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How to Draw and Shade a Nose from the 3/4 view

Drawing a nose from the 3/4 angle is a little trickier than from the front or side, but I’ll show you an easy way to do it, plus how to achieve different nose shapes using the same method so you can customize your nose just the way you want it!

Tools I am using in this tutorial:

Step 1: Use a Wedge to Draw a Nose From the 3/4 View

To draw a nose from the 3/4 view, it will help to first sketch a 3-dimensional wedge to form the basic structure of the nose.  We will use this as a guide to draw a more detailed nose, so make sure it’s not too dark, otherwise it will be difficult to erase later. The wedge should have a trapezoid at its base.

Make sure the horizontal lines are all parallel to each other so the nose won’t look wonky.

Step 2: Add Circles for the Nose Tip and Wings

Let’s add three circles to our wedge to make it look more nose-like. Draw one circle where the nose tip will be and one on each side of the wedge for the nose wings.

These circles can be adjusted in size and position to achieve very different-looking noses. Notice how the larger nose also has larger nostrils? Try playing around with nostril sizing too!

Step 3: Start Shaping Your 3/4 Nose

Starting with the middle circle, draw a line that wraps around the left side and continues down toward the bottom of the wedge to create the nose tip and columella. Then draw the wings of your nose by outlining just the outer part of each remaining circle. Use your circles as a rough guideline – you don’t need to stick to them exactly.

Step 4: Draw the Nostrils

Now draw the nostrils. The one closest to us will be more visible than the nostril furthest from us. You can adjust the size and shape based on your preference.

Step 5: Draw the Nose Bridge and Brow

Create the bridge of your nose by loosely following the left edge of your wedge. Avoid drawing a perfectly straight line because the nose bridge is naturally bumpy. At the top, angle your stroke outward to create the brow bone.

You can experiment with many different slope degrees and curves: convex, more concave, wavy, etc!

Step 6: Lighten Your Construction Lines

Lighten your construction lines so they won’t be visible when your drawing is complete. If your construction lines are faint enough, they should blend in once you start shading, making them unnoticeable. I could erase mine even more, but I’ll leave them quite visible for your reference 😊.

Step 7: Shade Your 3/4 Nose

Before shading, we need to decide where we want the light to come from. You can choose how you want to light the scene – I’m choosing to have my main light source shine down from the top right, so my brightest areas will be along the right side of the nose and the darkest areas are along the left side because it’s facing away from the light.

If you’re drawing a bulbous nose or one with flared nostrils, consider the shadow it creates, even on the side of your nose that faces the light most directly. In this example, my right nose wing is somewhat bulbous. Where the skin curves inward and connects to the face, a crevice forms where the light can’t easily reach. So, I’ve given it a dark shadow. The darker you shade around this wing, the more bulbous your nose will appear. If you’d like to draw a narrow nose or one that looks pinched, lighten this shadow significantly.

Let’s shade the darkest areas of the nose first. When shading, keep your pencil strokes close together to minimize gaps. Gaps will make your drawing look less realistic. To learn different ways to shade, visit my Intro to Shading Techniques.

Step 8: Add Mid-Tones

Mid-tones are the shades of gray between the darkest and lightest areas of your drawing hence the word “mid” for middle. They help your shading look more realistic by giving the illusion of depth through the gradual transition from dark to light. Learn more about shading and light.

Currently, there is a very harsh transition from our shadow zones to light zones, so the first thing we want to do is add mid-tones between them. The goal is to get a nice gradual transition.

Next, shade a medium layer of graphite along the entire bottom of the nose, except for the area below the right nostril (highlighted in yellow) – In this area, leave a thin strip of light to make the skin appear raised.

Add mid-tones along the right side of your nose. Avoid the middle part highlighted in yellow to account for the bump partway down the nose. Make your shading lighter gradually as you work towards the lightest areas.

Shade along the very top of the nose to finish off that section.

At this point, the nose doesn’t look very shapely yet. It’s kind of uninteresting to look at. I’m going to shade a few more areas to make the nose stand out more and add some extra details to make the form look more complex. You can pick and choose what you’d like to do to your nose. If you like how it looks right now and prefer to skip to the next step, that’s fine.

I think my nose will stand out more if I darken and develop these areas further:

  1. The very top of the nose. Darkening this area will hint at a stronger brow bone.
  2. The underside of the nose. To avoid a blocky-looking nose, shade the top edge so it’s concave, giving the nose tip a more rounded appearance.
  3. The area above the right circle (the circle isn’t visible anymore, but you can probably visualize where it used to be by following the shape of the wing). This shadow creates what’s called an alar crease.

