If you ask someone: ”What’s the hardest facial feature to draw?” most of them will say noses. I always thought this was strange. To me, noses are the easiest to draw, of all the facial features. I will teach you how to draw a nose step by step so you too can easily draw a nose from any angle! (Even if you’re a beginner. Yes, it’s that easy!)
How to draw a nose step by step
We’ll be drawing a nose in front view, side view and ¾ view (an angled view).
Analysing the nose
To understand what to draw that makes a nose a nose, we need to understand how a nose is built.
Click to see the next image slide
A nose is build out of 3 spheres (2nd image) that connect. I draw circles and then shade those circles as individual spheres.
The biggest sphere is the bulb of the nose. The other two spheres are the nose wings. The bulb sits on top of the other two spheres.
I don’t always draw the blue lines (final image), but it helps me visualise the shape of the nose. I do always draw the centre line when I’m drawing a front facing nose. It helps with symmetry.
How to draw a nose in front view, side view and angled view step by step
Before we begin it’s very important to always use a reference when drawing a realistic nose.
1: Bulb of the nose
Draw a circle that represents the bulb of the nose.
Let’s again draw a circle that represents the bulb of the nose.
You guessed it! Let’s draw a circle that represents the bulb of the nose.
2: Centre line and nose wings
Draw a centre line. This will make it easier to get symmetry. Draw a horizontal line a little below our bulb. This will be the bottom of the nostrils.
Let’s draw the nosewing. Notice that it’s slightly below the bulb.
Let’s draw the right nosewing first.
3: Other nose wing
Draw 2 circles that represent the nose wings. Make sure the bottom touches our guideline.
Darken the bulb of our nose. Slightly slim the tip of the nose by making that part of the circle a bit more angular.
Let’s draw the circle that represents the left nose wing. The right part of the circle lies behind our bulb. You can lighten this with an eraser if you don’t want to confuse yourself.
4: Draw outline
Darken the edges of the nosewings. Elongate them.
Add the bridge of the nose. It slightly dips in. This creates an upward turned nose. The bottom of the nose goes inward and downward towards the lip.
Darken the edges of the nose wings and add the nostrils.
Add the nostrils. Use the centre line to help you get symmetry but remember that noses are natural: If it looks too perfect it will look fake.
Draw the nostril. It’s longer and narrower than the front view.
Since we’ve drawn the nostrils in the step before, we now draw the nose bridge. It’s a straight line that curves into the eye socket at the end.
6: Blocking out Sphere’s
Now we look for shadows, mid-tones and highlights. Don’t block in details just yet; we’re looking for big shapes.
Let’s shade our circles like spheres to create a 3D effect. Choose a base layer, a highlight and a shadow. Use your reference to place it in the correct place.
Choose a base layer and a shadow. We will add the highlight later.
Our reference is a tad darker than the other noses. Choose a base layer, highlight and shadow. Reference your reference picture.
7: Blocking out nose wings
Now we do the exact same for the nosewings. Treat them as individual spheres, even where they connect.
Repeat the previous step for the nosewings.
Do the same thing for the nosewings.
8: Blocking out nose bridge and shadows
Let’s fill in the empty space. I added a shadow layer to the bottom and sides of the nose. The bridge is the same color as the base layer.
I extended the bridge of the nose with the base layer. You can add the darkness of the nostril. I added a shadow underneath the nosewing.
I extended the bridge of the nose with the base layer. Use your reference to see where the dark shades go.
9: Blend & repeat
Okay, it looks like I skipped a lot of steps but I did not! All I did was blend. That’s it. I blended the previous step. Then, I repeated the blocking phase but this time I looked for smaller areas.
Blend and repeat the previous step but this time look for smaller planes of highlights and shadows. Pay close attention to your reference.
Blend and repeat previous steps. Focus more on the details.
Blend and repeat previous steps. Add extra shadows and highlights where needed.
Repeat this until you feel like you captured the planes of the nose!
As the finishing touch, I added a layer of skin texture. Then, I added some freckles. The texture and freckles are brushes I used in Procreate. I’ll admit it looks a little weird without the rest of the face. But hey, we’re just practising here!
How to draw a nose cartoon step by step
Honestly… It’s the exact same process. Just the shading phase is a lot easier!
Here’s some examples:
Click to see the next image slide
1. Draw the bulb
2. Draw the nosewing(s)
3. Darken the outlines
4. Draw the nostrils (I incorporate them with the nosewings because that’s my style)
5. Shade. Now with 2d illustrations I only shade the bottom part (as shown in the middle illutration). The first illustration has a light source underneath her (imagine telling scary stories with a flashlight below your face!) Sometimes I dont even bother adding a shadow (illustration 3).
RECAP: How to draw an easy nose?
Noses are not that hard to draw. We just have to simplify them to individual spheres. This helps a lot when sketching the nose. Next, we shade them as spheres. Then, we connect our spheres so they become one. Lastly, we add the nose bridge.
Look for those circles and always use a reference!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. It was a little hard to explain but very easy to draw. If you have any questions I’m more than happy to answer them. Leave them down below and I’ll get to you as soon as I can.
P.S Still around after all this nose-talk? I found an interesting article on why our noses are shaped like this. Enjoy!