The most common type. It has a well-developed central dip and a distinct break between peaks and legs. Note that the end of LBL is on same level as middle of LBL; this is true unless the head is tipped.
Not quite as straight as it looks. Really a flattened version of Cupid's bow: dip and two peaks still present—just barely. The three-part pattern of lips goes back to the development of the embryo and is present in every mouth.
The arch shape is really another variation of the Cupid's bow, with lower outer corners and a high middle. Usually, the arch is only moderate, like the mouth at center; a high arch (right) is unusual.
The line between the lips (LBL) is the key to depicting the closed mouth. Draw it first and work outward from there: Not only is it a good way to start a drawing, but it's also the major element in defining the expression the closed mouth carries. Here are the three main variations that the LBL takes in the relaxed mouth. The same underlying pattern—dip and two peaks in the middle, two long curving legs on the sides—is common to all three, whether men's mouths (center) or women's mouths (right).
A variation of this type occurs if lips in relaxed mouth don't quite meet. What was the LBL in the closed mouth becomes upper rim bordering teeth.
Key Elements in the Closed Mouth: The Line between the Lips
The way you draw the line between the lips (LBL) will determine 75 percent of the expression you give to the closed mouth. Though lips vary radically, the three main forms of the LBL apply to most mouths:
1. Cupid's Bow. The most common pattern. A dip in the middle, two peaks, and a long decline to the corner. The outer portion of the line may curve up slightly, or it may be straight across.
2. Straight Across. This should be thought of as "more-or-less" straight across. The "more-or-less" is important. The LBL of a relaxed mouth is never a perfectly straight line. On those people where it seems to be straight, a careful look will show that it's really a flattened form of the cupid's bow, with the same dip-and-two-peaks pattern—sometimes barely evident.
3. Upward A rch. The cupid's bow pattern but with the LBL much higher in the middle than at the ends. This type of mouth is one that can most easily suggest a negative expression if it's not well drawn.
When the mouth is relaxed, the LBL in all mouth types will have key elements in common. The direction of the line will change smoothly, not abruptly. The outer end of the LBL will always be either even with or a bit below the center, never above. And if the line of the LBL appears straight, as in 2 above, the upper lip will be full, not compressed.
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