Step 9: Blend and Highlight

Since this is a quick tutorial, I’m not too concerned about achieving super smooth shading. So if you’d like your drawing to look more polished, make sure you fill in any major gaps between your pencil strokes before blending. Small gaps will likely disappear after being blended.

To blend, use a tissue or blending tool of your choice to smooth out your shading. For this drawing, I’m using a regular facial tissue wrapped around my finger. Working in sections, blend from a light area into a dark area instead of the other way around to avoid dark streaks across your hard work. It’s okay if your light zones become slightly gray (they likely will) – It’s actually a good thing because your highlights will show up better!

Pick areas you want to highlight on the nose to increase your drawing’s contrast, making it pop!

To create highlights, it is best to use a kneaded eraser and a gentle dabbing motion to lift graphite from your drawing. A regular solid eraser can work too, but it will likely result in highlights with harsh edges.

Erase a few sections on the light side of your nose (facing the light source), such as the nose tip, bridge, or ala. These highlights are reflections of your light source. If that’s not enough, you can add some highlights on the underside of the nose, conveying ambient light or light reflected off another surface.

Keep your highlights to a minimum to draw more attention to your drawing. When it comes to highlights, a little goes a long way!

Step 10: Put Finishing Touches on Your 3/4 Nose Drawing

Step back from your drawing to view it at a distance or take a 30 minute break from it, at the least. When you return, you might see it with new eyes, spotting areas you want to fix/tweak. I went back in and darkened the wing outlines. I’m quite happy with how mine turned out and I hope you are happy with yours too!

Bonus Content!

Using Play-Doh or a kneaded eraser, you can make a wedge to use as a crude nose model. With this model, you can see how a nose would look from any angle simply by rotating it in your hands. To learn how to draw a nose from ANY angle, subscribe to my mailing list at the very bottom of this page and I’ll email you when that tutorial is posted!

I hope you enjoyed following along with this step-by-step 3/4 nose drawing tutorial! Happy Drawing!

❤️ Darlene

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How to Draw a Face from the 3/4 VIEW (Loomis Method)

I’m Darlene and in this drawing tutorial, I’ll walk you through how to draw a face from the 3/4 view using Andrew Loomis’ method for drawing heads.

It took me quite a long time to understand and learn how to draw the Loomis heads properly. If you’ve read his book, you’ll notice that I’ve incorporated some of my own methods into this tutorial to enhance clarity in areas where I faced challenges, striving to make each step as easy to understand as possible.

This tutorial is the third installment in a four-part series walking you through the Loomis method for drawing heads.

Part 1 covers the front view

Part 2 covers the side view

While it isn’t necessary to go through this series in order, I strongly recommend it. Seeing how the head is drawn from various angles will greatly enhance your understanding of challenging perspectives. This will enable you to draw faces from any angle with confidence over time.

First, I’ll show you how to build the basic structure of the head from the 3/4 angle, then, I’ll explain how and where to draw the facial features, followed by how to draw the final details such as hair.

Drawing Tools

These are the tools I’m going to use. But feel free to use a regular school pencil (HB) for the entire tutorial.

How to Draw a Face from the 3/4 View

Let’s start by drawing a circle for the cranium.

Next, draw a straight vertical line through the center of your circle and call it the Axis. This line determines how straight or how tilted your head will be. We will be using it as a reference for many steps throughout the rest of this tutorial.

Now draw a horizontal line through the center of your circle – This is where the eyebrows will be placed, so we’ll refer to it as the Brow Line. Make sure it’s perpendicular to the Axis.

Now we need to draw a straight line down the middle of the face. When the face is turned, this line curves. Imagine how a ball looks when you turn it slightly (observe how in the example above, the straight vertical line curves when I turn the ball left and right). To draw that curve correctly, we will draw an ellipse.

Make sure your ellipse is balanced evenly along the Axis so the facial features don’t end up looking wonky and lopsided. We’ll call this the Middle Line. The dotted half represents the side of the head facing away from our view. This dotted line helps make our 2D drawing look more 3D and helps us remember which side our head will be facing.

Above is an example of what to do and what not to do when drawing your ellipse. See how tilted the ellipse on the left is? It is not balanced well along the Axis.

