how to draw a snail

Learn how to draw a snail filled with simple effects to end up with a beautiful character filled with depth, volume and life! Fortunately, this insect is quite easy to illustrate even if you are only a beginner. The shape of this animal is singular and mostly made from curved lines.

In the first part of this tutorial, you will learn how to draw this snail in just a couple of easy steps using basic shapes and lines. Then, the second part of this lesson will be dedicated to adding depth and volume to the character (especially the shell) to make this one even more visually appealing.

How to draw a snail

If you are not quite familiar with this cute insect, then this step is definitely for you! I will show you what makes a snail so special and what you should look for when sketching this original cartoon character.

  1. Eyes are mounted on small antennas.
  2. These eyes and pupils are small and made from circles.
  3. The shell is large and mostly filled with a brown color.
  4. A spiral can be found within the shell.
  5. Other small lines are added to give a little bit of depth to the drawing.
  6. The tail is long and pointed.
  7. Small (and dark) patches are found on the body of the snail.
  8. A long stripe is visible on the stomach of the character.
  9. The mouth is simple and the bottom lip can be seen.

Do you know more about this insect now? Great! Let's proceed with the first part of this lesson, which consists of drawing the character itself. :)

Step 1 - Let's create a few shapes

It's always a good practice to draw a few basic shapes to help us draw an accurate character. In this case, you can start with a large circle to represent the shell. The body is made of a long oval shape while the tail is done using a small triangle. That's pretty much it for this step. Let's start drawing now!

How to draw a snail

Step 2 - adding a few lines to create the snail

Using the template created in the previous step, let's draw this snail using mostly short curved lines. The shell can have an irregular shape as shown in the example below. The body is slim and done using two long curved lines. Don't forget to draw the mouth and the lips using two additional lines.

How to draw a snail

Step 3 - Some parts are missing!

On top of the head, create the antennas and the eyes using a mix of curved lines and circular shapes. Inside the shell, draw more lines to create a spiral. We are almost done already! Let's draw some details to complete this section on how to draw a snail!

How to draw a snail

Step 4 - The final details

Inside the shell, draw more lines to create a little bit of depth around the spiral. On the back of the cartoon snail, sketch a few oval shapes to represent the patches found on the body of this insect. Then, a single line can be drawn to create the stripe on the stomach.

How to draw a snail

Step 5 - Time to apply some colors!

The body of the snail can be filled with a bright green color. The same colors can be applied to the antennas, but the pupils are slightly darker. The stripe below the stomach is slightly brighter. As for the shell, a light brown color is added to this one.

How to draw a snail

Let's learn how to draw a snail filled with depth and volume

Although the entire character will be filled with great digital effects in this second part of the tutorial, the shell is the element that we will focus on. Our goal is to create a shell that is filled with great shadows, highlights and reflections. 

To do so, no need to create complex textures or add anything that cannot be done using a simple shape. After all, this lesson on how to draw a snail should remain accessible to anyone! :)

adding some shadows using additional shapes

Inside the shell, draw additional shapes (mostly on the bottom part of the shell) that are filled with a darker version of the brown color already found inside this part of the body. You can use a little bit of transparency to make the whole thing visually more appealing. Another small shadow was also added below the mouth using the same technique.

How to draw a snail

More highlights on the shell and the body

If you compare this illustration with the previous one, you will notice that the top of the shell as well as the top of the body are slightly brighter. Indeed, more shapes filled with bright colors were added inside these two elements. Then, using the transparency tool, the bottom part of both new shapes were partially erased.

How to draw a snail

One last touch of brightness!

Inside the shell, more shapes were drawn to create even more reflections inside the spiral. The new shapes are bright and all edges are blurry. Transparency was also added to make the whole thing more subtle and nicer to look at.

Patches found on the body of the cartoon snail were also partially hidden to make these more subtle too. Cool! One last thing can be done to end up this lesson on how to draw a snail.

How to draw a snail

Can you see the difference?

One last modification was made to conclude this lesson. Can you see it? Each line was previously filled with a dark black color. Instead, I have selected dark brown colors for the shell's outlines and dark green colors for the body's strokes. This effect is crucial to add more depth to the illustration and make this one less 3D ...

How to draw a snail

The joy of adding depth and volume to an illustration

This lesson on how to draw a snail filled with shadows and highlights gives you an idea of what it takes to create depth and volume to an illustration. Of course, you can play with the level of details involved and go for something simpler or much more complex.

Indeed, we could spend hours adding textures, shadows and details to create a drawing that is almost photorealistic. Feel free to experiment in order to find the level of details you are the most comfortable with. :)


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Drawing Toons > Learn How to Draw Insects > How to Draw a Snail