This tutorial shows how to draw anime and manga style mouth expressions from the front view with a total of 15 illustrated examples.
If drawn correctly mouths can really help convey a subject’s mood. They are also the facial feature that can change the most due to a particular expression.
While generally anime and manga style mouths are fairly simple sometimes they can also be a bit tricky to draw as you have to keep a balance between showing the right emotion and maintaining the style. To help this tutorial provides examples of some of the more common mouth expressions seen in anime and manga and explains the specifics of drawing them.
Before looking at this tutorial you may also want to check:
How to Draw Anime & Manga Mouths on the Head
To get the placement of an anime mouth on the head you can vertically divide the face up into eight parts and position it just a bit above the first division from the bottom. Of course you don’t need to do this every time you draw as usually you can just estimate the placement.
When drawing the whole face you can place the mouth just a bit above the halfway point between the lower part of the nose and the bottom of the chin.
The position of the mouth can somewhat shift based on the expression but generally for a closed mouth it will be close to the example above.
If you want to draw lips on an anime style mouth you can also check:
How to Draw an Open Anime & Manga Mouths on the Head
For an open mouth the jaw can be drawn lower down. Tough in some more stylized characters this is not always be the case.
When dividing the head with an open mouth into eight parts ignore the extra height added due to the jaw being lower down . Instead estimate where the bottom of the jaw would be if the mouth was closed (as done in the example above).
How to Draw a Normal Expression Anime Mouth
This first example is of a mouth in it’s normal/relaxed state.
Draw such a mouth with a light curve and make it fairly small in relation to the head. You can also give it a tiny break in the middle but this can be optional.
How to Draw a Smiling Anime Mouth
This example is of a light smile.
To get this expression draw the mouth wider than the previous example and with it’s corners raised (basically a bigger curve).
How to Draw a Serious Anime Mouth
This type of a mouth can be used for a serious or angry expression.
Draw it pretty much like the upside down flip of the normal expression but with more of a curve in it’s overall shape.
How to Draw a Curious Anime Mouth
This example can be used for a character that has sudden interest in something.
In this case the mouth will be open with the top row of teeth slightly visible.
As the mouth is open you will generally want to draw the jaw lower down (as mentioned earlier).
Draw it somewhat similar in shape to a rectangle with rounded corners but slightly narrower towards the top.
You can shade the inside of the mouth to be fairly dark.
How to Draw a Yelling Anime Mouth
This open/yelling mouth example is slightly more complex than some of the others in this tutorial.
When the mouth is wide open as in this example you will also usually want to draw the jaw even further down than for an expression where it’s open just slightly.
Draw the actual mouth by first outlining it’s overall shape and then add the outlines of the teeth and tongue.
When shading or coloring the inside of the mouth should generally be the darkest with the tongue slightly lighter and the teeth the lightest (usually just white).
For more on drawing this mouth see:
How to Draw a Puzzled Anime Mouth
This type of an expression can be used for a character that is confused, thinking or trying to remember something.
Once again as the mouth is open you will generally want to position the jaw lower down when drawing it.
Make the shape of the mouth itself similar to an “O”. You can also add a small curve below it to give a hint of the bottom lip.
Like in the previous example you can again shade the inside of the mouth to be fairly dark.
How to Draw a Smiling Anime Mouth With Teeth Showing
This is another common variation of an anime smile in this case showing the teeth.
This type of a smile can be used for a character that is genuinely happy but it can also often be used as a fake smile or a grin.
Draw this mouth shaped a bit like a flattened water melon slice. You can also add a gap in between it’s two sides on both top and bottom (as is fairly common in the anime style).
You an also give just a hint of the teeth by adding a pair of curves on each side. Try to draw these in a way where if you were to extend them they would eventually meet each other in the middle forming one smooth curve.
How to Draw a Sly Anime Mouth
In addition to showing a sly expression this type of a mouth is also sometimes used to give a character a more cat or animal like appearance.
Draw such a mouth as a wave like shape where it’s raised towards the corners and then again towards the middle. Also try and keep it fairly symmetrical (even on both sides).
How to Draw a Grinning Anime Mouth
This can be used to show a character that has some bad intentions or to simply give them a competitive look.
Draw this expression similar to the smiling mouth but tilted to one end and with the upper lip raised higher up.
To emphasize that this is a grin you can give the hint of teeth on only one side. If you want to make the grin look more malicious you can also give a hint of a sharp tooth.
How to Draw an Upset Anime Mouth
This type of a mouth can be used for an upset or very embarrassed expression.
For this type of an expression you can make the mouth fairly wide and draw it as a series of waves. Unlike the sly mouth this one doesn’t need to be symmetrical.
You can also draw a tiny upside down curve to give a hint of the bottom lip.
How to Draw an Embarrassed Anime Mouth
This is a slightly different version of an embarrassed mouth. In this case it shows more of an surprise. For example the character being caught of guard doing something they don’t want other to see.
This type of an expression can often be followed by the one in the previous example.
Draw this mouth slightly open (position the jaw lower down) and fairly wide. Make it’s bottom a little bit wider than the top.
How to Draw a Creative Anime Mouth
This is is a create expression a character can have when doing something like writing or drawing.
While the mouth will look like it’s closed it will actually need to be slightly open to stick the tongue out in a such a way. For this reason you may want to yet again draw the jaw slightly lower down.
However this is optional for this particular expression even for anime characters that are not very stylized.
Draw the mouth itself as a curve that is tilted to one side with the tongue sticking out to the side of the tilt.
You can also slightly shade or color the tongue to finish.
For drawing this type of a mouth on a more stylize head as well as other expressions with the tongue out see:
How to Draw a Scared Anime Mouth
Drawing the mouth in this way can be used to show a somewhat scared or stated expression. However if you want the character to look really scared you can actually draw the mouth the same as for the yelling expression.
As the mouth is open you can draw the jaw lower down. Make the shape of the mouth itself similar to an upside down bean. You can also shade it after drawing the outline.
Mouths are one facial feature that can really help convey the emotions of an anime or manga character. As mouths in this style are generally fairly simplified drawing them is not particularly difficult and can be quite fun.
For drawing an entire face see:
For drawing anime mouths from the side see:
For other similar tutorials also see:
- How to Draw Anime Eyes and Eye Expressions
- How to Draw Anime and Manga Noses
- How to Draw Anime Kissing Lips & Face Tutorial
This tutorial has been updated but in case you are looking for the older drawing examples you can find them below.