A Little Snail On The Trail

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch of snail and striped shell in gold brown orange with shadow on white background

Wandering down a little trail to see where it might lead on our #NatureDoodlewash hike, I’ve come across this little snail. I find these tiny creatures quite beautiful, mostly because of their often fabulous shells. Playing with the other kids in the neighborhood as a child, we’d be so excited to see snails. We would more often find slugs, though, which are remarkably similar, but are the naked and homeless version of snails. They’re kind of gross and slimy, and lose much of the appeal the shell brings.

That said, even with a home, snails are a bit slimy as well. But, there have been studies that have found that snail mucus could be useful as a way to heal wounds. One has to consider just how badly one is wounded before actually trying this, of course. The Mesoamerican civilization considered snails to be a symbol of rebirth and joy. They believed the circular shape of the shell was a representation of the circle of life. So from symbology to the actual slime itself, it seems the snail only has positive things to offer. The can even be a food source if you like that sort of thing. But the most fascinating thing as a kid was pausing long enough to actually see one move.

Snails are notoriously slow, moving at speeds of only 0.06 miles per hour (0.1 km/h). We would sit and watch them make their journey without even realizing that we’d paused for the first time day. Little else could slow a group of kids like us down, but watching the snails travel their slow motion journey always did the trick. I wonder if I could it today? Shut out the world’s distractions long enough to see this little creature make its way across my path. But there’s just never enough time for that, right? Today, it feels impossible to waste so much valuable time, sitting still long enough to really watch that little snail on the trail.

Join me throughout the month of June on a virtual nature hike! Show everyone what you love most in nature with a watercolor sketch or painting and tag your images #NatureDoodlewash so we can all enjoy it with you! I’ll create a featured artist gallery of our global hike at the end of the month! 

World Watercolor Month is coming in July! Click here to learn more!

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Quinacridone Gold, Azo Orange, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. YesterdayAfter 7 years ago

    Oh this is lovely Charlie! I really like it! Beautiful the colors, the pose everything! 😉 <3

  2. Laura (PA Pict) 7 years ago

    Lovely rendering of the texture and tones of the snail. When I was in my early teens, my little sister (with whom I shared a bedroom) had three giant African land snails as pets. They were strong enough to be able to escape from their tank. I would move my hand in the night and be startled by the touch of a slimy snail.

    • Art by Daniel Alfonso 7 years ago

      African land snails are scary! There’s an infestation of them in some neighborhoods in Miami and when I lived there I would sometimes find that random plants in my backyard seemingly disappeared overnight because they gobbled them up.

      • Laura (PA Pict) 7 years ago

        Oh really? Yikes. Well I am happy to report that Kiffa, Mopti and Oda’s frequent bids for freedom never exceeded the walls of our home.

      • Author

        That sounds perfectly terrifying, Daniel!! 😳hehe

    • Author

      Thanks Laura! 😃💕Oh my gosh… that just gave me chills!! hehe… eeek! That’s wild. I can’t even imagine being startled in the night like that. Hehe

  3. Susan Feniak 7 years ago

    Another fantastic doodlewash Charlie! Here it is June 6th and I have yet to get my hiking boots on and join in on the #NatureDoodlewash trail. Soon, I hope.

  4. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    What a beautiful snail. They are amazing creatures. I love how you painted the textures on the snail body and shell. I hope my bear doesn’t step on your snail…hehe. Have a great week Charlie.

  5. Jodi 7 years ago

    I have NEVER seen a Snail as beautiful as this!!!! Absolutely divine Charlie O!

  6. Teri C 7 years ago

    Wonderful but too real sketch of this snail. I never thought about a slug being a homeless snail but it’s perfect. I found an empty big snail shell on Kauai and took it, then I worried that there was a homeless snail looking for his house. Maybe he turned into a slug.

    • Author

      Thanks Teri! 😃💕Yeah, this snail rendering has not been turned “cute” lol I’m assuming if the snail left his house he wasn’t coming back. Or maybe found a better one!

