Sketchbook: depicting natural objects with pen-line

Conch Shell

This sketchbook drawing started off as a single line on a page, but I found that too hard to maintain. In addition my original biro ran out less than half the way through and so I had to continue with a darker, gel-type pen. I ended up going over many of my original marks as a consequence and the drawing became more of an exercise in creating a believable image on paper. This was a large conch shell, about 8 inches tall and there was strong daylight shining on the spiral face making it very hard to pick out tiny but important variations in tone. The shell was bleached white and very worn: not at all shiny. In places the shell was quite smooth, but in other places directional struts of calcium carbonate threw up tiny shadowy ridges along stress lines. It took me a while to work out how to draw these, leading to some areas of the drawing working better than other areas. However, as messy as it is in places I am quite pleased with the resulting drawing, mostly because I stuck at it – it was really hard!!

Conch Shell in pen
Conch Shell in pen

As I went on I became better at seeing the small variations in tone, so important to depicting the fluting of the spiral. I think that it has a three-dimensional quality, although I did rather mess up the shadow but putting in its outline (again!) when I was trying to keep my pen on the paper! I would like to draw this again sometime, perhaps on a coloured background with some highlights added in white, although as I was visiting relatives when I drew it this weekend, I may have to wait awhile to get the opportunity.

Sketchbook: depicting natural objects with pen-line

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