How to Draw a Mustache: A Creative Journey with Lines and Style

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How to Draw a Mustache: A Creative Journey with Lines and Style

Adding a mustache to portraits and cartoon characters can instantly give them a whimsical or distinguished look. While seemingly simple, there are some useful techniques for drawing realistic and stylistic mustaches. Learning key principles like shape, shading, proportion, and alignment will help develop this fun facial feature. Whether going for a subtle accent or bold statement, this guide covers How to Draw Mustache tips to suit a variety of styles.

How to Draw a Mustache Summary:

  • Lightly sketch the upper lip, philtrum ridges, and nose bridge first to place the mustache.
  • Use angular, curved, and spiral strokes to outline different mustache shapes.
  • Shade and accentuate the mustache based on light source using hatching and crosshatching.
  • Pay attention to which side of the philtrum ridges mustache hair grows from.
  • Draw fine individual hairs on realistic mustaches, using pen or textured brushes.
  • Practice various historical styles like handlebars and Fu Manchus to improve technique.

With an understanding of facial landmarks and hair direction, even beginners can learn to draw great-looking mustaches.

How to Draw a Mustache Shapes and Styles:

Common mustache shapes include:

  • Horseshoe – Wide, rounded, covers philtrum. Classic masculine shape.
  • Handlebar – Narrow, curved upwards at ends. Associated with bikers or old West.
  • Pencil – Narrow mustache following the upper lip line. Subtle and thin.
  • Painter’s Brush – Thick, straight across mustache. French artist style.
  • Fu Manchu – Long, downward drooping ends past the chin.
  • Dali – Very long, upward-pointed ends, named after Salvador Dali.
  • Toothbrush – Dense, short, bushy mustache. Hitler/Charlie Chaplin style.
  • Walrus – Covers mouth and hangs past chin. Associated with hippies and rockers.

How to Draw a Mustache Step-By-Step:

  1. Lightly sketch the nose, lips, and philtrum columns inside the upper lip.
  2. Outline the general mustache shape using short angled strokes or curved lines.
  3. Darken the outline, paying attention to which side of the philtrum columns the mustache grows from.
  4. The shade above and below outline uses hatching and crosshatching to show depth.
  5. Erase sketch lines. Add fine hair or texture for a realistic look.
  6. Refine shading and details. Add highlights to show shine and direction of hair growth.

How to Draw a Mustache Tips for Improving:

  • Use a reference photo to understand mustache anatomy and placement.
  • Start with a sharp pencil outline then move to textured brushes.
  • Shade gracefully around the nose, lips, and cheeks for realism.
  • Exaggerate proportion and style for caricatures. Go subtle for portraits.

Practice sketching all varieties – thin, thick, short, and long. Studying others’ facial hair helps develop mastery.

How to Draw a Mustache FAQs:

  1. Where should a mustache sit on the upper lip?
    Answer: A mustache should grow from just below the nose extending to the top edges of the upper lip. It covers the philtrum ridges and cups around the mouth.
  2. What’s the best pencil for drawing mustaches?
    Answer: Use a sharp 2H-4H pencil for initial faint outlines and shaping. Soften with a 6B pencil for shading and filling in. A variety gives both precision and fullness.
  3. Should you draw each mustache hair?
    Answer: For cartoon or concept mustaches, textures, and shading can imply hair strands. But for realistic portraits, yes, draw in individual hairs using small angled strokes of a pen or textured brush.
  4. How do you draw a curly mustache?
    Answer: Make a basic outline then add small spirals or waves using curved pencil strokes to show curled hairs. Shade darker on the inside curves for depth.
  5. What’s the best way to erase mistakes in mustache drawing?
    Answer: Use a soft kneaded eraser to gently lift out lines and prevent smudging the area. Or cover mistakes with foundation and redraw.


Whether gracing a dignified gentleman or a goofy cartoon, mustaches bring character to faces. Use an initial light outline focusing on shape, then build up texture and depth with shading. Studying different historical styles boosts skills. With practice, even beginners can master drawing fabulous mustaches to suit any subject.


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