- Lesson Details
In this lesson, instructor Steve Huston will teach you how to construct the ears. You will explore the complex anatomy of the ears and learn to draw them utilizing simple shapes.
This lesson belongs to the course Constructive Head Drawing I. During this 6-week course, renowned artist Steve Huston will teach you a direct and powerful approach to drawing the human head. Steve will show you the basic and intermediate constructions of the head. Then, you will learn to draw facial features by studying the informative lectures on anatomy, structure, and placement. You will also watch Steve analyze some portrait artworks from the Old Masters to understand the application of simple forms and shapes. After this course, you will gain a deeper understanding of the anatomy of the head and the nuances of every facial feature; this is crucial information for creating portrait drawings.
Throughout this course, you’ll have access to the NMA community for feedback and critiques to improve your work as you progress.
Transcription not available.
all these kind of loop-de-loop tubular kind of things that drive you crazy. So we’ll
try and make some sense about that. As always, remember that the ear is the only feature
that’s on the side of the head. And so it’s relationship to the front, that front side
creates that boxy idea that does a tremendous amount to get the figure to drop into whatever
deep space we’re after.
Alright, so having said that, though, we’re going to want to feel that whatever the face
is doing and head is doing, the ear is going to fall back usually from it. So let me do
it one more time. If the face is going this way with all its stuff building out the ear
wants to lay back usually. Not for everybody. Sometimes it’s straight up. Even sometimes
you’ll see ears that tip forward this way. But it doesn’t feel right.
We’re used to that laying back this way.
Also remember, let’s just do that. Also remember that as
that ear gets closer to the front of the face we’re going to start moving around. So here
is a smaller conception. If I really crowd that ear—notice it still lies back a little
bit. If I really crowd that ear
towards the front of the face it does this.
The ear is a powerful, powerful tool for us. It sits in the third of the head. You can
stack an ear here. You can stack an ear there. That gives us more or less where it sits.
And you might end up having a much bigger ear. I tend to draw my ears a little bigger,
on and on and on. So the shape we’re drawing is just a little egg shape. Or what I usually
do so it adheres to that back side of the jaw. Remember, again, the jaw goes in front
of the ears. If the jaw went behind the ear when you talked, your ears would wiggle. And
maybe to somebody out there that is true. But for the most part, our ears don’t wiggle
when we talk. So it sits in front and so that jaw, that finish of the jaw line. The mandible,
this structure here. The ear sits right here. In fact, this is the canal for all the hearing
stuff. It fits in here. Just in the jaw construction which is what is creating the ear construction.
The face is vertical. The jaw lies back. That is what the ear is playing off of.
So, since I’m bumping up against that jaw, that sideburn area in here, I usually do this.
Also, most ears are a little fatter on top and tighten up down at the ear lobe. And you
get two types of ears. You’ve got an earlobe that separates out. See how that earlobe drops,
hangs. And you’ve got an earlobe that just goes in and drops down that way. So you can
have an attached earlobe to the jaw or a detached, we’ll call it, earlobe to the jaw.
This is more common. Less so.
Alright, so slice a little bit off the front of the ellipse. Fatten up the top of the ellipse
and/or thin out the bottom of the ellipse. Wrap it back up or cut it off short. Take
your pick. That’s roughly the ear. That gets us started. Now, if we were to put that ear
into perspective, get slightly behind it and slightly under it. You can draw it as a thickness
so that disk shape or C-shape or reverse C-shape. That C-shape has a thickness to it like so.
And so if we get behind the ear—notice I did two little lines here. Let’s blow this up.
I’ll do that. And if I get way behind the head as I’ve mentioned in one of the
early lectures on the construction of the head, I’ll actually just be drawing the
thickness of the ears. Just the thickness of that disk and nothing else. I’ll just
draw that. And if it’s small enough I’ll just keep them open and won’t even cut it
off. I’ll just do a little shorthand like that. So anyway, those are our choices.
If we look at the front of the face
then we’re going to feel that the ears
are cut off, overlapped by the cheeks; the cheekbone, jaw, sideburn, hairstyle. Any or
all of that stuff is going to interrupt the ear. Then again, I’ll do something like
that. Something like that. Something like that. Depending on perfect front view or tipping.
