When 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.
Materials I used for this simple ear drawing tutorial:
– Blending stump
– HB Derwent pencil
– 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!
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.
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.
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’.
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!
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.
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What’s next? Click here to learn how to draw it on a face!
Darlene created RFA In 2013 with the goal of sharing simple yet detailed drawing tutorials with other artists on the world wide web. She is a self taught pencil portrait artist and Youtuber.
Never knew sketching can be so much fun. 😊 Thank you so much for your easy but awesome tutorials!
Thanks for the help :-)
Thank you darlene your lips in ten easy steps and ears in five easy steps helped me and i am practicing so that i will be as good as you but i know that will never happen cause you are better at drawing :)
Never say never Sharlene. Give it your all and you might just surprise yourself :)
Thanks now all i need to do is practice drawing what my teacher assigned me to
Hi, I’m thirteen and I find these tutorials really helpful. They are easy to follow, and they’ve really helped me with my art homework. Now I don’t feel so stupid when showing my drawings in front of my class! Big thank you, all the way from Scotland!
thank you Darlene
Thank you Darlene…. your easy tips is helping put me thru my dreams….. this heart is grateful… bless u
Hello DARLENE.I wanted to thanx you for the lessons.I went thru all of them.they wer quite helpful.in all areas.so simple to draw with these easy steps.
I’m glad you enjoyed them :) If you haven’t already, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on new tutorials. I have some shading tutorials coming out very soon!