Drawing A Dark Skin Toned, Female Mouth

Drawing Dark Skin Tones On A Female Mouth.jpg

In this tutorial I walk you through how to draw a mouth with teeth.  The reference photo below is yours to use and print out to draw from. Enjoy!

As a new artist, it’s all-too-common to be terrified of drawing teeth in a portrait, doing everything to avoid the task. (I’m raising my hand here, too!) But it doesn’t have to be so scary, even if you’re brand new to colored pencil. You can tackle this subject matter early on in your artistic development, and today I’m going to walk you through the process.


Before you do anything else, transfer your line image over to your paper. You can easily trace this by placing the line image underneath your paper and then use a Col-Erase pencil (my personal favorite) to trace your line drawing. I usually start out with a Col-Erase pencil whether or not I am tracing my line image, because it allows me to fully erase what I'm putting down on the paper in case I make a mistake. And let’s be real -- there are lots of mistakes!

Here’s the Part 1 video of this drawing!

Step One

Once you have your line drawing on your paper, it's time to start adding some color. This will give you some context for understanding the relationships of the objects and your drawing.

You can begin by using Phthalo Blue for all the recessed areas or spaces in between the teeth that indicate shadows. This will allow you to determine the shape of each tooth more clearly.  You’ll also want to add blue to most of the teeth that are inside a shadow area and are not catching the light.

Add a base coat of Brown Ochre 50% to the skin around the mouth with very light pressure, which acts as a reference point for your color from the very beginning— we don’t want you staring at a white page and feeling overwhelmed when you start choosing your colors! Add Burnt Sienna to the lips, varying your pressure in to create a dimensional look that will be more convincing.

Turn your attention back to the teeth and add the Brown Ochre and Olive Brown to create the illusion of a contour in the teeth. There’s no need to worry if the teeth are too dark or too yellow in certain areas at this point -- you can lighten that up later.

Step Two

Step 2.jpg

Since the light in this photograph is coming from the left, make sure all of the shadows on the left are warmer in color. The shadows on the right side of the mouth are further away from the light source and will represent deeper shadows, so you can use blue as your opposite color.

Go ahead and add Phthalo Blue in most of the darkest shadow areas, then increase some of the contours of the face on the left using Burnt Sienna and Burnt Sienna 50%.  Be very careful not to press too hard and burnish too early because, since that will limit your ability to add as many layers!

Remember: Always think light, slow layers of color that build up slowly over time.  

Step Three

Step 3.jpg

Add more Burnt Sienna and blue in the lips to deepen the value and contrast with the white of the teeth. If you’re constantly thinking about the values and building them up slowly, you’ll keep them balanced.  

If you’ve made it this far, you’re about halfway there. Congratulations -- you’ve reached the “ugly stage!” Things might not look so pretty right now, since many of the values and colors or hues will start to become a little unbalanced and look odd. Don't be discouraged by this -- it’s completely normal. Just keep your mind focused on what the end result will eventually look like!


Step Four



At this stage, it’s time to add another base layer to the skin -- this time using Brown Ochre.Think about the values the entire time and make sure that you’re also adding Burnt Sienna to most of the shadows at the same time that you’re adding the Brown Ochre. I usually keep both of these pencils in my hands at the same time and keep alternating between one and the other.  

Step Five


Once you’ve added that second base layer of Brown Ochre to the skin you can see how the teeth now suddenly look very bright compared to our previous step. This illustrates that the values are staying balanced, which is the best way to build up a drawing. Continue going back and forth between the teeth and the skin to bring all these layers up -- slowly, of course!

Step Six


As you’re getting towards the final layers of the drawing, use an electric eraser to create some highlights for the reflections in both the skin above the mouth and on the lips themselves. Once you’ve removed the pigment from those areas, go back in and use mostly Buff Titanium and a little bit of White.

Add yet another layer of Burnt Sienna to the contoured areas of the skin and a layer of Brown Ochre to the teeth in the shadowed area on the right side of the mouth.

Step Seven

Step 7.jpg


Now add Payne's Grey 50% to the teeth on the right, and more Phthalo Blue to the face on the right side in the shadows.