But notice the thickness to that. And then I don’t draw anymore because the face is
going to hide it, probably. If I can see more it’s a little more of a three-quarter view,
then I’ll just bring that jaw/sideburn area, and I’ll attach that right in here. Wherever
the jaw line, there will be some skull behind that, filling in around that ear to help lock
it in place. That ear cuts in like a jigsaw puzzle into the face and is held there and
maybe even into the neck down here. Okay, so that’s kind of the working mechanics
of the basic ear.
Alright, so then let’s look at an ear in detail.
And what we’re going to do is we’re
going to draw that C-shape or the reverse C-shape depending on which way we’re looking.
It’s going to have whatever character it is, fatter on the top, narrower on the bottom.
And so I’ll work this out. Oftentimes, it can feel a little squarer even on top. And
so I’ll curve it out or chisel it out. There would be the jaw there.
The neck would maybe be in here.
Now, what we’ll find is that the ear has an outer rim that goes all the way around
from the cheek, the connecting tissue of the cheek, all the way around and then disappears
into the earlobe. So I’m going to go ahead and draw basically a tube. I’m going to
draw a tube all the way around. I’m not going to draw that part of the tube, but I’m thinking tube.
Like this. So I’m just going to draw this inner line here. I’m going to pay attention
to how fat or skinny it becomes. It probably won’t be a perfect tube all the way around
because organic things are imperfect things. Remember, it evolves as it goes. So it might
pinch at different times. It might wobble up. It might do this while around a corner.
I can get that as simply or as a sophisticated way as I want. I usually want to add little
wobbles. I’ll leave that for the contour. I’ll just pick out basic constructions.
Bring that all the way through. And then like I said it just kind of poops out down around
the ear lobe. And probably what’s going to happen is it’s going to come down here
and it’s going to wobble as it makes it way for the ear lobe. Then it’s going to—we’re
going to get some little form that kind of fades in and out here. So I’ll do a little
double mark. And when I’m trying to do a shorthand for a little structure I’ll do
a double mark, and that is basically giving us the stair step, this against that. It tells
me that this changes somehow or tells me something has ended and something else is going to begin,
something like that.
I’m going to do that little mark. So notice what I did. I came around like the C-shape.
Let’s do a bigger C-shape. I came around like the C-shape and then it wobbled and marked
or double-marked. It’s a question mark. So I’m doing a question mark or a reverse
question mark. Question mark. I’m going to do it again. And that’s my second little
mark there, actually. I take it back. I forgot myself. Question mark. I’m going to do another
question mark right inside of it. So I’m going to do a C plus 2 question marks.
And they can reverse if they want.
Now I’m going to do another question mark.
But this one is going to fall away.
but it falls away. Instead of having a little dot it hooks right into the beginning of the
forth. What we’ve drawn there is whole shape of the ear, of course. The outer rim of the
ear, the inner rim of the ear. This will be the channel. You can feel your own ear. I’m
not going to do it because it’ll smear charcoal all over myself.
Can you see that outer rim?
Here it is. Here it is. Here it is. Here it is. Here it is. Here it is. Here it is. Here
it is. And then it opens up into the ear lobe. Here is the inner rim. Here is the inner rim.
Here it is. Here it is. Here it is. Here it is. Right here, let me darken that up.
Then it fades out there. And so this—and then this is the cavity, the bold-like dish.
I’ll show you a different view of that in a minute, of that inner ear where it baffles
the sound, catches the sound, and shoots it down the vibrations. Shoots it down into the
ear canal there and translates it into beautiful music or screeching cats or whatever it is
right there. And then this is deep inside. This is just tracking over. Just so you can
feel the ant on the surface. It does that.
We’re not done with this little shape. It splits into a Y usually. Kind of like the
philtrum. We have a little philtrum action going here, a little divot action going there.
I’m going to shade this just so you can feel the volumes. You can feel the great tubular
structures. They very much are tubular structures. They can be squarer or rounder. As I said,
they can move around, kink up, crowd and overlap each other. They can do all sorts of little
variations. We’ll see some of those when we start sketching the old masters and from
life. But that sits in there. It can wobble here. It can do all sorts of fun stuff.
So create all your lovely variations just like you would on the lips, those M shapes of the lips.
There you go. This outer tube that stayed all the way on the outside all the way through
is now going to wrap in and fall in and disappear, merge, morph. It’s going to go from the
outside, inside, and you can imagine how that would help to pull the sound, draw the sound
in to that inner structure. We want to capture the sound and take it down here. So it’s
kind of like a whirlpool action that’s taking us in there. That just fades off. And then
this is all cheek in here. Cheek comes in and fills it in. We’ll see that on our models and such.
