How to color a Shell with Pearl/ Nacrous effect


Have you ever heard of #MerMay? Illustrators draw a new mermaid image every day of May and then share it with this hashtag on their social media...

And if you like coloring mermaids, now it's the best time for you to find some beautiful new coloring pages! To make your coloring pop, you can use beautiful pearl, shiny, opalescent effects on the mermaid's tale or on other sea objects: shells, pearls, fish...

Let's learn how to create a beautiful realistic "nacre" effect on a shell drawing with colored pencils.

Pick right colors

1. We need some pastel, soft and light colors: light yellow, salmon, light blue, turquoise, light pink, lila, light violet... and a few full, darker colors to make contrast: I used a dark turquoise and a dark blue-green. If we don't want our shell to look too candy, we can also use a middle tone brown-grey color for a more realistic look.

2. Start with putting on the light soft colors in stripes and small stains, in more layers (leave some white space where the biggest light will be - in the central areas of the shell) . Then use the darker colors to darken the sides of the shell and to make contrast with the soft areas.

3. Make a few "scratches" or little imperfections to make it look more realistic.

4. Now the shell looks colorful and a little bit too "candy" - now let's use the brown-grey to make it look realistic and spread the color mainly on the sides of the shell. Add a few thin stripes also in between the bright colors.

5. Add white highlights with a gel or acrylic pen and some glitter and you're done :)

Watch my video to see the whole process step-by-step:

Where to find more inspiration and color combinations?

Before you start coloring, search for some inspiration images on the web - in this case look for "pearlescent", "pearl shell", "nacre" etc and look for the effect you would like to use in your coloring.

Look at all these images and try to observe them for a while: which color tones can you see? Can you see some typical shapes or elements? Where are the lights and where are the shadows? Try to use similar color effects and combinations in your coloring.

Would you like to color my Happy Mermaid image?

This coloring page is available for free download to my e-mail subscribers or Facebook coloring group members (all free).

If you decide to subscribe to my e-mail coloring newsletter, you'll get two welcome coloring pages "Lotus Lady" and an access to my Freebies gallery, where you can find this sweet Mermaid image too.

Or join my Facebook coloring group: Lenka Filonenko Coloring Club