It helps tremendously to have a physical model to rotate in your own hands, especially when drawing more difficult angles of the head! If you want to make a drawing reference tool like I’ve made for this tutorial, you can simply draw a vertical and horizontal line across any ball and pierce a stick through the north and south poles.

If you want to create your own drawing model, you’ll need the following materials:

The styrofoam ball represents the cranium and the toothpick is the axis upon which the head rotates. The orientation of the Axis determines whether the head will be straight or tilted and the degree of tilt. You’ll find the axis extremely important when you move on to drawing heads in tilted positions (such as the one in the 4th part of this series) because it will serve as your main reference point for properly aligning important parts of the face and head to prevent your drawing from looking skewed.

Okay, let’s get back to drawing!

So far, we’ve drawn a sphere, but the human head is not that round. The sides of the head should be quite flat, so we’ll need to slice 🔪 the side of our sphere off to reflect that.

Since we’re drawing a head from the 3/4 angle, we’ll only need to cut off one side (the visible side) of the sphere. To make sure we’re cutting off the right amount, split the sphere into 6 even spaces from top to bottom, using small tick marks.

Once you’re done, locate the topmost and bottommost tick, then extend the lines to the edge of your sphere. Make sure the lines are parallel to the Brow Line. With these two new lines, we now have boundaries to help us with the cut 🔪!

Using the boundary lines we just made, draw an ellipse that spans about half the sphere’s width. This ellipse represents the area of the sphere that we’re slicing off. We’ll call this area the Side Plane (side of the head).

Note: If you want to see what the side plane looks like from the front and side view of the head, please visit part 1 and part 2 of this drawing series.

Within the Side Plane, draw a vertical Ear Line. Make sure it’s parallel to the Axis.

Now let’s extend the Middle Line so it falls off the face of the sphere. Imagine a waterfall! Make it parallel to the axis or very slightly tapered.

Locate The Facial Features

Now let’s mark where his facial features will go! We can do this by making tick marks along the Middle Line. We have our Brow Line already, so we just need to find the Hair Line, Nose Line, and Chin Line.

The Hair Line and Nose Line are easy to find because they correspond to the top and bottom of the Side Plane.

You’ll notice that the space between each feature is equal. That means you can find where the Chin Line goes by simply measuring the distance from brow to nose to get the distance from nose to chin.

It’s important that these facial feature lines are parallel to the Brow Line.

Now let’s make this look more like a human head! Draw a curved line all the way from the forehead to the chin, creating the left edge of the face.

The jawline can be drawn by extending the ear line down and then angling your stroke towards the chin. I made my chin quite wide, but you can make it more narrow if you want, by adjusting the length of the Chin Line.

To make drawing the actual facial features less intimidating, section off the side of the face even further. I’ve drawn a curved line that stretches from the chin to the center of the side plane. You can lightly shade this entire right section of the head to clearly differentiate the side of his head from the front of his head.

There are two more facial feature lines to mark down…..the eyes and lips!

The eyes are about 1/3 of the way down from brow to nose.

For his lips, locate the halfway point between the nose and chin and draw a line that is slightly closer to the nose.

Construct the Neck and Base of The Skull

The front of his neck can be drawn right under the chin. Then draw the back of his neck. You’ll notice that I changed the shape of the cranium slightly so that the head looks less spherical.

Okay, we’re done with construction lines for now! Now we can have some fun drawing his actual facial features!

How to Draw Facial Features from the 3/4 View

Now I’m switching to a graphite pencil. Let’s draw his ear in the bottom right quadrant of the side plane, between the brow and nose. The ear should slant back slightly.

You can follow the numbered steps above and use this detailed tutorial if you need more guidance.

Now for the rest of his features…

To make the placement and drawing of facial features easier, you can familiarize yourself with the two things below. They will help you understand the human head and its features, not just from a fixed view like the 3/4 angle, but from any angle.

  1. Human Skull: Understand the bone structure beneath all the skin, muscle, and fat so you know why and where to place bumps, ridges, etc.
  2. Planar Head: A simplified version of the human head represented using flat sides or planes. Simplifying the head and face makes the placement and drawing of facial features easier and faster.

I’ve drawn some planes of the face (above), so you can see how helpful the planar head is. You can probably already visualize more clearly where each facial feature will go. Can you visualize where his eyebrows go? Let’s go ahead and draw those along the browline:

Notice how the tail of the right eyebrow ends roughly where the Side Plane starts.

Shape his forehead however you’d like while loosely following your construction lines. I’ve made his brow bone quite prominent.

