Line Drawing Art Lessons:Turtles

Line drawings are a super easy way to start off your art curriculum. I usually do some type of line drawing with all my grade levels at the beginning of the year. Not only is the set-up simple and there is virtually no clean-up, but it gives me a chance to get to get to know my students and their art interest.

The projects may look simple, but in fact, there is a lot going on!
These turtle drawings develop fine motor skills: drawing with a marker, cutting and pasting, establish a sense of freedom with art (mistakes are not only fine; they make great art!) and finally they beautify your classroom during these first few weeks of school which makes parents happy and students proud. What more do you need?

Okay, so here’s how to do it:

Drawing Paper
Black fine-tip marker (Sharpies make a dynamic statement)
Colored construction paper

Instructions: Drawing the Turtle

Directed line drawing for the turtle:
1. Draw a large upside down letter “U”
2. Connect the bottom with a slightly curved line. Then, make another line just above the bottom line.
3. For the belly of the turtle, create a scalloped edge by drawing little upside down bumps along the bottom line.
4. Add two letter “U’s” for the feet.
5. Add a sideways “triangle” for the tail.
6. Add a head by putting your marker on the very bottom corner of the shell and drawing a large bubble shape. Make sure to keep the neck thin and the head big and round. If you want, you can add a mouth.
7. Fill in the turtle shell with lines, connecting the curved lines to make a patchwork of shells.
8. Now, fill in all the small sections in the shell with different patterns. Use hearts, zig-zags, bubbles, spirals, checkerboards, wavy lines, etc. Be creative!

Now, here’s a tip: When making a pattern of lines, make sure to connect the lines to the outside of the shape. Don’t stop short!

These sweet turtles were done by Kinders! Needless to say, they were very proud. One of the secrets to making the project appear easy, is to draw lots of pattern samples on the board. Ask the children what a line is and then draw some. Point out patterns on classmate’s shirts, on the wall, etc. Get interactive!


  1. Ms. Julie's Place says:

    Tangle Turtles!! Love these.

  2. Joi says:

    I made one of these last night. Thank you very much for the drawing instructions. I am not very good at drawing and your instructions were perfect! I love my turtle.

    My daughter wants to do one with a seahorse. :)

  3. TeachKidsArt says:

    I love this idea! Can't wait to try it…. thanks for sharing this!!!

  4. aimee says:

    I love your website. It's very helpful to me since I am a new elementary art teacher and graduated from college with only secondary internship experience.

    Thank you for sharing!

  5. davecrombie says:

    Love your ideas my daughter and I try before I teach at school and she can't wait for our tuesday art testing day …thank you

  6. marry says:

    oho good dear !!!! very interesting blog and a good posting !!! you must maintain your blog, its interesting !!! Nice Buddy

    Research Papers Help

  7. Jess says:

    Hi Patty!

    I also use drawing lines as a great way start off the year for younger grades. Our curriculum is based upon the elements and principles of design and "line" is the first month!

    Check out one of my kindergarten line projects on my blog:

  8. Patty Palmer says:

    Gotta love the "line"! Good luck with your site!

  9. amber says:

    LOVE this lesson! I homeschool my kids and this lesson was used at a co-op that we attended. This year, I’m doing it at home with my K and 2nd grader to wrap up our turtle week! Since we live in Asia, I GREATLY appreciate having access to all of your awesome lessons online! What a great help! Thanks for all the work you have put into this wonderful site!!

  10. Karlos says:

    Your site has been such a big help with getting new ideas. Nothing makes the day fly by like trying something new with your students!!!

  11. ashley says:

    a great lesson for my special education class!

  12. karen says:

    I’m sure you know this by now, but there is a book named A dome for a Home about a turtle looking for a cozy home. written by ruth martin illustrated by michael Garton.

  13. [...] Line Drawing Art Lesson: Turtles [...]

  14. Renata says:

    What is the colored construction paper for? My guess is that the turtle is cut out and pasted onto a colored background?

  15. [...] fancy supplies but are dynamic and fun: Kinder-Second Grade Drawing/Painting: Trucks and Tractors Turtles Pig Cow Joan Miro Flowers Collage: City at Night [...]

    • says:

      I am having problems printing the Turtle project…purchased the Art Curriculum booklet. Is their an additional fee to purchase linked lesson. May be its my printer, yet I have no problem printing the booklet. Any suggestions for my dilemma?

      • Patty Palmer says:

        There are no lessons embedded directly into the workbook, so you must be referring to a link to my DSS site. Sometimes I link to lesson plans that you could purchase or free lessons that have been made available on my site. I can’t help with printing problems, but you might want to copy and paste the text onto a word doc. Hope this helps.

  16. [...] start the year off, go with a line drawing. My Turtle Line Drawing lesson is a perfect project that allows you to assess the classes ability to listen and follow [...]

  17. M says:

    I work at an English kindergarten in Siberia, of all places, and was recently asked by the school’s director to start teaching art! I had mentioned, in passing, my art history major and some low-level painting classes that I had taken and I suppose she thought it’d be a great idea for me to teach art. Needless to say, I was lost, confused, and terrified and am now slightly less so thanks to your phenomenal site! Thank you for sharing your wonderful creativity.

  18. [...] Emmy LOVED drawing line art turtles inspired by Deep Space Sparkle. [...]

  19. [...] – with younger students remind them of proper marker use (only on paper, not on skin, clothes or desks) – after being inspired by Iain Macarthur’s work the idea for this project came from DeepSpaceSparkle here and here [...]

  20. rosabella jose fernando says:

    Thnx i found this as an ideas to my lines and coloring ideas for my pupils in prep. ;)

  21. Wendy says:

    How long did this lesson take with kinder?

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About Patty

I teach art to 400 school children in Goleta, California. My art library contains hundreds of free art lesson ideas. My shop has art lesson plans, videos and resources to help you teach art to kids. It's a whole lot easier with Deep Space Sparkle.

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