How To Draw A Turtle Step by Step [4 Methods]

how to draw a turtle step by step

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Ever been fascinated by turtles and wanted to sketch one? You’re not alone. I’ve always loved these peaceful creatures and wanted to share the joy of drawing them with you.

In this article, we’ll go through 4 easy methods to bring your turtle doodles to life, no matter your art experience. So grab your pencil, and let’s get started together!

Method 1: How To Draw A Turtle For Kids

Required Materials

Sketching Pencil: A good quality pencil is crucial. It allows for both light preliminary sketches and darker, refined lines. A 2B or HB pencil would be versatile for this purpose.

Eraser: A soft eraser helps in removing any preliminary lines or mistakes without damaging the paper.

Drawing Paper: Preferably a medium-weight paper that can handle both pencil sketches and coloring without tearing or bleeding.

Colored Pencils or Crayons: Given the vibrant shades of yellow, red, and orange described, a set of colored pencils or crayons is essential. They offer precision and blendability.

Fine Liners or Ink Pens (optional): For those who like to add a touch of inked outlines to their drawings, these are ideal.

Blending Stumps or Tortillons (optional): For artists who want to achieve smoother transitions and blends in their shading.

Ruler (optional): Helpful for beginners who might want to ensure symmetry or draw straight lines, though freehand is encouraged for a more organic feel.

Pencil Sharpener: To keep those pencil tips sharp and precise.

Step 1: Begin with the Basics

Start by sketching two adjacent circles. These will serve as the foundation for the turtle’s head and body. Ensure they touch lightly, creating a sense of continuity. This is your turtle’s preliminary form, so don’t stress about perfection!

Step 2: Enhance with Subtle Details

Building on the initial circles, add a few more lines and subtle details. At this point, it might not distinctly resemble a turtle, and that’s okay! Remember, art is a process, and we’re gradually bringing our turtle to life. Keep your lines light, as we’ll refine them in the following steps.

Step 3: Introducing Key Features

Now, let’s breathe some life into our sketch! Draw the outline of the eyes, ensuring they’re expressive. Sketch the shell’s basic structure, ensuring it covers a good portion of the larger circle. Don’t forget the legs – give them a gentle curve.

And of course, a happy little smile to show our turtle’s cheerful personality. With these additions, you’ll notice it’s starting to take on a recognizable turtle form. Great progress!

Step 4: Dive into the Details

Time to refine our turtle! Delve deeper into the leg details, adding definition and depth. For the shell, introduce some intricate patterns or lines to showcase its texture. Enhance the eyes with a bit more detail, perhaps adding a sparkle or pupil.

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As you progress, feel free to erase some of the lighter preliminary lines from earlier steps. They’ve served their purpose and now our turtle is coming into clearer focus. Keep it up!

Step 5: Finishing Touches on the Shell and More

Let’s complete that shell! Add the final touches, ensuring it looks robust and textured. Your turtle’s shell is its signature, so make it stand out. Now, turn your attention to the face and feet.

Introduce cute little nostrils to give our turtle a sense of character. And don’t forget the toes—add small nails to them for that added realism. With these details in place, our turtle not only looks complete but also full of life. Fantastic job!

Step 6: Colorful Finale and Setting the Scene

It’s time to bring vibrancy to our turtle! Splash on strong shades of yellow, red, and orange, letting these warm hues give our turtle a lively and dynamic appearance. But wait, our turtle needs a setting too.

Sketch in a serene tree to the side, anchoring our turtle in its natural habitat. And what’s a sunny day without a sun? Add a bright sun in the sky, casting its golden rays down. With these final touches, our turtle isn’t just a sketch anymore; it’s a vibrant scene full of life and color. Congratulations on your masterpiece!

Method 2: How To Draw A Sea Turtle

Required Materials

Drawing Paper: A smooth, medium-weight drawing paper is ideal. It should be sturdy enough to handle erasing and potential coloring without easily tearing or wrinkling.

Pencil: A standard HB or No. 2 pencil is great for initial sketches. It’s neither too dark nor too light, making it easy to draw and erase.

Eraser: A good quality eraser is essential for correcting mistakes or refining your drawing. White or kneaded erasers are typically recommended as they don’t leave smudges.

Fine Liner or Ink Pen: Once you’re satisfied with your pencil sketch, you can use a fine liner or ink pen to go over your drawing and make it stand out. This step is optional but adds a finished look to the drawing.

Colored Pencils or Watercolors (Optional): If you’d like to add some color to your sea turtle, you can use colored pencils or watercolors. Colored pencils are easier for beginners, but watercolors can give a beautiful, soft finish to underwater scenes.

Pencil Sharpener: To keep your pencil point sharp, especially if adding finer details.

Ruler (Optional): If you like straight lines or perfect circles, a ruler or a compass can come in handy. However, for this specific drawing, it’s not strictly necessary.

Blending Stump or Cotton Swab (Optional): If you want to achieve smoother shading or gradient effects, especially on the turtle’s body or in the background.

Step 1: Sketching The Body Oval

Start by sketching a slightly elongated oval for the turtle’s body. This will serve as the main foundation for your drawing. Make sure it’s centered on your page and has enough space around it for the turtle’s limbs and head.

Step 2: Sketching The head oval

Draw a smaller oval at one end of the body oval; this will be the turtle’s head. Ensure it’s slightly overlapping the body so they connect seamlessly.

Step 3: drawing the front flippers

Time for the flippers! Draw two larger, elongated shapes on each side of the body. They should be slightly curved, resembling the actual flippers of a sea turtle. The front flippers are typically longer than the back ones.

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Step 4: drawing the rear flippers

Add the rear flippers. They’re shorter than the front ones and are located towards the back of the turtle’s body. They should also have a slight curve to them.

