How to Draw a Turtle

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

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


 - How to draw a turtle - 
video tutorial:


Sea Turtle

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

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

Do not be scared because this drawing may look too complex. The following steps will clearly demonstrate the opposite.



Let's Draw A Turtle

Draw a simple outline of the body contours. The 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.

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

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 with graphite pencil, but you have ready the most important basic outline contours.



Similar to above, 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.

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.

Important! When you’ll teach someone next time how to draw a turtle please mention this detail by all means.

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

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 to a certain point.

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

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

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.

Notice that some small irregular spots remain blank (light) on almost every scute. That is probably 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 creativity into it.

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

Similarly, as you did on flippers, outline the scales on the rear legs by weak pencil lines. The 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.

Great JOB! I believe your turtle drawing looks much better than mine.

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

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

Did You Enjoy Drawing the Turtle?

Check Out Also These Animal Drawing Tutorials:

Visitors Personal Gallery Pages

Please see and enjoy the following collection of personal galleries. We all believe you will have a lot of fun. Observing others’ artwork is always, always very inspirational. You may get some new ideas for your own drawings.

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Ballpen Drawings by Shehbaaz Baurtally

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Emma Adams Cartoon Sketches Gallery

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Rupshya Dilipraj Artwork Gallery

Rupshya Dilipraj Artwork Gallery


Theme Based Visitors Galleries

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