Tag Archives: Drawing

Poking a nose out of my comfort zone

Noses are hard

One of my projects for this year is to learn to draw. And that means that somehow, sometime, I need to figure out how to draw noses.

Think about it. Eyes are fairly easy – they’ve got eyelashes, which are usually dark like a pencil line, to outline them, and the iris and pupil are nice and dark too. Lips aren’t too hard either, since there’s a noticeable boundary between the lips and the rest of the face that justifies using an outline to show the mouth.

But noses? In profile they’re no big deal, but head-on they blend right into the rest of the face! You can’t show the shape without making it look like your subject’s nose is on sideways. Or can you??

Well, artists can. I’ve tried to draw noses by using what I can figure out on my own, and the results look like nothing from this planet. So why not steal techniques from people who know what they’re doing?

I sat down with a book of drawings by Ingres – if you look hard enough in this house, you can find a book about just about anything – and copied Ingres noses for a while. Not as good as his, but much much better than I’ve been able to figure out by myself.

Then I tried drawing noses from photos.

Ingres was really, really good. (Surprise.)

I’ll need to spend a lot more time working on this. (Surprise.) But really, bad as these are, they’re the most convincing noses I ever drew.