Art History Lab

Step-by-Step Guide to Drawing realistic Turkeys for Beginners

Thanksgiving is a holiday known for family gatherings, sumptuous meals, and gratitude for the year’s blessings. For many, the image of a plump, feathered turkey comes to mind when thinking about this celebration.

The turkey is not only a symbolic representation of bounty, but it’s also an exciting subject to draw. In this article, we’ll be taking a step-by-step approach to drawing a turkey that’s easy to follow, and even beginners in the art world can enjoy.

The Significance and Appeal of Drawing Turkeys

Turkey drawing is a popular exercise in the art world, especially during Thanksgiving and other peace celebrations. The bird’s vibrant colors and unique patterns make it a joy to bring to life on paper.

The challenge of rendering the animal’s intricate features and feathers motivates artists of all levels to take on this task.

Importance of Breaking the Drawing Process Into Steps

Drawing a turkey can seem overwhelming, but breaking the process down into manageable steps is essential for success. Starting with construction shapes and proportions helps you map out the necessary details before adding final touches.

Erasing excess lines and refining details make your overall drawing more precise and accurate. Taking the approach of focusing on one section at a time and perfecting it before moving to the next is a helpful way to approach turkey drawing.

Outlining the Turkey’s Main Body

To start drawing a turkey, it’s important to outline its body, which will become the base for the rest of the details. Begin with an oval shape in the center of the canvas.

You can achieve this by drawing a light circle with a pencil and filling in the shape with feathers later. The size of the oval will determine the proportion of the turkey you are drawing.

It’s important to keep the size of the head, neck, and tail proportionate to the body. Drawing the Head, Neck, and Tail

To bring detail to the turkey’s body, the oval shape needs to be refined to include the head, neck, and tail.

To draw the head, create a smaller oval, like a “candy shape,” on top of the main body’s larger oval. Draw a curved neck shape that narrows down as it approaches the head.

The tail feathers should resemble a fan shape and sit behind the turkey’s body. Crafting the Wings, Legs, and Feet

Once the overall shape of the turkey is complete, it’s time to add its wings, legs, and feet.

The wings should be angled downwards and slightly away from the body. Draw curved lines for the legs and feet that bend at the knee joint, with the feet clenched in a fist shape.

Finalizing the Turkey Sketch’s Outline

After completing the initial outline, it’s time to add details to the turkey’s face and feathers. Follow your construction lines to guide your feathering details, making sure to draw in the right direction of the feather growth.

Add intricate details like facial features, such as the eyes, beak, and wattle. Lastly, erase any construction lines that may still be visible, and refine any unsightly details.


Drawing a turkey is a fun and engaging activity that can be enjoyed by artists of all levels. The step-by-step approach detailed in this article outlines the specifics you need to follow when drawing one.

It is essential to break down the drawing process into manageable steps, outlining the turkey’s main body, and refining it to include the head, neck, tail, wings, legs, and feet. Lastly, completing the turkey with intricate feathering details, facial features, and erasing unsightly details.

Adding Texture and Details to the Turkey Drawing

Drawing the basic outline of a turkey is a great starting point, but the real magic happens when you start adding texture and details that bring the drawing to life. Adding texture and details help create a more three-dimensional image by making it appear more realistic and detailed.

In this section, we will explore different techniques and elements you can use to add texture and details to your turkey drawing.

Adding Texture to Feathers

Feathers are one of the most crucial elements of a turkey drawing. Adding texture to the feathers gives them a more detailed and realistic appearance.

You can use various techniques to add texture, like dots, half circles, and small lines. The combination of these lines and dots creates a standing feather effect.

Draw lines and dots in the direction that the feathers would naturally grow. By doing this, you make it look as if each feather is standing upright rather than laying flat on the body.

Coloring the Head, Feathers, Legs, and Wings

Once you’ve drawn the outline and added texture to the feathers, it is time to add color to the turkey. For the head, use a pink shade.

The base color for feathers and wings usually depends on the type of turkey you want. A brown base is suitable for a wild turkey, while a white one is suitable for a domestic turkey.

