Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Anatomy of the Ear

The external ear is also called the auricula or pinna. The outer rim or helix spirals up out of the bowl-like conchal fossa. A swelling known as Darwin’s tubercle is present in 10.4% of the population.

The antihelix curves inside the helix, separated by the groove called the scapha. It splits at the top into the superior and inferior crux or leg, with the triangular fossa in between.

The flap called the tragus protects of the auditory meatus, or earhole. Often with two distinct swellings, it uses the Greek name for goat because of its beard-like hairs.

Across the intertragical notch is the prominence known as the antitragus, part of the stiff cartilaginous shelf from which hangs the fleshy auricular lobule (earlobe). The depression behind the ear is called the auricular sulcus.

Wikipedia on external ear,
Darwin's tubercle (thanks, Donna)
tragus (thanks, Stape)

14 comments:

Chinami said...

"The flap called the tragus protects of the auditory meatus, or earhole. Often with two distinct swellings, it uses the Greek name for goat because of its beard-like hairs.
"

Tragus. I now have a new nickname to call my grandfather. It's perfect!

Jokes aside. You're a quick study. I'm now inspired to try my own close up sketch of an ear. Perhaps I can persuade my mother to hold still.

Who was the ear model? ;)

GooGoo Supreme said...

i think that dude was pulling your....ear..

and you fell for it hook line and sinker, haha!!

but at least we all got a good lesson and laugh out of the wolfmans advice...

James Gurney said...

Chinami, the model was a plaster drawing cast, and the notes come mainly from anatomy books by Peck, Feher/Szunyoghy, Loomis, and Vanderpoel.

Steve said...

There's the 10% with the tubercle, and then some other percentage with a completely attached auricular lobule (earlobe). This is particularly common among Chinese and Japanese, though I have a friend of Irish descent whose lobes are so attached they seem nonexistent.

For several years, the Ann Arbor Art Fair featured the work of Denis Lee. A trained medical illustrator, he also did fine art pen and ink drawings. Denis is a medical sculptor who specializes in prosthetic ears and noses. For museum display, he has done facial reconstructions based on skulls thousands of years old. I'm sure the legs of his helix would meet Dennis Nolan's standards.

As you probably know, once males pass the age of 50 their tragi require regular mowing.

Jean Spitzer said...

Fascinating. I pulled out some drawings I did a couple of years ago of an ear (from life) in a right hand, left hand drawing exercise. Comparing, I can see what I got right and what the weak areas are. The model did have Darwin's tubercle, by the way.

Chinami said...

@ Steve
I'm half Japanese and I have completely attached auricular lobule!
( I've heard it defined as whether or not you can twiddle with your earlobes.) I didn't realize it is especially predominate trait among Chinese and Japanese though.

Perhaps it's an adaption to certain climates?

Oscar Baechler said...

There's a humorous conventional wisdom in 3D modeling, which states that you should model one really detailed, anatomically correct ear. Then, for every model you do the rest of your life, reuse this ear, because they're extremely time consuming and boring to model. Much easier than memorizing all that!

Jon Hrubesch said...

The lower leg of the antihelix seems to be attached to the front part of the helix in your drawing. Maybe it's just the way the light was playing on the model but shouldn't there be more of a separation between the two? Otherwise it's an awesome drawing as always. I've been practicing drawing the human eye and ear to get a better grasp of their shape as well. I plan to do sketches of the hand and foot next from different angles. There is a lot to be said for drawing objects correctly. It's truly striking when you see something depicted accurately.

clyde semler said...

If you're one of the lucky 10.4 percent, the tattoo and piercings guy on our block is offering a special discount to embellish your Darwin's tubercle, 2 for the price of one. No tubercle? He does botox as well.

dwilson said...

Congratulations, you may graduate Jim.

There's nothing like cast drawing when live models aren't willing to sit. Charles Braque has an amazing book on cast drawing, Drawing Course.

Emma Kirsopp said...

Ha! well what do you know, I'm part of that 10.4% being a proud bearer of Darwin’s tubercle

Chinami said...

I thought this might be an interesting addition to this post: Ear acupuncture.

http://acupuncture.com/education/tcmbasics/earacu.htm

Bo said...

Something that has always been bugging me when I read comics is when an author draws an ear like half a donut. Something that seems very popular in japanese comics. I cant stand it.

Mike Puncekar said...

Well heck. I've been drawing ears wrong for years.