Learn How to Draw Any Type of Human Nose With a Few Simple Steps

Here's an easy way to draw a nose step by step.


Step 2: Refine your basic shapes.

How to Draw a Nose

Photo & Art: Sara Barnes / My Modern Met

Your basic shapes might not look like much now, but that will change with this step. Take a look at your source image again and study the characteristics of the nose. Starting from the root (or top) of it, refine your initial sketch. Study the bridge of the nose. Is it boney? Flattened? Then, move down towards the nostrils and tip. Sometimes, the tip of the nose will appear almost pointed and extend beyond the bottom of the nostrils. In other instances, it will be flush with them or even a little shorter. Make note of this and reflect it in your drawing.

There’s no shading at this stage of drawing. Focus on getting the drawing just right. It’s easier to correct your mistakes at this stage than it is when you start to lay down graphite.


Step 3: Give the nose depth by applying light, medium, and dark values.

How to Draw a Nose

Photo & Art: Sara Barnes / My Modern Met

To give the nose a three-dimensional look and feel, you’ll need to add shading to it. The most important areas to do this are on the bridge and tip of the nose, as these are often the most rounded parts of the facial feature. At this point, you will want to switch from an HB pencil to something darker like a 3B or 4B graphite.

How to Draw a Nose

Photo & Art: Sara Barnes / My Modern Met

Similar to the previous step, it’s best to shade from the top of the nose and work down—there will be less of a chance that’ll smudge your drawing that way. When shading, use the drawing technique of the back-and-forth method to layer graphite. Start with the lightest areas first and then gradually press harder on the paper to build darker areas, such around the nostrils and the base of the nose. As you do this, make curved pencil strokes to further convey the roundness of this body part.

Don’t forget to reserve your paper for the highlights of the nose. You’ll often find these on the top of the bridge and the flare of the nostrils.


Now that you know how to draw a nose, check out our guide for sketching an eye!


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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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