How to draw ears on a head

How to draw ears

Hello and welcome to Anatomy of a Sketch!

My name is Leah, and today I will be helping you understand the anatomy of ears, and how to draw them.

I am going to make this a super easy tutorial and keep it as simple as possible.

We will go over both how to draw ears from the front and how to draw ears from the side, and it will be less of a step-by-step and more of an observation of shape.

While this won’t be my typical step-by-step walkthrough, I hope it can be helpful to you in learning more about the shape of the ears, and their anatomy.

How to draw ears

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The Anatomy of an Ear

Real quick, let’s go over the basic anatomy of an ear!

Before we can draw any part of the human body, we need to understand how it looks, its shape, and its form.

The ear is made up of 7 standard parts (the skin pit and skin tag pictured above are irregular).

Earache: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Image credit to medlineplus.gov

The Helix, or the outside ridge of the ear.

Antihelical fold, or the space between the Helix and the Antihelix ridge.

The Antihelix, that large ridge in the middle that sticks out.

The External Auditory Canal, or the hole that leads to the eardrum and inner ear.

The Tragus is the small piece of cartilage that protects the Canal.

The Antitragus is the cartilage that sticks out underneath the Tragus.

And the Lobule, otherwise and more commonly known as the earlobe at the bottom of the ear.

The reason for going over these now is that we will be drawing each piece of the ear below.

How to draw ears from the front

When drawing ears from the front (when the character is facing forward), we want to be sure to use the correct proportions.

Like in the image above, the ears sit between the eyebrow line and the bottom of the nose.

Ear proportions

Let’s get into drawing an ear from the front in detail.

In the image below, I have lightly sketched the side of the face and made marks where I want the ear to be.

The shape of the ear from this range is thin and ovular, but you can still see it’s shape.

how to draw an ear from the front

After finishing my sketch, I traced over it on a new layer with a darker pen for detailed work.

 

ear from the front

Looking at the picture above, you can see some of the inside folds of the ear.

The shape of the ear will change slightly depending on the angle, and shape of the individual character’s ears.

How to draw ears from the side

Here is my basic sketch of an ear from the side.

This is all done with a pencil, you can see the rough hairy lines.

basic ear sketch

I always do this first to block out the shading and get an idea of what I want my image to look like.

Next, we move on to outlining.

Here, I faded the original pencil sketch and added a new layer on top.

finishing the ear drawing

This new layer has smoother lines, and you can see that I changed the shape of my lines a bit.

In this next step, I hid the sketch layer so you can see my final image.

finished ear drawing

This is just the linework, but you can see the basic shapes of the inside of the ear.

Below, I have labeled the different parts of the ear.

The only one from our reference photo at the beginning that I did not go into detail with is the external auditory canal.

That is because, for me, I would draw that part when I shade the image.

anatomy of an ear

I have a full tutorial on how to draw a side profile that could be helpful for this.

Dimensions of the Ear

So, where does the ear sit on the head?

The height of the ears can be found easily by looking at the eyebrows and nose.

Looking at the image below, you will see that the white bars are right at the base of the eyebrow and the bottom of the nose, and the ear fits right between.

ear height

Making sure you have the correct placement will make all the difference in your portrait drawings!

Also, don’t ever feel like you have to draw your ears the same on every character.

Some characters have round ears.

Some have large ears, and some characters have narrow ears.

And I mean, if you’re drawing an elf character you may be drawing pointed ears!

how to draw an ear

All ears have the same parts but can have very different shapes.

It’s not a big thing that a lot of people will notice, but you can vary the shapes and sizes of your character’s ears, and it does add some depth to the character design.

If you have any questions, or would like me to do more of a step-by-step tutorial on drawing ears, please leave a comment!

I do read all my comments and try to send a reply as fast as possible.

Have fun drawing!

Want to learn how to illustrate in full color?

Sketching is so much fun and I LOVE linework!

But one of my favorite parts of being an illustrator is rendering my illustrations in full color.

Want to learn how to illustrate in full color

On Patreon, I post monthly FULL-COLOR tutorials for my Champion and Hero tiers!

These are so much fun, and Patrons are able to comment and ask questions as well as “like” posts and answer polls.

My Hero tier also receives a monthly vinyl sticker from me via snail mail!

These are such a big hit. Some of the ones we have done so far are Harley Quinn, Princess Leia, Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn), and Captain Carter from Marvel’s What If? 

(Featured below!)

Captain Carter sticker

And if you are a Patron, we do take polls so you can help pick which stickers I send each month.

Come join the fun at Patreon.com/LeahHarris

What to learn next… How to draw a male side profile


how to draw a male side profileThank you for being here today and learning how to draw ears from me!

Be sure to share this post if you found it helpful, and I will see you in the next lesson!

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Hi there! My name is Leah, and I am going to help you learn how to draw, and take your pictures to the next level. I have college-level experience with form drawing and multiple art classes under my belt that have helped me create these tutorials. Let's learn how to draw together!

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The following two tabs change content below.
Hi there! My name is Leah, and I am going to help you learn how to draw, and take your pictures to the next level. I have college-level experience with form drawing and multiple art classes under my belt that have helped me create these tutorials. Let's learn how to draw together!

Latest posts by Leah (see all)