How To Draw A Nose From The Front
In the beginning, many artists struggle when it comes time to draw a nose for a portrait drawing. One reason might be because a nose is not a simple shape like a circle or a triangle. Another reason is that there are really no lines that separate the nose from the face. The nose’s bridge connects with the dorsum nasi, and the ball of the nose is at the bottom of the dorsum nasi. The sections of the nose blend, making it difficult to draw a nose from the front.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to shade a nose to make it look realistic and not like a cartoon nose.
This tutorial uses the grid method to ensure the proportions are accurate and shading techniques for a perspective drawing.
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To learn how to use the grid method, check out How To Draw Realistic Drawings, Video Course.
Drawing supplies needed for this lesson:
To learn more about drawing pencils, read Best Drawing Pencils For Beginners And Professional Artists.
Step 1 Make A Grid
Reference image courtesy of Pixabay
Start by making a grid on the reference photo and make the same size grid on your drawing paper.
Use a pen for the reference image and draw the grid lightly on your drawing paper with a 2H pencil.
You can change the reference image to black and white easily with Photoshop.
Step 2 Lightly Sketch Guide Lines
Lightly map out the shape of the nose by drawing lines where the darker value and highlights are.
Noses do not have lines that separate them from the face, like an eye or lips. The shading will create the nose’s shape.
After you have mapped out the guidelines, lightly erase all of the grid lines.
Do not press down too hard with the eraser so you do not damage the paper’s tooth. Damaging the tooth of the paper will make it difficult to draw subtle value changes.
Step 3 Shade The Nostrils
Next, lightly tap off some graphite with a kneaded eraser. This will make it easier for you to blend the values.
Start adding graphite to the nostrils with a 2H pencil. The nostrils have the darkest valures in this reference image.
If you are using a different reference image, start with the darkest tones. This will give you a reference of what the other tones will be for the nose.
Do not make the area too dark at this point. You will be adding more layers as the tutorial goes on.
Step 4 Shade Around The Nostrils
Add some graphite around the nostrils. Even at this point, the drawing is starting to look like a human nose.
While you are shading around the nostrils, adjust the values of the nostrils. You will continue to add layers to areas as you go along.
Lightly erase any guidelines with your kneaded eraser if they are too dark next shading you are drawing. A human nose does not have lines outlining it.
Step 5 Draw The Ball Of The Nose
Draw the tone around the ball of the nose. Continue to look at your reference image to identify where the light is coming from and the subtle value changes that create a perspective nose drawing.
Step 6 Draw Each Side Of The Nose
Start adding graphite to each side of the noes all the way up to the bridge of the nose. Notice how the right side of the nose is darker than the left side. This tells you that the light source is shining from the left.
Working on the darker areas makes it easier to draw realistic noses. The challenge is to get the subtle value changes that shape the nose. Squint your eyes while looking at the reference image if you have difficulty seeing the subtle value changes.
By this point, you should start to see all the different shapes of the nose.
Step 7 Draw The Bridge Of The Nose
Draw the bridge of the nose with your 2H pencil. Notice in the reference image that the nose’s bridge is darker than the ball of the nose. The nose’s form is still ruff at this point, but once you start blending in the rest of the tones, the nose’s shape will look like it is popping off the drawing surface.
Make sure you continue to look at the reference image for the value changes.
Step 8 Daw Value To The Light Sections Of The Nose
Add some tone to the light areas of the nose. This will start to blend all of the areas. Now the nose is really taking form.
Step 9 Blend
Drawing noses does not have to be hard as long as you draw what you see and not what you think a nose looks like.
At this point, you can leave the drawing alone and call it done, or you can smooth the graphite with a blending stump.
Using a blending stump is as simple as drawing with a pencil. Use a light touch and blend from the darkest areas and work towards the lighter areas. In this drawing tutorial, the lightest area is the top of the nose.
Step 10 Repeat
The last step of this nose drawing tutorial is to repeat adding graphite, tapping off graphite with a kneaded eraser, and blending with a blending stump.
When is a drawing done?
The drawing will be complete when you are happy with what you see.
Follow the drawing steps outlined above to get a realistic look.
Drawing Noses Tips
Use the grid method for accurate proportions.
Draw a nose contour lines with a 2H pencil.
Erase all grid lines.
Tap off some graphite of the contour lines before shading the nose.
Start adding graphite to the darker areas of the nose and work towards the lighter areas.
Draw with the shape and curves of the nose.
Continue adding layers of graphite until the tones are correct.
Blend the graphite with a kneaded eraser.
Tap off some graphite where the highlights are.
Repeat the process until you are satisfied with the outcome.
If you find it difficult to draw soft value changes, visit Shading A Cylinder Tips.
Draw A Nose Final Thoughts
Learning how to draw a nose is easy if you follow the steps outlined above.
After you have finished this tutorial, try different noses.
Noses have different sizes and shapes, so the more you practice, the better your face drawings will be.
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