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How To Draw A Nose From The Front Step By Step (With Images)

Drawing a nose from the front can be quite challenging, especially for beginners.

Just like with any other subject, time and practice will allow you to create a realistic nose in no time.

And this process can be simplified by breaking the nose into simpler shapes!

In this article, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process and provide images to help guide you.

Following this tutorial, you’ll learn how to draw a nose more confidently and quickly. Let’s start!

Positioning The Nose On The Face Using Reference

Before learning how to draw a nose, first, we need to find the nose in the face.

Finding a reference and drawing a few guidelines can be pretty helpful.

You can use these websites for great portrait reference photos!

Start by drawing a circle for the upper part of the head. Then find the center of that circle with one horizontal line and a vertical line.

Image showing a circle drawn on top of a head photo reference, to position the nose
Start by drawing a circle for the head!

Now lengthen the vertical line until it reaches the chin. Using two slanted lines on each side of the face, you can connect all the shapes together.

drawing of a rough head shape
Don’t forget the chin and jaw!

All you have to do now is draw a line on the nose area!

drawing of a head base showing the nose line
Line up the nose line with the reference to practice!

With very few lines and shapes, you know the location of the nose in the face. It’s a good idea to practice these face drawings a few times to create muscle memory.

You can add more guidelines for other facial features, such as the mouth and eyes. This way, you can practice the whole structure of the face.

drawing of a head base with the different guidelines for the head, including the eye line, nose line and mouth
Draw the mouth and eye line to practice later on!

You can read our Easy Guide On How To Draw Faces if you want a more detailed tutorial on drawing faces.

Once you feel confident, it’s time to start drawing noses.

How To Draw A Nose From The Front View

Drawing noses from the front view can seem challenging since a lot of the depth and dimensionality is hard to convey.

However, by simplifying your shapes and lines, you can very easily draw a realistic nose.

Step 1 – Start By Drawing A Triangle

Previously, we could find where the nose sits on the face. Using that knowledge, we can start our nose drawing.

Start by drawing a triangle. This triangle should start on the brow line, and its flat base should sit on the nose line.

base head drawing showing the position of the nose, using a triangle shape
Start by drawing a triangle for the nose!

If you look again at a reference image, we can discern how wide the nose should be.

By drawing a vertical line from the inner corner of the eyes to the nose line, you now know how wide your triangle should be!

image showing the width of the nose according to a reference image
Notice how wide the nose is, with the reference image underneath.

However, this measurement doesn’t need to be 100% exact, depending on the style or preferences.

People are different from each other, so it’s worth playing with different nose proportions throughout this process.

Step 2 – Add A Trapezium Shape

As the nose bridge ends, it connects to our brows. This is very subtle and can be drawn very quickly.

So we don’t forget about it, draw a trapezium shape on the brow area, the top guideline of our drawing.

base head shape with a trapezium shape between the eyes for the top part of the nose
Add a trapezium on the brow area

With two very simple shapes, you already have something that resembles a nose drawing. It’s very crude right now, but it’s there!

This is the nose shape you can use for any of your drawings. You can practice these first before adding more details.

Step 3 – Draw One Circle For The Tip Of The Nose

It’s time to refine our nose drawing.

Add a circle at the center of the nose line.

drawing of a nose using the basic shape guidelines
Add a simple circle for the tip of the nose

This is where the tip of the nose is going to be.

One thing you can experiment with is moving this circle up and down. The tip of the nose can be higher or lower.

Again, everyone is different, and you can make your characters or portraits more unique by playing with their nose’s proportions.

Another thing we can do here is drawing two vertical lines, one on each side of the circle. The space between those lines is where the nose bridge is.

nose drawing guidelines with the bridge shape
Draw two vertical lines for the bridge of the nose!

Our nose structure is almost finished.

Step 4 – Add Two Smaller Circles For The Nostrils

All we are missing in our sketch is the nostrils. For them, draw two circles.

One on the left side and another on the right side of the tip of the nose.

guidelines of a nose drawing, with two circles for the nostrils
Two circles, one on each side, for the nostrils!

These circles should be slightly smaller than the one before.

With that done, we have all the necessary shapes and lines to know how to draw a nose!

Step 5 – Outline The Basic Shapes To Draw The Tip Of The Nose And Nostrils

When drawing a nose from the front, we don’t need to show much of it.

Sometimes outlining only the tip and nostrils is more than enough, even when drawing realistic noses!

So let’s do that: go over the circles and outline the bottom.

sketch of the bottom of a nose
Outline the bottom of the nose!

One thing to remember is that the tip of the nose is in front of the nostrils. That means the tip will slightly overlap the nostrils when drawing the nose from the front.

Step 6 – Add A Few Lines For The Bridge Of The Nose

Using the trapezium shape as our guide, we can now add a few lines for the nose bridge, along with the brow.

few detail lines for the bridge of the nose drawing
Add some small detail lines for the nose bridge and near the brow

These can be very simple and short if you want. It all depends on the detail you want in your nose drawing.

