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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23 thoughts on “How to draw an ear from the front”

  1. Thank you so much for these tutorials – for free!! This means so much. I’m getting an enormous amount of good out of them, I can’t believe I’m drawing faces and eyes, etc. that actually look realistic. You are so very talented and your help and sharing is truly appreciated.

  2. Can you do a tutorial on how to draw elf ears? When I was drawing Legolas, I was trying to base the ears off of this and it just did not look right.

  3. I do not have any of these art tools. I do have an HB. Doyou haave to have all the other supplies to do a pic. of a female?

    1. Darlene Nguyen

      They’re the same thing. I switch between the 2 terms a lot without noticing. Sorry for the confusion.

  4. Thanks for the tutorial.

    One quick question: what is the difference between using a blunt pencil to shade and a sharp one?.

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