Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Lesson on Noses.

Hello, and welcome back to another lesson in art.

First, a good thing to do before sketching is to warm up.
Just like stretching before going out for a jog,
warming up the muscles in your fingers helps to give you better control and feel for the pencil
and gets your brain into gear for thinking artistically.

An exercise I find helpful is the value scale.

I start drawing heavy lines, up and down, and slowly work into lighter and lighter lines,
until I get to the point that my pencil is barely touching the paper at all.

Then I pick a point somewhere on the value scale and put my pencil down
and lightly draw lines over that section:
this is a good practice for shading.

I usually start out leaning my pencil to the side somewhat, but try to work toward using using the point of the pencil, as that requires more self-control and focus.

Don't worry about how nice this looks and you can do it a few times if you don't feel like you have the control you want.  That's the good thing about this: it is just a warm-up.

After our lesson on the eye a couple of weeks ago,
I thought the next place to land was the nose.

There are many different ways that people draw the nose.

A sideways "C" is an easy alternative...

and it's brother, the sideways "S" or in this case, the backwards sideways "S",...

 the backward "L",...

and of course, the clown or snowman's "O".

There are others, but let's move on to some steps to getting a more realistic nose.

It helps to remember that the top of the nose starts at the eyebrow line.

The nose is roughly about the same length as an eyebrow,
depending upon the person,
so drawing a "T" with equal lines on all parts is a helpful way to start.

The top line will be the eyebrows, and the vertical line will be the nose.

I am going to use this picture for my nose today.

The bottom of the nose is a small sideways "C".  I also lightly etched in some eyebrows.

 Next, look at the nostrils of your model. For the most part, they are usually much smaller than we think,
depending upon the angle the model is being drawn.

The nostrils I drew here reminded me of little sunflower seeds,
(outside of the shells) with a little turned up eye lash on the edges.

The next really useful tip is to notice where the light is hitting the face.

Is there a lamp in the room that is shining on her face,
or the sun,
and where is it coming from?

That side of the face will be lighter, and the other side will have more shading/shadows.

I squint to help me see those shadows,
and it looks somewhat like this:

 Notice how when one squints, the details wash away and the light and dark places stand out more.
That's what we want.
I can see the light is hitting her face from my left side.

 Using that knowledge, I start shading the side of the face that is shaded
and I start around that nostril and up around the base of the nose slightly...

and then continue up that side of the nose,
constantly looking back at the model,
and squinting every now and then to make sure I am shading the area in the right places.

Always remember to draw what you see.

Once I have that reasonably done,
I start to lightly shade the other nostril.

 If I shade a place too darkly, I lightly erase.

This is a good time to erase the line in the middle as well.

I could leave my drawing loosely shaded,
or I can continue shading until I get what I want.

I chose to keep shading this sketch and finish the face.
(Feel free to stop whenever you feel you have worked on the facial features you want some practice on, or continue if you want even more practice.)

I continued with her mouth and facial features and hair.
This is just a sketch that I put in my sketch book, so I didn't worry about it being too perfect.

I am sure you will find, as I do, that drawing somebody you know is quite a bit harder than drawing a stranger or a character.  The details and personality you see most are often hard to catch.

 Here is the light sketch and then I continued and darkened it up some more.
(My drawing seems to be looking off over my shoulder rather than into my eyes, as the model's.
I will have to work better at getting the eyes as I see them next time I sketch,
but for now, I decided to end this one, since it is just in my sketch book;
don't be too hard on yourself in your sketch book.  It is supposed to be for fun and for practice).

Try sketching somebody's nose this week.  Try doing a simple nose first
and then shade as you feel more comfortable.

You will find as I do that the more you sketch, the more confident you will feel about trying it again next time.
And it is fun to see how your sketches improve as you do it more.

I am happy to be sketching again since I started these lessons,
and I hope they will help you and we can see ourselves improve each week.


  1. Another great lesson - thank you!!

  2. This is great and so well done. I will be pinning this! Thanks for sharing your how-to on drawing!! :)

  3. I am so glad I found your site!! My 8 yr. old son loves to draw, but he is always erasing and erasing the noses!! LOL I know exactly where I will be taking him now. :0) Thanks!! I'm your newest GFC follower. Also pinning this.

    I would love it, if you could link this up to our link party! It begins tonight at 10:00 EST.



Thanks for your thoughts! If you have a question, I'll try to answer it.