Drawing a Sea Shell With The Spiral Tool

The Spiral tool is such a neat feature in Inkscape, but it’s uses seem limited. When you start messing around with the settings in this cool tool, you’ll most likely end up with something that resembles a sea shell.

1. Sea Shell Framework

Step 1

First thing’s first, grab that Spiral tool and draw a spiral. You’ll have to adjust the settings similar to how I have them below to get a sea shell type line.

use the spiral tool

Step 2

Now copy and paste this spiral and scale it a little larger. You’ll see why next.

copy shell framework

Step 3

Position the larger spiral over the smaller one so that the center of the spirals are aligned like below. With both of them selected, head up to Path > Combine.

place copied spiral

Step 4

Grab the Pen tool and draw a simple two segment line to finish up the shell.

draw a line

Step 5

Use the Node tool to smooth out and finish that line. Make it look like a sea shell, pretty much.

smooth the line

2. Styling a Sea Shell

Step 1

Now you can remove the Stroke and add some sort of Fill color for now. Then, draw another spiral like I have it below.

color sea shell

Step 2

Go ahead and change the fill to a Radial gradient. I have 6 stops on mine that vary from lighter and darker versions of the root color. You can mess around with these to see what looks best.

add gradient

Step 3

Finally, select the inner spiral and give it a darker color and set the Blur to 1. I also changed the Opacity to 50 just to blend it in some more.

finish the details

3. Add a Background

Step 1

I’m going to add a sand background.

yellow background

Step 2

To add a texture, copy and paste the background and add a Filter > Image Effects > Film Grain. Now you can change the Opacity to 20 and position it over the original background.

add texture

Step 3

Now you can position your shell, or even add a shadow or something. Looks pretty good!

spiral sea shell inkscape

That’s It!

I thought this was a pretty neat use of the Spiral tool along with a bunch of other features. You could keep going and add more detail to your shell, but I wanted to keep it rather simple for this tutorial. Go ahead and give it a try!