This is definitely separate from the face. You’ll see cast shadows and stuff separating it.
But once we get down here, this merges right into the cheek. That’s where the
zygomatic arch goes right in there. Here is our—give it a little bit of thickness too.
Here is our lobe. This is a nice rounded form. Oftentimes there can be little stuff going
on here and here. And there is our structure. Of course, this could cast a shadow onto the
neck and such behind in the back of the skull and all that kind of stuff.
So all of this, and notice the more wobbly that we make it, still respecting our initial
design, of course, the more sophisticated it seems. That organic evolution. Notice this
is on top of that and so we can get things like cast shadows going down in here. We’ll
take about and see all that on our shadow section. And then right in here is you may
or may not be able to see is the ear canal, that auditory canal that the sound finally
makes its way into. It shoots in.
Alright, if we take that and flip it on the side and take this baffling off, take the
outer and inner rim off, we’ll find that the back of the ear is just a bowl, and that
makes sense. It’s going to think of an amphitheatre where you listen to an outdoor concert. You’ll
have the stage here, and they’ll take a bowl shape and attach it on stage here. It’ll
be a hollow bowl shape, half a bowl. This is actually coming back this way like so.
And you got your rock star in here singing away or whatever. And that captures the sound
and echoes it out to the crowd but also captures it in and all that kind of stuff. So this
is capturing sound in like that. Then we have the big disk, remember the disk shape of the
sea. It can be a slice of a—I could take a cylinder and say, okay, as a wood carver
I’m going to carve a wooden ear. So I’m going to take a slice off a cylinder of wood.
And so I’ve got that oval slice, and I’m going to cut the front off a little bit and
cut a little bit off the ellipse, off the end of the cylinder there. I’ve got my ear
shape with my outer and inner stuff going on, all that kind of thing.
Okay, so that’s what we’re doing. We’re going to take that slice and we’re going
to put it on there like this. Let’s just make it a really simple disk shape.
That’s the basic structure of the ear.
The bowl, the inner bowl; this is the bowl in here. Map it out. That’s the
bowl in there. The rim lies on top of the bowl like that. But, since this is organic
what we’ll find—let’s set it up now so we can think of the top of the ear and
the bottom of the ear. Here is the bowl shape doing this. And then here is our—let’s
deal with this. Here is our rim on it like this or thickness. What we’ll find is that
it’s wobbly. So oftentimes the earlobes kind of pin in, wows out, and they pin in
closer. So from a back view it’s going to do that kind of thing, let’s say. As you
can imagine, this can create all sorts of variations.
Now, it’s going to bump into the skull and so this will be cut off as it merges. It’s
been stuck onto the skull structure and the way in here like so. This can take all sorts
of variations. It can tuck in, as I said, at the ear lobe. It can twist around so that
you’re seeing the ear lobe kind of twist out this way and the upper ear rotate this
way. And so there are all sorts of fun little variations that’ll happen to that. When
we get on this back view what we’ll see is the outer rim and the inner rim, and we’ll
notice that this inner rim here sticks out a lot. So we’ll have the outer rim and then
its thickness. And then the inner rim and its thickness. And then the outer rim wraps
back around and dives back in. This curves off. Anyway, we have kind of thickening thing,
and we’ll see it likewise from a front view. Here is a front view. There is that slice
of the C-shape with the ear, sideburn area, jaw overlapping. And we’ll see this outer
rim do this, and the inner rim can do this. It doesn’t always do this, but it actually
usually does. And I’m playing this up a lot, but it’s okay because it can be a lot.
There it goes it there. There is my little Y. So this is this. And this—let’s bring
it down here—is this. Bring it down here. That goes in and fades away somehow. This
pulls down in here. Does what it does. This separates from the cheek. At this point it
blends into the cheek. Then we’re kind of doing this and going on. Okay, so that’s
the basic construction. This would lay down then as a more complicated, more nuanced,
more organic structure. Here would be the face in there.
And we’d be feeling the skull over here.
That’s the structure of the ear in a basic plan.
Let’s apply to our old masters and our timed poses.
in here is going to be the ear more or less, a little lower or little higher. So you can
see how the hair—and let’s pull this down. The hair and the head wrap is covering that mass, and so it’s affected
by the mass. And then we look over on the Raphael, and there is the thickness of the
ear, that little disk right there. Thickness of the ear, that little disk right there.
