If you are not used to drawing them, ears can be very intimidating. I remember struggling for years to understand all of the ins and outs of the ear and being frustrated that I couldn’t draw one satisfactorily.
Ears come in all shapes and sizes and are unique to each individual. Luckily though, ears don’t have to be any more difficult to draw than any other facial feature. Just like the other features of the face, nearly each and every unique ear has the same basic structure. Once you learn this structure and a step-by-step method for drawing the visible outer parts, you should have a much easier time drawing ears. So listen up!
Parts of the Outer Ear
There are a lot of weird, unusual scientific names for the parts of the ear. There really is no need to remember them all. Hopefully without getting too technical, there are a few select parts that I will refer to during this lesson, so it’s a good idea to at least get familiar with these:
- The helix is the rim of cartilage that circles around the outer edge of the ear.
- Working your way inward from the helix, the next section is called the antihelix. This part of the ear almost forms a bended “y” shape.
- The lobule is the earlobe at the bottom of the ear.
- The area between the antihelix and the ear canal is called the concha.
- The tragus is the small bump of cartilage adjacent to the ear canal.
- The antitragus is the small bump below the antihelix and across from the tragus.
When it comes to drawing ears, I generally like to begin with the helix and work my way inward. Being familiar with the structures mentioned above and drawing one part at a time is one method of drawing ears that most people find helpful. Following is a simple step-by-step plan you can try.
Step 1: Draw the helix and lobule.
This is your first chance to capture the first unique characteristics of the ear you are trying to draw…namely its shape and size. As I mentioned earlier, nearly all ears have the same structure but are unique in their own ways. Is the ear you are trying to draw large or small? Narrow or wide? How far does it protrude from the head?
Look also at the lobule and its unique characteristics. Is it a “free” earlobe that hangs loosely and disconnected from the face? Or is it an “attached” earlobe that is secured firmly to the head?
Step 2: Draw the antihelix and antitragus.
When I was still learning how to draw ears many many years ago, I found this y-shaped antihelix to be the most intimidating part. It really doesn’t have to be that hard, though. Using the helix as your guide, decide how to place and position the top of the “y” underneath it. Then gently curve the body of the “y” alongside the helix. Draw the little bump at the bottom that will be the antitragus. The hard part is over!
Step 3: Draw the tragus and concha area.
Now it gets much easier. Draw the tragus, which is across from the antitragus with a little dip between the two. Look in the concha and ear canal area and indicate any distinct or subtle cartilage protrusions. Make sure you draw the helix curving into this area as well.
Look carefully for other defining characteristics to include in your ear drawing such as piercings, earrings, moles, and surrounding hair. Add as much or as little shading and detail as you like.
Remember that this is just one method for drawing ears. There is no one correct way. Find what works for you. Hopefully you find this method helpful if you were once one to get frustrated with drawing ears. Keep at it! You will get better with practice, and drawing ears will turn from frustrating to fun!