Step 7 – Clean Your Sketch

We have all the basic planes and shapes we need, so it’s time to clean our sketch with new and smooth strokes.

You can use a pencil or pen for this if drawing on paper. On the other hand, if you’re drawing digitally with a software, choose another brush and go over all your lines.

clean drawing of a cartoon styled nose
Clean the drawing of the nose up!

If you prefer a simpler drawing in a simpler style, you can leave the nose as it is. However, if you prefer a more finished drawing with more detail, there’s one final step in this tutorial.

Step 8 – Add Shading To Give Depth To The Nose

Our last step in this nose tutorial is to add shading to the nose.

By doing this, your nose drawing will have more depth and some dimensionality. This can be done very simply and by using light values.

Above the nostrils, apply a bit of shading on each side of the nose.

simple cartoon nose drawing with shading
Add some simple shading for extra depth

One thing to remember is that one side of the nose will have more shading than the other, depending on where the light is coming from.

For example, if the light comes from the right, then the left side of the nose will be more in the shade.

On the other hand, if the light is coming from the left, then the right nostril and bridge need more shading.

drawing of a nose showing the difference of shading depending on the light source position
The light source position will change how the shading looks!

Finally, you can add details to the nose, such as freckles, beauty marks, moles, or even a scar. It’s all up to you and what you want for your character or portrait.

If you want to keep your nose simple, leave it as it is.

Now that you know how to draw a nose, you can play with its shape and have fun with different styles of noses!

Use Reference Images To Understand Better How To Draw A Nose

To better understand how to draw a nose, it’s a good idea to use a few reference images.

As we did at the beginning, you can draw on top of those images. And no, this isn’t cheating.

However, break it down into basic shapes instead of outlining the nose.

Use the same basic shapes we did throughout this tutorial, or find your own! You can use more or fewer forms and lines.

You can draw a nose in several ways, so find the right one for you.

I even recommend you get an anatomy reference book to use, these are great for artists.

Try different things until you find a structure that makes sense, and practice it!

If there’s any doubt, look for another reference image and draw on top of it.

Then draw the same structure on blank, white paper. Practice that structure until you’re familiar with it.

This way, you’ll be able to draw a nose in no time.

Why Is Drawing A Nose So Hard?

Drawing a nose can be challenging for some people because it is a very subtle part of the face, especially seen from the front.

In that position, most of the nose details seem to disappear.

However, the nose is composed of many different shapes and forms. This can make it difficult to capture the nose’s essence and create a realistic and accurate drawing.

If you look at a few photos of people, you’ll notice that no nose looks the same.

Since the nose is a prominent feature, a slight mistake or distortion when you draw a nose can throw off the entire drawing.

drawing of a goblin with a very pointy nose
A pointy nose can be fun to draw!

At the same time, this makes a nose a fun subject to draw. The nose tip can be longer or shorter, pointing upwards or downwards. The nasal bone can be crooked or not, wide or thin.

There’s a lot to experiment with, so having fun with that process is essential!

Furthermore, the nose is an important piece when creating different emotions. It can convey a wide range of emotions and expressions.

Even though it can make it difficult to capture the mood of the character or portrait you’re drawing, it’s a good opportunity to draw a nose differently.

cartoon drawing of a character experimenting and having fun drawing
Experiment and have fun!

Drawing a nose requires a good understanding of anatomy, proportion, light, and shadow.

With practice and patience, however, it is possible to develop the skills and confidence needed to draw noses that are accurate, expressive, and full of life!

Drawing the nose is only a small (but important) part of drawing the face! So click here for my Complete Guide on Drawing Faces.

Related Questions

How Can I Draw Noses Better?

As we did in this tutorial, start by breaking your subject into basic shapes. This way, you’ll be able to understand the whole structure much better and put it into paper.

Instead of looking at the whole outline of a nose and trying to replicate it, try to use shapes and simple lines to build a blueprint of the nose.

Practice those shapes and forms before going for a finished, rendered drawing of a nose. Fill up a page or two with the structure until you feel confident in what you’re drawing.

Once you’ve memorized the shapes, you can go to the next step and refine your noses!

How Do You Draw A Nose With A Pencil?

Drawing a nose with a graphite pencil is mostly the same process we’ve shown in this tutorial.

The only difference is that you should start your first forms and lines very lightly until you reach the final version of your drawing.

In that stage, you can use another pencil or pen to finish the nose. When you draw a nose with a pencil, it’s good to use a pencil that is more on the softer side.

Something between an HB and 2B pencil is a good choice. This way, you can make light and defined lines and shade your drawing!

For even more materials and mediums to draw with, take a look at our 15 Best Drawing Materials For Beginner Artists.


Patricia Caldeira is the main writer here at Don Corgi. She's an art teacher with over 20.000 happy students across many platforms and courses!

Enjoy your stay and as always:
Keep on drawing!

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