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Paint realistic looking lips

They reflect the inner state of the person and change to show a range of emotions. Katarina Sokolova shows you how to paint luscious lips…

I really enjoy painting portraits of beautiful, sexy, magical women. Beautiful lips make a woman’s face even more alluring. Lips are the main characteristic of sexual attractiveness and sensuality, and the size of her lips plays an important role in a woman’s appearance. Lips can be charming, tender and passionate – indeed, they’re an indicator of sensuality and warmth.

But lips are a notoriously difficult part of the face to paint, especially when working on a realistic-looking portrait. Most of my painted characters have plump, sensual lips. They usually have rich make-up, too: I prefer to paint lips with red wine or coral lipstick. This attracts your attention to them and gives the face a degree of theatrical and decorative nuance.

The mouth, like the eyes, defines the overall look of the face. The mouth itself should be round, the upper and lower lips must have approximately the same fullness and the cavity on the upper lip must have clear contours. The upper and lower lips should converge in the corner to one point. In my paintings, I often paint a form of the mouth with the upper lip smaller than the lower. This adds an element of naivety, as well as sensuality, to the look. If you wish to make lips exciting and passionate, you simply give them more volume.

It’s necessary to know the structure of the lips before attempting to paint them. Lips have different forms, dependant on the specific features of that person’s face, as well as nationality and race. But even with that great variety, all lips have a common structure. Reference is important, so study your own lips in the mirror before you start.

From issue 21.

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