How to Draw a Perfect Shell

Written by victor curtis
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How to Draw a Perfect Shell
Shells have interesting shapes to draw. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Draw a shell quickly by using geometric shapes to rough out the form of the object. The first impression of a shell is that it is a simple curve, but closer inspection reveals intricate details in the ridges and grooves that are present. Find photos of shells or use real seashells as a starting point. When your work is finished, try adding shading or colour for a more realistic look. Shells come in a wide variety but for today, focus on a type of shell that is usually found in halves called the Van Hyning's Cockle.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Sketch a large wide oval. Sketch a smaller wide oval slightly overlapping the top of your first oval. The second oval should be about half the size of the first.

  2. 2

    Define the shape of your shell, using the ovals as a rough guide. Smooth the intersection point between your shapes to help define the curved shape of the shell.

  3. 3

    Draw vertical ridges on your shell. Finish the shape of the lip of the shell in a ruffled pattern that follows the ridges you have created.

  4. 4

    Add horizontal grooves that curve around your shell.

Tips and warnings

  • Erase any extraneous lines.
  • Don't make the shape of your shell perfect. Many shells are irregular.

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