Next up? A layer of Phthalo Blue to the background, then Crimson Alizarin on top of that, and finally Sepia 50%.


Step Eight

Step 8 - Final Touches.jpg

At last, we’ve reached my favorite part of the drawing process: the final touches where you get to examine what may need to be improved!

In this example, I found that I needed to add a very light layer of Cobalt Blue to all the teeth, especially the front two teeth. I also decided to increase most of the shadows in the face, then added Sepia 50% on top of most of the shadows. The darkest areas for the right side of the face got one last layer of Phthalo Blue as well.

How did you do? Stand back from the drawing several feet to evaluate and determine if the illusion of “white” teeth is convincing. Chances are, you’ve created a pretty realistic mouth, and you didn’t even have to avoid the teeth this time!

You can apply a similar process to your future drawings by remembering that color is always relative to the colors next to it. You can do this!


Red Apple Tutorial

View the youtube video here: https://youtu.be/JntcCBDzrQI

In this tutorial I walk you through creating a red apple from start to finish.  The reference photo (taken by me) is yours to do whatever you want with.

Be sure and download the apple reference.  Click the button above.

The individual colors used means so much less than the approach to the composition does.  Also outweighing color selection is how we handle form, value and application of the medium.

Creating art is problem solving and involves a lot of your senses.  Think about the dialogue in your head as you work through your own drawing.

Drawing is seeing and observing light, line and value.  Forget what you know and draw what you see instead.   Try to determine what direction the light is cast as you observe the angle of the subject.

Let’s get started!

Click here to download photos!

Step 1 - Line drawing.  I would use either a light green or orange with a very light touch.  The line drawing is one of the most important things about creating realism in a drawing or painting.  Pay close attention to the reference photo and the space and perspective.  It may be easier (especially if you’re a beginner) to trace the outside edge of the drawing to your paper.

Step 2 – Shading with green.  Why green?  Because the opposite color of red is green.  So in order to create the contour and form of the round shape with shadows I have to use the opposite color.  Most of the green will go in the shaded area of the apple, which is the bottom left side.

Step 3 – Shading with yellow.  The brightest areas of the apple will be the little area where you see the light reflected.  Be sure and protect that area.  Surrounding that area will also be very bright and so I want to use yellow in these areas.  Pay special attention to the direction of your stroke as you lay down color.

Step 4 – Add more light green.  Go over the top of the existing green and then smooth out the transitions of the yellow to the green area.

Step 5 - Color the stem and add red.  I chose to use more green in my shading of the stem in order to give my drawing more life.  Think about contour even in the stem.  The stem is mostly a cylinder.  Then with light to medium pressure begin adding a layer of red to the apple.

Step 6 – Shade with orange.  Start shading with orange over the most of the area of the bright part of the apple remembering to preserve the lightest area where the highlight will go.  

Step 7 – Add more red.  This time with medium pressure add more red. 

Step 8 – Add orange to middle of apple.  Add a strong tapered layer of Orange from dark to light across the pinnacle of the apple.  This is that area right where the largest girth of the body of the apple is.  Right underneath this area is where the shadow of the apple will begin.  

Step 9 – Add orange.  Cover the entire apple with orange.  But with only light pressure in the shadow area. 

Step 10 – Add blue to shadow.  You want to add blue to the area that is nearest to the bright area first and make that your strongest dark value.  

Step 11 – Add dark green to shadow.  Add the green to the shadow area and use light to medium pressure.

Step 12 – Burnish with red.  Burnish, very simply, means to use heavy pressure.  With a very sharp point and heavy pressure you will be able to fill in all the white of the paper.  This final burnishing technique adds a glossy look to the skin of the apple. 

Step 13 – Add white.  Add white to the small highlight area.

Step 14 – Add green to cast shadow.  You want to be very careful not to press to hard in this area.  It also helps to squint your eyes in order to detect how the value is being applied.  You want a slow, tapered gradation in value so that the shadow fades away in a very elegant way.

Step 15 – Add brown to cast shadow.  Add your brown color to the are closest to the base of the apple to show the increase in value closest to your object.  


Spray with a fixative and you've completed your drawing!   


Stay sharp!