Follow along with the step-by-step tutorial below. You can also watch the provided video lesson.

Important Note: At the end of the tutorial, you will find the PDF downloads of all the files you'll need to complete the project:

  • Watercolor final reference photo
  • Outline to use for tracing the image
  • Step-by-step Instructions PDF

Step 1 - Gather Your Supplies

Gather your supplies and trace your snail onto your watercolor paper. You can use a window and trace it with a pencil or use graphite paper. For this painting you'll be using the Round Brush Size 6.

Step 2 - Paint the Body of the Snail

Let's start by blocking in our colors. Do a very light coat of Intense Blue (which is a grey/blue color) on the body of the snail.

Step 3 - Paint the Next Layer of Body Color

Next, go over the whole body with a light coat of Burnt Umber (the darker brown). I made the underside of my snail a bit darker to show shadows.

Step 4 - Paint the Base of the Shell

Now fill in the snail's shell with a light coat of the lighter brown called Burnt Sienna.

Step 5 - Design the Snail's Shell

While the shell is still a bit damp, add some lines to his shell (or any decoration you want...there are so many kinds of shells.. just have fun!) I made my lines curve to follow the shape of his shell. 

Step 6 - Add the Shading Lines

Now make a nice dark grey color by mixing some of the Intense Blue (darker blue) with Burnt Umber (darker brown). Use the tip of your brush to define the lines on the snail. This will help with shading. Make sure to do two dots for his eyes!

Step 7 - Soften the Lines

Go over the lines with a wet brush (no paint) and just move the paint around a bit so the lines look soft and natural.

Step 8 - Define the Shell

Use some more of your dark grey mixture to define your shell. Just imagine where the shadows would be and make it darker in those areas. Go in with a wet brush again to make the lines soft.

Step 9 - Outline the Snail

After your painting is completely dry, you can choose to outline everything with a fine tip, waterproof pen. I like to do this because I like the way it looks but you may like it without the outlines. You decide :)

You're Done!

And that's it! Now go and hang up your beautiful snail or even better give it to someone else to enjoy!

Lily and Thistle-Painting Nature-Snail Painting Tutorial.pdf
Complete and Continue