Sketching a Crab – 30 Minute Drawing Exercise

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How to Sketch a Crab

Practice makes perfect. And although perfection cannot be achieved in any drawing that we create, we can always improve our drawings skills through practice. Sketching is an excellent way to practice your drawing skills. Although a sketch is not a finished drawing, we still use and exercise the same observational “muscles”.

Gettin’ Sketchy is designed to provide you with a little drawing instruction through a fun drawing challenge. If you missed the previous episodes of Gettin’ Sketchy, you can check out the last three episodes here…

This sketching exercise is timed. The goal is to produce a fairly accurate sketch live within 30 minutes. This makes things a little more dramatic, but it’s important to remember that finished drawings require much more time to complete. In this exercise, we couldn’t complete the drawing in 30 minutes. It ended up taking a little more time (45 minutes), but that’s not a problem. By setting a time goal, we at least get started and once we start, we have a good chance of finishing.

Here’s the step by step process for drawing the crab…

  • We’ll first simplify the shapes of the crab, looking for the most basic shapes.
  • While moving our entire arm, we’ll loosely sketch the shapes that we see. In this case, we’ll start with the shape of the shell and then add the shapes for the legs extending out.
  • Using these basic shapes as a guide, we’ll draw in the contour lines (outlines). We can vary the line quality to make the drawing more interesting.
  • To finish things up, we’ll add some quick value and shading. This creates the illusion of the light source, texture, and form.

You don’t need any fancy drawing tools for some sketching practice. For this drawing, a basic sketchbook by Strathmore and a mechanical pencil by Steadtler (2B graphite) was used.

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Check out for free resources for drawing and painting. I picked up this reference from this site and edited it a little with Photoshop. I simply removed the color and cropped the image. If you want to draw along, check out the reference photo below…

Crab Photo Reference

Here’s a look at the finished sketch of the crab…

How to Sketch a Crab

If you enjoy this kind of thing, be sure to join us live. We’ve made “Gettin’ Sketchy” a semi-regular event. We broadcast live on YouTube (whenever possible) on Wednesday evenings somewhere between 8:00 PM EST to 8:30 PM EST.

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