How to Draw Noses

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Learn how to draw noses as they are seen from the front, in profile, and in 3/4 view.


You can click on the following links, if you want to jump to the side-view or 3/4 view immediately.

How to Draw Noses - Part 1: Front View

1.0: Proportions
     
I use my own nose as an example here. Its proportions are shown on the left. But you don't need to draw such a strong square.
It is sufficient if you just faintly mark the noses top and bottom like it is shown on the right.

How to Draw Noses - 1.1: Basic Outline


Start drawing the nose with a big curve in the middle for the tip, and two small coils at its sides for the nostrils.

Every nose is a bit different. The curve in the middle could be drawn a bit thinner, pointier, or broader; and the coils at the sides a bit larger or smaller.


Now outline the nasal wings at the sides.
Make them curved stronger at the bottom and rather flat towards the top. Their size should fill a bit less than a third of the nose's full length.


Lightly outline the bridge of the nose in the middle and also the lines where the nose transitions into the face. The problem is that on a real nose you don't really have any clear contours here.
You can now either try to solve this by drawing clear contours anyway, or through the application of shading.

(If you want to shade, don't draw either of the next two pictures.)

How to Draw Noses - 1.2: Drawing the Bridge with Lines         On the left, I decided to outline the edges of the bridge with clear lines. Into the middle I placed a bulge, because that's what my own nose looks like. Towards the bottom I let the lines spread wider apart, but didn't let them touch the upper ends of the nasal wings.

Alternatively, you can go for a more open look, and just outline the most prominent feature, or a small middle part, of the bridge with strong lines. Then you only hint at the rest with fainter lines.

But we get the most realistic look through shading.
We start with the bridge, and then shade the rest of the nose also.

How to Draw Noses - 1.3: Shading the Nose


Instead of drawing any clear lines along the nose's border, you shade a light shadow along its edges, but leave the nose's bridge entirely free.
This is what comes closest to reality. You may still bring out a few stronger features with slight lines, like I did with the bulge at the top.


Fill the nose openings with black, starting from the top. Then draw two small lines below the nasal wings for the nose's connection to the upper lip.


Now gently shade the edges of the nasal wings and the nose's tip,
as well as a small area below the nasal wing.

If I had a very flat nose, it would probably be finished already, but since the tip of my nose is standing out, we have to apply a bit more shading.


Shade a curved shadow around the tip of the nose, so that the shadow separates the tip from the nasal wings clearly. Also add a bit of shading below the tip.
Now the nose is finished.


I strongly recommend that you practice drawing more noses in front view. It is always best to draw from nature. You can draw your own nose with the use of a mirror, or you ask someone else to hold still. You can even draw people's noses on the subway, but who knows if they might get upset? - Do this on your own risk.
Alternatively, you can prepare a couple of rectangles to draw noses inside, and then invent your own noses. This is what I attempted in the picture above.

How to Draw Noses - Part 2: Side View

I also use my own nose as an example here.
Through the use of a small double-mirror I was able to see it from the side.

                  
Seen from the side, my nose has, surprisingly, the same proportions as seen from the front. Its height is one and a half of its width.
Draw your rectangle rather pale, like it is shown on the right, so that you can erase it easily later.


It all begins with the nose's bridge.
My nose is pretty straight but has a little bulge at its top.
Draw the line diagonally downwards until it touches the square's left side.


Now finish the nose's tip with a curve that lines up with the rectangle's bottom.

At the end, the nose transitions into the upper lip, which you can show with a small curve reaching below the square.
The red dotted line shows that this part usually lies a bit in front of the nose's beginning at the top.


Outline the nostril now. The line should make a sharp curve at the beginning, and then become a bit flatter towards the end. But the nostrils can have very different shapes for different people.


Add the nasal wing to the right. Let it continue straight from the line of the nostril and let it touch the square's right border. Its size should be a bit less than one third of the nose's total height.
Seen from the side, the nasal wing is pretty evenly curved.



The outline of the nose is finished, and you can erase the square now. Then it is time for shading. Depending on the direction of the light source this can look very different. In this case the light is coming straight from the front (left in the picture), because I'm sitting in front of a large window. That means the shadows all have to lie towards the right side.

Now, that was my nose, but let's take a look at some other noses.


To practice drawing noses some more, you can first draw several rectangles next to each other and then fill them all with a nose that has its own unique style.

These are the important components of an interesting nose:
- shape of the bridge
- shape of the tip
- shape of the nostril
- shape of the nasal wing

Observe the subtleties of these nose parts on the people around you.
After all, an artist's special ability must be to observe the small details that other people miss.

How to Draw Noses - Part 3:     3/4-View



The 3/4-view is in the middle between the frontal view and the side view.

You can outline one side of the bridge with a clear line, but you have to shade the other one. Only one nasal wing is visible, unless the nose is very flat or broad. The nasal wing's curve becomes a bit flatter towards the top. And in my case, this is the angle in which the nostril looks the largest.

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