Right there. And then this is just simplified right there and actually even kind of tossed
out. It looks like a Pontormo. Pontormo will stick things on, and they’ll be slightly
out of whack, and sometimes he’ll draw them two or three times to get them placed. But
there we have the simplest possible conception of the ears. You can notice how on this just
beautifully sensitive and realistic, you know, in the Renaissance sense of realism, realistic
Raphael, and yet, we look at those ears and look at how there are no convolutions. Those
inner and outer rims are now not dealt with really. We do have the thickness of the outer
rim, and we have a sense of it going inside, but there is no architectural changes and
convoluted canals and all that kind of stuff of those forms. Same on this side. It’s
just simplified. It’s truly been thought of as just a C-shape and then a C-shape in
perspective. So it’s a slice of a cylinder there. So beautifully done, beautifully simplified.
And it shows you how you can get away with very little in some areas if you kind of show
your chops in these primary areas.
Okay, Piazzetta. Here we get a nice full conception of the ear. Here you can see beautifully how—let
Okay, Piazetta. Here we get a nice full conception of the ear. Here you can see beautifully how—let
me come back to our friend here first. You can see beautifully how the ear lies back
away from the face. Look at that exploding angle out that way. Important. You can see
how the jaw line, as full as it is, is in front of the ear. Oftentimes what you’ll
see, you can—actually, let’s do this. Sometimes you’ll see this tone go back here
like this, and you’ll think oh that must the jaw. But what it is is the digastric plane.
It’s stepping off the side of the face down to the neck. And so let’s go back and look
at our lovely Piazzetta. This sits in here. There is the jaw. There is the lower mandible
into the teeth like so. Then we step back, that thickness back onto the neck behind it
down this way like so, so the ear sits behind. So there is that. We’ve got many lessons
to learn from this lovely drawing. But here I’ll just do it—I keep coming over here.
Let’s just do it here. Here is the outer rim into the ear lobe. Here it splits. That’s
just a little bit of technique. Maybe it’s a hair or just a construction line or painterly
mark that he wanted to keep. It’s fine but that’s all outer rim. This is inner rim.
See that little Y shape? It splits into a Y, wraps back around and then loops right
into the little flap there. The auditory canal is down in there where I put that little dot.
This just plays right over the cheek. It’s on the side plane. So beautifully done, simple.
Here that ear lobe separates a little bit. You can see that separation here. It does
that and pulls back in.
Okay, so on the Madonna obviously we’re not seeing the ear. It’s wrapped up in the
Okay, so on the Madonna obviously we’re not seeing the ear. It’s wrapped up in the
hood. It’s going to get covered by this hood shape. We lose that. We can imagine where
it would be, and that’s a smart thing to do. In here, say. But on the little baby,
here’s the eyeline. The ear is in here someplace. You see a little mark up here. That’s a
little too high for the ear, especially for an idealized Jesus.
It’s going to be right in here someplace. Right off that jaw you can track that jaw.
And it’s a good thing to do.
It’s like a little bearded Jesus now. It’s a good
thing to do kind of visualize what you can’t see, what hasn’t been put in. So is that
right? You know, that’s awful close. Now, this eye drags out a little bit. Opens up
a little bit. So maybe if we move in the eye where it should be.
There you go. Yeah, it doesn’t feel too bad. Maybe here like so. Fix that, Tiepolo. No, I’m just kidding.
Visualize what’s been edited out.
Okay, now our Raphael. We can’t see the top of the ear, but it’s important to visualize
Okay, now our Raphael. We can’t see the top of the ear, but it’s important to visualize
the top of the ear. So let’s do this. Now I’m coming off of this, this, and this.
And actually it could be that. Let me take that away again. See this little shape right here?
That could be the ear. It’s an awful big ear. Probably isn’t. We could use it,
and any individual you run into could easily have that big of ears and it would be acceptable.
Idealized figures, though, which is what we’re dealing with here. This was a saint, Patron
saint of ears. This could be more or less the inner rim. Here is our outer rim.
A little flap would be right here it’s in the shadows. But you can see that conception.
Notice, maybe one of the reasons he covered the ear is that’s a heck of a big ear, isn’t
it. I played it down from where we could have conceived of it. It’s an awful big ear.