  7. memadtwo 7 years ago

    When I first moved here 8 years ago there were snails all over the vines in the back, but they have since disappeared. I always wondered if they reproduced in cycles…yours looks like it’s dancing its own little ballet. (K)

    • Author

      Thanks Kerfe! Love that ballet reference! 😃💕I’m not sure how they reproduce… which is odd because that stuff usually fascinates me. But didn’t have time to research. hehe

  8. Margaret Parker Brown 7 years ago

    What a cute little snail! I am a gardener though never felt moved to destroy them, I have too much heart for that. They have their place somewhere, though I have to admit I love the ones that are served in restaurants. I am evil, I know. 🙂

  9. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    When you think about it, eating snails is pretty gross…but when you call it escargot, it becomes a tasty treat suddenly. Or maybe it’s just the garlic butter that makes even snot sound good. 😉 Your handsome fellow seems like he’s taking a bow! <3 😀

    • Author

      Thanks so much Teresa! 😃💕And yeah… it’s probably the butter. It’s kind of deep frying things… I’m sure fried snot would be a delicacy if nobody knew it were the real thing.

  10. anotherday2paradise 7 years ago

    This is the most beautiful snail I’ve ever seen. 🙂

  11. ybromfield 7 years ago

    You are killing me with all the details! Just superb! As I always tell you, you are the king of textures. Amazing how accurately you render these images!

    • Author

      Aww thanks Kari! 😃💕I just love details… they’re fun to explore and then when I move back I realize I’ve likely overdone it. One of these days I’ll go back to loose sketching, but right now the details fascinate me!

  12. Jill Kuhn 7 years ago

    Love all the textures on your snail, Charlie! 😃💕 Wish I had rhe time to sit and watch one as it sounds very meditative but I’m not sure I could do it very long. 😳 Short attention span anymore…lol! 😉

    • Author

      Thanks Jill! 😃💕 I know, right? We all have such short attention spans these days! That’s the problem! hehe Oh well… at least we can make a lot of different art with that energy!

  13. This is wonderfully painted Charlie, my fav insect you have done this month….although not my fav in reality as they eat my plants…….you didn’t walk far on your hike with this one, no blisters!

  14. ann christina 7 years ago

    Great job, Charlie, love how you did the skin! And the perspective it quite interesting, really nice!!! In Hungary there are lots of them, the nice ones with shells. They always came out of the bushes in the evening, and lots of them got smashed by cars. I always tried to save them (not the smashed ones… 😊), picking them up and putting them back into the bushes, which really embarassed my boyfriend who thought I was too old to behave like a kid… Well, yeah… 😉 I wonder what it is that gets them on the streets at night… Have a wonderful week, Charlie!!! 💛🐌

    • Ann, you are the most kind human being ever. 💕💚💜💙

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Ann! 😃💕And ohhhh… I love that story! I think it’s wonderful that you saved them!! No idea what they’re thinking heading into the streets. Probably started in the morning and didn’t realize how slow they were! Hehe Have a wonderful week as well!

  15. Chris Haldane 7 years ago

    Love the composition… leads my eye around all those great textures and colours.

  16. Beautifully done, Charlie, you are a wizard with details! Love the composition too and the shadow!

  17. Jacob 7 years ago

    That shell is gorgeous! I’ve always thought snails really fascinating, but I was alone in that as a kid. My mum used to pull them away from her plants and throw them into the road! Later though, a friend of mine kept some really big ones as pets which was slightly strange but fun.

    And who doesn’t love a good snail race? For a laugh, I googled snail race championships – deep down, I knew such a thing would be running. Last year’s winner was George, who covered thirteen inches in 2:45! Go George!

    • Author

      Thanks, Jacob!! 😃Haha!! Go George!! That’s awesome! Yeah…I think watching a snail race would be like watching golf for me. Couldn’t get through it! Too slow! Hehe But I’m sure George is pleased with his win!

      • Jacob 7 years ago

        George is I expect. The first quote from the owner, though, was “I’m quite embarrassed.” Hilarious. I think we all are. 😉

  18. brushparkwatercolors 7 years ago

    Wow! Awesome details, Charlie! It almost looks 3D! Great work!

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Carsten! I keep swearing one of these days I’m going to paint looser and then keep getting lost in details. 😊So glad you liked this one!

      • brushparkwatercolors 7 years ago

        I know this feeling, Charlie! But a good doodle can have some details. Only if you know the details you can let them go. 🙂

  19. artandmoondreams 7 years ago

    Some snails I like, some not so much…but yours looks quite elegant and lovely, definitely in the ‘like’ category for snails ;D. Thank you for sharing this charmer, off to the snail races…..

  20. The Leaf Diary 7 years ago

    I particularly love this one! Well done!

  21. jmnowak 7 years ago

    Oohh, Charlie, he’s gorgeous! <3

  22. Sandra Strait 5 years ago

    Considering that most Americans are sleep-deprived, most of us would probably fall asleep if we stopped long enough to watch a snail move, lol.

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