How to Draw Anime and Manga Mouth Expressions

Mouths are a great way to show the mood a character you are drawing.

This quick tutorial illustrates how to draw different anime and manga mouth expressions from the front view.

anime mouth expressions
Examples of how to draw anime mouth expressions

Anime and manga mouths are highly simplified. The lips are usually not drawn at all and the entire mouth can often be drawn with just one or two lines. They also tend to be drawn smaller than normal mouths but depending on a characters expression they can also be drawn much larger than normal. This is especially true if the character is very emotional (angry or happy).

If you do want to draw lips on an anime style mouth you can check:

For drawing anime mouths from the side see:

How to Draw Anime & Manga Mouths – Side View

Placing Anime and Manga Mouths on the Head

Anime mouth on head placement
Placing anime mouth on the head

to place the mouth on the head you can draw two horizontal lines one under the chin and one under the nose. The bottom lip will be located in the middle between the two. The mouth opening will be just above that. Since often in anime lips are not drawn at all you can always just draw the mouth opening slightly above the middle of the nose and bottom of the chin area.

If the mouth is open or the lips are moved from the normal state you can adjust the size and position accordingly.

Drawing Anime & Manga Mouths Step by Step

Drawing anime mouth step by step
Drawing anime mouth step by step

For an open anime mouth start by drawing the outline of the mouth first. Then fill in the details (usually just tongue and/or teeth).

When shading or coloring the inside of the mouth should be the darkest with the tongue slightly lighter and the teeth the lightest (usually just white).

For a tutorial on drawing anime style teeth see:

How to Draw Anime & Manga Teeth Tutorial

Closed Anime & Manga Mouths vs Open

Anime mouth closed vs open
Anime mouth closed vs open

When drawing the characters head draw the jaw lower for a mouth that is open and higher for one that is closed.

Anime girl smiling
Anime girl smiling

Finally here is a finished drawing of the head so that you can see what the mouth will look like with the other parts of the face included.

You can refer to How to Draw an Anime Girl’s Head and Face or How to Draw Anime and Manga Male Head and Face  for more information on drawing the head.

For other similar tutorials also see:

How to Draw Anime Tongue Out Face Step by Step