Like many of the structures of the human body, the ear is a complex shape. However, you can form this complex shape from clay with relative ease using the right basic shapes and techniques. Once you master a simple ear shape, you can refine your technique to master the shape of individual ears for large figurines, sculptures and busts.
Roll out your clay into a 1/3-inch thick sheet using a clay rolling pin.
Cut out a half circle measuring 2 inches in radius (meaning, the full circle would have had a 4-inch diameter).
Press one corner of the half circle with your fingertip. Round and curl it down to create a rounded top, like the top of an ear.
Round the opposite corner of the half circle. Then, pinch the rounded end between your thumb and forefinger to create a flat, round spot that protrudes slightly below the rest of the half-circle. This is the lobule or ear lobe (where earrings are placed).
Hold the clay in the palm of your secondary hand. Press your fingertip into the clay repeatedly, moving it around, to form a bowl shape on the inside of the half circle. Leave a ridge about 1/8-inch thick all the way around the curved edge, and leave the lobule untouched.
Roll your fingertip over the outside ridge to round it. Move all the way up and down the ridge.
Pinch the clay inside the bowl shape to form ridges inside for the shape of the inner ear. Look at your own ear in the mirror, or a photo of an ear, to observe the shape of these ridges and try to imitate them. They're a little different for everyone, but they all follow the same basic shape of a large ridge with a fork on the top and a second ridge attached to the outer rim of the ear.