How to create a snail drawing

In this lesson, I will show you how to draw a simple snail drawing using basic shapes and lines. Then, you will learn how to add digital effects into the cartoon illustration to create more depth and volume quickly and easily.

How to create a snail drawing

Before proceeding with this lesson, let's use the cute illustration above to learn a little bit more about this fascinating character ...

  1. Eyes are located on top of long antennas.
  2. These are are made from large circles. Pupils are done using dots.
  3. The shell is large and drawn using broken lines.
  4. A spiral is visible inside the shell.
  5. Smaller lines are also sketched around the shell.
  6. The tail is small and pointed.
  7. Patches can be seen on the body of the insect.
  8. A brighter stripe is added on the chest.
  9. Small lines are drawn using curved lines.

Cool! That's all we need to know from this character for now. Let's move on with the first part of this tutorial: drawing the cartoon snail using basic shapes, lines and plain colors.


step 1 - sketching basic shapes

Before drawing the character itself, it's always a good idea to add a few basic shapes to help us create accurate proportions. You can start this lesson on how to create a snail drawing by adding a large circle for the shell and a long oval shape for the body. The tail is made from a tiny triangle.

How to create a snail drawing

step 2 - drawing curved and straight lines

It's now time to work on the animal! You can use a few straight lines to illustrate the shell while using the large circle as a guideline. The body is made from long curved lines while the mouth and lips are done using smaller strokes. Don't forget to sketch a small and sharp tail.

How to create a snail drawing

step 3 - working on the eyes and the shell

Next, you can draw the eyes and the pupils using large and small circular shapes. You can also draw the spiral inside the shell using straight lines. Don't forget to erase all orange shapes added in the first step since these guidelines are not required anymore.

How to create a snail drawing

step 4 - adding more details for more realism

Even if this is just a simple cartoon version of a snail drawing, it's a good practice to add just enough details to make the character appealing and easily recognizable. Inside the shell, draw more lines as pictured below.





Round patches can also be drawn on the body of the insect. Finally, complete this step with the creation of a long patch on the chest of the snail.

How to create a snail drawing

step 5 - adding beautiful plain colors

For this example, I have selected a nice brown color for the shell and a saturated green tone for the body. Patches on the body can be darker while the long stripe found on the chest must be brighter. I also used a simple green color for both pupils.

How to create a snail drawing

That's it ... for the first part of this lesson!

Below you can see all five steps needed to illustrate this snail properly. As you can see, this character is relatively easy to achieved. No complex elements need to be drawn or sketched. For the second part of this lesson, let's see how adding simple digital effects can help enhance this image a little bit ...

How to create a snail drawing

smaller shadows in strategic areas

First, you can add small shadows inside the shell of the snail drawing and near the mouth as shown below. This simple tip is already enough to give more depth to the character. For a simple character like this one, only a couple of additional shapes are needed.

How to create a snail drawing

reflection to make this snail more shiny!

It's also a good practice to create reflection inside the illustration if your goal is to create more volume. See how the top of the shell is slightly brighter? It's also the case on the body of the insect (near the patches). The contrast between darker and brighter areas is perfect to complete our mission.

How to create a snail drawing

a shinier shell for a more interesting cartoon snail

The shell of a snail drawing needs to be shiny if you are looking for more realism. In this step, you can add more reflection inside the shell using a subtle brown color all around the spiral. Another simple, yet effective tip!

How to create a snail drawing

The result? A nice snail drawing! :)

One last thing you can do is change the color of all outlines and strokes instead of keeping the traditional (and boring) black color. As shown below, the snail drawing feels even more realistic when lines surrounding the shell are colored in brown and the ones used for the body and eyes are colored in green.

How to create a snail drawing

I hope you had fun working with this adorable cartoon character. Feel free to try more animals from the same series here and don't hesitate to sketch more snails using different shapes, colors and of course, using your own style. :)


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