How to Draw a Nose - Anatomy and Structure

Uploaded by ProkoTV on 26.09.2012

Hey welcome to another episode of Proko. Today were going over the nose!
We have noses of all shape and sizes, but there are things they all have in common.
It's important to understand these similarities so that you can solve any nose from any angle.
In the next few minutes we'll simplify the nose into its major planes to understand the
perspective from various angles. Then well go deeper and explore the anatomy, and finally
based on the anatomy, break up the major planes into the minor planes.
In my portrait drawing classes I see a lot of people struggle to get the nose pointing
in the right direction and to look 3-dimensional. To do this correctly it's important to understand
the nose as a simplified box. There are the side planes, the top plane and the bottom
plane. As the head turns side to side or up and down, all the angles and shapes of the
nose will change. This could get really complicated, and that's why it so important to first solve
the perspective of the box, and THEN add the anatomy.
So, let's see what happens to the major planes as the head moves. From the front view
the tip of the nose is aligned with the center line of the face and the side planes are the
same width. As the head turns to the side the tip of the nose will extend away from
the center line. The far side plane will get thinner and the closer one will get thicker.
At about the 3/4 view the further side plane is hidden and eventually at side view even
the top and bottom planes are no longer visible.
Now let's see what happens when the head tilts up or down. Pay attention to the heights
of the top and bottom planes. From straight on, you'll generally see a little bit of the
bottom plane. As the head looks up, the bottom plane gets taller and the tip of the nose
gets closer to the eyes. Eventually it will even cover a portion of the eye. The tendency
for many artists is to lower the tip of the nose, but if you do that, then the
nose will point in a different direction than the rest of the face.
That's just weird!
At a down tilt, the top of the nose will extend down from the nostrils. Remember that the
bottom of the middle third, indicates the connection of the nostrils to the face, not
the tip of the nose.
Once you establish the perspective of the nose, it's time to add some details. But if
you don't understand the anatomy, it's hard to know what details to put in. Understanding
the anatomy helps you to design your shapes to indicate the subtleties of the nose.
The nose is made up of interlocking pieces of cartilage and fat attached to the bone
of the skull. Lets group these pieces into 3 groups: The Bridge, Ball, and Nostrils.
Bridge: The top half of the bridge of the nose is the nasal bone and the lower half
is the lateral cartilage. The side plane is a bone called the Maxilla. And at the top,
the nasal bone connects to the forehead at the Glabella, which is a keystone shaped plane
that faces downward. The edge of the nasal bone and lateral cartilage has a thin, sharp
ridge as it transitions to the side plane and then connects to the maxilla. The lateral
cartilage is pointy and wedges between the two pieces that make up the ball of the nose.
Ball: Interesting to know that the ball of the nose is actually made up of two pieces
of cartilage called the greater alar cartilage. Sometimes you will see the separation between
these two pieces and sometimes it will be too soft to see. These two pieces together
make a rounded form that hooks in under itself at the septum and you will typically see a
bump where it connects to the skull inside the nostrils.
Wings: Finally on the sides of the ball, there are two wings made of fatty tissue. These
wings also hook around and under. Viewed from the bottom, they connect to the face further
back then the septum because of the roundness of the tooth cylinder.
The fact that the septum and wings hook into the inside of the nose is important to avoid
drawing a cartoony nose. These are two common mistakes. The first is just a 2-dimensional
outline of the nose. The second is focused only on the hole of the nostrils, and lacks
any volume of the wings and septum. By focusing on the volumes, your drawing will look much
more 3-dimensional.
You should memorize the subtle plane changes in all the different parts of the nose. These
plane changes are usually seen as subtle shapes and edge variations, which to the untrained
eye appear to be kinda random and unclear. Once familiar with the minor planes, you can
easily identify them and design them to be more clear in your drawing. This gives the
drawing a better sense of 3-dimensional form. And this applies to anything, not just to
the nose.
The minor planes are basically a simplified and geometric version of the anatomy. So,
let's take a look at the minor planes of the nose.
Minor Planes of the Bridge
The top plane of the nasal bone faces upward and then slightly more downward at the lateral
cartilage. From the side, you can see this slight angle change from the nasal bone to
the cartilage. The connection between the bone and cartilage is usually the widest part
of the bridge.
Minor Planes of the Ball
The ball of the nose isn't a perfectly smooth ball, but has very distinct plane changes.
It has a top, front, and bottom plane as the septum curls under itself and connects to
the skull. The side plane acts as a step down to the nostril. It's also important to indicate
the thickness of the septum.
Minor planes of the Wings
The wings curl into the nostrils similar to the septum. And so they each have a wide top
plane and a thin side plane. The wings are not paper thin, so an indication of the front
planes is crucial to give them some thickness.
The shape of the nose varies a lot from person to person. It can be soft, chiseled, wide
and bulbous, thin and pointy, and so on.. Next time you're in public, be a creeper
and observe people's nose shapes.
Next week, I'll show you step by step how to draw a 3-dimensional nose.
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