How to draw an ear with our best shading tips to give it natural depth and dimension. 

Artists, today we are drawing an ear.

This will be an exercise, because ears can be very tricky!

Even though we see them daily, when it comes to drawing an ear it can be hard to remember where there are shadows and folds.

We’ll start with a side view. Let’s practice…

How to draw an ear with shading

Supplies for shading an ear in pencil

There are only a couple supplies you will need to create this black and white pencil shading of an ear.

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser

  Pencil drawn ear instructions

Artist tip: As with any drawing it’s important to recognize how much space you are working with.

To do this, point to the middle of your paper with your finger or pencil.

This will tell your eyes how much space you have to draw in. It does not have to be exact! 

How to draw an ear

Let’s get started:

1. In the side view you get to see all the folds and shadows in an ear.

Start by drawing the outside of the ear.

This is almost a half circle shape, but bring the line low and give it a sharper bend at the bottom.

Sketching the outline of an ear

2. Here is where it can get tricky.

The inside of the ear has many folds, creating light and dark areas.

Let’s map out the folds…

There’s a Y shape towards the top, the cartilage line repeats the curve of the outside of the ear, and a thicker area or lobe or at the bottom. 

How to draw the inner ear

How to shade with pencil

3. Start adding lightly penciled lines to create shades within the ear.

The higher areas of the folds will be lighter and the lower areas will be darker.

Use your finger to blend the shades together, so no area is too harsh.

How to draw an ear

Artist tip: This is the foundation of ANY ear shape and you can create many sizes and shapes of ears by just altering these simple steps.

How to draw Fairy Ears

If you are wanting fairy ears make the top cartilage longer and more pointed.

Elf, goblin, and animal ears all have folds and highlights with only the outside of the ear shape changing. 

Remember this is a practice, keep going!

You’ve done it! Ears of any type. 

Let’s see what else we can draw together…next time.

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