This is a public version of the members-only Art with Justin Bua, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Art with Justin Bua.
Join Now

The Fundamentals of Drawing
Building Skills in Drawing
Advanced Drawing and Painting
Bua's Master Lessons
Business of Art
«Prev of Next»

Art Lessons: The Ear

Lesson Video Exchanges () Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +
Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   

This video lesson is available only to members of
Art with Justin Bua.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Art with Justin Bua. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Art Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
the ear is incredibly interesting and yet,
incredibly challenging sometimes to draw.
Normally the ear is a lot larger than we
think it is.
Usually when people draw the ear they make
it really small.
But, with this lesson I wanna show you
that anybody can draw the ear.
The ear is actually, not only interesting
to draw, it's fun to draw.
It's amazing to draw.
So let's check the ear out.
So, from profile, if I just jot down a
One of the biggest mistakes, that, that my
students usually make
is that they have the ear in front of the
And the ear clearly sits, behind the
So, if here, if this is your jawline here,
the ear sits behind the jaw like that.
Now it also sits in the same directional
line, as does the jaw line,
and interestingly enough, usually as does
the nose.
Now, basic proportions should be carried
That way if you know some basic
some basic principles of where things line
up, you won't deviate too far,
and you'll keep your head looking pretty
So one of those is that the top of the ear
comes to where the eyes are, like that.
The second one is that,
the bottom of the ear comes to the bottom
of the nose.
Mm, okay?
The other measurement that is really
important is
from the eye to the chin, it's going to be
the same as from the back of the eye to
the back of the ear, see that.
So if I take that, and I swing it like
It's equidistant.
So that's really important to know.
So from right here, from the eye,
to here to the chin is gonna be the same
distance from the back
of the eye to the back of that ear.
So, you could actually make, you could
actually do a triangulation like this.
You can see that these points are
So, that's really important.
So, let's talk about that from the front.
Halfway down from the top of the head.
To the bottom of the head.
You have the eyes.
Central axis.
And from the eyes you have the ear here.
And halfway down from here to here,
you have the nose.
You have the eyes and you have the nose.
And you have the bottom of that ear, like
So the same on both sides.
So that's where your ears are located.
Here and here.
And that's really important.
So, a really simple way to understand the
ear is to ask yourself Y.
No, not why the question why, but the
letter Y.
And here's why, literally.
When you think about the structure of the
imagine it like a Y surrounded by a
question mark.
So here is a question mark and here,
is a Y, that's a real,
obviously symbolic way to figure this out.
To figure out the complexity of the ear
Now as you could see.
Start breaking it down.
So that's my like, simple solution, but it
actually really,
really is helpful, and you'll see why,
So let's break that ear down.
The ear is broken up into four parts.
The helix, the wider rim, which is the
wider rim, the outside of that ear.
The anti-helix, which is the inner rim.
The tragus, which is the cover of the ear
right here.
And that's a lot of the times what we use
to measure the figure is from the tragus,
right here.
And of course the labile, which is the
earlobe right here.
Now the ear is primarily cartilage,
and the earlobe is fat.
So the ear's primarily made of cartilage
and fat.
[NOISE] So when I draw the ear I start off
with my question mark.
It's obviously a little bit more
sophisticated version, but for
all intents and purposes it's a question
And then I go to my y, like that.
See, that's taking, that simple idea and
turning it into something a little bit
more complicated.
So the ear, we really have to think about
it in terms of planes.
The helix, has a top plane
like this, and a side plane.
Like that.
The anti-helix, it's kinda folding in.
And make sure that you think about things
like you really wanna draw around these
You wanna draw around them like that.
Now, ear's are really, really different.
My ear's gonna be really different from,
your ear.
And your ear is gonna be really different
from, your neighbor's ear.
They're just crazy looking things when you
think about them,
it almost feels like a shell.
Now inside right here, right in this part
You've gotta make sure that your finger
can fit in there, right?
The top, this is a top plane here.
And it's soft, and you want to feel every
time you're drawing a part of the figure,
you want to almost feel the texture of
And as you're drawing it, think about the
This is going from dark to light.
This is going dark, to light, to light.
And this is really soft and delicate,
kinda beautiful configuration here.
And this, this is an actual architectural
structure would be
casting a shadow on this because it's
sitting deep inside there.
This is the anti-helix in here.
Just as this would be casting a shadow.
And in general, we want to kind of glaze a
layer of value on it,
because it is sitting back inside of this
Yeah, okay.
Now obviously, sometimes you see earlobes
that are really hanging low.
Sometimes they're more square, sometimes
they just attach to the base of the skull.
Looks like it attaches right here.
But we'll just make this a little bit
And you want to feel like, if it's gonna
be that round, then you gotta show,
when you draw it you wanna, every time you
wanna draw something, you wanna feel like
it's the texture or the object that it is,
so if I'm gonna draw an earlobe, I wanna
feel like it's fatty.
If I'm going to draw the anti-helix or the
helix, I want to feel like it's cartilage,
like it actually has substance to it, like
it can bend, but it's not flimsy.
So, every time you're drawing you want to
think that way, and
you want to just think really
So, I'm trying to think about this right
this ear lobe is a little more like,
fatty, and
as this attaches here, this is a little
