Ears were already a tricky part of illustration, but when it comes to drawing the ears from all different angles, things get even more complicated! Let’s talk about how to draw ears, where the ears should appear on the head, and how the ears look when viewed from all different angles.
How are ears drawn?
Here’s where we’ll find the ear on the head, when viewed from the side. The actual ear is much more complex, but in anime we usually see the ear simplified down to a more basic shape. How much an artist simplifies their ears is a matter of personal taste and style, but in general, the smaller the face, the more the ears are simplified.
Use the eyes to find the right position for your character’s ears. The eyes should be about halfway down a character’s head – make sure the eyes are in the right position so we can use them as a guide for the ears too. In the image above, you will see where each of the key points in the eye link up to the key points in the ear.
The inner corner of the eyelid is on the same level as the top peak/tip of the ear, and the starting point of the ear (where it comes out from the head), is on the same level as the bottom of the pupil of the eye. We can use the mouth as a guide for the bottom of the ear – in general we want the earlobe to line up with the corner of the mouth.
Ears from above
The ears are designed to “cup” sounds and direct them in to your inner ear, so they actually stick out at a diagonal angle from the side of the head. Take a look at reference images to familiarise yourself with the most natural looking angle.
How to draw ears
Let’s see how we can draw ears at a very neutral angle.
1 – Using an oblong as a base, we draw in the outline of the ear
2 – Next we draw this area known as the “helix”
3 – Now we add the little dip at the side, known as the “tragus”
4 – We draw the inner definition lines
5 – And finally, we draw this hole to make the concave area of the ear
Ears from different angles
Here we see the ear from back view to front view, with all the angles in-between. As you can see, the ear changes quite a bit depending on the angle we see it from. Learning all the dips and bumps in the ear, and looking at plenty of reference pictures will help you understand the ear better!
How did you find today’s lesson? I hope this has helped you understand the shape and appearance of ears a little better. Use what you’ve learnt today to practice drawing ears from all different angles!