How to Draw Ears

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Learn how to draw ears as they are seen from the front, the side, and from behind.

We start with the side view.
You can click on these links, to jump to the front view or back view.

How to Draw Ears - Part 1: Front View

First, draw a rectangle that is twice as high as it is broad.
This will help us to keep the ear in the right proportions.

Now outline the ear's basic shape.
Let it start at the left side, close to the top, then curve upwards to touch the rectangle's top in the middle, and curve down again afterwards, touching the rectangles right side. In a long curve it then moves towards the bottom, where the small earlobe is finally ending its shape.

You can now erase the rectangle, since we have the basic shape outlined.
Then add the small tragus at the left side. I think the whole point of this shape is to cover the ear hole, to prevent particles from entering it.

Outline the ear's rim, by drawing a parallel line along its side.
Some ears have a small bump in their upper corner here.

Above the tragus, the rim's shape continues and curves into the ear's inner part.

Some ears are very flat inside, but the average ear is quite a sculpture. The shape inside of the ear looks like a curved version of the letter Y.
Start to draw this with a line that begins at the left top and curves down to the bottom of the tragus, curving around the obstacle in its way.

Now you can see the shape of the curved Y in the picture above.
Draw a small curve at its top, and outline its edge on the upper right.

In some ears you can still see a bit of the ear hole; in other ears it is entirely hidden behind the tragus.
I added it here as a small, dark shape.

In case you want to shade your ear, draw the darkest values into the places where the least light is falling on, and leave the brightest places entirely white. Shading will strengthen the three-dimensional depth of your picture.

How to Draw Ears - Part 2: Front View

Ears seen in front view can look very different from person to person, depending on a lot of factors. I use just one example here, but once you've learned to draw it, it will be much easier for you to draw all kinds of different ears.

The basic ear shape is almost the same as in the side view; the difference is just that the 1x2 proportions no longer apply. Draw the ear much narrower instead. It is probably thrice as high as it is broad now.
Also take care to make all the curves much flatter.

Draw in the beginning of the ear's upper rim. Make it fairly thick.

The rest of the ear's rim lies in the back and appears to be a bit thinner. Note how its line starts from behind the line for the front rim.
Also add the tragus at the side.

Here is another special thing about the front view.
The inner ear-structure can be seen bulging out of the ear in some cases.
Here it is overlapping the ear's rim a little bit.

Outline the inner edge of this sculpture.

Then add a little dent at its top, and your ear is finished already.
I also cleaned up some of the fuzzy lines in this picture.

This is just one way how an ear can look in front view. Observe the ears of people you're talking to during the day, and you will notice the strangest shapes and differences.

How to Draw Ears - Part 3: Back View

An ear seen from behind is very simple to draw.

Just start out with the basic shape, making it fairly narrow.

Then outline the structure of the cartilage that holds the ear in place.
And that's it already for this point of view.

Now you are familiar with the basics, but I strongly recommend that you practice how to draw ears of different people. Ideally you draw from live models. You can ask a friend to hold still, or draw his ear while he is reading a book without moving too much, for example. You can also draw a picture of your own ear. Either sit down in front of a large mirror, or hold a small cosmetic mirror in your hand. Just draw what you see and pay attention to the little nuances.
Only when drawing from nature you will become an expert on drawing realistic ears.

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