How to Draw a Nose From 5 Different Angles

How to Draw a Nose From 5 Different Angles
How to Draw a Nose From 5 Different Angles

Learning how to draw a nose from different angles is an important skill to develop if you want to have the ability to draw or paint realistic looking people. Many artists struggle drawing noses, especially at first, so if you're having a hard time with noses, don't beat yourself up. 

How do you get better as an artist? You get better by practicing, and by understanding your subject. With very few exceptions, all artists go through growing pains. They go through a period where they struggle while they learn to hone their craft and develop their ability to understand what they see well enough to recreate it two-dimensionally in a drawing or painting.

One of the reasons that artists struggle drawing nose is that it's such an odd-looking body part. If you're drawing an eye, or a mouth, or any other part of someone's face, there can be a lot of beauty. But with noses, nobody really describes them as being beautiful. They also protrude from the front, adding a three-dimensional aspect to a drawing that can be challenging to capture. But, while it's challenging, it's a challenge that you'll have to accept if you want to be able to draw realistic people.

Are you going to have to practice a lot? You bet. But is this really a bad thing? If you're an artist, don't you love to draw? Don't you like to explore new forms and colors? Don't you love pushing yourself and growing? Practicing drawing isn't a chore, it's something you should enjoy doing. If you don't, you probably aren't that dedicated to your art, which means you'll never grow and become a better artist. 

Can it be frustrating to not be able to draw noses correctly right away? Sure. But you have to remember, you didn't wake up one day and discover that you had magically developed amazing artistic skills overnight. You had to work at it to build your skills, and that's what you'll need to do if you want to be able to draw noses well. The following Portrait Drawing Course by the artist Proko is an excellent way to learn how to draw realistic portraits step by step. Click here to visit his website Portrait Drawing Course

Drawing the Nose From  Different Angles

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To master drawing the human nose, you need to learn how to draw it from 5 different angles. As an artist, you never know when you'll need to draw a nose from an odd angle, so it's better to be safe and master drawing it from any aspect you might encounter. The last thing you want is to find yourself in a situation where you need to draw a unique angle of a nose, and you've never done it before. What angles do you need to learn to draw a nose from?

  1. First, the simplest, you should start by practicing drawing noses from the front. Until you've mastered this simple angle, there's no point in moving on to more challenging viewpoints.
  2. From the side. This is another challenging angle to draw a nose from because of the lack of different values. The nose's actual structure from the side should be the easiest to depict, but the lack of highlights and shadows makes it more difficult.
  3. From above. When drawing a nose from above, it looks a lot like looking down on a cone. Highlights tend to be at the top and shadows toward the bottom.
  4. From below. You may not think that you'll ever need to draw a nose from below, but any time you draw a person looking up, you'll be seeing the bottom of their nose.
  5. From different angles. This is the most important thing to learn because you won't often have a subject that standing or sitting in a way that their nose is at a perfect angle.

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Drawing Feminine Vs. Masculine Noses

Any artist who has ever drawn a human face will tell you that while men and women have the same basic features, they are often quite different. All faces are different, so you can't learn about a generalization and assume that all faces will fall into that category. With that being said, men's faces are usually more masculine that women's faces. Men have more extended features that tend to be square, and women have shorter faces that tend to be rounder. When it comes to drawing men's noses vs. women's noses, you need to keep in mind that there's a critical point. When drawing a man's face, you should emphasize masculinity, which means drawing a more prominent nose. When drawing a woman's face, you should try to give the nose a lower profile so that the viewer is drawn to the more beautiful features of the face, like the eyes and lips.

Now that you have a basic idea of the difference between men's and women's noses, the best thing that you can do to improve as an artist is to study and sketch as many different examples of people's noses as possible. When sketching noses, remember that you are practicing. You don't need to finish every sketch, details aren't necessary. What you want to do here is focus on sketching as many noses as possible. Repetition will help you become more comfortable with drawing noses, and it will help you to start noticing how they are structured and how they differ between men and women. While you shouldn't worry about finishing your sketches, you should pay attention to light and shadow. Since a nose sticks out from the rest of the face, you must understand how light affects it, and how shadows are cast from different angles.

When sketching noses, your intention is to gain comfort when drawing them. While there's nothing wrong with drawing noses by themselves, you need to branch out and begin to draw faces and noses when you're practicing. Drawing noses to become comfortable with them is excellent, but to truly master drawing or painting them, you need to do so while drawing the rest of the human face. As you sketch out nose after nose, keep the general rule in mind that men's noses are blockier in appearance, and women's noses are less well defined. If you can learn this vital difference, you'll draw a nose that's appropriate for either sex when you're drawing or painting a portrait.

Drawing A Male Nose

The first rule to learn and follow when drawing the typical male face is that it is longer and has more square features than a female face. When you are drawing or painting a portrait and trying to achieve a good likeness of your subject, you must study your subject's features and make adjustments as necessary. For now, you are trying to learn how to draw noses, so you should focus on learning how most noses look for each sex. When drawing a man's nose, it's okay to emphasize it's appearance since it will denote a masculine quality in your subject. Male noses are typically longer and broader than females noses, and they often have sharper edges to them. Nostrils in male noses tend to be more prominent as well.

