Sketching a Shell in Graphite and Carbon

In this series, we will be creating a rendered drawing of a broken shell using a mix of graphite and carbon pencils. This session will be focused on getting the basic shapes and shadows of the shell loosely sketched in.

You can download the same reference I’m using here:

Here is a rough materials guide:

  • Paper
  • Graphite pencils (mix of hardnesses)
  • Carbon Pencil (mix of hardnesses)
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Begin by lightly sketching in the curves of the shell.
  • You are looking to get the overall proportions roughly correct at this stage.
  • Don’t worry about adding lots of detail.
  • If you notice any mistakes at any point, don’t hesitate to erase and correct them.
  • Next, you can lay in the main shadow shapes and shade them in lightly too.
  • Once again, avoid adding lots of detail yet. Just focus on the major shapes and forms.
  • Finally, you can lay in more precise outlines now that everything is roughly correct.
  • You can also start shading in the halftones a bit to begin to turn the lighter forms.