The central, often ignored, feature of the face.
It’s easy to overlook noses. When most people look at a human face, they make eye contact. Or people’s eyes are drawn to the mouth to see if someone is smiling or not. A person’s haircut, hat, or earrings might all draw attention before a nose does. When an illustrator sits down to draw, they may have a good idea about these other features or have noticed a strong jawline or a tilt to the eyes. But they might find themselves stumped when it comes to even the basic shape of the nose. And, after a few missteps, perhaps they find themselves reaching for their eraser.
Noses are important, though. Without the right nose, a character can look distorted, incomplete, or simply not right. Here are a few things to keep in mind when drawing noses and some simple steps and tips to help you illustrate those middle-of-the-face features.
Placing the nose on the head.
Any step-by-step tutorial for noses begins with where the feature is placed on the head. “The head is roughly divided into the top half and the bottom half,” says comic book artist and illustrator Jonathan Case. “The top of the nose actually starts at the midpoint line.” According to Case, placing the nose properly on the face can be non-intuitive for new artists. “When they start drawing, a lot of people put the nose too high,” he says. Remember, the eyes sit in the middle of the face. The highest point of the bridge of the nose does as well. Making sure the nose sits in the lower half of the face, with the bridge of the nose reaching just past the face’s midpoint, is a key way to make sure the nose looks like a natural part of the face.