Drawing the Nose

The nose, of course, starts at the forehead. As already introduced, the Glabella is the transition between the plane of the eye socket and the nose. This form can be thought of as a corner molding which is at an angle between the nose and the plane of the eye socket as shown in the drawing.

Nose Drawing 1
Nose Drawing 1

The bottom corner of the brow goes all of the way down to the bottom of the plane of the eye socket, point “B”. The nose has a split down the middle “C” beginning at “D”. The degree of inclination of the bridge of the nose and its angle at “D” vary greatly from one individual to another. It is tempting to characterize one ethnic group or another as having a certain type of nose, but if you look at any group carefully, you will find that they have great degrees of difference. This drawing shows a small example of normal varieties.

Nose Drawing 2
Nose Varieties

At point “E” of the first drawing, the point where “C” ends and the cartilage of the nose starts should be looked at carefully. This point is often the most prominent characteristic of an individual and should not be minimized but treated realistically. The narrowest part of the bony part of the nose is at its origin at point “B” and its widest is at point “F” where it attaches to the cheek bone.

The lateral cartilage at “G” is a triangular shaped area that goes to the apex of the nose fitting between the two halves of the Alar cartilage at the end. Again the shape of the Alar cartilage at “H” can vary greatly, giving us noses that vary from very round to square or pointed. This drawing shows the basic construction of the nose.

Nose Drawing 3
Nose Drawing 3

Probably the biggest difference between individuals is in the angle of the nose. We talk of long and short noses, but all noses are essentially the same vertical length from the base to the brow line. The primary difference is the angle of the nose.

Nose Drawing 4
Nose Drawing 4

As we grow older, our noses and our chin continue to grow. The child is born with the nose turned up so that he can breathe while nursing. Make a practice at comparing individuals around you and looking at the angles of their noses.

The wing, or cup, of the nose is composed of fat and comes in a multitude of variations so that it is difficult to say what the standard is. It varies greatly from one group and one individual to another, as does the end of the nose. The drawing below may look like an exaggeration, but is it fairly short of the extremes of difference.

Nose Drawing 5
Nose Drawing 5

By Glenn Vilppu

This article was taken from the Head Drawing and Anatomy, Volume One Manual. This book parallels very closely the head drawing classes that I teach, and a majority of the illustrations were created as lecture demonstrations in class. Consequently, this is in reality a head drawing and anatomy manual to be used by students in my classes as a textbook. The use of this manual should be of equal value to those working on their own who are unable to attend my classes in person. The material is the same as in my classes with the advantage of portability and no time constraints.

I have consistently found myself drawn to the fundamentals in teaching drawing. A solid grounding in the basics, approached as tools of expression, rather than rules that must be followed, free the artist allowing him or her to follow their individual direction.

The basis of my approach is founded on very simple grounds. First, you must know how to describe form. Second, you must understand the form you are drawing. These first two give you the freedom of expression.

As you go through the chapters, you will become aware of another basic element of my approach: to do anything you must have a clear cut procedure, the knowledge to put it to use and, of course, the spirit to carry it to completion. None of this is new, and in fact, everything I teach has a very long history. I think of myself as a student just as much as a teacher; each drawing I do is in reality an analysis of what I am drawing. I am constantly telling my students that we never copy the model, but that we are trying to understand it through visual thinking.

Approach this manual as you would any textbook, as a guide to learning.

Glenn Vilppu teaches life drawing at the American Animation Institute, the Masters program of the UCLA Animation Dept., Walt Disney Feature Animation, Warner Bros. Feature Animation, Dreamworks and Rhythm & Hues Studios. Vilppu has also worked in the Animation industry for 18 years as a layout, storyboard and presentation artist, most of this time was spent working at Disney. His drawing manual and video tapes are being used worldwide as course materials for animation students. Glenn Vilppu has, in effect, either through teaching them directly or teaching their teachers, trained an entire generation of professional animators.