Step 5: time for eyes

Let’s give our turtle some character! Draw two small circles on the turtle’s head for its eyes, and a tiny curve underneath for its smiling mouth.

Step 6: give some details

Add some details to the flippers by drawing a few lines starting from the body and going outward. This will give the impression of the segments and joints in the turtle’s flippers.

Step 7: sketching the shell

Sketch the turtle’s shell. Draw a semi-circular line connecting the two sides of the body oval. Within this space, add some hexagonal and pentagonal shapes to mimic the pattern on a turtle’s shell.

Step 8: adding more details

For the final touches, add some small, rounded shapes on the turtle’s head, neck, and limbs to represent its scaly texture. These can be scattered and don’t need to be uniform.

Step 9: Why not some underwater details?

If you wish, you can now add some underwater details, like seaweed or small fish, to give your drawing a more lively setting.

Step 10: darkening the outline or coloring

Once you’re satisfied with your drawing, go over the outlines with a darker pencil or ink to make your sea turtle stand out. You can also consider coloring it in for added vibrancy!

Method 3: How To Draw A Cute Turtle

Required Materials

Drawing Paper: A blank sheet of standard drawing paper will do. You can also use a sketchbook if you prefer.

Pencil: A standard HB or 2B pencil is suitable for sketching. It offers a good balance between softness for shading and hardness for detail.

Eraser: A soft eraser helps in correcting mistakes and refining the drawing.

Fine Liner or Ink Pen (optional): If you want to give your drawing a more polished look, you can trace over your pencil lines with a fine liner or ink pen.

Colored Pencils or Markers (optional): If you wish to add color to your turtle, have some colored pencils or markers on hand. Greens, browns, and blues are typical for sea turtles, but you can get creative!

Ruler or Straight Edge (optional): While not necessary for this tutorial, it might be handy if you want to add any straight lines or specific angles.

Blending Stump or Tissue (optional): If you decide to shade the turtle and want a smoother gradient, a blending stump or a piece of tissue can be used to blend the pencil strokes.

Step 1: Draw the Turtle’s Shell

Start with the turtle’s central feature – its shell. Imagine an elongated cloud or a wavy oval. This will form the base of your turtle and give you a reference point for the remaining features.

Step 2: Add the Head

To the left of the shell, draw a small, rounded oval for the turtle’s head. This should be smaller than the shell and connected to it with a slight curve, representing the turtle’s neck.

Step 3: Sketch the Limbs

Draw four flippers extending from the shell. The front two should be longer and more slender, while the back two can be shorter and a bit rounder. Remember, sea turtles have paddle-like flippers to help them glide through the water.

Step 4: Draw the Tail

At the back of the shell, between the two rear flippers, sketch a small pointed tail. It doesn’t need to be long; just a subtle hint of a tail will do.

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Step 5: Add Facial Details

Time to give your turtle some personality! Draw two dots for eyes and a small, curved line below them to represent a smiling mouth. Keep it simple and cute.

Step 6: Embellish the Shell

To make the shell more realistic and detailed, draw some curved lines and patterns on it. You can add a series of interconnected semi-circles or any pattern you like. It’s your turtle, after all!

Step 7: Final Touches

Clean up any rough edges, erase unnecessary lines, and add any additional details you feel necessary. This is your chance to personalize your turtle and make it unique.

Method 4: How To Draw A Cartoon Turtle

Required Materials

Sketchbook or Drawing Paper: Choose a smooth surface that’s suitable for drawing. It doesn’t have to be expensive; even a plain sheet of printer paper can work.

Pencil: A regular HB or #2 pencil is perfect for sketching. If you have a range of pencils, you can use softer pencils (like 2B or 4B) for shading and harder pencils (like H or 2H) for fine details.

Eraser: It’s always good to have an eraser on hand to correct mistakes or lighten lines. A soft, kneaded eraser can be especially useful as it can be molded into different shapes and doesn’t leave residue.

Sharpener: Keep your pencils sharp for finer details.

Colored Pencils or Crayons (optional): If you want to add some color to your sea turtle, having a set of colored pencils or crayons can be great. Choose natural shades like greens, browns, and blues for a realistic look or go wild with any colors you like for a more whimsical approach.

Fine-tipped Pen (optional): Once you’re satisfied with your sketch, you can go over your drawing with a fine-tipped pen to make it stand out more. This will give your drawing a clean, defined look.

Step 1: Outline the Turtle’s Shell

Start with the central piece of your turtle: the shell. Draw a slightly elongated oval shape, making sure it’s not too round or too flat. This will serve as the base for your sea turtle, giving it a sturdy and recognizable form.

Step 2: Add the Head

Directly attached to the front of the shell, sketch a smaller oval. This will be the turtle’s head. It should slightly overlap the shell and be positioned a bit lower, giving the appearance that the turtle is peeking out.

Step 3: Sketch the Limbs

Draw four flippers for your turtle. The front flippers should be longer and slightly curved, resembling wings. The back flippers can be a bit smaller. Remember, sea turtles have paddle-like limbs, perfect for gliding through the ocean!

Step 4: Tail Time

Behind the back flippers, add a small triangular tail. This should be subtle and not too long. The tail helps with steering, so think of it as a small rudder for your turtle.

Step 5: Facial Details

Give your turtle some personality! Add two dots for the eyes and a simple, curved line for the mouth. You can make your turtle look happy, curious, or even sleepy based on the positioning of these features.

Step 6: Decorate the Shell

Sea turtles have unique patterns on their shells. Draw some curved lines and shapes to replicate this. Don’t overdo it; a few lines will do. This will give your turtle its unique identity.

Step 7: Final Touches

Smooth out any rough edges and refine your drawing. Add any additional details you might like, such as shading or texture. Remember, the key is to have fun and make it your own!

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.

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