Learn how to draw a monkey in cartoon style. Follow this easy step by step tutorial to draw a cute chimpanzee hanging off the tree and eating a banana.
Our monkey starts from a simple bowling-pin head and body shape. We add the round mouth, heart-shaped “face mask”, thick eyebrows and large ears to build an unmistakable monkey face.
Next, we draw a typical monkey pose – hanging off a tree branch with one hand while eating a banana with the other.
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How to draw a monkey: base sketch step by step
Step 1: Draw the basic head and body shapes
Let’s start our monkey drawing with a simple circle for the head. Then add the face cross to help us place the facial features.
The body is kind of a rounded rectangle – two curved sides and an almost flat bottom.
Well, well, doesn’t this look familiar? This is our basic bowling-pin head and body again.
Step 2: Draw the monkey’s face and ears
Next, we add a simple face. Draw two larger standing ovals for the eyes, placed on the horizontal face-cross line. Then add a smaller, flat oval for the nose, placed on the vertical face line. And finally, draw a small curve for the mouth.
Now add two large monkey ears to our bowling pin. They are both simple “C” shapes. Since our head is at a three-quarter view, the ear on the left is partially hidden behind the head. The other ear is placed slightly into the head, rather than on the edge.
Step 3: Draw the monkey’s “face mask”
This is the trick that turns a boy-with-big-ears face into a monkey face. First draw a flat oval all around the mouth, starting at the top of the nose.
Then add the monkey’s heart-shaped “face mask”. These are two “C” curves, starting in the middle of the forehead at the face centre-line and going down to the oval around the mouth.
Step 4: Sketch the legs and feet
Time to give our monkey some legs. As our monkey will be dangling on one hand, his legs also dangle sideways.
Draw the legs as a curve then flat line on the outer side, flat line then curve on the inside. Then add simple “eye” shapes for the feet at the end.
Step 5: Sketch the monkey’s arms
Let’s sketch the monkey’s arms. First, let’s draw the straight arm up that our monkey is dangling on. It is a simple “C” at the top, and then two straight lines down to the shoulder. Notice the arm is wider at the top where the hand will be, and narrowing down at the shoulder.
Draw the other arm the same way – except this one is bent at the elbow, and sticking out. Again, it is wider around the hand part and narrowing towards the shoulder.
Step 6: Something to hang on
Well, this is a simple step to finally explain why is our monkey in this unusual pose.
First, draw two straight lines to show part of the branch the monkey is hanging from.
Next, give our monkey a nice curved banana into the other hand. Now the pose makes sense!
Step 7: Sketch the hands and feet
Now that we know what our monkey is holding, let’s sketch his hands better. Both hands are in a similar pose – gripping the banana or tree.
First, mark the wrist line with a simple curve. Then, starting on the wrist line, draw the thumb. It looks like a bent letter “B” on the upper palm. Use the same “B” shape, but mirrored, for the hand holding the banana.
Then draw the fingers bent around the objects. These are made from a “C” shaped line, with a couple of short straight lines to suggest the fingers.
Now that you are an expert at drawing thumbs, add two more bent “B” thumbs to the monkey’s feet. That is another monkey feature – having large gripping thumbs on the feet, very similar to the hands, helps the monkey perform its tricks and hang onto branches using either its hands or feet.
Finally, split the feet into fingers with a couple of curved lines.
Step 8: Sketch the final details
Well, our sketch more-less looks like a monkey already. But any drawing can be improved by adding extra details. So here we go:
Draw some spiky hair. Double up the face mask at the top to make large eyebrows. Draw the inner pupils into the eyes. Add the inner ear lines. Carve out the nostrils from the nose. Add a cheeky tongue – that banana looks yummy! Now add a belly button. And finally – we’d better peel the banana before our monkey eats it.
Want to draw a perfect banana?
How to draw a monkey: outline step by step
Step 1: Outline the monkey’s face
Time to start outlining and see what we can improve on our already awesome monkey sketch.
Let’s start with the face. Draw out the eyebrows, rounding off the corners.
Next, draw the eyes. Here we have flattened the bottom of the eye, so the eyes are more a “D” shape. Fill in the eye pupils, leaving a white patch for the reflection.
Fill in the nose – leaving out the nostrils and a white patch for the shiny highlight on the nose.
Finally, the mouth and tongue are just straight traces of the sketch.
Step 2: Draw monkey’s ears and face mask
This step is simple – just outline the ears and the “face mask” – the sides of the monkey’s face and the oval around the mouth.
Then add the scruffy, spiky patch of hair on the top of the head.
Step 3: Draw the monkey’s head
Here comes the fun part. Enough of drawing boring flat lines, let’s do some funky random zig-zags! If you remember, we used this technique a long time ago on our scruffy cat.
Outline the monkey’s head with a jagged line. Notice that the spikes follow the shape of the head – pointing sideways on the forehead and down at the jaw, joining together in a downward pointing fluff at the chin.
Step 4: Draw the monkey’s body
More scruffy zig-zag lines! Trace the entire monkey’s body with the same scruffy fur outline. Again, notice the direction of the pointy spikes follows the direction of the body.
Finish the scruffy fur with a nice edge around the wrist and ankle lines – a monkey’s hands and feet are not furry.
What a fashionable scruffy fur jumpsuit!
Step 5: Outline the hands and feet
With the furry “sleeves” drawn, it is time to outline the hands and feet. All we are doing here is rounding off individual fingers from the rough sketch and overall smoothing the lines.
Step 6: Draw out the banana
You can tell we are almost done. Let’s draw out the banana, peel, and part of the tree branch our monkey is hanging off. Now that we have drawn the hands, we can tell which parts are visible and which ones are hidden behind the hand.
Step 7: Draw tree branch and tummy
Well, the final details are here. Let’s draw the tree branch properly, so we can tell what is our monkey hanging off.
And a final improvement – draw the belly button, and give our monkey a furry belly outline, using the familiar jagged lines.
Let's draw a palm tree for the monkey to hang on:
How to draw a monkey: finished drawing
How to draw a monkey: finished outline drawing
How to draw a monkey: finished drawing coloured-in
And as usual, you can colour in your drawing, if you feel so.
The monkey’s hands, feet and face are a peachy skin colour. The fur is usually a shade of brown – we have picked a nice ginger brown colour and matched the lighter colour on the tummy to the dark yellow on the banana peel.
Add some jungle green background to complete your monkey drawing.
And that is all – our “How to draw a monkey” tutorial is complete.