The most important thing to remember about drawing a man's nose is that you can add heavy shadows that it casts without having to worry that this type of rendering will impact the appearance of your portrait. Drawing a large, intense, heavily shadowed nose on a woman's portrait almost always ends up backfiring. Even if your subject's nose is enormous and it's a woman, you should still use different techniques to try to lessen the impact that it has on the rest of her face.

When drawing a male nose, you should also keep in mind that the nose's tip tends to be straight or slightly pointing downward. The height of the septum is usually higher than in a female nose as well. The general rule of thumb is that you should try to emphasize a nose when drawing a man. A sharp nose with robust features will make a face look more masculine.

Drawing A Female Nose

Most women have features that are softer than their male counterparts, which is right in regards to noses as well. Have you ever heard of artistic license? If not, the simple definition is that it's the right of an artist to adjust, emphasize, exaggerate, or otherwise alter the subject that he is drawing or painting for artistic purposes. In other words, it's your drawing or painting, so proceed in whatever manner you feel will give your work the best appearance. What does this have to do with drawing a female nose? Quite a bit, actually. If you draw a female portrait, then you should emphasize the more beautiful parts of the picture. While there's nothing wrong with noses, they lack the beauty and appeal of other features like full lips, or beautiful eyes.

What do you do if you're drawing a portrait of a woman that has a very prominent nose then? Well, you draw the prominent nose, but you soften it up a bit. You don't need to change the nose's shape, but you can lighten the outline and the shadows. You can deemphasize your subject's nose so you can place more emphasis on her more flattering features while keeping the portrait's overall look as feminine as possible. It can be challenging to alter the look of a person's nose when drawing them and trying to capture their likeness, but it is possible. Artists have been doing this for centuries, and while it's going to take you time to learn how to walk the fine line of deemphasizing a nose enough to make a portrait more feminine, but not so much that the portrait doesn't look like your subject, it's time well spent.

Different Ways To Draw The Nose

Drawing noses is all about proportion. A nose that's too big can make a portrait look comical, and a nose that's too small will make a portrait look strange as well. How do you determine the right proportions when drawing a nose in a portrait? First, take a good look at your subject and compare how their nose fits the overall look of their face. When drawing a face most of the time, it will have similar proportions. There are outliers, but for the most part, human faces have identical dimensions. When you look at a face from the front, the distance between a person's eyes is generally about the same width as their eyes are. In other words, you should be able to fit one eye between their two eyes. This is important because the width of a person's nose is usually either slightly wider or slightly thinner than the distance between their eyes. Most men have a nose that is somewhat wider than the distance between their eyes, and most women have a slightly thinner nose than the space between their eyes.

One of the most common mistakes that people make when drawing noses is to draw an outline around them. Human faces don't have lines on them. They may have some wrinkles, but they don't have solid lines outlining anything. If you draw or paint a face, and sketch the nose, you'll never be able to create a likeness that looks like a real person. If you can't outline someone's nose in a drawing, what can you do to show the viewer that there's a nose there? You use light lines to indicate the presence of a nose, then you use shadows and highlights to give it form. Since noses stick out from faces, they usually have a definite highlight from the direction of light, and a heavy shadow from the direction opposite the light source.

Noses are kind of funny looking when you think about it, and many artists struggle to depict them in a way that is flattering to their subject. Many young artists struggle drawing noses due to nostrils. Nostrils are basically holes in our faces, how do you draw that? Well, it depends on the angle you're looking at the person's face. If you're looking straight at someone, their nostrils will be visible, but since they are on the bottom of the nose, you should only partially see them, or only see the edge above them. If you're looking from below, then the nostrils will be visible, how big they appear depends on the steepness of the angle you're looking up at.

While you shouldn't ever draw heavy lines when drawing a nose, you will need to sketch in a rough outline. Sketch in the general shape of the nose just like you would any other body part that you're planning to draw. Sketch it, then look at your subject and make adjustments. You should always start a sketch lightly so you can erase and redo it until it's right. This is true whether you are drawing or painting. 

Once you have a solid foundation and compare the proportions to the nose of the subject you're drawing, you can go ahead and start to render it and add details.

How To Draw A Nose From Above

Drawing a nose from angles besides straight ahead is a challenge, but once you break the process down into smaller steps, it becomes much more manageable. First, whenever you're drawing a three-dimensional image onto a two-dimensional surface, you're going to figure out how to create the illusion of depth. Start by breaking the nose down into its basic shapes. A nose is roughly triangular in form, but it's not flat. 

Instead, it's more like a triangular tube that starts out narrow at the top and then widens toward the bottom. So, don't just draw a flat triangle. Picture a three-dimensional tube with a roughly triangular shape, then start sketching it. Make sure that while you're outlining the nose of the person that you're drawing to continuously compare your drawing to your subject. It's a lot easier to make adjustments during the sketching phase than to go back and try to fix the problem after the fact.

