How to Draw a Cartoon Turtle

Cartoon turtle drawing

This cartoon turtle is definitely a cute little critter… and really easy to draw too!

Why is it easy? Well, for one – it’s a perfectly symmetrical cartoon turtle. You’ll draw it so that it’s looking right at you and so, everything you add or change to the left side, you’ll do pretty much the exact same thing to the right.

As you’re working through this lesson, don’t feel as though you’ve got to do it exactly as I show you. Have some fun and get creative if you like. In the future, I’d like to do a cartoon sea turtle too, so be sure to check back!

Alright, how about getting started? Grab yourself a pencil and let’s begin!

Drawing the head of a cartoon turtle

First Step – Turtle Head and Neck

Your cartoon turtle starts off with the head and the neck… and all it takes are two simple shapes – an oval and a rectangle.

So, go ahead and do a practice sketch. Draw the oval first, and then the rectangle, and make sure that the rectangle extends outwards from the lower portion of the oval.

Now, for the actual head and neck of your cartoon turtle, let’s alter the shape a little…

Drawing the face of a cartoon turtle

Draw the oval again and draw the neck again too so that it it doesn’t overlap the oval. This way it looks like the neck of your cartoon turtle is set behind it’s head. Also, change the bottom of the rectangle so that it tapers off towards the bottom.

Then round it off at the end.

OK, you’ve got the turtle’s head and neck done. Now, draw it’s face. First, draw a cross ever so lightly, directly over the oval. This will allow you to keep proportion. It’ll be easier to map out the eyes, mouth… and nostrils too if you like.

Take a look at the face I drew. Mine’s got big bulging eyes, two little nostrils, and a great big smiling mouth. Kind of looks like ET, doesn’t it? If you want, give your cartoon turtle a different looking face. Smaller eyes, some teeth… however you want yours to look. You may even want to give it some hair!

Have some fun here, but remember… you can add more detail at the end. Just get the basic idea down.

Drawing the base of the shell of the turtle cartoon

Second Step – A Cartoon Turtle Shell

You may agree… the turtle shell is the most important part of the cartoon turtle! All it takes to draw the shell is a few simple curved lines. And for every line that you draw on the left side, you’ll do the exact same to the right.

The first line to draw is a simple sideways "S". Draw it so that it connects with the left side of your turtle’s neck almost halfway up from the bottom. After that, do the exact same thing to the right side.

Continuing with the base of the turtle shell

Don’t fuss too much about how perfect your lines look at this point. Just get the left side to look relatively similar to the right side.

You could easily get away with drawing two simple horizontal lines instead of curved ones. In the end… it’s still going to look just like a turtle! Sure the curved lines look better, but really, it doesn’t take too much away from the look of your cartoon turtle.

Once you’ve got the first two S’s drawn, draw a second S, below the the first one you drew on the left side of the turtle’s neck. Draw the lower S so that it runs almost parallel to the one above.

Drawing an arc for the cartoon turtle shell

Also, make sure that it is slightly longer than the first one. It should extend slightly past the S above it. In a bit, you’ll connect these two lines to complete the outer edge of your turtle’s shell.

Now for the main part of the turtle shell. You’ll be surprised at how easy this is I’m sure! Two simple curved lines – that’s it!

So, beginning almost at the end of the first S that you drew, go ahead and draw a line that curves up and to the right until it connects with the lower left portion of your cartoon turtle’s head (the oval). Do the same thing to the right side.

Completing the cartoon turtle shell

One last thing, and your cartoon turtle shell is complete!

Draw two small arcs to close off the openings at the extreme left and right sides of your turtle. It doesn’t take much – just two quick simple little lines. It’s better to draw them curved as it keeps with the shape of the shell.

And there you have it! Your cartoon turtle now has a shell. After you draw the lower part of the shell, as well as the feet, you’ll come back to give your turtle shell it’s own special design.

Beginning underneath the cartoon turtle

Third Step – Feet and Lower Shell

Alright, you’re just about finished. This is the third and final part of drawing your cartoon turtle – drawing it’s feet, as well as the lower portion of the shell.

Let’s focus on the lower shell first. Go ahead and draw another small arc – this one bending downward, just below the base of the neck. Keep in mind that the further away the arc is from the neck, the fatter your turtle will be!

I recommend you keep it the same as mine for now. You can always draw another one later on… fatter, skinnier… it’s completely up to you! 🙂

Drawing the bottom of the cartoon turtle shell

Next, go to the outer left point of the arc you just drew. Draw a second arc that curves up and to the left until it reaches your turtle’s shell. This arc should bend inward toward the lower part of the neck. After that, do the same thing on the right side.

These two arcs that you just drew show the bottom part of the shell that is visible to the eye at this point. The areas that bend inwards towards the neck are basically the "holes" where the turtle’s feet will emerge.

There will also be another two holes at the back of the shell for the back two feet, but you don’t need to draw them as you won’t be able to see them looking at the turtle straight on.

Drawing the legs of the cartoon turtle

OK, let’s draw those feet now. Start with the two front ones.

A really easy way to explain this part is by looking at the lower portion of the turtle’s neck. You can make the feet look just like this.

So, draw in the two front feet so that they resemble the lower neck, except draw them so that they curve – the left foot curves to the left and the right foot curves to the right. Simple.

If you want… get creative with your turtle’s feet. Make them smaller, bigger, more square or even more round. Draw them shorter or longer too if you like – just make sure that you keep them looking as symmetrical as possible. Whatever you do to the left, do also to the right.

Drawing the back legs of the cartoon turtle

The next thing then is to give your little turtle some back feet. Because they’re further back, you’ll want to be sure to draw them slightly smaller than the front two.

And one other little step not to forget is too make sure you show the continuation of the lower part of the shell. Do this by drawing in two very small arcs on both the left and right sides, just beside the upper parts of the front legs.

Now, when you look at your cartoon turtle, it looks almost 3D as the bigger front legs – as they should, appear to be set in front of the smaller back legs. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

Well, guess what? You really are almost done now… just a few minor details left!

Drawing of a cartoon turtle

Final Step – Details for Your Turtle

Alright, let’s pay attention to detail for a second. Which details? Well, how about some spots on the turtle’s shell.

Actually – they’re not really spots at all. A turtle shell usually has some sort of unique pattern on it… and sometimes it resembles spots. You can give your cartoon turtle shell any pattern you like. Circles, diamonds, stars… or no pattern at all if you like.

Other than the spots, you can give your cartoon turtle some nails. I did so by drawing small circles at the ends of it’s feet. Three nails per foot looks great. After that, a few more lines and your cartoon turtle is finished!

And that’s it!

You’ve got yourself a cute little cartoon turtle. Give it a name and some color too if you like!

Hope you enjoyed this lesson… be sure to check the cartoon animal section again later on as I’d really like to add a cartoon sea turtle drawing lesson as well! 🙂