How to Make an Animal Cell Diagram

••• myocarditis image by Lukasz Mazurkiewicz from

Cells are the building blocks of life, and students often are asked to create cell diagrams. Animal cells consist of an outer cell membrane filled with cytoplasm and microscopic organelles. Each organelle has a different purpose inside the cell. Your diagram should show all the parts of the animal cell and be color-coded and accurately labeled.

    Study the cross-section of an animal cell (see Resources).

    Draw the cell on a sheet of paper.

    Label each organelle on the diagram and draw each using a different color.

    Draw the cell membrane, which will be the outline of the cell.

    Draw the cytoskeleton. This includes the filaments and microtubules.

    Make the oval-shaped nucleus with the nucleolus in its center. Inside the nucleus include some drawings of chromatin. The nucleus should be the largest item inside the cell.

    Draw the rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum around the nucleus.

    Draw several bean-shaped mitochondria inside the cell, as well as vacuoles and vesicles. The vacuoles and vesicles should be smaller than the mitochondria.

    Draw lysosomes, ribosomes, peroxisomes and a centrosome.

    Draw the golgi body inside the cell.

    Color the remaining space in the cell, which is called cytosol or cytoplasm, a liquid in which the organelles live.

    Things You'll Need

    • Paper
    • Colored pencils, crayons or markers
    • Cell image


    • Label as you go so you don't have to go back to the model and search for each organelle of the cell. Make a checklist of all of the organelles, and check them off as you draw them to ensure you have not left anything out of your diagram. Make sure you are drawing an animal cell, not a plant cell. Plant cells have cell walls and chloroplast; animal cells do not.

About the Author

Stephanie T. Scott is a middle school English teacher in Phoenix. She holds a B.A. in journalism from Grand Valley State University and an M.Ed. in educational media and technology from Eastern Michigan University. Scott is also working on her Ed.D. in organizational leadership at Grand Canyon University.

Photo Credits

  • myocarditis image by Lukasz Mazurkiewicz from