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How to draw an ear – 5 easy steps

THUMBNAIL ear 324x235When drawing portraits, people usually do not put too much effort into creating a likeness with their subject’s ears because we usually recognize people by their faces or other unique features that stand-out.

Even though they are not given a lot of attention, it is still good practice to learn how to draw an ear and understand it’s structure.

Drawing ears may seem difficult and complex because they contain many bumps, valleys and folds. Learning how to draw an ear is is a lot easier when you learn to simplify it’s complex shapes like the example image below.

Shapes of the ear 1

Materials I used for this simple ear drawing tutorial:
Blending stump
HB and 4B Derwent pencil
– Canson Sketch paper (not the usual Canson Bristol Paper which is my ultimate favorite. Ran out of that.)

Step 1: Draw the shape of an ear

Outline the shape of the ear making sure the bottom part of the ear (ear lobe) is smaller in proportion to the top part of the ear (known as the helix).

“Where exactly do I draw an ear on the head?” Click here to find out!

how to draw an ear step 1

Step 2: Draw the bumps and folds

Draw 2 curves to indicate the main folds within the ear. The first curve should line the middle to top part of the ear. You can make this curve as smooth or jagged as you want.

Remember to leave a small amount of room around the edge. The left side of the curve should curl slightly into the center of the ear.

How to draw an ear step 2_1

The second curve should come out of the first one and have a tear-shaped bottom. Wrap the curve up to form a flap (known as the tragus). Make sure you leave a good amount of space at the bottom for the ear lobe.how to draw an ear step 2

Step 3: Shading preparation

At the beginning of the tutorial, I pointed out three main shapes within an ear. We drew two of them in step 2. The third shape looks like the letter ‘y’. You can either draw the ‘y’ very lightly or picture it on your drawing instead. We’ll be using it later in this step.

Decide on a direction from which the light is coming from and use soft lines to indicate where the darkest shadows will fall. These places will be the most prominent folds and deepest valleys within the ear.

For this example, the light is shining from the left side.

If any shadows cross through the ‘y’, make sure you warp them to compliment any ridges, bumps or valleys of the ‘y’.

how to draw an ear step 3

Step 4: Shade the darkest areas

Shade the areas outlined in the previous step with a 4B pencil. Remember to shade deeper parts of the ear darker and bumps lighter.

Click here to learn how to shade!

how to draw an ear step 4

Step 5: Add mid tones and light tones

Using an hb pencil, shade the rest of the ear, keeping in mind that the bumps should be lightest and valleys darkest. Use a blending stump to blend each area separately (learn about how to use a blending stump here). Use a kneaded eraser to bring out the lightest areas of the ear if needed.

how to draw an ear step 5

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What’s next? Click here to learn how to draw it on a face!

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34 thoughts on “How to draw an ear – 5 easy steps”

  1. thx this helped me alot since i suck at realistic art and are more into anime. i suck at that too tho. im 12 and this was an art class hw so this really helped.

  2. AHHH !!!! I can’t thank you enough Darlene !! Drawing ears was my literal worst nightmare,not to mention realistic ones, i hated watching the long long tutorials and trying to memorize it all ! Then I found you by a quick google search ! you make it so easy with easy steps, and further ellaboration ! I really cant thank you enough.

  3. Thank you! You have helped so much! I swear I’m only good cause it runs in the family lol. I’m 12 and I did like all of your face tutorials and DANG I have surprised myself it looks SO good! And this is my 1st time doing realistic! (more into the cartoon style) So this all is a BIG thanks!!!!!!!

  4. very good and very helpful, i especially like the short tutorials, and they are easy to follow, the eye, the nose, and the lips have been very helpful so far

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