It’s pretty difficult to draw a nose at this angle without any guidelines, so drawing a simple, planar nose first really helps (like the one I drew a few steps back in red). Try your best to balance your planar nose on the middle line so it sits on the face properly.

  1. To draw the base of his nose, start in the center where the Middle Line and Nose Line intersect and draw towards the tip of the nose.
  2. You can use your planar nose as a rough guide to draw the nose bridge. Extend your stroke to the brow.
  3. Wrap your pencil strokes around the side of your planar guideline to create the nose wing
  4. Then draw the nostril, which sits between the tip and wing of the nose.

Check out this tutorial for more detailed steps on drawing noses from the 3/4 view.

When viewing the nose from this angle, the nostril on the far side may not be seen at all.

Tip: If you want to study the nose from different angles, you don’t need any fancy tools, just grab some playdoh or a kneaded eraser. Create a wedge shape and add two round pieces on the side for each nostril. It’s a crude model, but it will give you a better sense of how a nose should look from different angles. Click here to watch my DIY tutorial on making a nose model.

Draw the far side of his face while visualizing the shape of his skull. The area near his eye is concave because of the way the eyesocket looks from this angle.

How prominent/high do you want to draw his cheekbone? You can adjust your stroke based on how you want his cheek to look. I’m not going any further down because I like to draw the lower portion after the mouth has been drawn.

To draw the right eye, create a vertical line that runs from the side of his nose wing, up to the Eye Line. The intersection marks where we should draw the inner corner of the right eye.

Tip: If you want to learn how to draw the eye from different angles, it helps to have a physical model to reference. make a simple model using a ball and some playdoh or a kneaded eraser. Flatten the playdoh, cut it in half, and wrap each half around the ball for the eyelids. Watch my DIY video for more details.

To draw the other eye, fit it in the space between the nose and the edge of the face. The inner corner of this eye will be hidden from our point of view behind the bridge of the nose.

Draw his lips along the Lip Line we created earlier. You can use the numbered steps above for guidance.

  1. Start by drawing the corners of his mouth using ticks. The distance between these ticks will determine the width of his mouth. The size is up to you. I like to draw an imaginary vertical line down from the center of each eye and use that as a boundary line so the mouth doesn’t appear too wide.
  2. To the left of the Middle line, draw a shallow curve.
  3. Connect that curve to the corners of the mouth using wavy lines.
  4. Draw the cupid’s bow (middle part of his top lip), making sure it’s positioned to the left of the Middle Line.
  5. Connect the cupid’s bow to the corners of the mouth to complete the top lip.
  6. Then draw the bottom lip. Position your stroke more to the left of the Middle Line.

Along the far side of his face, draw a convex curve next to the mouth. I’m still roughly following my construction lines. Outline his chin and jawline. I’ve given him a dimpled chin, but you can do whatever you prefer. For his neck, I’m staying pretty close to my construction lines.

How to Draw Hair From the 3/4 Angle

Let’s draw his hair!

How big do you want his forehead to be? You can use the blue Hair Line we drew during the construction phase as a reference to size his forehead – Draw your stroke below the line for a small forehead, above the line for a large forehead, or even higher for a receding hairline.

Work from the Middle Line and extend your strokes to either side of his head. As you work your way to the right, stop near the Side Plane, then bring your stroke down towards the end of his eyebrow. Before reaching the eyebrow, angle your stroke down to create his sideburn near the ear. Wrap the stroke around the top of his ear and continue down to the nape of his neck.

For the rest of his hair, try not to follow the sphere too closely, otherwise, the head will look too round and unnatural. At the very back of the head, angle your stroke inward so his head doesn’t look like a ball. If you want his hair to have lots of volume, put more space between the hair outline and the skull. You’ll notice that I’ve given him longer hair at the top/front of his head by adding more space between the hair outline and the skull.

How to Draw a Face from 3 quarter view Loomis Method

Once you’re satisfied with how your 3/4 face drawing looks, feel free to erase your construction lines and shade the face!

How to Draw a Face from 3 quarter view Loomis Method

And there we have another completed face drawn using the Loomis Method! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it easy to follow! If you have any questions, please drop them in the comments section! Learn to draw more faces using this method by navigating through the drawing series using the buttons below :)

Other Tutorials in this Series

PART 1: Front View

PART 2: Side View

PART 4: Coming soon…

How to Draw a Face from the 3/4 VIEW (Loomis Method) Read More »

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