how to draw a tortoise

In this lesson, you will learn to draw a cartoon tortoise made from simple curved lines, gradient colors and basic digital effects. I will show you how to create an adorable version of this creature in just a few steps using a digital application. Of course, this lesson can still be created using pencils, paint or any other tools you feel comfortable with. Ready? Let's proceed with the first step of this lesson now ...

How to draw a tortoise

Drawing a few basic shapes to get started

First, let's create a simple template using a few basic shapes. This step is crucial to start working on proportions as well as adjusting the placement of the animal in the workspace. You can use a circle to form the head and an oval shape to illustrate the body. All four legs are made from thick rectangles.

How to draw a tortoise

Adding the first lines

The character will be drawn using a variety of thick pointed lines. You can start by working on the head using mostly short curved lines. The shell is made from several additional curved lines. Don't forget to add all four legs and the tail.

How to draw a tortoise

Creating the eyes and the patches

Inside the head, you can draw the eye and the pupil using perfect circular shapes. The mouth is created using a simple curved line. Then, you can sketch the patches found inside the shell. Don't forget to erase all basic shapes created in the first step.

How to draw a tortoise

Adding plain colors inside the cartoon tortoise

This animal is mostly filled with brown and green colors. First, you can apply a light green color on the skin of the cartoon tortoise. Both legs on the far side can be darker. The shell is colored with a light brown color. The border located on the bottom of the shell must be darker. 

How to draw a tortoise

Playing with gradient colors

Inside all shapes, you add gradient colors to create a little bit of depth. As you can see below, the legs are darker on top and brighter on the bottom. This technique is pretty useful, but we can do even better by adding more effects inside the illustration.

How to draw a tortoise

creating subtle shadows inside all shapes

For this step, we need to sketch new shapes that will be used to create subtle shadows, All these new shapes must be colored in black. Then, using transparency you can make all these new shapes a little bit more subtle.

You can draw new shadows around the eye, on the patches, below the mouth, under the neck and on the tail. You can also sketch shadows on top of all four legs. 

How to draw a tortoise

drawing highlights and reflections

This time, we will add bright shapes to form highlights and reflections on the cartoon animal. All these new shapes are colored in white and are also partially transparent. You can add these new elements on the patches, the pupil, the neck and the legs.

How to draw a tortoise

good job drawing this cute tortoise!

Below you can see the final illustration once all digital effects are added. Notice how the tortoise seems almost made from a 3D software even if it's only a mix of simple 2D techniques. 

How to draw a tortoise

Below you can also see all six steps required to end up with this adorable animal. Don't hesitate to draw more version featuring different postures, colors and sizes. Now that we are done drawing this fun cartoon tortoise, let's try more tutorials from the same series here. :)

How to draw a tortoise

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