How To Draw An Ear

How To Draw An Ear

Drawing an ear is similar to drawing a shell because they are similar. Drawing an ear consists of drawing curves within curves and proper shading

Hello, I'm Di Roberts from the Insight School of Art and I'm going to show you some simple drawing exercises, and I hope you enjoy them. I'm going to show you how to draw an ear. I've chosen an image that's random, any ear.

You'll find that no two ears are the same. It's like a shell, no two shells are the same and in fact, the technique is fairly similar. You're going to draw, you see, you're copying the shapes and an ear generally starts off with this sort of shape.

It's like a backwards C, obviously depending on which way round you're drawing it. And within the top line of the C, there's an echo that wraps around. And this is why ears are known as shell-like, because they are.

There are lines within lines, curves within curves and they are actually quite beautiful to draw even just as a line drawing. But they do require tone, shading to make them a little bit more realistic. You could carry on.

Some people have got ears where this area continues down and round. Some people have got a huge area here. This is the lobe of the ear.

Traditionally in most cultures, that's where you put an earring. So it's quite a large flat area of floppy skin. But we then get large pieces of quite bony cartilage and hard areas.

So it's hard and soft, it's curves and then it's shading. One part that needs the darkest is here. This is where hole goes into the brain.

I don't know the technical term; I just know how to draw it, which is very heavy dark shading that gradually lightens up. So a lot of this is about tonal variation. To get depth, you need more tone.

To bring an area forward, you need contrast between light and shade. And that's all available for you within an ear. Whether you are drawing from an image as I am or drawing from the real thing, drawing a model, drawing a person, even drawing somebody asleep, if their ear is visible, get your sketchpad out and draw.

It's a very good practice. Let's darken up all these lines and turn them into a shadow because that way nature takes over a little bit, we don't have dark lines in nature. We have shadows.

We have where one area stops and another one starts. So continuing to shade around this part, up at the top here, this is a flap of skin that curls over, therefore there is a dark shadow underneath it. And I'm using the side as well as the point of the pencil.

And then we can soften it off. This huge area varies from person to person. It may be quite small with some people.

With children, this area is very small and this part around the back is quite large and fleshy. So it depends on the age and it also depends on how much hair is visible. An older person, men in particular, has got hairy ears, so there will be hair coming from the inside of here as well as tufts coming over the top.

So you really need to observe in order to be accurate with the ear shape. So I'm softening up the edge here. And to soften it even more, I'm going do a bit of finger blending.

It is frowned upon by some art schools who say that within a hundred years, the sweat from your skin will burn a hole in the paper. Well, I'm not overly worried. I'm not going to be around in a hundred years.

And it helps to make flesh look like flesh. I could use an eraser and clean up areas if I wanted to but for now, I don't think it's necessary. But what I can do is use the carbon and graphite that's on my finger and blend a little bit down at the bottom of the earlobe to soften up that line.

Then the most important part to me as an artist: to make the ear stand out from what's behind it, which is hair or neck or jaw or the rest of the body, let's darken up the behind using the side of the pencil to make the ear a bit more prominent. And if there is hair visible, we can put that in a bit later. Then let's get rid of that line and turn it into the shadow underneath.

And darken up just like that slightly. And there we are. How to draw and shade an ear.