we help adults teach art to kids

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. Tangle Turtles!! Love these.

    Ms. Julie's Place

    June 30, 2009

    • these are amazing! #Loveit!


      September 16, 2015

    • you are the best artist


      September 24, 2015

  2. 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. 🙂


    July 1, 2009

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


    August 19, 2009

  4. 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!


    September 10, 2009

  5. 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


    September 14, 2009

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

    Research Papers Help


    January 4, 2010

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

    Patty Palmer

    June 12, 2010

  8. 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!!


    November 18, 2010

  9. 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!!!


    February 23, 2011

  10. a great lesson for my special education class!


    March 17, 2011

  11. 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.


    September 1, 2011

    • you can introduce the turtle project by reading the book.


      September 1, 2011

    • Thanks for the book rec! I’ll look for it.


      September 2, 2011

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


    December 6, 2011

  13. 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.


    August 27, 2012

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

    rosabella jose fernando

    April 19, 2014

  15. How long did this lesson take with kinder?


    August 4, 2014

  16. I love this! I’m thinking of doing this with K-4. MY students would enjoy this project. What do you think about painting it? What would you suggest?


    January 21, 2016

  17. so adorable

    Mary Henderson

    August 25, 2016

  18. Can kinders outline with sharpie? I’m a first year teacher and I wasn’t sure if sharpies would work


    September 18, 2016

    • Yes. Sharpies work well but oil pastel and black paint (watered down and with a smaller brush) are quite fun on paint. If you aren’t sure, just do a practice project and see where the kids are at. Most love sharpies.
      Thanks for the question!

  19. I was doing my aesthetics project but i was struggling to find good art. Thank God i found your website!!!


    October 24, 2016

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