Armed with a plethora of pencils, a few good pieces of paper, and one of those big erasers, she stretched her fingers and it was ready, aim, draw! Today She is drawing a picture of her best friend for a present. So far so good. She has the general shape of the face and the first eye worked, the second eye is a little iffy but not bad. Now lets do the nose. Okay, well now that looks like an up side down giraffe head! Quick, hurry up and erase that! Starting over! Erase, start over again! Again and again she starts over, just to get more and more frustrated. She has two good eyes drawn and a face, but can nearly see daylight through the area of paper where the nose should be, so she gives in and starts with a new piece of paper. By now she is running out of patience and is back to a completely blank piece of paper. But the same thing happens again and again! Right about now is when she loses her confidence and her love of drawing or anything related to art – at least for a while.
This is a familiar story that happens far too often. That darn nose can be so frustrating! He is the culprit that causes many students to jump ship and abandon their attempts at drawing a face. He causes those fatal words to be uttered in sheer anger and fatigue, “I can’t draw a nose!” Or even worse, the blasphemer of blasphemers, “I can’t draw”.
Because of this dreadful villain, that awkward feature that sits so smugly right in the middle of the face, waiting for his opportunity to ruin a perfectly good portrait, I have erected a monument. The Art Room holds many interesting and strange objects, but the one that is “picked” out first and gets the most attention is the gigantic nose sculpture. Yes, the first thing most students will do to Mr. Cyrano DE Bergerac is check it for bogies, or just go ahead and try to stick a finger up a nostril. But this sculpture has proven helpful to demystify the ever troublesome nose!
The nose knows he’s the boogie man to every person on their first attempts at drawing the face, many are still too scared to try again to draw the face just because of him. So in the Art Room we fight fear with laughter! We get him out and display him in silly ways and study him from all different angles. He’s not so scary when you take him out of his lair. We fear things we don’t understand, so we have to take some time to really study the nose, look at its sections, and really “pick” it apart. The more we learn about the nose the easier it is to draw.
So now that Mr. Nose knows he can’t discourage us away from drawing the face any longer, we keep sketching. One of the reasons that students have a hard time with the nose is because it’s hard to see the shape of a nose.
The face has a visible outline or shape, the eyes have an easy to distinguish shape because of the eye lashes around the eye, difference in color, and texture of skin compared to the eyeball. The shape of the lips is easy to see because of the contrast of color of the flesh of the lips verses the skin around the mouth. But the shape of the nose is a little harder to identify because the nose and the area around it is all flesh tone.
Trying to paint or draw a face tripped me up more than anything when I was a child learning on my own to draw. I know the face is one most complicated parts of the body that God has created, so it only makes sense that it is a very complicated subject to draw. But an artist knows we must “pick” and choose our battles and the way to conquer Mr. Nose is to study him up close and personal.