Tongue Shellfish From The Isle of Carol

Imaginary Tongue Shellfish

Tongue Shellfish

This Tongue shellfish lives in warm blue waters surrounding the Isle of Carol. It can swim along in an inelegant way by flipping its short tongue back and forth through the water, however it moves gracefully when inching across the bottom of the sea, one tongue length at a time, creating small tornadoes of sea bottom at each spot it pushes off from.

This drawing was generated from thinking about soft bodies in hard shells. I think I managed to make the shell look hard and the tongue look soft. What a silly thing to be proud of.

I suspect this drawing was fueled from my current fascination with shells, but I wasn’t actively looking for a new drawing  when I found this one. I was letting my lazy mind drift while doodling, and I sort of threw a net over this one as it floated by.

And here is the joyfully nerdy part: How to make a “soft” texture.

Even though I’ve tried many different types of pencils and paper over the years, I’ve always stuck with a few that I consider the best while waiting for the next promising thing to come along. I get to know my tools very well this way, so when I used a 2B pencil over a 2H to draw this tongue texture, I wasn’t completely surprised, although soft over hard is the opposite of how I usually mix pencils.

Here’s how I drew the tongue.

soft texture drawing steps

Soft Tongue Texture

I used 2H and 2B pencils on Moleskine sketchbook drawing paper.

In the top right sketch, I drew the shape, added relatively dark hatching for the shadow on the side and front edges, and the light over-all shading with the 2H pencil.

In the bottom right sketch, I refined (re-hatched) some over-all hatching at the tip of the tongue with a sharp 2H pencil to see if I wanted that look. And I added the darker crease details with the 2B.

In the left sketch, I used a 2B to shade the entire surface into a darker key. (When you change key, you change the value range of the drawing.)

I added darker details with the tip of the 2B, too.

In this case, the 2H hatching was so lightly applied that the 2B over hatching was able to catch enough grain to build a darker value. Soft pencil over hard pencil usually leads to tears. Great big artist tears.

My Current Drawing Kit

  • Palimino sketching pencils
  • Strathmore 500 vellum bristol board
  • Arches hotpress watercolor paper
  • Moleskine sketching book paper
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Tombow MonoZero (Small round tip eraser in a holder.)
  • Cordless eraser

Where I Am

I’m confident that I can draw everything from smooth skin to deeply textured tree bark with these tools. And if I can’t, it’s my fault and not the tools.

Where You’re Going

I’m not just tootin’ my own horn, you can have the same experience, and I hope you do. You just need to invest in a few good quality tools and stick with them.

How You Get There

Make a drawing kit, keep it close, and draw until the pencil is an extension of your finger. Draw until you see space and form caress each other. Draw until you see light wash across surfaces and hide in shadows. And then keep drawing.

Love to all,


About Carol

I’m an artist, an accidental author, and lover of life. I grew up in Yorktown, Indiana, and I’ve been writing (and drawing) this website since 1999.

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