Friday, 30 November 2007

What a Difference a Nose Makes!

When thinking about character design, the nose is one of, if not the most important elements. Think about The Flintstones (which loosely informs this picture). Fred's big honker as opposed to Barney's slender pointer. What personality traits show up in a nose? Think about celebrities who get nose jobs. It used to be very small, pointy styles. Then streamlined, upturned poo-sniffers. Now cute button noses are actually "in vogue."

Think about your favorite cartoon character... what does their nose look like? Is it miniscule like Garfield's? Baguette-like as per Wiley E. Coyote? Perhaps it's the only real feature, as in Peter Bagge's Buddy? Ren or Stimpy? Perhaps there is no nose... Marvin the Martian, or duck characters (to some extent! They have a bill...). Or maybe a weird bump like Casper? Villians love pointy noses or super-curly nostrils that they can wrinkly in disgust.

The nose is important because it's the feature that will remain constant with your character. The eyes scrunch, widen and close, the mouth contorts more than any other, the ears are usually visible one-at-a-time or covered by hair, but the nose is the center, visible in profile as much as symmetrical views. For a more realistic approach, look at Pedro Almodovar's women. They all have unique, interesting noses and their personalities are often reflected in different ways because of it. I can't make this stuff up, folks!

Anyways... here's a quick sketch simply based on size. I took away the "Homer" shadow just to make the second nose appear even smaller. Easily father and son (big nose=age?) as much as plastic surgery:


Liz Baillie said...

I have struggled with different kinds of noses in drawings myself. Recently I have been trying to work on a character design for a woman who does not have a cute button nose or perfectly straight nose (as most of my female characters have) while not making her look "ugly." Personally I love big, crooked, smashed-in, hooked, or bumpy noses in real life but drawing them is another story! It's tough to make them look good since a lot of illustration/comic history tells us that people with those sorts of noses are supposed to be ugly, or villains, or whatever. It's tough to break out of those stereotypes.

I don't even know if all that was totally on-topic but whatevs!


Ambassador MAGMA said...

Liz, when I was a little kid, I could never figure out why the people I drew looked so weird... I wasn't drawing noses! They had pacman heads. When I made the revelation, they looked even weirder... but I was so excited.

I think nose stereotypes come from Disney movies. Just a guess. But it seems like cartoons were all rubber hoses and olive noses before that.

I'm going through it too. My character is supposed to be older, but hot. It's so hard to draw, because there's no models for it!

HERE'S TO US BREAKING STEREOTYPES! (bottles clink!) We will change the world one nose at a time!

Thanks for checking it out!

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