Let’s go back and look at it one more time. Quite often what the artists will do, because
he’s going to, maybe he will get a model with big ears. It could easily happen. Although
these guys, there are letters from Leonardo back and forth with friends saying, you know,
for my Last Supper I found this perfect Peter. It’s a perfect Peter. The problem is that
he is so beautiful. How am I going to find someone even more beautiful to model Jesus?
And he was stressing out over that. He couldn’t imagine finding a better model than his Peter
model. Can’t ask him why he didn’t just use the Peter model for Jesus, but he felt
he couldn’t, and so he struggled with it. He obviously solved it because we have the painting.
But, you may well get a model that has a really big nose or asymmetrical eyes or a little
thinning hair. The Renaissance model, the idealist, the romanticist isn’t going to
paint that. They’re going to pain their romantic ideal. And so if the model had really
big ears, Raphael, who is the master of perfect harmonies and balance is going to reduce those
ears to a perfectly harmonious balance. They’re not going to be any bigger than that and
maybe more like that, something along those lines.
But the fact is—let’s go back again. We had the hair covering the ears. Now, when
you cover something up you lose its full mass. And so you want to oftentimes show what little
that is showing to be a little bigger. That’s what he ended up doing here, I would argue.
He went ahead and let it be a little bigger ear. And it could have some concept like it’s
Peter hearing the word of Jesus that will inspire him to become the rock of the church
and whatever metaphor you’re trying to get of that. So you make the ears bigger so they
hear. The “better to hear you with, my dear” kind of a thing. So anyway, some of that.
But the fact is, if it’s overlapped and mostly dropped into shadow it’s losing its mass.
You know, it’s not taking up as much square footage in the real estate of our composition.
And so we make it oftentimes a little bigger so that it shows off. It’s not lost.
It doesn’t look diminutive. So when you get cropped, get it overlapped, get it shaded
out of contrast and interest then you might bump it to get a little bit more interest.
So anyway, I would argue that that is the case here. Even if it isn’t the case here
it’s a strategy to think about for your own work.
ear is conceived as just a wing shape like so. There is that thickness. See that simple
shape? And then he gives it personality. So this fellow’s simple shape is going to be
different than this fellow’s simple shape. Notice how his curves down here. We’ll talk
about that in a second like that. But beautifully done. Nice and clean. So despite all the cool
stuff in there it’s that simple disk shape that we conceived of early on. Isn’t that
interesting? That no matter how complicated things become they’ll tend to follow that
basic form because all ears are similar. Everybody’s ears are fairly close, give or take the outliers.
It’s fairly close to the next person. You can see again nicely how the face overlaps
the ear and how much overlap happens like that. Here you can see a little vestige right
in here. A little vestige of that inner rim or that inner bowl, I should say. Remember,
we had the bowl here with the rim on it. There is that bowl poking through. We can see that
over on our fellow here, the lecturer here.
I’m going to put it in much more than it really is. Here is where the rim of the ear
ends. There is the outer rim, and here is the inner rim in here. Then we have that,
there is the little canal. You can see this is. Now we’re taking something that is this
like that, and we’re bending it in on itself and twisting it off like that. You can see
now the concept here wrapping in, coming inside and out like so. And so it’s just a variation,
pull it that way. It’s the same old stuff. It’s just that this same old stuff has a
certain personality that gives it a unique take. Same thing. Now I’ve trimmed it back
a little bit from what it is here and up here so that I can show you that rim. And we’ll
see it better on a later drawing in our series here. So there is the outer rim, and here
is the bowl. Much more visible in my conception that it really was in this drawing. But can
you see that little bowl shape? This bowl shape here is what we’re talking about.
This right here is this little fellow right there. Okay, so interesting. Again, you can
see how this ear then morphs and pulls into the cheekbone. Flows right in. All on the
same plane. They’ll be a little wobble over bone structure and all that kind of vagaries
of the flesh, but it’s all on a plane. And you can see nicely here how that plane of
the side of the face actually flares out. It flares out that way. So those ears become
wings. Perhaps visualize a bird flapping its wings. They’re coming off the body and arching
out, flaring out to take flight.
