How To Draw A Monkey

How To Draw A Monkey

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How To Draw A Monkey


Monkeys are fascinating creatures known for their agility, intelligence, and playful nature. Drawing a monkey can be a delightful and rewarding experience for artists of all skill levels. In this step-by-step guide, we will explore the process of drawing a monkey in a fun and approachable manner. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist, this tutorial will provide you with the tools and techniques to create your own charming monkey illustration.

Materials You'll Need

Before we begin, it's important to gather the necessary materials for your drawing. You can choose between traditional pencil and paper or digital tools, depending on your preference. Here's a list of materials for both options:

Traditional Drawing

  • Drawing paper or sketchbook

  • Pencils (HB, 2B, 4B)

  • Eraser

  • Pencil sharpener

  • Reference image of a monkey (optional)

Digital Drawing

  • Graphics tablet (e.g., Wacom)

  • Computer or tablet with drawing software (e.g., Adobe Photoshop, Procreate)

  • Stylus pen

  • Reference image of a monkey (optional)

Now that you have your materials ready, let's get started!

Observe Your Reference

If you're drawing from a reference image, it's essential to take some time to study it. Notice the monkey's posture, proportions, and facial features. Pay attention to any distinctive characteristics that make the monkey you've chosen unique. This observation will help you capture the essence of the monkey in your drawing.

Basic Shapes for the Body

Begin your monkey drawing by sketching basic shapes that will serve as a framework. For the body, start with an oval shape. This will become the monkey's torso. Next, draw a smaller circle or oval above the larger one for the head. These shapes will help you establish the monkey's body proportions.

Limbs and Tail

Extend from the torso to create the monkey's limbs. Monkeys are known for their long, flexible limbs, so keep that in mind as you draw. The arms and legs can be represented with elongated ovals or cylinder shapes. Pay attention to the angles and proportions, making sure they look natural.

Monkeys typically have prehensile tails, so don't forget to add one. The tail can be drawn as a curvy line, usually longer than the monkey's body.

Facial Features

Now, let's focus on the monkey's face. Begin by drawing a vertical line down the center of the head. This line will help you position the facial features accurately. Add a horizontal line, roughly halfway down the vertical line, for the placement of the eyes.

Monkeys have expressive, human-like faces, so take your time when sketching the eyes, nose, and mouth. Pay attention to the reference image for guidance. The eyes are typically large and round, and the nose is often small and slightly upturned. The mouth can be represented with a curved line.

Ears and Details

Draw the monkey's ears on each side of the head, typically positioned just above the eyes. Monkeys have rather prominent ears, so make sure they're noticeable in your drawing.

Next, add some facial details such as the eyebrows and any distinctive features your reference image might show. Monkeys have a variety of fur patterns, so take the opportunity to incorporate some of these details into your drawing.

Refine the Body

Now, let's refine the body of the monkey. Add curves and lines to define the muscles and fur. Pay attention to the contour of the body, especially the limbs. Monkeys have lean, muscular bodies, so capture that in your drawing.

Hands and Feet

Monkeys are known for their dexterous hands and feet. Begin by sketching the hands and fingers. Monkeys usually have five fingers, including an opposable thumb. Draw these fingers with curved shapes and add some fur details to make them look realistic.

For the feet, create a shape that resembles a combination of a hand and a foot, as monkeys have prehensile feet as well. Don't forget to include the toes and nails.

Tail Details

Now, add some details to the monkey's tail. Monkeys often have fur that appears in tufts or clumps along the tail. Use curving lines to create this texture and give the tail a bit of volume.


Shading is a crucial step in bringing your monkey drawing to life. Determine the direction of the light source, and use this to create shading on the monkey's body and face. You can start by lightly shading the entire body and then add darker shading in areas that would naturally be in shadow.

Use your pencils or digital brushes to create various tones and textures that give depth and dimension to your drawing. Take your time with this step, as shading can greatly enhance the realism of your artwork.

Fine-Tuning and Texturing

At this point, it's time to fine-tune your drawing. Refine the details on the face, such as the eyes, nose, and mouth. Add texture to the fur by using short, overlapping lines. Monkeys have various fur patterns, so try to mimic the patterns you see in your reference image.

Background (Optional)

You can choose to add a simple background to your monkey drawing to make it more visually appealing. A natural setting, like a forest or jungle, can be a great choice. Use soft, muted colors or gradients to create a background that complements your monkey illustration without distracting from it.

Final Touches

Finally, step back and assess your drawing. Make any necessary adjustments or refinements to ensure your monkey looks just as you envisioned. Once you're satisfied with your artwork, you can sign your name and date it in the corner, completing your masterpiece.


Drawing a monkey is a rewarding and enjoyable artistic endeavor. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist, following these step-by-step instructions and using your own creativity will allow you to create a stunning monkey illustration. Remember to practice and experiment with different monkey species and poses to develop your skills further. With patience and dedication, your monkey drawings will continue to improve, and you'll discover the joy of capturing these remarkable creatures on paper or screen. Happy drawing!

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