Ears can be challenging to draw because there is so much happening with all the shapes we see within an ear that it can get a little confusing. Ears are surprisingly complex forms. On top of this complexity, everybody’s ear looks a little different. The shapes we see within an ear differ from person to person just enough that we can get tripped up by what we see. How can we make it easier to draw ears? One thing we can do is learn about ear anatomy. If we understand the ear anatomy, we can interpret the shapes we see within the ear, using an understanding of that anatomy to guide us. Doing this makes it easier for us to identify the relevant structures and organize the shapes more readily as we draw an ear. Today, we will look at the ear anatomy to see how these structures combine to form an ear.
The Ear Anatomy
The anatomical structures that shape the ear are the Helix, Antihelix, Concha, Earlobe, Tragus, and Antitragus.
To help us identify and understand the ear anatomy, we can simplify each part into a more basic or simple form. By stripping away the nuances and details of each structure within individual ears, we can find the universal characteristics of ears.
Once we can identify these universal characteristics of the anatomical structures, we can organize the shapes we draw around that anatomy.
In the image below, we can see three drawings of an ear.
I drew the illustration on the left based on the sketch to the right of it. I drew on top of this sketch to finish the drawing. This sketch was my initial sketch to set up the illustration.
This initial sketch is of a generic ear. I drew the structures as generalized forms based on the anatomy without worrying too much about the intricacies of an individual ear.
Because I drew the ear anatomy as simple forms, I could interpret and organize the contours based on that anatomy. Doing this allows me to size, position, and shape the ear more easily. I can then go back and work on the more unique details on top of that sketch.
The Individual Structures
Let's look at each structure individually.
Style and Forms
We do not need to draw each structure. How we draw the ears and what to include are determined by our goals for our drawing. We often stylize our drawings. This stylization may allow for some reinterpretation of those forms.
Our understanding of how these forms come together plays a vital role in stylizing the drawing of an ear.
To illustrate this, let us look at an ear drawn in three different styles. I used the simple forms sketch we see above as the base for each drawing.
This first drawing is an illustration of a realistic ear. So drawing all the forms is a necessity.
The example in the center is of a more simplified style of the ear. This example might be something we see in animation or comics. Though we are still illustrating all the ear parts, we did not draw all the smaller curves and contours. To make this ear look like a believable ear, we should know where each structure belongs, along with each's size and shape.
This last example of an illustrated ear simplifies things a bit more. This time, I am not showing or suggesting all the structures found within the ear. Yet, knowing where those forms belong helps us shape and size this ear. Though I am not drawing some parts, it still looks like an ear as all the elements illustrated are all in the right spots.
Hopefully, this helps you draw ears. I suggest you study and examine many ears to see if you can find the structures we just learned.
Enjoy drawing ears! If you have any questions about drawing ears please feel free to ask.