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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