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Large Snail Studies (step by step)

I’ve been studying my snail Cuthbert, and really learning a lot of interesting facts. I know they’re slimy, strange little creatures that eat your garden plants, but they still merit study in my opinion. So I went outside the strange thing was I just walked over to a huge Sycamore tree and felt directed to look right at it’s base in the long grasses, tucked between some big roots. I pulled the grass aside and there, lo and behold two snails! I must have felt the “Snail Vibes” hahah.

big snail photo

big snail photo

One of the snails was this big guy (or girl!) that has now been named “Jabba the Hut”! He’s munching on some sweet corn here. Enjoy the simple stages of painting in watercolor shown below, to give you an idea of how I paint them.

big snail stage 1- ink

big snail stage 1- ink

First I did drawings using light pencil, then go over it my micro permanent pen, keeping it simple and cartoon-like so I could add the detail with watercolor.

big snail stage 2

big snail stage 2

Then I look at the snails to see what pale color I see ‘underneath’ the other darker colors. I make a wash of this color and put it on, and while it’s wet, sometimes I drag a bit more of the wash or color into areas I want darker, with the tip of my brush.

big snail stage 3

big snail stage 3

Here you can see I’m just adding a bit more details and colors, keeping it simple. Look for dark patterns and be careful to leave light or white areas alone.

big snail stage 4

big snail stage 4

Sorry my stages kind of jumped here, I think I got busy and didn’t photograph any more stages! But all I did was kept looking for pattern, colors and shapes, let areas dry before adding new patterns so it doesn’t all blur together. If it does, take your paper towel tip and push it on the area to blot it, rub with brush tip and repeat until you get it lightened. You can add dappley marks with your brush tip for texture.

big snail stage 4 + paint

big snail stage 4 + paint

This is my sketch book along side my pan of watercolors, this is what I used to paint them.

Hope you enjoyed more snail studies!

More Snail Studies, Cuthbert Grows!

Well my snail has been named as I said before, “Cuthbert”, after St. Cuthbert the patron Saint of Northumberland. I did some more studies of him as he’s growing.

Cuthbert close-up, in color

Cuthbert close-up, in color

This is a close up of the watercolor study I did, it’s shown below first as a black and white ink.

Pages 2 + 3 studies in ink

Pages 2 + 3 studies in ink

Click on the images to read my notes. Cuthbert has already grown a few millimeters; the dark part on his shell is new growth.

Page 2 of colored studies

Page 2 of colored studies

Here’s the same studies colored in with watercolor.

Page 3 of colored studies

Page 3 of colored studies

This is the last page of my studies. I added to these pages on different days until I filled the two pages, but most was done in the first sitting.

Well Cuthbert says hello and goodbye, time to go and eat more carrots!  Don’t worry, more snail sketches coming again!  Don’t forget to visit my shop to see glossy note cards and other gifts with my sketches, paintings and photographs on them.