Let’s Draw a Turtle!

Articles & Drawing Tutorials, Drawing With Ink

For today’s art lesson, I’ve prepared a drawing of a turtle. 🙂

This animal is a beautiful example of an intricate and diverse texture combination. Isn’t it gorgeous?  I’m happy to show you how you can observe textures and create your own artworks using this knowledge.promo

Art supplies

For this drawing of A4 size, I used ink liners of 0.05, 0.1, 0.2 and 0.4 widths. Plus a pencil and an eraser for creating an underdrawing.

For your convenience, I’ve made a scheme of ink technique samples. Here you can see how it is possible to reveal the texture and volume in your drawing.samples

For this piece I use mostly hatching, combining short and long strokes. Natural objects look great with varying organic lines. I also use dotwork (so-called stippling), it is suitable for the body of the turtle.

As you can see, a simple black ink liner is a powerful tool (despite the fact that it has only one color and not so much variation of line width)

So let’s have fun!

  1. Preparing the pencil sketch. A detailed underdrawing can save you a lot of time and effort while the inking part of the process.1
  2. With the 0.4 liner, I outline the main contours.2
  3. I refine the smaller details with the 0.2 width liner. It’s best to keep the whole artwork in your head and work gradually. 3
  4. With the 0.1 liner, I add hatches to the shell of the turtle. The main accent is on the horizontal hatching; it helps us to show the texture and volume of the segments. 4
  5. It’s time to add some dots with the liner number 0.2 to create texture on the head and feet. Be careful to leave the spots of the blank paper — there will be the lighter areas.

I also draw the eye, it’s almost black (but be sure to leave small highlights of untouched paper)5

6. With the 0.1 liner, I create volumetric hatching on the shell.

Notice the form of the hatches: some are rounded, and some have angles — so they resemble unfinished square shapes. If you observe a real turtle, you can see that the segments of its shell have a similar texture pattern: grooves, rough elements, and waves.

I also work on the bottom part of the shell. It is perceived as something smooth, so I use groups of uniform hatches there.6

7. I continue with the 0.1 liner and add more hatches to the turtle’s shell. Uniform hatching (especially short) works great in combination with the expressive, organic lines.

Please refer to the samples of hatching that I showed you at the beginning of the tutorial 🙂7

  1. With the 0.05 liner, I work on the tiny details, mainly on the head and feet of the turtle.

The thinnest ink liner gives us endless possibilities to create a semi-transparent shading and accent the small folds. Try to touch the drawing in general, make all the dark areas more contrast.8

9. With the 0.1 liner, I amplify the shady areas in my drawing, doing my best to keep it volumetric and integrated.

Especially I pay attention to the shadow under the upper part of the shell and dark contrast borders between the shell segments. I also mark a drop shadow with simple long hatches.9

10. With the 0.4 liner, I create small groups of compact and relatively thick hatches on the shell. They dilute the delicate thin hatching and make the texture more varied.

I also make the main contour of the turtle (in its bottom part) more thick and heavy.10

11. I add final touches with the 0.1 liner: uniform hatching by volume works best. The drawing becomes more integrated and contrast.

It’s important for the ink graphics — without a noticeable darkness, no one can feel the light. 11

And the drawing is complete! Congratulations 🙂

By the way, you can download the process scans in a bigger size and examine them in close-up.

Thank you for your time and interest!  I’d love to receive your feedback, questions, and suggestions for new posts. What is your biggest struggle in drawing with ink? 🙂

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