Portrait art tutorial - how to draw the nose, step-by-step drawing lesson.

Drawing the Nose

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In the illustration above, I have highlighted three areas around the nose that require a delicate and sensitive hand when it comes to shading and rendering. They don't have to be drawn with a heavy hand, unless the subject you are drawing has REALLY heavy and deep lines on their face. Usually just a light suggestion is all that is needed.

For instance, in the illustration above: the blue area, showing the side of the nose has hardly any shading. Just a slight indication of the "ball" of the nose, and a bit of shadow up near the edge of the eye. Some portraits will have a little more shading on the highlighted side of the nose, but usually not too much. Take great care when shading the ridge of the nose. Usually the shadowed side of the nose (on the left side of this illustration) will have enough detail and shadow on it to provide the needed illusion of depth and dimension.

The "smile line" (the green line in the illustration) is also another area that should be dealt with a gentle hand. I have put just a little suggestion of the smile line in the drawing, which then tapers off and disappears. That was all that was needed in this particular picture.

Some people will have a longer and darker "smile line." But even then, you might be surprised to see how light and soft you ought to draw this line. Just take it easy. Too often I have seen artists give all their portraits "Howdy Doody" lines, when they were not needed. It ruins the look of the portrait.

Same goes for the thingie (can't remember the name) under the nose (illustrated in red). Don't overdo this. A light suggestion can go a long way. When overdone, you can make a person look like they have a runny and red nose!

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Nose drawing illustration

The white areas around the nose (as indicated in the illustration above) also require special attention.

The areas around the bottom of the nostrils (as seen in the highlighted illustration) usually does not need to be delineated. If you outline the whole bottom of the nose (under the nostril) it will not look very flattering, and usually isn't necessary anyway.

There is a distinct area on the side of the nose (between the nostril and the beginning of the "smile line"). You don't always have to put the "smile line" right smack up against the nostril. On some people, there is this little space between the smile line and the nostril. Look for it when you are drawing around the nose. The above illustration has this little space exaggerated a bit, but not much. If you look at many people, you'll see that little space.

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