Drawing ear

It was nose here last week, here we go with ear today!
Drawing and shading ear; ear shapes; helix-antihelix(wt helix!?); ear’s position on the head; front, side, back views; seems like all is here again!

ear layersEar form is too complex until whole construction is divided into layers. Once you do it, then drawing ear is so simple. Therefore I am not going to say “Draw a ‘blabla’ here and add a ‘bla’ like this there” and make you memorize stuff. Let’s try to understand the form and divide it into sections.
So on the left side, there is what I say; 4 layers. Let’s examine them while drawing an ear step by step:

ear drawing steps 1.jpg

The first step starts with slight 2 circles -one big one small-, their shape can be anything like circle or oval. We will draw ear’s outline according to these 2 shapes. So draw these circles with hard pencils, they will be deleted later.
On the left side(1st step) you can see how the outline is drawn around the circles and on the right side(2nd step) how the outer bending part called helix is created. So the 1st layer is that bent part; the helix.

ear drawing steps 2

The 2nd layer locates inside the upper circle, right next to layer 1; called antihelix. This form looks like a two-pronged fork, a bending fork; or a ‘y‘.

The 3rd layer starts where that fork ends. It bends like a rotated ‘m‘, or ‘3‘ where includes the head of the ear canal.

The area between the 2nd and 3rd layers is not flat, where the 4th layer is; we are going to give an effect with shading that there is not. Keep scrolling for shading steps.

ear shading steps

Here are shading degrees, I thought it is necessary to share because shading is a major topic here (I am dropping my shading tutorial’s link in the end).
In the first shading step, I realized how all strokes are too strong, so it’d take some more effort to lose/hide those lines within shades; because in nature there are no contours, no corners; drawing it with lines won’t make it look realistic.
So, in the first shading step at first, I used a 2H pencil to add slight shades all over to be able to understand the form better and to prepare it for softer pencils.

In the second shading step, I used softer pencils to darken some areas. With the help of a blending tortillon, I blended tones.

In the third step, I used a kneaded eraser and blending tortillon until I reached the tones I want. If you think shading is not proper for some areas, it is an easily fixable thing with a blending tortillon; you can press kneaded eraser’s surface against the paper and the area’s tone will be few tones lighter.

One more point I should mention is that shading changes according to the angle and power of the light source(s); and of course, ear’s form, like it changes for every person.

ear drawing steps 4They are all together here, shown in 5 steps. You can enlarge the image on a new tab.

anti helix ear drawingAnd what about the 2 pronged fork(2nd layer), or just ‘y‘, in other words ‘antihelix‘?
Antihelix has some types, too. How it appears inside ears is just different. Some people have it like thicker an higher to describe; some thinner or closer to flat. Closer to flat ones have less shading -of course-, thicker and higher ones have more light-dark contrast (examine people’s ears secretly, take a look at yours, too, maybe).

That strange lines in the image are about how wide the lobe is. Counterclockwise; where antihelix ends there is lobe, and after lobe up there comes the head of the ear canal; they are in different levels; they are different layers.

ear shapes 2In the very beginning, we started drawing ear with two circles, one big one small in order to have an outline with the help of these circles. Here above you can see different ear shapes and imagine that we could also use other guide shapes like circle-likes, oval-likes, ovals etc. instead of those circles.
Also, you can see that there are lobe types; free lobe, attached lobe, broad lobe.

ear drawing on cartoon

Here I have a drawing on a cartoon with 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B and white derwent pencils, strokes blended with a tortillon and I added some lines for the hair over the smooth black.

And what about ear’s position on the head, in different head’s position?

ear's position on head 3

Blue guidelines are where our ears are located, which is somewhere between eyes/eyebrows to the somewhere around the ball of the nose (Also in the image you can see ears according to side, 2/3 and front views). Light blues are guidelines for other facts.
In your reference photo, you can create imaginary horizontal/inclinational lines to place ears and set angles.

ear drawings front and back

Ear drawings from front and back.
In the front view of an ear in your reference photo (assuming you have one), pay attention to antihelix’s size (the 2nd layer).

profile portrait drawing on cartoon 3

It is a different experience drawing on a carton. On paper, I generally use F, 2H or HB pencils for slight strokes (while setting proportions in the very beginning of drawing), but on a carton, this step seems a lot easier because I use 2B. I like 2B. 6 or 8B might be my favourites. I love 6B.

Take your time, draw and draw and observe people’s ears (watch not to get caught nor disturb anyone). Be safe. See you in the next post!

Shading tutorial:

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