Kids Art Lesson: How to Draw a Sea Turtle

How to draw a sea turtle step by step with art teacher Miss Dorsi.
How to draw a sea turtle step by step with art teacher Miss Dorsi. | Source

Step by step instructions to draw a sea turtle

As an artist and art teacher, I love drawing and love teaching, especially to children. Drawings of animals and sea life are subjects many of us like - so in this lesson we are going to learn how to draw a sea turtle, step by step.

Because I love to add my own twist to my art, this sea turtle, although close to what an actual sea turtle looks like, has it's own "style" (mine) I have therefore taken some artistic license on how it was created. If you are using this lesson to teach it to a class, I would highly recommend using that same artistic license by allowing children to create their own patterns on the turtle. No two turtles should be alike and like I tell my students, we only have 2 important rules during class:

1. We are all artists

2. Have fun!

Art Lesson: How to draw a sea turtle step by step. The finished drawing of the sea turtle.
Art Lesson: How to draw a sea turtle step by step. The finished drawing of the sea turtle. | Source

Step by step drawing of a sea turtle

Step 1: How to draw a sea turtle
Step 1: How to draw a sea turtle | Source
Step 2: How to draw a sea turtle
Step 2: How to draw a sea turtle | Source
Step 3: How to draw a sea turtle
Step 3: How to draw a sea turtle | Source
Step 4: How to draw a sea turtle
Step 4: How to draw a sea turtle | Source
Step 5: How to draw a sea turtle
Step 5: How to draw a sea turtle | Source

Instructions for drawing a sea turtle

  1. Draw guidelines on your paper or canvas (I used pencil and did this drawing on printer paper) Add an oval shape that comes to a point at the right side (sea turtles bodies are not actually oval although for small kids an oval would be just fine)
  2. Add the beginnings of the turtles flippers by adding square or rectangle shapes on each side of the turtles body. The rectangles should be a little smaller for the back flippers to be proportionate.
  3. Add the rest of the turtles flippers by following the shapes in step 3. This is basically a curved "V". For younger students you could just add a triangle here if they can't do the more complicated curve.
  4. Add an oval for the turtles head at a slight angle detached from the body.
  5. Erase your guidelines now and also erase the pencil lines between the flippers.Connect the turtles head with slightly curved lines attached to the turtles shell. Add a small beak (sideways triangle) for the turtles mouth (smaller children can just draw a sideways "v"). Also add the turtles eye. Erase your guidelines now and also erase the pencil lines between the flippers. You now have the shape of a basic sea turtle. Next we will add the pattern and design to our turtle.

Add the details to the drawing of your sea turtle

Now here is the chance to really use your imagination when designing the patterns for your turtles shell, flippers and body. For my sea turtle here, I did the following steps:

1. I added the inside of the turtles shell design by running small rectangles around the turtles body. You could change this by adding small circles (this would be easier for small children)

2. Next I added the design all around each shape of the turtle. Notice I left a small space on the turtles neck. I connected these shapes to the outside lines of the flippers and the turtles head.

3. Now create the design down the middle of the turtles shell. These can be odd shapes or any shape you like. Make the shapes a little smaller as you get down to the end of the turtles shell.

4. Add the pattern on each side of the turtles shell next to the middle pattern. Now finish your turtle by adding random shapes to fill in the rest of the turtle.

You are done drawing your sea turtle!

To teach a more comprehensive lesson on sea turtles, I have also added 10 interesting facts about sea turtles in the next capsule.

Design the pattern on your turtles body

Step 1 to draw a sea turtle design and pattern
Step 1 to draw a sea turtle design and pattern | Source
Step 2 to draw a sea turtle design and pattern
Step 2 to draw a sea turtle design and pattern | Source
Step 3 to draw a sea turtle design and pattern
Step 3 to draw a sea turtle design and pattern | Source
Step 4 to draw a sea turtle design and pattern
Step 4 to draw a sea turtle design and pattern | Source
A young loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) photographed near Panama City, Florida.
A young loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) photographed near Panama City, Florida. | Source
A fossilized sea turtle skeleton.
A fossilized sea turtle skeleton. | Source

10 interesting facts about sea turtles

Here are some interesting facts about sea turtles (if you are using this lesson for teaching to a classroom this would help you make this a more interesting lesson) You could even have the kids write down these facts on the back of their artwork.

  • sea turtles are one of the Earths most ancient creatures (they have been around about a 110 million years)
  • sea turtles come in different colors: Yellow, green and black
  • sea turtles cannot retract their heads or legs like their land cousins
  • a typical sea turtles diet consists of jellyfish, seaweed, crabs, shrimp, sponges, snails, algae and mollusks
  • sea turtles return to the same place they were born when they breed
  • green sea turtles can stay under water for as long as 5 hours
  • to conserve oxygen, a sea turtles heartbeat can slow down to 9 minutes between beats
  • there are 7 species of sea turtles
  • 6 of those 7 species are endangered
  • sea turtles start their lives in sand (they are hatched from eggs)

More art lessons by Dorsi

I also have other step by step art lessons below for those that would like to learn how to draw other subjects. I am always teaching new lessons so subscribe to my RSS feed or fan me to be informed of new lessons that I post. Thanks for coming by and I hope you enjoyed your "How to Draw a Sea Turtle" art lesson.

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How to Draw a Simple Dog With Oil Pastels

@Copyright Dorsi Diaz 2013

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Comments 6 comments

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

great hub for kids. I am sure i could teach my son how to draw a turtle with your guide. Voted up


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 3 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Thanks Peach. Glad you enjoyed the lesson!


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

Nice guide and details for artists of all ages! Sea turtles are fascinating, so this should be an interesting project for kids.


macteacher profile image

macteacher 3 years ago from New York

Thank you for these how to draw hubs. I am very artistically challenged, and these how to guides are incredibly helpful, especially since I work with kids. Voted up. :-)


KrysDwrites profile image

KrysDwrites 3 years ago

Very nice drawing guide. Great idea adding the turtle facts. :)


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 3 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@Marcy Goodfleisch) Thanks for coming by and reading Marcy - yes they are so cute, aren't they? I love turtles.

@macteacher) Thank you mac - glad they help!

@KrysDwrites) Thanks Krys, I thought adding some facts would be a great addition for a classroom lesson on sea turtles.

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