A Beginner's Guide to Drawing the Human Ear: Top Anatomical Tips for Aspiring Artists

If you're an aspiring artist struggling to draw the human ear, listen up! (Get it?) 

Related Class: Drawing Anatomy: The Human Face with Medical Illustrator Tiffany S. DaVanzo

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential anatomical tips and steps you need to follow to get started.

Understand the Structure

Before you begin drawing the human ear, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with its basic structure. The human ear, despite its complex form, can be broken down into three main parts: the outer ear (pinna), the middle ear, and the inner ear. As an artist, you'll primarily focus on the outer ear or pinna, as this is the visible part we commonly recognize as the "ear".

The pinna is made up of several elements including the helix (the outer rim), the antihelix (the Y-shaped ridge inside the helix), the tragus (the small protrusion in front of the ear canal), the lobule or earlobe, and the concha (the hollow area encased by the helix and antihelix).

Step-by-Step Guide to Drawing the Human Ear

Step 1: Start with a Basic Outline

Begin by drawing a simple oval or kidney bean-like shape for the outline. The top of the ear typically aligns with the eyebrows and the bottom with the base of the nose in a normal perspective.

Step 2: Draw the Helix

Inside the outline, sketch the helix. Start from the top of your outline and draw a curvy line downward, pulling it in towards the center of the ear shape at the middle, and then leading it back towards the edge as you reach the bottom of the ear. This part should represent the back and top of the ear curving forward and then back around itself.

Step 3: Draw the Antihelix

Draw a Y-shaped line within the helix, representing the antihelix. Start your Y shape a little lower from the top of your helix, and end it near the bottom.

Step 4: Illustrate the Earlobe and Tragus

Draw the lobule (earlobe) as a small extension at the bottom of the ear, and sketch the tragus as a small bump just inside the front edge of the ear, close to where the antihelix ends.

Step 5: Detail the Inner Structures

Draw the inner part of the ear, including the concha. This area can be represented by a darker tone to show depth.

Step 6: Shading and Final Touches

Add shading to give your ear drawing a three-dimensional effect. Keep in mind that the areas under the helix and in the concha are typically darker. Add some light lines to the helix and antihelix to represent the folding of the ear's skin.

Practice Makes Perfect

Drawing the human ear, like any other part of the body, requires practice. Don't be discouraged if your initial attempts don't match your expectations. Remember, every artist has to start somewhere, and the best way to improve is through consistent practice.


Understanding the basic anatomy of the human ear is an invaluable tool for any aspiring artist. With these beginner-friendly tips, you're now equipped to draw a realistic human ear. Don't rush the process, take your time to understand the structure, and practice regularly. Before you know it, you'll be drawing ears like a professional artist!

Related Class: Drawing Anatomy -The Human Face with Medical Illustrator Tiffany S. DaVanzo

Learn how to draw the human face from the inside out. Learn more.