How to Paint a Crab – 5 Min Tutorial

by Volta

Happy Color Snack Sunday, friends!

Today, let’s sketch a cute little watercolor crab. I find crabs fascinating, with their hard shells and their scurried walks on the beach 🙂

This is another super easy sketch that you can do quickly in your sketchbook or on one of the art tiles I am using. While these tiles are not for watercolor, they can take several (less wet) layers of watercolors. I also like how tiny and compact they are. And if you ruin it, you can toss it and grab another one – no harm done.

Happy Sketching!

(some of these posts may contain affiliate links, which are at no extra charge to you, but help me keep running this blog)

How to Paint a Crab – Quick Instructional Video

(Recommended) Watercolor Supplies:

    • watercolors
      • colors used in this tutorial:  Prima Watercolors
    • Artist Tile
    • Water brush
    • Paper towel/towel
    • Your creativity
    • A photo of a crab for reference


Let’s get to sketchin’!

How to Sketch a Watercolor Crab

Step 1. Wet the paper

Wet the watercolor paper with a thin layer of water. In this case I am using a flat brush to cover the whole area quicker.

For the wet-on-wet technique it’s important to not add too much water.  You want a smooth, glazed surface, instead of paper that is dripping with water.

Step 2. Sketch the body of the crab.

Start sketching the crab as a circular-like shape with a slight angle at the bottom.

Step 3. Sketch the crab’s claws
The crab’s claws will be composed of simple shapes: a small rectangle and a curved line that resembles a tulip.


Step 4. Crab’s legs
For the crab’s legs, think of them as one curved line that is composed of 4 brush strokes. Each line is slightly curving towards the crab. This also helps show the natural joints that a crab leg may have.


Step 5. Sketching the eyes
Our happy little watercolor crab will need some eyes. Those are composed of a line and a dot at the end.

Step 6.Fill in the background

Fill in the background with a blue shade of watercolor. I am using the blue pastel here and going carefully around the crab sketch with my waterbrush. Since we are not using traditional watercolor paper, I will not re-wet the surface when I fill in the background. Otherwise, the tile might mess up if it takes on too many watercolor layers.

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