How To Draw A Turtle

You’d certainly want to know how to draw a turtle if you’d vacation on Tropical Island. You see them in the see, right around you.

Turtles come so close to you that you can play with them. They are such nice and gentle creatures that it makes you excited and you want to shout out how many new sea-friends you have. Sounds familiar?

Well, I am not at the seaside right now but I can tell you that I felt really great while making this turtle drawing.

I don’t know why but it was a very pleasant experience while drawing this sea picture.

Today, I show you a few easy to follow and even easier to do steps of how to draw a turtle.

It is a sea turtle because we all like those and, I hope you’ll like it too.

Procedure is as usual; first click on the picture and enlarge it. It opens in new tab or window. If necessary print it out.

click the image to enlarge

The first step of how to draw a turtle will be in carefully observing this turtle drawing for a while.

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See every possible detail you are able to notice. It may be the shape of flippers – both are in different motion, or the scutes on the shell. See where turtle turns its head.

And please (!), do not be scared because this drawing may look too complex. The following steps will clearly demonstrate the opposite.

Enjoy the ride!

click the image to enlarge

Draw a simple outline of the body contours. A simplest outline you can. Hold the pencil tilted so that the lines are wider (thicker) so you can cover inaccuracy.

See this body contour initial sketch! It is not exact at all and it is OK, I’ll correct it as we go. I am absolutely sure; you can make it even better for the first trial.

click the image to enlarge

Here I made some slight corrections. I enlarged the shell a bit, but only a very little. Now, the pen-shaped-eraser comes handy to erase excessive pencil lines.

click the image to enlarge

By a weak pencil line, draw the outline of scutes – those are large, scale-like structures on top of the turtle’s shell.

Now, notice that at this stage you’ve already learned how to draw a turtle.

All the rest looks like filling up a coloring-like page by graphite pencil, but you have ready the most important basic outline contours.

click the image to enlarge

Similar as above, by weak pencil lines draw the scales on the flippers (front limbs) and, scales on the head.

Notice, that I made a weak pencil line running through the center of the head, which shows where the turtle is facing or swimming.

click the image to enlarge

You can start to shade the scales on the flippers. Please leave a thin blank border-line among the scales. This small but important detail will give them a realistic look.

It is very important point! When you’ll teach someone next time how to draw a turtle please mention this detail by all means.

click the image to enlarge

Continue shading the scales on both flippers and on the head. Also watch out, because not every scale is of he same darkness – especially on the head.

The skin on the neck is slightly rolled; there are no scales, so that the turtle can turn the head as needed.

The best process is to shade all scales first by the same color tone (darkness) while leaving the white borders among scales. Then you can darken them as necessary; darker or lighter.

click the image to enlarge

It is time to put shade on the shell’s scutes (scale-like structures). Notice the pattern on each scute goes a certain direction. As if it would be drawn into a certain point.

click the image to enlarge

Make weak pencil guidelines of direction of the pattern on every scute (see the picture). This will help and guide you while shading every scute.

Please shade it by short pencil strokes. It is easier and faster.

click the image to enlarge

Continue shading and filling up the pattern on every scute. I know it is a bit time-consuming but you will have a beautiful turtle drawing when you do it this way.

I Promise!

click the image to enlarge

Notice that some small irregular spots remain blank (light) on almost every scute. That is probably the part of nature’s pattern.

At this stage you should have a finished shell.

You do not need to sweat to make an exact copy of this turtle drawing, put your own creation into it too.

Remember you are not a scanner or camera, you are human and it is OK to make slight irregularities.

click the image to enlarge

Similarly as you did on flippers, outline the scales on the rear legs by weak pencil lines. Process is the very same.

Do not forget to leave white border-lines among the scales…because they are scales and they need to be properly distinguished.

click the image to enlarge

Great JOB! Your turtle look now really realistic and I believe your turtle drawing looks much better than mine.

Now, you know the very basic steps how to draw a turtle. Using this simple technique you are now able to draw virtually any turtle you choose.

Always remember, point is in details! Work them out diligently if possible.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see comments from other visitors to this page...

Anonymous scetch lover 
I think it is an amazing drawing and great inspiration to draw one your self I didn't use the steps just used the picture and it worked out really well …

She Loved It! 
I drew this picture for my mom and she thought I copied it by putting the paper on top of the computer but I just looked at the computer!

To hard 
It was way to complicated

black widow 
i think its great

Maybe more pitures of turtles

turtle drawings 
Thanks for sharing the pictures. I am simply loving it. I always make animals drawing in graphics but after seeing your drawings i will try it myself on …

It was hard n kind of easy to do my art teacher will luve it I hopr I luv to draw n sketch things n animals thatsvy I sign up for art class at pullen elementsry …


love it <3 
i love this drawling and the patterns my lil brother loves turtles and he left for vacation when he come back im giving him the drawling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! …

I just drew this turtle and it looks so amazing!!! Thank you! It was very time consuming, at least for me, but worth the result. I do wish that the part …

good tutorial 
i just had a few problems with the darkening. see im not the best artist i'm just trying to have fun and i can't seem to find many drawings that i can …

This is really cool <3

i love turtles 
thanks this was so handy to use most step by steps are too much at once like your steps 1&2 together ty again

The Turtle 
I love Turtles Especially this sea water turtle! Ihave always loved Turtles! So of course there was a little girl named Sarah who lived right beside a …

i think that this art is so amazing and the patterns are brilliant

This was great. Before I had no idea how to draw a good turtle, but now I am like an expert thanks to you! Thank You so much, you have some incredible …

How to draw a turtle 
This was so helpful, thank you so much!!!!

The Turtle of The Sea 
i think that this could help others if they are painting or drawing about the sea and it helped me

how to draw a turtle 
This is wonderful! i love it ,,, it helped me so

! whoA!  
eheheh well i loved the drawing!

cute and easy  
the turle is like so cute. And easy to draw .!.!.! ILOVEIT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

thanx!!! it totally helped me!!

The Turtle 
That Was Amazing! Thanks so much for the instructions!

Wicked! (In a good way.) 
Wow, I love this tutorial! And it's so easy.

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