Okay, here is our lovely Manet. So this is actually, this red is costuming. It’s a
Okay, here is our lovely Manet. So this is actually, this red is costuming. It’s a
bandana we would presume, or a hair tie or whatever you call that. So that’s not part
of the ear. So let’s not make that mistake. This is all the ear here, of course. Again,
you can see how it makes a smooth transition, just flaring out a little bit. If we can see
this side it would flare out. But it’s turned enough that we can’t see it. But it flares
out just a little bit. You can also see how it stays, give or take that flaring. It staying
on that cheek plane. So whatever value the cheek is over here, you can make the ear about
the same value. That’s a general safe bet. There are other solutions that we’ll talk
about maybe in other lessons, but that gives us a basic idea. Here is the inner rim. Here
is the outer rim. We’re not exactly sure those come together and separate. You can
see how the earlobe connects to—let me make this inner rim red now. You can see how the
earlobe connects to the outer rim. This and this are being overlapped by that inner rim.
So they actually connect together this way. But the inner rim is cramping their style
there. Intruding in. So let’s take that out here. I guess it would be easier to just
do it here. Here is the outer rim into the ear lobe, and then the inner rim is coming
out and breaking in and disrupting that cohesion. If you’re doing something like that, more
or less, a little more side view here. You get the idea. So this dot-dot-dot comes out
here. That’s what we have here, dot-dot-dot. Comes out here. And then there is the hollow
in here. And then this gets lost in the sideburn area of the hair.
So we don’t see how this happens.
Okay, a lovely Raphael. We haven’t gotten to use this for a while because of the turn
Okay, a lovely Raphael. We haven’t gotten to use this for a while because of the turn
of the head. See that thickness of the ear? Now that ear sticks out a lot, and that was
kind of a sign of the times. Those ears would poke out a lot from this view oftentimes.
If you see them looking in front they look kind of like the little boy in the Normon
Rockwell. They stick out a little too much. So that would do that. A lot of these artists
would play that as an affectation. It was a way of moving us around the face more strongly
and to get a turn there. But you can see right here, there is the bowl shape. Here is the
rim just as a thickness. That’s really all we’re seeing. We’re seeing a little bit
of what’s going on here as this comes in. But none of this is separated out. The inner
rim is added to we would presume the outer rim. We don’t see this part here. We just
see it wrap in there, there, and it is radically simplified. There are some real subtleties
there, but basically it’s just kind of a silly putty tube there. But we do see a little
bit of this coming in here. And that’s that rim, that outer rim tucking back inside the
ear. We just can’t quite get to that moment there, that angle to see it. Then this as
I said is attaching on here. And so that’s that bowl shape that then meets against the
skull or in this case the hair. The head wrap like so.
As always, we want to feel the relationship between the eyebrow and the ear because that’s
going to help place, plot out that structure there.
Okay, so that’s that.
Okay, and this is our last one here. Here we can see beautifully just the thickness
there. Notice what he did: He drew the hair here and the limit of the ear as it meets
the background here, and what’s left inside becomes that thickness.
That thickness to the ear in here. This would be coming in here,
and then we would have that bowl shape,
that disk shape. Let’s do that as it attaches to the skull. We’d have this kind of thing
going on like so. The skull would attach here and cover it and, of course, be overlapping
it in this case. That’s how it fixes.
Okay, over on the other side we have a similar bit going on. We see the ear pin in, as we
talked about before. The earlobes kind of pin close. That’s why it’s bumpy. It kind
of has a lumpy bump there. We’re going to make it a smoother transition like a ski slope.
It’ll be what it will be or what you’ll want to stylize it as. We’ll keep that like that.
This is that thickness again just like we have here. Then we have a little bit right
here, a little bit of that bowl again. Can’t see it down here, but it would be somewhere in here.
So here and again that would be where it affixes. It would fit tight. We have the hair closing
on even tighter, but there you go. Then we have that little cast shadow there. That’s
giving you a sense of the earlobe comes off and then onto the neck in there. So that little
shadow right here gives us a sense, cast shadows kind of anchor a form and set it back onto
the attaching body. We’re on the ear, and then by the cast shadow it pulls us back onto the form.
It feels connected.
Transcription not available.
see if you can apply some of the information about ears through the reference right on to your drawing pad.
So give it a shot.
do the timed poses, I’m going to do them along with you. Let’s do some real simple
ears here from our different positions. I’m really working hard to separate that front
of the ear that’s coming at us away from the side of the ear that’s going back in
here. Then we have the face covering that sideburn cheek area down into the jaw. Notice
that he’s got some pretty interesting ears going on here in terms of bumps and lumps.
