Everyone knows I love drawing people who have interesting ears.
Everyone’s ears are so different. There are different types of ears, and different ways they attach on the head. So many variations. And all contribute to our recognition of the person.
But what I love most is ears that stick out a bit from the head. It makes the negative space around the head SO much more interesting to draw.
I drew this sketch from 2019 from a muse photo on Sktchy. It attracted my attention because the subject had a beard/stubble, but also because his ears extended out from his head.
This muse also has a flat helix in his ear, so you need to take that into account as well when sketching.
Noticing differences like that when you are sketching will allow you to respond to all the various types of ears you encounter, whether in photos or with live subjects, more quickly and accurately. And that means that you’ll achieve a better overall likeness of your subject.
Some differences won’t be as noticeable as the flat helix, unless you are right up next to the model, or are working from a photograph.
Students always tell me that “I wasn’t close enough to see any details.” Sure that happens. But when you’re too far away to see details in the ear, practice your value shapes—you’ll see them, you can form them as accurately as possible. The effect will be the same—the ear will read as a familiar part of the whole.
Practice looking at ears and discovering the variety. A series of ears…