Painting lips are sometimes very tricky. But understanding the basic shape of the lip may help to get rid of this kind of difficulties. The picture below shows the anatomy of a basic lip. Is it too much? Maybe. But you don’t need to remember all the anatomical terms to paint a realistic lip. Just remember the structure. That’s it.
Understanding the Basic Shape:
As shown in the picture above, a pair of human lip contains many detail structures. Which may not necessary to remember all the time while painting, but it should be in the drawing while sketching.
As we know that all objects, when exposed to light, forms its shadows and highlights. Human lips are no exception, as it is one of the main body parts which is protruding out from the face as like nose and ears. And yes, it forms both form shadow and cast shadows.
Sketching the Basic Structure:
Without worrying about the pencil smudge, I have started sketching the lip on the canvas. I have a trick to prevent it. Of course, it is applied by many artists.
Sealing the Drawing:
Oh, no. What happened to my sketch? I just applied some Gloss Medium and water mixture over the drawing with a nylon flat brush. It’s not actually the right way. But it works. But most of my details in the sketch was gone. To get rid of this, use a hard pencil for sketching or spray the mixture with a mist spray bottle.
But in case of portrait painting I never take any risk, I usually spray the Gloss Medium and water mixture with a mist spray bottle putting the canvas horizontally.
Applying the First Coat:
My palette for this demo consists of Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Yellow Ochre, Scarlet Lake, Permanent Orange, Crimson, and White.
My first coat is a mixture of Yellow Ochre, Scarlet Lake, and White. I have applied a uniform coat all over the sketch including lips.
Working on Lips:
For the lip color, I have selected four main colors for this first coat, likely Ultramarine Blue, Crimson, Scarlet Lake, and White. A purplish tone below the lip linings is achieved using Ultramarine Blue, Crimson, and White. Which will form the shadow color later. For more highlighted areas I have added more White with a little bit of Scarlet. I have preferred a flat No. 6 hog hair brush to block those important areas.
Working With a Small Brush:
This is the time to add more details with a round No. 6 nylon brush. For those darker linings, I have added Burnt Umber to the Ultramarine Blue, Scarlet Lake, and Crimson mix.
Working With The Skin Tone:
This time I have shifted my concentration to the skin tone again. As the acrylic paint dries quickly, I prefer to work both lip colors and skin colors simultaneously to achieve the soft edges of the outer lip.
And yes, don’t forget to spray some water mist to the palette and the painting directly to keep it moist. I am not using any retarder or medium for this demo. Except for sealing the sketch at the earlier stage.
Let’s Put Some Detailing:
In this time I switched to the smaller brush again. I have applied the detailing, like the gloss and wrinkles of the lips with this brush.
The Final Touches:
To add some final touches to this lip painting, I have used the glazing method. After adding much of the detailing to the painting I have applied thin layers of paint to achieve those darker shadows below the lip linings. I have used Ultramarine Blue and Crimson mixture for the lower lip and Cobalt Blue for the upper lip. As the upper lip shows some bluish environmental reflection into it. And yes, I am not adding too much detail to this painting. Sometimes adding fewer details works just fine.