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Draw a Turkey - Don't Be One

This year's Thanksgiving is shaping up to be a little more simple and a little more low key than we are used to. I think it will be okay as long as we have some food to eat (whether we order it, cook it, or watch someone else cook it), some people to talk to (in person, on the phone, or via zoom), and even some football to watch (I've got a fantasy team that keeps me invested for at least part of the day).


So the holiday will be different, but still special. When I used to teach in an elementary school, the few days before a holiday break were always fun because we could do a themed artwork. My favorite thing we used to do before Thanksgiving break was teaching the kids to draw turkeys.

These are not the trace-your-hands turkeys from olden days (although those are fun), these are realistic style turkeys. If 2020 is about anything it is about learning new things, I think we can all agree about that. So as we near the end of 2020, let's learn this new thing called "draw a turkey step-by-step with shapes and in the end it will look kind of realistic and then you can use this new skill to impress your friends." (I'm working on the title). So here is my patent pending, turkey drawing process. Follow along to make your own.

Step 1: Draw an oval or circle body with a rectangle neck. You don't have to draw the shapes where they overlap as I did. You can just draw the parts you need. Or you can draw the shape and then use your eraser to erase the lines you don't need.

Step 2: Add an oval head, a semi circle wing, and two rectangle legs. We like shapes in elementary school. Kids understand shapes and it connects the art to what they are learning in math. This trick also works for adults. No stick figures! No stick turkeys! Put some meat on their bones please.

Step 3: Add a long skinny triangle for the beak, a half an oval for the wattle (going to skip the snood on this one, but you can add it if you like), and two trapezoid feet.


Step 4: Shake your tail feathers!! You can do this a bunch of different ways. If you are going for more realistic you will want to create a half circle behind the turkey body. Then you break those into trapezoid shapes. The other option is a little more cartoon style if you want to do oval shaped feathers behind the turkey body. I like both options. You do you, turkey boo.

Step 5: Erase any unnecessary pencil lines and make your shapes a little more turkey and a little less geometric. For example, around the turkey body, make the lines more feathery and less of the original oval shape.


Step 6: Dress it up! You could outline your turkey with ink, color with crayons, paint with watercolor, or use any other art materials you have available to make your turkey the star of the Thanksgiving show.

What can I do with my NEW turkey drawing skills?

  • Make and send turkey Thanksgiving cards (if it’s not your thing you can send one of mine)

  • Make place cards for my 3 dinner guests

  • Teach your kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids, neighbors - you'll be the coolest bird in town

  • Make coloring pages

  • Impress your friends at the outdoor bar on Thanksgiving eve

  • Turn a plain white mask into something festive for Thanksgiving

  • Make a political cartoon (I don't really know what you'll do, but you'll think of something)

  • Do some live drawings at a turkey farm

  • Put out a big sheet of paper and have a turkey drawing contest at the dinner table (which obviously you will win)

  • If you think of something else, let me know in the comments below

If you draw a turkey, give a turkey drawing as a gift, or show a friend how to draw a turkey, please take a picture and post it on instagram. You can tag me @risty5 or use the hashtags #klankfordart and #drawaturkey. Gobble! Drawble! I can't wait to see what you come up with!


For more holiday gifts, cards, and creative treats visit my etsy site or my sister site moko&co.

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