Animal Expression, Part 3- Noses And….A Contest!

Saving the eyes for last, I’m going to skip “down” to noses. This is a case where access to zoo animals is really handy. Even though you will still want to compare them to the wild version, being able to learn how a given animal’s nose structure works by seeing it really close up is very valuable.

Something that one of my art school teachers emphasized again and again was to not be “evasive” in our drawings, but to make a decision, put it down and then either make corrections, realize what needs to be changed for next time, or celebrate that you got it right. What was not ok was aimless noodling around trying to find the form. It shows.

I spent 4-5 hours on these six drawings of noses. This time I used a Sanford Draughting pencil, but on the same vellum bristol as last time. I kept erasures to a minimum and draw as directly as possible.

So here’s the deal: the first person who emails me with the correct identification (common name) of all six species gets a packet of six of my notecards (with images from original drawings). The deadline is midnight PST Wednesday, March 25. Your hint- they are all from North America.

grizzly-noseI’ve personally found the 3/4 view difficult, at least partly because I know that the camera flattens and distorts the form. This is a case where I draw what I know rather than what I see in the image.


Face-on is a good way to start. Look for reference with a good light side and shadow side, which will show more detail and structure.

moose-nose1Profile is good, also. Then you can see how the nose fits into the rest of the head without worrying about perspective. Pick what you want to emphasize and downplay the rest.

vulture-noseBird’s beaks are really hard to see close up in the field, generally because they’re small and the owners don’t tend to hold still for long. A captive bird may be your best bet because you don’t want to get caught faking it. But beware captive raptors whose beak tips won’t show the wear that the wild ones will.

cougar-nose1Cat noses are fairly similar in form. Variations on a theme, more or less. So drawing your house cat’s nose can be good practice for the big, wild guys.

elk-noseIt’s always great to get good reference of unusual angles, like this one looking up. It helps to see how the lower jaw fits with the upper jaw. Note how I have created a sense of three dimensional form by “wrapping” the right hand upper lip around the lower jaw.


Here’s a photo from the garden:


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