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How to Draw a Cartoon Monkey

Updated on June 25, 2013

You Can Learn to Draw This Monkey by Following This Step-by-Step Tutorial

I have a long and dark history with monkeys. As a young boy I was literally terrified of them.

I remember one particular orangutan at a local zoo near the city where I grew up. This orangutan liked to fling poo across the gap separating monkey from mankind. I left the zoo that day a different person, stinking of monkey poo.

A few years back when visiting an animal sanctuary, an aging chimpanzee got my attention and spit on my face. He was very accurate.

When I look back on all the "incidents" I've had when encountering monkeys, it seems like there is a definite organized monkey conspiracy against me. I don't know why they don't like me. I sure enough know why I don't like them.

There is just something about monkeys that gives me the willies.

Whether you think they're cute or if you're creeped out by them, there's certainly no danger in drawing them.

Let me also put your mind at ease about drawing. As a teacher of art, I believe everyone has the innate ability to draw. Sure, some folks are more "talented" than others, but EVERYONE CAN LEARN TO DRAW.

For some folks, it just takes a little more time and a bit more practice.

SO - if you're ready and willing, grab a pencil and some paper. Let's begin...


Step 1: Start with Basic Shapes

If you have done any of my many drawing tutorials before, you know that all drawings start with basic shapes.

For our monkey, start with a horizontal baseline at the bottom.

Next, draw an oval shape toward the top, a squared off, bent oval shape just below that and a semi-circular arc at the bottom, as shown.


Step 2: Add Details on the Head

Let's concentrate on the top oval shape. This shape represents the monkey's head.

Start by drawing a bent rectangle shape on the very top of the oval. Next to that shape, add a semi-circle shape, as shown. This smaller shape will be the ear.

Looking a bit closer, add another line inside the bent rectangle shape.

Add a jagged or "zig-zag" line on the top of the bent rectangle shape. This will be the hair on the monkey's head. Also, add a curved line inside his ear.

Staying on the head, add 2 black circles inside the bent rectangle shape - there are the eyes.

Down toward the bottom left of the oval, draw two half circles with a dot inside each one, as shown. These are the nostrils.


Step 3: Add the Mouth and Teeth; Monkey Smile

This seems hard but it is really SO easy. Draw 2 curved lines for the top and bottom edges of the mouth.

Next, starting from the right, draw a horizontal, slightly curving line directly between those 2 mouth lines. Finally, add a short vertical line on the left side, as shown.


Step 4: Draw the Monkey Arms

Now, we all know that monkey arms are very long.

Study the drawing to the right. The arms are just 2 slightly bent lines starting from each shoulder and going down to the baseline, or bending around to his hip. The hands on the end of each arm are just a series of curved lines.

Don't think arms and hands, think shapes.


Step 5: Draw Monkey Legs

That semi-circle that you drew in the first step will serve as the foundation for our monkey legs.

Study the drawing to the right. See that the outside of the legs are following that semi-circle shape precisely. Simply draw those lines and then a second set of lines inside the first ones.

For the feet, think long rectangles with curved outer edges for toes.


Step 6: Finishing Details

Draw a rounded "W" shape just under his head as shown in the drawing.

For the tail, simply draw 2 curving lines to make a large rounded shape.

If you want to add some shading to your monkey drawing, go back up to the top of this page and take a look at the finished drawing there.

I hope you had a good experience with this drawing tutorial.

You may become frustrated as you begin to draw - this is perfectly natural. Artists everywhere know the frustration you're feeling. It's all part of the process.

That frustration is supposed to make you want to better on your next drawing.

If you want to become an artist, or just get better at drawing - you will have to practice regularly. Like most things in life, if you practice, you will get better.

Good luck with your drawing!


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    • MKayo profile image

      MKayo 4 years ago from Texas

      Justateacher - then my work here is done! Thanks for stopping by!

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      I love your tutorials - I am an artist with very little talent!!! Looking at your lessons and trying your cartoons, gives me a little courage to try them out.