bit more like cartilage
[SOUND] And in here, your concha, is like
the shell area,
where you look inside the ear and it's
really dark.
That's where the, doctors look inside your
And you're like, what are you looking for,
why you doing that,
it's really uncomfortable.
This is where they're looking, right in
And that goes all the way deep inside
There we go.
So as you kinda shade this,
you wanna really feel the form.
Gonna be a cast shadow here.
A cast shadow here [SOUND].
And this tragus,
has a under-plane like that.
And still that's sitting back in the
Because cartilage doesn't stop growing,
the older you get, the bigger your ears
get, okay?
So, just be on the look out for that.
So you're gonna be really, really,
really dark in there, like that.
Like I said, always having gradations
Light is always, always gradating.
And here on the, on the helix side you
know, there's always gonna be a ridge like
So you really wanna feel like, if I was an
ant marching around this,
you wanna feel like you're marching around
here, this goes in, all the way in.
And this comes around, and there's deep,
deep into the cavernous of that canal.
Deep into that canal, right in there.
And you just wanna basically always try to
just feel that form.
Just feel it.
And voila, you have an ear.
challenging ourselves we can really have a
lot of fun drawing the ear.
So here's something that a lot of my
students always have issues with or
problems with and I could kinda give you a
really easy solution for this.
That will really help you out.
Because at the end of the day, we could
all draw ears really well.
Cuz, I've always had a problem with this
So, I like to kinda just as a rule of
thumb, if you have.
You're looking down on the figure.
In other words, your nose is here.
Your mouth is here.
It’s all in perspective.
That same rule applies.
The ears will always line up with the top
of the eyes, with the eyes like this.
The bottoms of the ears will always line
up with the bottom of the nose.
Like this.
So, all we're doing is just basically.
Let's give this guy a hairline like that.
So we're just keeping that same principle.
But instead of doing it straight like
that, because the head is tilting on
a axis we wanna keep that axis in line
with the head.
So if this guy's looking down, then the
ears are still lining up,
with the nose and the eyes.
They're just lining up in perspective,
like that.
So the same would be said for a top view.
If you have the eyes like this,
the nose, the mouth,
[NOISE] foreheads.
Everything's doing this, right?
[NOISE] The bottom of that
nose is the bottom of that ear.
Like that.
[NOISE] The bottom of that eye,
I'm sorry, the eye is the top of that ear.
Like that.
So no matter what.
It's always, always going to line up.
So that is that's really important.
That's always hard.
And if you're having any problems
whatsoever instead of just kind of.
This will just keep you on track.
This will keep you on track.
It's really important.
Also one other thing is that, when you
have a profile.
Of the ear.
The bottom of that ear, if you bring it
all the way up, like that
is usually where the back of the neck, the
trapezius fits.
So the back of the neck is coming from
here and like this.
The ear is amazing, because the ear is
a proportional measuring point for the
entire face.
So, if you're doing portraits, you gotta
get your ear in right away.
If you're doing head studies, you gotta
get your ears in right away.
That actually tells you.
It gives you a lot of visual clues
that will help map out a really good
drawing, or a really good painting.
So it's important.
Getting your ears in really will help you.
If your ear's in a wrong place, that's
going to throw everything else off.
So certain things, like making sure that
the ear is
obviously behind the mandible that the
back of the ear lines up with the back of
the trapezius, that the top of the ear
comes to the, where the eyes are,
the bottom of the ears comes to where the
bottom of the nose is.
Those simple things will really help guide
you to do a really good accurate drawing.
That's important.
The other thing that's very difficult,
you know, very difficult for me as well is
really getting and
understanding the back of, the back of the
That's like, that's hard.
That's complicated.
So, I wanna to go over with you so
that we can make it simpler and easier and
yet still fun to draw.
So, the back of the ear, I kind of think
about it like
a a tube going into a plate.
So, the basic principle of that is that
you have a tube, like this.
This is obviously super simple, but this
will help you break it down.
This is kind of logic.
You have a tube and you have.
A plate.
Now you're probably saying, boo.
Come on.
That does not look like an ear.
Hold on one second.
My main get to that.
So, that might not look like an ear yet,
but the principle is there.
That's a simplistic version of what I'm
trying to say.
So, if we just take this and we say, okay,
well the head's really kinda connecting
right around here.
And that, you know, this is the back of
the ear.
And it kind of goes this direction.
Then it goes that direction then it goes
And we're breaking it down into simple
And we don't really have a tube, but it's
a little bit more of.
Shape that's going into it.
You could start seeing that and the jaw is
right here.
Take that away and it starts to look like
the back of an ear.
So, from the other side to make it even
You really just wanna show the back of the
head overlapping that ear, like that.
Just giving you a point of view here.
Saying this is like the trapeze here.
This is the seventh vertebrae here.
And here's the here, might be a little
But if you could see the basic principle
of a tube and
a plate from the back [NOISE] like that.
You could see how it could be applied to
the back of the head.
So, have fun with that ear.
It's a lot of fun to draw.
A lot of crazy shapes, but really
So really just kind of look at it study
Think about the details.
Kinda learn where the helix is.
Where the anti-helix is.
Where the tragus is and where the earlobe
And really as you draw experience it.
So when you draw cartilage, make sure it
feels like cartilage.
When you draw the earlobe, make sure it
feels like fat.
And most importantly, line the ear up in
its correct proportion.
Cuz that will be everything to a good