For the legs, use a scaly texture to make them more realistic. You can also use a different shade of brown to create the scaly texture effect.

Adding Dimension and Highlight Colors

Adding dimension and highlights is essential to create a more realistic and lifelike drawing. Use shadow and highlight colors to add depth to the artwork.

A purple or blue shade can be used for the face, and a bright orange color for the beak. To create feather patterns, you can use white and black paint on the feathers.

Use highlight lines on the tail feathers to create the appearance of iridescence or to add additional detail.

Finalizing the Details on Feathers and Tail

The final step includes adding any missed details on feathers or the tail. Add white and black paint to give the feathers an added layer of texture and definition.

Feather lines on the tail feathers will make the feathers look more realistic. The combination of these techniques and elements creates a final piece that is exquisite and beautiful.

Polishing Up Final Details

Polishing up the final details is essential to the finishing touches of any artwork. Adding some black shading around the head and neck is a great way to give the drawing a more defined appearance.

Also, you may want to remove the outline of the turkey by lifting the pencil marks with a kneaded eraser or using a white-colored eraser.

Reflection on the Completed Turkey Sketch

After finishing your turkey drawing, take a moment to reflect on your work. Admire your talent and appreciate the beauty of realistic turkey drawings.

With practice and determination, you can produce art that continues to amaze you.

In conclusion, adding texture and details to your turkey drawing help you create an artwork that is both realistic and stunning.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques until you achieve the desired effect. By following these steps, you can create a beautiful and realistic turkey drawing that is perfect for any occasion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Drawing a turkey is an appealing and fun exercise for both novice and experienced artists. People often have some questions regarding how to draw a turkey and what makes turkey drawing different from drawing other birds.

In this section, we will try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions. What Makes Turkey Drawing Different From Drawing Other Birds?

The turkey bird has unique features that make it different from other birds. It has striking and colorful feathers with intricate patterns and slightly iridescent hues.

These patterns are made of various geometric shapes that require proper placement and positioning to draw accurately. Their head and wattle are also unique and have distinct detail, making turkey drawings stand out from other bird drawings.

The feather arrangement also poses a challenge, as it can be difficult to recreate the layered appearance of turkey feathers in a static drawing. Drawing turkey requires patience, careful attention to details, and a good understanding of how to create the three-dimensional appearance of the bird.

Can This Tutorial Show Me How to Draw a Turkey Step-by-Step? Yes, this tutorial provides you with a step-by-step guide for drawing a turkey.

The tutorial covers everything you need to begin and is broken down into 19, easy-to-follow steps that lead to a realistic turkey sketch. The tutorial is beginner-friendly, providing both instructions and illustrations that show exactly what to do every step of the way.

To begin, start with the oval shape in the middle of the canvas and then add the head, neck, tail, wings, legs, and feet. The tutorial offers different suggestion techniques to add texture and dimension to the turkey, like coloring, shading, and details on the feathers and tail.

The turkey drawing tutorial allows individuals of all levels to participate, from beginners to experienced artists. The step-by-step guide and recommended tools make it easy to create impressive turkey sketches.

The tutorial also provides a balance between formal techniques and a more relaxed approach, enabling individuals to be creative while staying true to the turkey’s essential image.


Drawing a turkey is an enjoyable activity that requires time, effort, and patience. They have distinctive features that make them different from other birds, which requires proper understanding and focus to recreate in a drawing.

This tutorial provides all the tools necessary for individuals to create a realistic turkey sketch, even if they have no prior experience. By following the step-by-step guide and suggested techniques, you can create a beautiful turkey drawing that you will be proud to display.

Happy drawing!

Drawing a turkey can be an enjoyable and rewarding activity, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist. This article has provided a step-by-step tutorial on how to draw a turkey, breaking down the process into manageable steps.

We explored techniques for adding texture and details, discussed the unique aspects of turkey drawings, and answered common questions. By following these instructions, anyone can create a realistic and impressive turkey sketch.

So pick up your pencils and give it a try you may be surprised by the beautiful artwork you can create. Happy drawing!

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