Nose drawing can be a difficult skill to master due to the complexity of the nose shape. With this tutorial I will try to describe a method of defining a geometrical shape for the nose that should help notably its correct positioning on the face while maintaining correct orientation and proportion of the different parts.
With this nose drawing tutorial I am not going to enter into the anatomical detail of the nose and its inner structure but I intend to provide a quick way to rapidly block out a correctly positioned nose in a face drawn from any angle.
Considering its general form, the nose is a triangular, wedge-shaped block narrow at its root and broad and prominent at its base in the mid region of the face.
Examine this solid with attention, this will be the foundation of correctly drawing a nose. As you can see the basic shape of the nose is already a complex solid and you need to consider its shape from different view to appreciate it. The upper part of the solid is the root of the nose while the lower part is its base.
The base of the nose has a trapezoidal shape and the whole solid can be inscribed in a parallelepiped.
As an interface between the body and the external world, the nose and associated structures frequently perform additional functions concerned with conditioning entering air (for instance, by warming and/or humidifying it). The nose hairs are able to stop unwanted particles from entering the lungs
However that solid is not quite enough to block out the nose shape and we need to add a small portion to the base of the nose. As you can see indicated in green, the solid shown in the first image has remained unchanged while we need to add a small block to the base to extend it further down and to accommodate the “ball” or the frontal part of the nose.
The subdivision of the solid as indicated in the picture allows to visualize the sector where the nostril cavities will need to be positioned when we start refining the shape of the nose.
Once the blocking is completed correctly, the nose drawing is a matter of smoothing the lines to shape a natural flawing and adding the nostrils and the nostril cavities. Note that the nostril cavities, which have an elliptical shape, fit perfectly into the quadrangular sector defined in the blocking stage. This is visible in the front, side and skewed view.
In most mammals, the nose is the primary large organ for smelling
If you are confident drawing a face and positioning brow line and ears you should have no problem positioning the nose correctly. If you are not take a look at our tutorials on face drawing from the front and the side.
In this picture the green lines show the levels at which nose root and base should be drawn. Moreover you can see an application of the blocking method. You can start defining the general shape of the nose, as shown in the second picture, and position it correctly before starting to refine it.
In this example you can see how following the blocking the nose looks natural and integrated with the face
In this example the power of the nose drawing using this blocking technique is shown for an otherwise difficult to draw angled face. Position the solid first and pay attention to draw it correctly according to the orientation of the whole face.
Refining the nose will be just a matter of smoothing the lines and drawing the nostrils and nostril cavities.
Before wrapping up the tutorial I want to point your attention on the shape of the tip of the nose also called ball of the nose.
In terms of volumes the tip of the nose can be almost considered a parallelepiped-like structure. In the picture, the light coming from the left side puts in evidence the relationship between the nose ball and the nostril.
In this last image you can study the relationship between the root of the nose and the eye/eyebrow and the relationship between the base of the nose and the upper lips. In terms of outline the profile of the nose base continues smoothly into the upper lips.
Moreover you can evaluate the position of the nostrils and how they align with the vertical position of the root of the nose.
Nose drawing is not an easy beast to tame and there are certainly many other things than can be said about it. However I hope this nose drawing tutorial has at least given you a solid foundation upon which to build this technical and artistic skill.
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