December 2016

How to draw an ear from the front

thumbnail-how-to-draw-an-ear-front-324x235Learn how to draw an ear from the front in 11 easy steps!

HB, 2B and 4B pencils
Canson Bristol Paper
– Ruler or Straight Edge (Optional)
Blending Stump
Kneaded Eraser

Step 1: Draw an Ear Shape

how-to-draw-an-ear-from-the-front-step-1-rfaUsing a blunt HB pencil, draw a narrow ear shape. If you want to draw ears that stick out of the head a lot more, draw your ear wider.

Then, measure the length of your drawing and create a ruler beside it. Draw 3 lines through the ruler, breaking it into 4 equal sections. I’m labeling the 3 lines A, B and C so I can refer to them easily.

Step 2: Draw a Large Hook Shape

Draw a hook shape that starts from line B and ends at line A.

Step 3: Add the Tragus

In one continuous stroke starting from line B, draw the tragus (the small flap in front of the ear canal) and end your stroke with a small hook that rests above line C.

Step 4: Create a Large Fold

Add a curve to the far right which starts at the top of the ear and ends below line C. Leave a fair amount of space for the earlobe.

Step 5: Add a Small Hook Shape

how-to-draw-an-ear-from-the-front-step-5-rfaBetween the 2 lines you just drew, draw a large hook shape that sits on line C. This is the anti-tragus.

Step 6:

how-to-draw-an-ear-from-the-front-step-6-rfaUse the shadow lining technique to draw a curve in the center of the ear. Try not to make it parallel to the curve drawn in step 4.

Step 7: Prepare to Shade

Okay, last one before we shade!

how-to-draw-an-ear-from-the-front-step-7Erase the ruler and horizontal lines.

To keep your edges sharp and clean when you shade, use a sharp 4B pencil to re-outline areas of the ear that cast the darkest shadows – Areas such as deep valleys, major folds and overhang.

Your outlines should not be too dark because you don’t want them to show through after you shade.

Step 8: Add the Darkest Shadows


If your pencil is still sharp, use a scrap piece of paper to make it blunt and then draw your shadows.

Step 9: Add a Light Layer of Graphite


Use a blunt HB pencil to shade an even layer of graphite across the entire ear. If you want bright white highlights, don’t shade over them.

Step 10: Add the Midtones


Use a 2B pencil to add your mid-tones. Shade areas such as the opening of the ear, shallow valleys and slight folds.

Step 11: Blend the Graphite

how-to-draw-an-ear-from-the-front-step-11Use a blending stump to smooth out your shading. If your highlights are too dark, roll your kneaded eraser to a fine tip and dab some graphite away. If your edges are blurred, use a sharp pencil to redefine your edges and blend them lightly if needed.

I’ve gotten some requests for the left ear, so here are the steps for those of you struggling with the other side:

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How to shade an eyeball

how-to-shade-an-eyeball-step-5-rfaEvery now and then, I get questions about how to shade eyeballs and how to make them look round. It’s a little difficult to explain without pictures, so here’s a short and sweet step by step tutorial to answer that question :) Enjoy!




While you’re drawing the eye, keep the white part of the eyeball as clean as possible. We’re going to shade the entire eyeball later. This will bring your highlights out more because your highlights will be the lightest value in your drawing.

Step 1: Light Shading


Grab a blunt HB pencil and use the side of your lead to create large, blunt strokes on a scrap piece of paper. Use the exact same edge to shade an even layer of graphite across the eyeball without drawing over the iris. Contouring would be a suitable shading technique to use.

Step 2: Blend Carefully


Wrap a small piece of tissue paper around your finger and blend the eyeball in 2 separate sections. Do not touch any areas with dark shading or else you will smudge extra graphite onto the eyeball. Use very little pressure and use a new piece of tissue after every stroke.


Step 3: Shade Around the Iris


Once your shading is smooth, use your HB pencil to shade around the iris. The goal is to eliminate the harsh edge around the iris. Blend the graphite out if you need to.


Step 4: Shade the Eyelid Rims


Soften out your graphite where the skin touches the eyeball. This step is very subtle, but helps pull the skin and eyeball closer together. Compared to the previous image, this one looks like the top and bottom lids are actually touching the eyeball – snug fit.

Step 5: Add Subtle Shadows


Depending on where your light source is coming from (mine’s coming from the top), add subtle shadows using a blunt HB pencil. To make the eyeball look round, shade the far ends of the eyeball. Make sure your value transitions are very gradual.

Scroll up and compare the images from step 4 and 5. Notice how even the most subtle shadows can give the eyeball such a round shape. Just something to keep in mind when you shade.

Also, there’s an area of the eyeball near the tear duct that is slightly bumpy. So make sure to pay extra attention to that. However, you don’t want to bring too much attention to it, so try to keep it subtle.

Thanks to MargaritaM for reminding me to add a slideshow to this tutorial! Use the slideshow below to see all the steps and their subtle differences:

I hope this tutorial was helpful! Which steps helped you the most? I’d love to know :)

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How to draw eyebrows on paper

how to draw eyebrows
Hey guys! In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to draw realistic and subtle eyebrows. Learn how to draw eyebrows that compliment a drawing instead of sticking out like a sore thumb!

The structure of this tutorial will be similar to my previous one on eyelashes: examples with explanations and then application in a step by step format.