And so I can come back on a second pass and kind of work out the simple character of his
ears rather than the simple character of generic ears. We want to be simple, yet characteristic,
and we can have basic ears that we might make up for our storyboarding or comic book design
or quick sketching and stuff. But we also want to practice doing quirky characters with
any detailed quirks or information that might show up. In this one it gets very hard to
see that moving in. You can show it as you see it. We barely see any of that Y shape.
Let me come back. Now that I’ve sketched in what I think is fairly close to my interpretation
of these ears, I’ll come back in and I’ll bump it out so I make sure that I’m thinking
and seeing and the audience is the clear line. Whether it’s a finished piece or a concept
design, I’d want to come in a delineate. I make sure I’ve conceived of the important
things and focusing on those. There is a little bit of that inner bowl shape connecting with
the outer rim. Then notice if I can play down how thin the sideburn area is. That sliver.
That’s going to make it feel like it’s receding back along this vanishing plane.
Then we go into the wider ears that are popping out. Not straight out, but a little more open.
And so that thin to think will help take us down and out.
Okay, here we have a different model. Same view, except we’re underneath it. So here
now, you can see how this kicked in. It went from thinner to thicker in, that kind of thing.
Now on this one we’ve got it kind of flaring out, those lobes kind of pop out. A real different
gesture. You can kind of think of the gesture of the body, this to this. Very different.
Right off the bat then we feel the personality come through. You can see thin that rim is.
This would be a mistake. This is actually the hair covering. And so really that’s
an awful thick—on almost everybody that’s going to be awful thick. So the fact that
the hair covers that, I wouldn’t want to draw that like that because this little thickness
and that little thickness is the same, and I want this to be thicker and not thinner.
Again, that will help us vanish, recede to more tighter angles there. That fits in there.
Here is the inner rim, staying inside. It’s not bumping out. Sometimes it does. Sometimes
it doesn’t. Here is the shape here and the shape here. This is such an extreme view that
I’m just going to draw those shapes there. There is that thickness, that thickness there.
So we’re getting that kind of idea. Boom. And then all this stuff is just kind of this
weird curly-q stuff going on. Sometimes you can just pick that up and just let it be what
it is. The shapes. As long as they’re different from each other, and you’’re not getting
this kind of thing on the ear—kinda sameness repeated—you’ll do fine. But it’s real
analysis. It’s just drawing the shapes.
Okay, so on this one let’s really try and analyze, think through what we did. Here we
broke it down. Here we just kind of drew what we saw, and then we kind of came back and
kind of thought it through a little bit afterwards. Other things we left alone; we didn’t really
think through at all. Now we’re going to think through everything here. And so you
can draw these things on each level. Sometimes you can just have fun and observe and see
what you see and get it and allow your craft, your wrist skills as they say, to put down
the marks you want them to do. There is great strength in doing exercises like that.
Other times you want to break it down into real clear ideas. Let’s do that. Let’s
take the C-shape. Then we’re going to do our question mark. This goes down here, back,
dashes over. Going to do it again. I’m going to see the thickness that I see. In this case
I’m going to use that shade. Why not? Here. Pick it up again. Question mark. Of course,
reverse question marks. Now I’m going to bring this over here. It’s going to fall
away at the top. It’s going to crowd back at the bottom. Here is going to be another
question mark, but it’s not going to have a dot. It’s going to swing right back into
this. Then there is that inner/outer rim going back into the inner rim. I’m not going to
come back and pick out the stuff or find the stuff if you have time. If you get frustrated
with a clock and just have a few things you really want to do and you’re not just rendering
away, but you’re really just sketching in the spirit of the construction exercises,
go ahead and take another minute or so. Stop the clock. Nobody is going to know. Don’t
render your way out of trouble. Here’s a little Y-shape. Design, construct it. But
if you need a few more moments, that’s great. Quite often I’ll get going on something,
and there is just more analysis that needs to be done, and the time has ended. I’ll
take all or half of the time from the next pose to work on this pose. I’ll do that
with the model in class or reference on my desk.
Okay, here we have a three-quarter front view. And I really pay attention to how fat the
top is and then down at the ear lobe. On this model it gets narrower at the top and fatter
at the bottom. And that’s an interesting difference. And I love to see interesting
differences. It’s not so different that it gets grotesque or unbelievable. Sometimes
you’ll see an ear and another ear on somebody be way off, and it’s so off it’s unbelievable.
