Paint realistic ears
Ears are a very important part of person’s character, but unfortunately in portraits they’re often forgotten or simply covered by hair. It’s a pity! An open ear, decorated by a beautiful earring, visually extends the neck and can subtly give the character sensuality, finesse and daintiness.
Human ears, just like the other parts of the face, vary greatly in form, size and character. However, despite the variety, all ears have common structure and that’s a vital consideration when constructing an image. The base of an auricle consists of complex curved forms. It’s almost completely made of cartilage with the exception of its bottom part, the earlobe.
The edges of the auricle have a thickening, called the helix. The antihelix is the next curved section of the auricle, laying inside the helix. In the middle of the auricle there is a cavity, whose front part has a characteristic ledge, known as the tragus. Opposite to the tragus, there’s another ledge, called the antitragus. At the bottom of the ear is the earlobe.
Unlike the other parts of the auricle, the earlobe has no cartilage. Its form is extremely diverse. Earlobes can be chubby, flat or angular. They even can be almost absent, merging right into the bottom of the ear. For some people earlobes are located in the same plane as the rest of the auricle, whereas for others those planes are different.
When you start sketching ears, begin with the general form. Start the sketch by defining the axial line, which helps to correctly establish the ear position. At the same time, while building the form of an auricle in three-quarter perspective, pay attention to its position in the space. External outlines of an auricle look like an ellipse. Remember, some ears are close the head, while others protrude away.

From issue 20.