TurtleArt is a free, web-based coding platform that lets you make artistic designs and share your code sequences and images with friends. Designs created using code are easy to share and make into beautiful Instagram images, screen and phone backdrops, or large wall projections.
Find out what coding art is about in one minute
Try your hand at coding! Give the turtle a sequence of commands and watch your image take shape. You can start tinkering with code by following this link to the TurtleArt web platform.
This visual coding platform makes it easy to jump right in and try things out. If you are eager to try something, here are a couple of code blocks to start playing with.
Tip: The save button is located in the bottom left corner, and will download your image and code so far. You can drag and drop any TurtleArt PNG file into the browser window to reveal the code and remix.
If you want to learn more about the idea behind TurtleArt and how it all works, jump to the How to get coding with a Turtle section.
Activity ideas and themes
With a little bit of practice you can create a wide range of artistic designs with TurtleArt and turn them into drawings, phone backdrops, printed designs, stickers, and other tangible outputs. You can start by inventing your own designs or build on existing ones, then show off your art on your digital devices, create prints with your design, or use your designs in craft projects.
A color printer is a great easy-to-access tool to make the colorful designs tangible. Print out your TurtleArt designs and turn them into a postcard, a decorative box, or a calendar.
Create a turtle art gallery with a group of learners and turn your wall into a colorful patchwork of TurteArt creations. Starting with a theme, such as radial patterns, or spirograph patterns can help students get going. The designs look beautiful when printed on regular paper. You can add another layer of crafting and working with digital tools by using a craft cutter. Check out this blog post for more on the workflow.
Craft-Cutter Projects: With a craft cutter, the images can be reproduced using many different materials and in different sizes. One favorite material of ours is vinyl sheets that, when cut, make stickers out of TurtleArt designs. Some other interesting materials are heat transfer paper and temporary tattoo paper. Below are examples of TurtleArt sticker designs on a phone case and a notebook.
Save your TurtleArt design as a PNG and import the file into the software required for your craft cutter. Follow the instructions for craft cutter and you should have a cut-out in no time. More on the workflow in this blog post.
How to get coding with a Turtle
The blocks can tell the turtle to draw lines and arcs, draw using different colors, go to a specific place on the screen, and more. You can see the effects of changes in your code immediately by pressing the orange play button arrow and watching the turtle move on the screen.
Some coding blocks we suggest finding first are the clean, forward, right, and left blocks. They are part of the green “turtle” section of blocks. The clean block will help you to clear the screen and put the turtle in the center. Forward, right, and left allow you to send the turtle anywhere on the screen.
To continue working on basics, work with the green section of blocks and also investigate the blue “pen” section. This is where you can find blocks to choose colors and line thickness.
In the orange “flow” section, play with the repeat block to create more complex patterns.
Replace an existing number block in a move or set color command with the random block from the pink “math” section for some surprising results.
Tip: Tip: Test and discover what each block does as you go. When it comes to learning more about TurtleArt coding, it’s best to pick the blocks that seem most interesting to you and try them out. You can learn more about a specific block by clicking on it and holding down the mouse button until a short overview of what the block does and how to use it appears on the screen. To find a comprehensive collection of all the features, check out the TurtleArt reference guide.
Start with a Remix
A remix is a modified version of an existing code sequence. For your first designs, work with a series of code cards with starting points provided here—playfulinvention.com/turtleart/pdfs/TechniqueCards.pdf—or use one of the examples provided here (https://tinyurl.com/TAtinkering).
Remix the U shape (Download the U.png file to start remixing).
Changing the numbers in the repeat block, set color block, and right block brings about an interesting remix.
Remix the flower shape (Download the flower.png file to start remixing).
These remixes of the red design were made by replacing the number values in the set color block.
Familiarize yourself with the functionality of the software and explore a variety of code blocks by building the code from either example. Explore new ideas that occur to you as you create. Making seemingly small changes, such as manipulating the numbers in the code blocks, can dramatically change the outcome and lead to new discoveries.
Tip: far. Trying out things gets rewarded and changes to your code are easy to undo. Experiment and see what happens! To make sure you can revisit the code that worked for you, download your code frequently.
Share what you make and see the code behind the art
Whenever you see an image created with TurtleArt, you can remix it, change it, and turn it into something new.
Download the png file to your computer and reveal the code by dragging it into the TurtleArt web page.
Manipulate the numbers in the code and press the Play button to immediately see how they affect the pattern.
Share your own designs with friends and your community so they can recreate and remix them.
Find examples for remixing and inspiration from us at the Tinkering Studio or in this online gallery from the inventors of TurtleArt.
Taking it Further