Stroke Quality

eyebrow-hair-qualityKeep your strokes fairly thin. I always try to keep the tip of my pencil as sharp as possible for each stroke. Once your pencil starts to become blunt, individual hairs will blur together and eventually disappear as they blend in with each other.

Stroke Direction and Curve

I see a lot of people draw eyebrows like this:


While that’s great for cartoons and manga, it’s quite unrealistic.


We want to draw hairs that point in 3 main directions: Up, down and from left to right (or right to left if you’re drawing the left eyebrow).

eyebrow-hair-directionEyebrow hairs also come in a variety of shapes such as the ones below. Find the right combination/grouping to get your desired look or just go with the flow.



Stroke Length

Eyebrow hairs are usually shorter at the end of the eyebrow and as a rule of thumb, the lighter the hair, the shorter it is.

Root Placement

Slow down and carefully plan the placement of each stroke you make and try to make them as unpredictable as possible. Avoid predictable patterns like the ones below.


Random = natural

Do not make the mistake of drawing a single row of hairs in an attempt to cover the entire eyebrow. More on that later.


Eyebrow Shape, Length and Position

With your fingers, put some pressure along your eyebrow and move the skin up and down. You’ll find that your eyebrows grow along the brow bone. The brow bone is the protruding area directly above your eye socket. When you don’t know where to draw an eyebrow, visualize the eye socket around the eye.

Eyebrow length varies from person to person, but the average length is only slightly longer than the length of the eye itself.

As for the shape, there’s no one correct way. Just play around with different shapes while following along the brow bone.


How to Draw Eyebrows Step by Step

If you want to draw clean, sharp eyebrows, shade the area above the eye and blend it out first before you start. It doesn’t have to be perfect. This step eliminates the amount of shading and blending you’ll have to do later on.

Step 1: Shadowline the eyebrow

With an H pencil, use my shadow-lining technique to outline the shape you want the eyebrow to have. If you use this technique, your outlines will blend in perfectly when you draw the actual hairs later.

Do not outline it like the image below. It will be very obvious in your final drawing and a complete pain to erase!



Step 2: Draw first row of hairs

how to draw eyebrows
We’re going to draw hairs going in several different directions. Using a sharp 2B pencil, let’s start by drawing a single row on the bottom and go from left to right. These hairs grow in the upward direction and start pointing downward near the end of the eyebrow.


Step 3: Add a second row

how to draw eyebrows
Now, add an additional row or two. Remember to draw hairs at the beginning of the eyebrow longer than ones at the end.


Step 4: Add unique hairs


Make slight changes in the hair direction and amount of curve. Join some hairs together by their ends as well.

I’m not adding any more hairs on the left side of the eyebrow because I don’t know if that will be enough yet. I’ll be able to decide later when I draw the upper portion of the eyebrow.

It’s up to you how you want to design your eyebrow, so you can add more hair if you want.

Step 5: Darken overlapping hairs

how to draw eyebrows

In this step, I didn’t add any new hairs. I just looked at which ones were overlapping and used the sharpest edge of my 4B mechanical pencil to darken those areas. This will make the eyebrow look more interesting.



Step 6: Draw a light row of hairs at the top


Time to draw the upper portion of hair. I usually draw the first row really thin/light and then increase the thickness/darkness with the following rows.

Your ultimate goal is to get a smooth transition from upward-pointing to downward-pointing hairs.


Step 7: Merge hairs with bottom rows


Add an additional layer or two. As the ends of the hairs start coming in contact with the upward-pointing hairs, allow your strokes to slowly merge into the same direction.


Step 8: Fill the middle portion


When filling in the middle portion of the eyebrow, focus on drawing hairs that flow in the direction that seems most natural to you.

If you used the shadow lining technique for your outline in step 1, you will notice that it has blended in well and there should be no need to erase it.

Step 9: Touchups


If you see any inconsistencies in value or you think you’d like a darker eyebrow, go over some hairs with a sharp 4B mechanical pencil and darken overlapping hairs or individual hairs that you want to stand out more than others.

Be very careful not to overdo it. It’s hard to erase thin lines. If you do need to erase any hairs or make them appear lighter, pinch your kneaded eraser until it looks as sharp as a knife and then press it directly on the hair to lift a layer of graphite away.

Step 10: Add light shadows on the eyebrow


Can you spot what’s different in the image for this step? I’ve added shadows in the forest of hair. If you shaded the skin as light as mine, use a 2B pencil to shade over your entire eyebrow. Don’t press too hard.

At this point, the eyebrow still looks like it’s sort of pasted onto the face. We’ll fix this in the next step.

Step 11: Add light shadows around the eyebrow

how to draw eyebrows

Okay, last step! We just added some shadows inside the boundary of the eyebrow. Now it’s time to draw shadows around the outside. If your light source is coming from the top (like mine), draw your shadows directly below the eyebrow and/or sides only. Subtle shadows will do. Avoid hard edges!

If you think it still looks pasted on, use a sharp H pencil to draw really light hairs around the top and side.

And that’s it!

I just want to send a big thank you out to all of you guys who take the time to leave a comment or connect with me via email or Facebook. Your kind messages remind me that what I do makes a difference and helps give me the motivation to keep going! You guys are awesome! :)

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