Cartoon Mouth Formulas | The Drawing Website

Cartoon Mouth Formulas

Out of all the formula topics, mouth formulas are what I’ve studied the least of. There are different types of mouth designs but overall the real trick to drawing mouths comes down to only one formula and then the rest is cheats and stylization.

To this end I’ll go over only three topics:

  1. Simple Cartoon Mouth Designs
  2. General Mouth Formula
  3. Naturalistic Cartoon Mouth Styles

The Freddy Moore, Bruce Timm, and Takahiro Kimura Anime styles won’t have their own section this time because these mouth types aren’t different enough from each other.

Simple Cartoon Mouth Designs

At it’s most basic, cartoon mouths can be represented, on a face, in two ways:


As long as your mouth seems to represent an open or closed opening on the bottom part of the face below the nose, you’re doing well.

Once you have that working, that’s really all you need. These lines and shapes come in all kinds of varieties. Far too many to show here. It’s really up to you which type you choose to borrow or invent for your needs.

The sky’s the limit. Below are SOME ways to draw cartoon mouths. This is just a sample and by no means do they represent all the variations you can create:


Cartoony mouth shapes have far more variety than more naturalistic mouth shapes, as we will see below.

General Mouth Formula

Alright, say you want to go a bit further with drawing mouths. You want the mouths you draw to look like they’re more than just stickers on the head. You want to draw a mouth that looks a bit more natural.

Well, you’ll need to know just a little bit about drawing natural mouths. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when drawing more naturalistic mouths1-mouth-pivot-points:






Naturalistic Cartoony Mouth Styles

When I say “naturalistic,” what I mean to say is Freddy Moore Style, Bruce Timm Style, Anime Style. When it comes to drawing mouths in these styles there isn’t any real change in formula. Once you have the five things I wrote above in mind, you simply apply your preferred style on top.

More often than not, when it comes to mouths, the styles don’t differ almost at all. With a few exceptions which I will get to later. So let me show you.

Let’s just draw any old mouth type using the formula above:


Now we simply add the style convention of each style, which don’t often differ:


So really, that’s all you need. Nothing too fancy right?

The one exception is anime style. There are some mouth stylizations in anime that have become anime conventions. Conventions like:


Just to name a few. There’s a whole library of different types. These can be chalked up to putting a cartoonier mouth on a naturalistic cartoon head.

For completion’s sake, I’ll add a mouth to the Freddy Moore, Bruce Timm and Takahiro Kimura head turnarounds:




Have fun drawing mouths.