colored pencil, Illustration

The First Snail


After all those little ladybug illustrations, I decided that I would like to try another little garden critter. There were a few I had in mind, and would maybe like to work on in the future, but for right now I settled on snails.

Now, I do make an attempt to grow a vegetable garden every year, even when I say I’m not going to do it again. I know these little guys are absolute pests in a veggie garden! Heck, they demolished my beautiful basil plant in no time this year! Well, to be perfectly honest, it was probably slugs that ate it, and not snails, but slugs aren’t as fun to draw and color.

Finding the right picture was essential. I didn’t want to pick something with an overwhelming amount of detail. I love the hyper-realistic illustrations, but that’s not where I’m at currently. Maybe I’ll get there someday, but right now it’s beyond my desire (and possibly my skill set) to go that far. I do enjoy making things look realistic, it’s my style and what I gravitate towards.

With this illustration, I started keeping a list of colors I used, so I will include that at the end of this post.

Here is my reference photo (from Pixabay):


Here is my original sketch to added color on the body and then the shell:

I was a little unsure as to how I was going to showcase the texture in the snail’s body. Texture is one of those things that for me, is incredibly detail oriented. I have a hard time NOT showing something like that. At the same time, I don’t want to go way overboard with showing the texture either, because I’m not trying to show every detail. I want you to know it’s there, but not be in your face. Does that make sense? Maybe you can tell what I mean by how my final picture turned out.

What I ended up doing was using a darker color to make small strokes – dashes almost –  and then layering another color in the same manner and then going over the whole thing with a lighter shade. I think what ended up happening also, was that when I used the darker colors, I pressed into the paper, so that when I did go back over it with the lighter color, the light color didn’t stick all the way into the spaces I had made in the paper with the darker color. So the light color just brushed the top with a soft layer.


I think it worked out great.

I’m relearning everything that I used to know about using this medium. Plus learning more. I’ve always had a decent eye for color, so picking out the various shades and undertones isn’t a huge deal to me. Making texture is more difficult for me than choosing color.

I’ve joined a couple colored pencil Facebook groups and I’m really enjoying seeing others work, and work in progress. I also really like when I post my own work in progress, that everyone is so positive and supportive. They have some great resources and good links to videos and other articles.

Final piece:


Here it is next to the reference photo:



Materials used:

I used Strathmore drawing paper 6″ x 8″, so this piece is fairly small.

All colored pencils are Prismacolor Premier.

White 938; Indigo Blue 901; Ginger Root 1084; 70% Warm Grey 1056; Sand 940; Terra Cotta 944; Burnt Umber 947; Dark Brown 946; Cloud Blue 1023; and Jade Green 1021.



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