Anime Ears

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Times viewed: 136488   Rating: 6/10
REMARK: It is highly recommended that users of this tutorial use the diagrams for learning purposes and eventually develop their own style.

Ears, just like eyes, come in a variety of styles. However, the sizes and shapes are almost always identical regardless of sex.

AKIRA (male)

Looking at all of the ear styles on the page, I bet you're thinking that AKIRA style ears are the simplest around. Not so! In some anime, the ear is even more simplified, the inner ear is defined by only a single line.

Ears, unlike eyes, don't really convey a lot of emotion. The exception, of course, would be ears that aren't human. The most popular type of non-human ears are: elf, animorph (aka furry), or other "other-worldly" styles. They have the advantage of being able to move around a lot more (much like dog ears) and can convey emotions just as much as eyes. Many artists take advantage of that and make characters that are easily remembered and adored by their audiences.

Ah! My Goddess (female)

Even though an ear isn't overly detailed, you'll notice that the shadows cast on the ear are never created by accident. If you look at the examples above for AKIRA and Ah! My Goddess, you'll notice that light affects both in different ways. Granted, they're at different angles, but the point is, just because your ear design is relatively simple, don't use that as an excuse to be lazy with your shadow treatment of a simple form.

Love Hina (female)

Here you can see that the style is starting to lean towards abbreviated realism. Remember that term from the eye section? Well, the term applies to every single aspect of your characters' body. You can mix and match styles of eyes and ears for different looks. Taking the above as an example, in Love Hina, the eyes are styled in the manga form, whereas the ears on Kitsune (above) are pretty complex.

However, the artist didn't go too far to preserve the simple nature of his forms overall for his characters. Finding a balance is key in developing your own feature styles for your characters.

Rurouni Kenshin OVA (male)

One important thing to note:

The more simplified an artist wants a shape, like an ear, the less lines an artist uses to define the shape. But one thing remains constant; the most important lines are always drawn. In the case for drawing eyes, the upper eyelid is most important because it defines the shape of the eye. For ears, it's the upper fold. These key lines define the shape of the object and are almost always drawn regardless of how simple you want your eye, ear, nose, or mouth to be.

Important note: The author is not a natural English speaker and there is a high chance of mistakes in every way. Corrections and comments are welcome.
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