When drawing a nose from above, keep in mind what your perspective is. A nose from above should look roughly triangular with the narrow part closest to the viewer. By the time you get to the end of the nose, you should see it broaden out considerably. Make sure that you pay attention to the light source. 

If the light is coming from or above the nose, you should notice a prominent highlight along the bridge of the nose. This is the highest point on someone's face, so it should have a substantial amount of light hitting it. What do you have whenever you have a highlight? You almost always have shadows. When drawing a nose from above, you probably won't see a lot of heavy shadows, unless the light is coming from the sides instead of the front or top. But you should see darker areas along the sides of the nose, with the darkest shadows being at the base of the nose.

How To Draw A Nose From Below

When drawing a nose from below, you have to be careful to not make the nostrils too prominent. That's easier said than done since from below, the nostrils will be the most noticeable feature on the nose. What you don't want to do is draw to large caverns that will dominate the composition. Ensure that you're accurate when depicting the size of the nostrils, just don't overdo it. One thing to keep in mind when drawing nostrils is the absence of light in them. Unless you have a very peculiar image where light is shining below, the insides of the nostrils of a nose should be very dark. You can't be afraid to go very dark when drawing or painting because, without the darkest values, a drawing or painting will end up looking flat in most cases.

After establishing the darkest part of the image by rendering in the nostrils, add shadows to the nose's underside. If it helps, picture the nose as a canopy, if the light comes from above it, it will cast shadows underneath it. When drawing a face, make sure that you have dark values under the nose. This also includes when you are drawing an image from a perspective below the nose. Just because you are looking up at the nose doesn't mean that light won't be blocked, and there won't be a dark area below it. Drawing from below a nose is an odd perspective, and it can be challenging to pull off, but if you want to draw or paint realistic portraits, you'll need to learn how to pull it off.

How To draw A Nose From The Side

Drawing a nose from the side is probably the easiest perspective for most artists. From the side, noses look like an upside-down number 7. Of course, it's a bit more complicated than that, but an upside-down 7 is a pretty accurate description for the basic shape of a nose. When drawing a nose from the side, it can be quite challenging to give it a three-dimensional look since there won't be many variations in value. If the light comes from above, then the bridge of the nose will have highlights on it. But, from the side, this is only a small part of the nose, so the highlighted area is minimal. With the same light source, there also won't be a lot of shadows to render in. The base of the nose will still have shadows on it, but there won't be any extremely dark areas, which can make it hard to create an image that doesn't look flat.

With a lack of bright highlights and deep shadows, how can you render a nose from the side that doesn't look flat? 

If the only thing you're drawing is a nose, you could be in trouble. Fortunately, with the exception of practice sketching, you probably won't be drawing a lot of noses without the rest of the face involved. While you could specialize in drawing noses, that would be an odd decision, but if that's what you want to do, then more power. For the rest of us, though, drawing a nose from the side will include the rest of the person's face and head. Make sure that you add appropriate highlights and shadows on the rest of your drawing or painting. Having more values in other parts of your picture will make up for the lack of different values that you'll encounter when drawing a nose from the side.

How To Draw A Nose From An Angle

Drawing a nose from an angle is probably the most challenging thing that you'll face when trying to artistically depict a nose. It's such an odd shape that it can be challenging to imagine what a nose would look like from many different angles. This is why it's so essential that you practice drawing noses from any angle you can imagine as frequently as possible. You can't try to do this from your imagination either. If you want to draw realistic portraits, you need to use photo reference when drawing noses from different angles. Very few artists have the ability to draw different perspectives without reference to look at. If you can do so, then good for you. But for the rest of us, photo reference is a must.

One option you might want to consider if you are trying to practice is to use a mannequin head. Do you know the kind used to display clothing in store windows? A single human head like that can be set up and used to sketch from, and it's an enormously helpful tool for practicing. You could set up the head and rig something up so you can see it from any angle that you want to. You can also set up a spotlight to control the light source and practice rendering in shadows with light sources from many different angles. If you want to draw noses with various features, you can add some modeling clay to your model to change the shape of the nose.

If finding a mannequin head, setting up lighting, and rigging something up to hold it at different angles sounds like more work than you want to do, there is another option. You could use 3D software for the same reason. 3D software was once only really used by professionals, but today, with more powerful laptops, just about anyone can afford to use it. You don't need an especially powerful laptop unless you're planning to get more involved in 3D animation or modeling. When all you want to do is use something as a reference, an average laptop will work fine. As far as what programs to use, there are more to choose from than it would be practical to list here. Some are quite pricy, but you don't need to spend money on those. Many are low cost or even free that will serve your purposes just fine.


Ian Walsh is the creator and author of and an Art teacher based in Merseyside in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE in teaching Art and Design. He has been teaching Art for over 24 Years in different parts of the UK. When not teaching Ian spending his time developing this website and creating content for the improvedrawing channel.

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How to Draw a Nose From 5 Different Angles