It just feels like a mistake if you draw it so you correct it. You bring it back up. In
this case this is a personality difference or a construction difference that’s attractive,
interesting. There is nothing wrong with doing that. In fact, I would encourage that it’s
a better choice than just following a generic ear. Draw simple, yet characteristic. In this
case a likeness characteristic to what I see. There is the question mark pulling in.
Here it is again pulling in. Here it falls forward swinging in and bumping. Strong bump. And
there it is again. It pulls in this case all the way up here. Usually it poops out by here,
but there it goes all the way in. Then this really kind of folds over but gets lost in there.
There is a little bit of that Y-shape right there. Then the hair comes in front
and getting some of this hair structure to work with the ear structure is a very good idea.
Okay, so now we’re on top of this. Little more of a side view. So what we’re going
to find is that this distance is going to get shorter. It’s going to foreshorten.
So what was this when you’re looking straight at it might be this. Really short when you
get on top of it. So that’s what we have here. And so here is the outer rim.
I'd rather make this front plane too fat on the ears here. You can see it pinches really close
here and then opens back up. And then that comes on down in here. That inner rim overlaps
here. Here is a nice overlap. We don’t always see it, but when you do see it it’s interesting.
So this is connecting here, getting lost behind that inner rim there. I’m playing it up
a little bit so you can see it. But you get the idea. And then this falls over, wraps
around, bumps in, and then comes up. There is the question mark idea.
This folds right into the jawline nicely.
That happens quite often, actually. Or this part here goes right
into that part down there. So you can quite often see that. Then we can’t see—this
pulls back up here, and then we have the sideburn area of the hair, and so we never see this
drop down inside. We’re missing that. That’s quite alright. That’s oftentimes the case.
Okay, here we’re getting behind the ear. And the earlobe kind of melts down a little
bit. We want to pick up that if we’re trying to get his ear and not A ear. We can see beautifully
how this outer rim tucks right inside. This has a little bump here, but usually in the
first pass I’d ignore that. Keep it simple. Don’t add every little convolution. Notice
how you can sketch this with several lines and kind of skip a step. That would give you
that thickness, that second question mark. Here it’s pulling over here. And then we’ve
got it doing some wild convolutions. This is interesting. This happens every once in
a while. Let’s just go ahead and do that Y. Then it pulls over here right into this.
Notice that the Y-shape—let’s draw that shadow in there. This split is so strong that
we actually have this doing that. This part of it is overlapped right here like that.
So typically this flows together, flows together. In this case it breaks apart and we have what
is one shape twisting, distorting, separating into two shapes. There I’m just going to
do some of the shading just so you can see—I’ll make clear that you’re seeing what I’m
drawing here. We don’t need that shadow in there. I’m just doing it so you can see
it. That goes in there. Then this beautifully flows in very strongly and pulls off here.
Then you have that deep canal in there and a little ridge in front. And as we start going
around this that little ridge is helpful for getting that behindness that we’re after.
Okay, now we’re behind and on top and so we had this idea kind of thing on the last
go-around. Now we’re going to have it squish in, foreshortened. What I’ll do is I’ll
compare it to a vertical. When I get here then it starts kicking in. This has a little
step that we’d save, but so you can see where we’re at. At the bottom of the earlobe
it’s gets close to the horizontal there. We’ve got that. Notice from this standpoint
too we’re losing that falling back quality. That’s unusual when we get behind an ear.
And so this is pulling here. This is going to be a strong top. We’re getting that idea.
There is our second one bumping over here. And then it falls way forward, pulls back
in. Pulls right here. This is a little different isn’t it? This separates here. Instead of
going all the way through. It’s separating through. So we have the little separation
and then it loops over down into our lobe area like this. We have all sorts of really
infinite subtle and sometimes major variations. Here is the little Y that does that. That
falls in. And then this comes back around in and gets lost. And then that little flap
there. In this case we get a little bit of that separation in front, that front mark.
You can pick that up or not.
That was our lesson on ears. And that wraps up also our whole big set on the head. We
did a basic structure lesson, an intermediate structure lesson, structure of the eyes, the
nose, the mouth, and we just finished up with the ears. I hope you’ll go back to those
lessons over and over and just immerse yourself in them. Use the exercises involved to practice.
We’ll see you in our next lesson. Thanks for joining me.
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