How to Make Turtle Doves on Paper

Written by lorrie fenn
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How to Make Turtle Doves on Paper
A picture of a turtle dove is a sentimental gift that is as festive as it is traditional. (David De Lossy/Valueline/Getty Images)

One way to communicate the message of love and peace to others is with a drawing or painting of a turtle dove. Made popular by their presence in the "12 Days of Christmas," turtle doves are domesticated birds that originated from Africa and symbolise faith and loyalty. Pale grey-blue, white and tan are colours traditionally found on these birds, which also are marked by their signature black-and-white-striped necks. The essence of a turtle dove can be translated onto paper through the magic of coloured pencil, charcoal or watercolour.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Turtle dove photos
  • Paper
  • Sketching pencil
  • Watercolours or coloured pencils

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  1. 1

    Study and collect images of turtle doves. Familiarise yourself with their distinct look. Some turtle doves are bright white, while others are soft grey and tan.

  2. 2

    Sketch the outline of the turtle dove onto your paper. Make special note of its helmet-like head, rounded beak and layers of feathers around the wings and tail.

  3. 3

    Draw the oval yellow eyes located near the middle of the head. Make lines around the top portion of the beak and ringlets around the ankles and feet of the bird.

  4. 4

    Draw the striped feathers located on either side of the bird's neck. These stripes run horizontally across the neck of the bird.

  5. 5

    Draw an outline of the bird's wing.

  6. 6

    Fill in the bird's wing with layers of feathers. The turtle dove has dozens of mosaic-like feathers on its wings and tail.

  7. 7

    Finish your drawing of the turtle dove by shading and contouring the torso and head of the bird for a three-dimensional appearance. If desired, use coloured pencils or watercolours to colour your drawing.

Tips and warnings

  • For the holidays, experiment with simple drawings of the bird, then add funky colours.

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