Lips Painting in Acrylic Step by Step

Watch the Lips painting process in the video above.

Painting lips are sometimes very tricky. Especially if you don't aware of the basic structure of it. But understanding the basic shape of the lip may help to get rid of this kind of difficulty. The picture below shows the anatomy of the lip structure of a woman. Is it too much? Maybe. But you don't need to remember all the anatomical terms to paint a realistic lip. Just remember the form. That is what you need.

Understanding the Basic Lip Structure

As shown in the picture above, a pair of human lip contains many detail structures. It 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, form 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 like nose and ears. And yes, it forms both form shadow and cast shadows.

Sketching the Basic Form First

You can sketch the outline directly on the canvas or you may like it to transfer from the paper. This is up to you. But I prefer to paint directly on the canvas. Here is the sketch I have made directly on the canvas. Painting on canvas directly with a soft pencil sometimes leads to smudging. But it can be prevented using a simple trick. Of course, this is the choice of many artists.

Sealing the Drawing

In this stage, I just applied some Acrylic medium and water mixture over the drawing with a nylon flat brush to seal the drawing from further smudging. It's not actually the right way. But it works. You can use a mist spray bottle to spray the mixture over the drawing instead of a brush to preserve the detailing.

But in the case of portrait painting I never take any risk, I usually spray the acrylic medium and water mixture with a mist spray bottle putting the canvas horizontally. There are lots of fixative spray available in the market. You can use one of them.

Applying the First Coat

My color 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. It will further protect my initial sketch.

Working on Lips

I have selected four main colors likely Ultramarine Blue, Crimson, Scarlet Lake, and White for the first coat. A purplish tone below the lip linings is achieved using Ultramarine Blue, Crimson, and White. Which will be the shadow color later. For more highlighted areas I have added more White with a little bit of Scarlet. I have preferred a flat soft hair No. 6 brush to block those important areas quickly.

Working With a Small Brush

This is the time to add more details with is a No. 6 round nylon brush. For those darker linings in the lip joining, 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 once 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.

Don't forget to spray some water mist to the palette and the painting directly to keep it moist for a longer time. I am not using any retarder or medium for this demo. But you can use any retarder for this purpose.

Let's Put Some Detailing

This time I have switched to the smaller brush again. I have applied the gloss and wrinkles of the lips with this brush. I have used pure white for the gloss but the highlighted areas are achieved with white, crimson and scarlet.

The Final Touches

To add some final touches to this lips painting, I have used the glazing method. I have applied thin layers of paint to achieve those darker shadows below the lip linings. 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.

And here is the final painting of the lips. You may argue that this is not the best lips painting on the net. Yes, I agree. This is the beginning. You can add far more detailing according to your needs. It will depend on how far you want to go with this and how it is related to the rest of the painting. Creativity never ends. I will recommend you to experiment with different methods and colors.

But if you found it helpful, please feel free to comment and share it. Happy painting.