Sunday, 23 August 2015

How To Draw: Slugs and Snails

Ok, slugs and snails may not sound like the hardest or interesting of subjects to draw, but snail shells can be. They might be the gardener's worst enemy, but once you get down to their level, they appear like slimy aliens from another planet when you get a close up view of one. Last week at Titchwell in the pouring rain, they were everywhere and I couldn't help but get interested into the world of snails. I have grown to like them.

Stage One
Drawing slugs and snails is fairly easy. With no limbs, there is very little to draw, which makes these molluscs a great subject for those who say that they can not draw at all. To draw a slug, all you need is to draw a cigar-shape with one end thinner and pointed. For a snail, just add a circle on top for the shell.

Stage Two
Next you need to adjust the shape and add the two eye stalks and the feelers by the mouth end. At the bottom of the slug and snail, draw a line an inch above the bottom edge to represent the rim of the foot (the underside of the snail/slug) and scribble in lines across most of the body to represent the texture of the snail's and slug's skin. Slugs don't have shells, but instead have a smooth area of skin near the head end and so you need to seperate this area from the rest of the body and draw a circle inside this area, which is a hole that the slug uses to breath with. To draw the snail's shell, start by drawing the rim of the shell. For the spiral, start it at the end of the line created for the shell's rim (the end that isn't connected to the main outline of the shell) and draw the top half of a number 2 and spiral inwards with space inbetween each turn.

Stage Three
Redraw the outlines in pen and rub the pencil lines out. For the slug, I shaded heavily black, leaving small gaps to represent the skin's bumpy texture on the body. Leave the circle inside the smooth patch of skin (which is completely covered black) bare. For the snail, the body is lightly shaded in with small lines drawn along the rim of the foot. The shell is shaded in various shades from light to dark, depending on the shell's pattern. A shell pattern might be blotchy or stripy depending on the species that you are drawing.

Stage Four
Colour in your slug and snail (though I didn't need to do that for my slug). I coloured in the snail's body with a light shade of yellow with a light layer of grey and brown on top of it. The shell was first layered with a heavy layering of yellow, then orange, then patches of brown and black and finally, I went over to highlight the detail again with my pen.

Drawing Stage
 Not all shells are spiralled to one side. My next set of sketches demonstrates two variaties of snail shells as well as the opposite side of the type of shell my garden snail from the previous sketch has. The pond snail (top) has a pointed shell, which looks like an egg with three blocks (each smaller than the last) attached to one end of it. The smaller pointed shell of the tiny door snail (right) is like a thin cone divided into segments with lines going lengthways from one end of the shell to the other and a circle for the shell's entrance hole. Lastly, the shell of a brown-lipped snail (bottom) is a circle with a D-shape for the entrance hole and is divided up into curving lines for the lip of the shell and for the stripped pattern.

Pen Stage

Redraw the outline in pen. Shade in the stripes and for the door snail, the texture.

Colouring Stage

Finally, colour in your shells. I used a pen to lightly create any grooves for the shell's texture. And that is all I had to do.

As I said earlier, slugs and snails can be the easiest subject to draw. As they are so slow, it will give you plenty of time to study them, but when you do, pay more attention to the shell. These are some of the most beautiful structures in nature and is worth a closer look and to practice drawing with. So get out there, find a shell and draw it as many times as you can. A perfect subject for beginners and professional artists alike.

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