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How To Draw a Turtle: 10 Easy Drawing Projects

By Emily Medlock


Updated on

If you can learn how to draw a turtle, a new world will be opened up to you. While turtles aren’t hard to draw, they do require you to mix the carapace of a shellfish and the scales of other reptiles. 

How To Draw a Turtle

Types Of Turtles To Draw

There are dozens of turtles worldwide, but here are some of the most interesting types to draw.


  • Dome-like shell
  • Elephant-like feet
  • Large

Tortoises are a type of large turtles that spend most of their time on land. They live a long time. Draw one next to a turtle to challenge yourself.

Box Turtle

  • Look like small tortoises
  • Long claws
  • Orange eyes (often)
  • Lined pattern
  • High arched shell

Box turtles are common wild pets, but that’s not why they’re called box turtles. Nevertheless, you can draw them in a box to make your picture unique.

Sea Turtle

  • Flippers
  • Distinct pattern
  • Green tones
  • Slanted eyes

Sea turtles live in salt water and can travel fast due to their shape. Draw one, making sure to pay attention to their eye shape and coloring.

Snapping Turtle

  • Spiky back
  • Hooked mouth
  • Webbed feet
  • Solid color, faint pattern

Snapping turtles are like freshwater sea turtles with webbed feet, only get their name for their dangerous mouth. Their curved mouth can bite hard.

Spiny Turtle

  • Spiky shells outline
  • Small
  • Brown

Spiny turtles are unique because they have a sawblade-shaped shell. They are small, and their pattern is faint.

Pond Slider

  • Tiny
  • Colorful
  • Thin feet

Pond sliders are found in freshwater. They are also great aquarium/terrarium pets, so drawing them in one is accurate.

Tips For Drawing A Turtle

  • Ovals, not circles
  • Imperfect patterns
  • Scales are similar but not the same as a snake/lizard.
  • Give shell a 3D effect
  • Draw a turtle inside its shell for practice

How To Draw A Turtle: 10 Easy Drawing Projects

1. How to Draw a Sea Turtle

How to Draw a Sea Turtle

Sea turtles have flippers and a unique pattern. Draw one with Art for Kids Hub tutorial that is advanced enough for adults.

2. How to Draw a Ninja Turtle

How to Draw a Ninja Turtle

Ninja Turtles are perfect for older kids and adults to draw; A chibi version can be found at Art for Kids Hub.

3. How to Draw a Cute Turtle

How to Draw a Cute Turtle

A turtle holding a heart is as cute as can be. Draw So Cute has a tutorial showing how to do this.

4. How to Draw a Realistic Turtle

How to Draw a Realistic Turtle

Realistic turtles aren’t easy to draw, but you can draw one if you take it slow. How2DrawAnimals has an extensive tutorial.

5. How to Draw Squirt From Finding Nemo

How to Draw Squirt From Finding Nemo

Squirt from Finding Nemo is adorable. Learn to draw him with Cartooning Club How to Draw.

6. How to Draw a Cartoon Turtle

How to Draw a Cartoon Turtle


Cartoon turtles are lively with extra personality. Learn to draw one with Art for Kids Hub as they take you through the tutorial step-by-step.

7. How to Draw a Box Turtle

How to Draw a Box Turtle

Box turtles are common land turtles. This long tutorial on how to draw a box turtle by janbrettchannel is amazing.

8. How to Draw a Turtle for Kids

How to Draw a Turtle for Kids

Even pre-schoolers can draw turtles. A tutorial by Art for Kids Hub uses crayons to draw a turtle.

9. How to Draw Turtles in Love

How to Draw Turtles in Love

Turtles in love aren’t the most conventional types of turtles to draw. You can use Draw So Cute’s tutorial to create an adorable turtle couple.

10. How to Draw a Tortoise

How to Draw a Tortoise

All tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises. Draw the tortoise emoji with Draw So Cute’s tutorial. 

How To Draw A Realistic Turtle Step-By-Step


  • Paper
  • 2B pencils
  • 4B pencils
  • 6B pencil (optional)
  • Blending stump

Step 1: Draw Ovals

Draw five ovals. One large one (the shell), one medium one (the head), and three small ones (the legs).

Step 2: Shape Shell

Shape the shell slightly so that it is curved and flatter on the bottom. Leave the top an arch.

Step 3: Connect Bottom

Draw the bottom of the shell which will start at the back of the shell and end at the bottom of the head.

Step 4: Draw Neck

Now that you have the shell outlined, draw the neck. It should be loose and not straight, connecting the bottom shell to the head.

Step 5: Draw Eye and Mouth

Draw the turtle eye (similar to other animal eyes), the mouth (crooked), and the nostrils. The eye has whites and a pupil but no iris.

Step 6: Draw Legs

One leg won’t be visible, so you only have three to draw. Make them curve out and then down with wrinkles at the bends.

Step 7: Draw Claws

The claws are like tiny, long toenails. Each foot should have four claws, each the same size.

Step 8: Draw Shell Pattern

The polygonal pattern on the shell is the hardest part to draw. Copy a real turtle picture or another art piece.

Step 9: Draw Scales

The scales on the turtle’s skin are another difficult part. But once you learn to draw them, you can draw similar scales on other reptiles.

Step 10: Shade

Shade the entire thing, using 6B pencils on the inside of the shell, 4B in the other crevices, and 2B everywhere else.

How To Draw A Turtle FAQ

What Is The Hardest Part Of Drawing A Turtle?

The hardest part of the turtle to draw is the shell. It must hold depth, and it’s not like anything else.

What Do Turtles Symbolize In Art? 

Turtles symbolize different things in different cultures. But they most commonly symbolize wisdom, knowledge, and groundedness.

Why Would You Need To Know How To Draw A Turtle?

You may never need to know how to draw a turtle—but knowing how is beneficial. If you have a friend that likes turtles, draw them one to show you care.


When you learn how to draw a turtle, you are closer to knowing how to draw other reptiles and amphibians. You now know how to draw a carapace, scales, and flippers. Next thing you know, you’ll be drawing fantastical creatures. 

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