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How to draw a smile

Let’s learn how to draw a smile! Facial expressions are very important for the impact the illustration creates. Giving your model a beautiful and  warm features will make the viewer smile in return when he sees your image. Learn how to draw a smiling girl in a few very quick steps.


Step 1: Preparation

Start with all finished up in your model. Sketch the head and the face – everything except for the smile. Have everything prepared.

Tip: You may want to leave the eyes just a little bit smaller than usual because when we smile we tend slightly to close our eyes, so that their vertical diameter is visually reduced.

Step 2: Guidelines

Pull the head Centerline from the nose to the chin. Mark the middle- this is the mouth Centerline.
Draw the lines that go straight down from eye’s center. They are indicating where the smile ends.

Tip: Sometimes your model will be drawn looking at direction other than straight forward. That’s why you want to start the guidelines from the center of the eye, not the center of the pupil.

Step 3: End points

Mark with a dash the halfway distance from the mouth Centerline to the nose. It’s the upper lip.
Mark with a smaller dash the halfway distance from the upper lip to the nose.

Step 4: Smile outlines

Continue the upper lip line to the guidelines. Don’t curve it, keep it straight.
Make a line underneath the mouth Centerline that is down the same space as from the upper lip to mouth Centerline.

Step 5: Lip corners

Cut the upper lip line in 4 parts and lengthen the lines as shown.
Make the ends of the upper lip line slightly curved upwards without going out of the boundaries.

Step 6: Mind the gap

Join all the parts and be careful with the upper lip. You have to draw a tiny  gap in the place where you marked the initial dash.

Step 7:  Clean up

Erase all the guidelines and smooth the curves of the smile. You can add a delicate wrinkle detail in upper lip’s end if you want to.

Drawing different facial expressions can really help for more interesting fashion sketches. Hopefully this step-by-step tutorial on how to draw a smile inspired you to get creative with your models! For more facial expressions that will provide diversity to your models check “How to draw sexy lips” tutorial that will guide you to draw seducing slightly open lips. Happy smiling!


  1. Can you make a very specific article about drawing wrinkles and folds because I saw your Friday Tip and I have been using it for a while but I wish I had something with more specific steps.
    I love your website and I love to look at it!

  2. :P :eek: :zzz I LOVE FASHION!!!

  3. [quote name=”I Draw Fashion”][quote name=”Jua”]Which colours are you using? :)[/quote]
    Hello Jua,
    I use copic markers and sometimes I add the details using prismacolor color pencils :-)[/quote]
    Thank you so much,Teya! :)

  4. [quote name=”Jua”]Which colours are you using? :)[/quote]
    Hello Jua,
    I use copic markers and sometimes I add the details using prismacolor color pencils :-)

  5. Which colours are you using? :)

  6. That’s it! Now I’ll have some diversity of face expresions. 8) 8) :lol: I was kinda geting tired of the slosed mouths… Very helpful tutorial

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