Learn to Draw People - Drawing the Smile




Drawing the Smile

Toothy smiles are much more fun to draw than the closed mouth. You draw it pretty much the same way as the closed mouth but there are just a few more steps because you'll be drawing lips and teeth. When drawing smiles, though, you may not want to draw exactly what you see. I know I say "Draw what you see" but let me explain.

If you draw the teeth exactly the way you see them, the person may end up looking buck-toothed, gap-toothed, or having some other dental abnormality. People want nice, pearly white choppers, and if you give it to them, they'll think it's a great drawing. I think you should minimize the gaps in the teeth as much as you can. Here's how:

Let's draw this smile

Drawing the smile

Look at the teeth and curved jaw

Try to minimize gaps....


... like this

Draw these teeth

To draw a smiling mouth define the upper lip by measuring to find the three points on the mouth as before. Draw the line that is the bottom of the upper lip. Now, on your subject, measure from the bottom of the upper lip to the top of the lower lip - this is finding the height of the smile. After marking the point of the top of the lower lip on your drawing, draw the curved line that will be the top of the lower lip and the bottom of the smile. Then on the subject, measure from the top of the lower lip to the bottom of it, this defines the lower lip. Then draw in the curve of the bottom of the lower lip. Now you should have the contour of the lips and the smile penciled in. On to the shading.

Now with the contour lines of the lips and smile drawn, dive in and do the shading on the lips. The shading of the lips was covered on the previous page.

Teeth time. Look at the woman's teeth in the smile photo. Notice how the teeth recede into the mouth? The jaw is curved into a semicircle, so the back teeth are farther away from the viewer than the front teeth. Many people who "can't draw" will draw a grid pattern to represent teeth. This looks wrong because what that represents is that all the teeth are on the same flat plane. Look at the skull photo. It may be easier to see that the jaw is curved if the jaw wasn't wrapped in skin. I've drawn the top teeth of the skull correctly and also looking flat. Can you see the difference? To correctly draw teeth think of looking at a picket fence from the side. Draw the front two teeth as flat and make the spaces between the teeth evenly spaced, but then moving on to the other teeth, gradually decrease the space between the teeth.

Here's where you draw what you don't see. You should minimize the gaps between the teeth as much as possible. If you draw the gaps exactly as you see them they may look like they need to see a dentist. Very lightly draw in the gaps, and very lightly shade in the teeth at the corners of the mouth. It may end up looking like they have one big tooth, but that's preferable to nasty teeth.

Your Assignment: Draw these teeth. I know it might be a bit tough because he's got some gums going and lot's o' teeth, but give it a shot. Try and be a dentist and give him better teeth by minimizing gaps. I've given you tips on drawing the eyes, nose and mouth, so if you'd like, draw the whole face. Here's how I drew ol' Toothies smile.

Page    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24