling Anime Boy Pinterest Image

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Printable Drawing Tutorial


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