Lesson Three: What Not To Do

The Mouth: Smile Lines

Don’t do this:

An illustration of heavy smile lines.

These smile lines are too heavy.

Do this:

An illustration of good smile lines

This is a better way to show smile lines

If you lay in those smile lines so dark, you’re going to end up with a pretty weird-looking face. Just about everybody has these lines, from babies to seniors, but I find it best to add them during the coloring process, not here. It’s okay to draw smile lines right at the corners of the mouth, but if you connect them up to the sides of the nose, you’d better use a thin line and be careful. Getting these wrong is the best way to make a baby look like a withered old man.

The Mouth: Teeth

This right here is about the most detail I ever put in a mouth. It’s not a good idea to delineate every tooth, until you have a lot of experience.

This is how to draw a good, simple mouth

A simple, clear mouth.

Here’s what happens when you draw each tooth:

A drawing with every tooth delineated

You shouldn't delineate every tooth

And here’s what happens when you draw each tooth, badly:

A bad drawing of teeth

If you draw every tooth AND make them the wrong shape, this is what you get.

This can be a matter of personal preference. I’ll add more detail if the subject’s teeth are interesting or unusual, like in the case of Obama or Chris Rock. But generally I want the focus to be on something else.

The Head:

Here’s a common beginner mistake: the head chop. New caricaturists often spend all their time on the features of the face, and treat the top of the head like an afterthought. Don’t do this:

I drawing of a too-small head.

The top half of the head is too small

Think about the skull. It’s still there, no matter what the hair looks like. Imagine the bald head underneath:

Where the skull is under the hair

The hair needs to fit around the skull

Then draw the hair as it would fit over and around the top of the head:

How the hair fits around the skull

This head is much better proportioned.

With just a little practice, this will add a lot of realism to your drawings of people.

One thought on “Lesson Three: What Not To Do

Comments are closed.