How to Draw a Monkey in Cartoon Style

Easy, step by step Cartoon Monkey drawing tutorial
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"Near the deep black waters
of a dark, cool river,
tiny, tiny monkeys
jabber in the sun...
And they climb, up, up!
And they slide, down, down!
...Tiny, tiny monkeys having fun!"
- So Say the Little Monkeys, children's book by Nancy Van Laan

There are about 200 species of monkeys, primates that have a tail. The tail is often prehensile, able to hold onto things like an extra hand. Monkeys are also called simians, macaques, or baboons. They differ from the great apes, which are larger and have no tail.

Did you know? The word "monkey" may have been derived from a German fable, Reynard the Fox, published around 1580. A character called "Moneke" is introduced as the son of an ape named Martin.

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Monkeys are native to South and Central America, Africa, and Asia. Many monkeys live in tropical forests called jungles. Others, such as Japan's snow monkeys, live on cold mountains. Some are arboreal, living in trees, while others roam the savannah or forest floor. The smallest monkey is the pygmy marmoset, which is only 117 millimeters (4.6 inches) in length. The largest is the mandrill, which grows to a meter (3.3 feet) in length and weighs up to 36 kilograms (79 pounds).

What do monkeys eat? Their favorite foods include leaves, seeds, fruit, nuts, flowers, eggs, small animals, bugs, and spiders.

Monkeys have long featured in art and literature. Monkeys can be seen in Chinese mythology, including the Chinese zodiac, and Buddhist symbolism. Modern literary and cartoon characters include Curious George, the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz, Jake from My Gym Partner's a Monkey, and Rafiki from The Lion King.

Ooh-ohh, ahh-ahh! You'll go ape over this cartoon monkey drawing tutorial. Its steps are easy to follow, and all you'll need is a pencil, an eraser, and a sheet of paper.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Penguin, Polar Bear, and Whale.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Monkey

Cartoon Monkey drawing - step 1
How to Draw a Monkey: step 1

1.Begin by drawing a circle. This outlines the monkey's head.

Cartoon Monkey drawing - step 2
How to Draw a Monkey: step 2

2. Draw a large oval overlapping one side of the circle; erase the overlapping lines. This forms the monkey's snout or mouth. Then, draw two circles overlapping the oval and each other. These will outline the monkey's eyes.

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Cartoon Monkey drawing - step 3
How to Draw a Monkey: step 3

3. Erase the overlapping lines from the shapes, leaving a clean outline of the monkey's face.

Cartoon Monkey drawing - step 4
How to Draw a Monkey: step 4

4. Draw large circles to form the eyes. Between them, draw a small oval to indicate the nose.

Cartoon Monkey drawing - step 5
How to Draw a Monkey: step 5

5. Shade a smaller circle within each of the eyes to indicate the pupils. Draw a wide "U" shaped line to form the smiling mouth.

Cartoon Monkey drawing - step 6
How to Draw a Monkey: step 6

6. Draw two "C" shaped lines on the top of the head, enclosing the circular shape of the ears.

Cartoon Monkey drawing - step 7
How to Draw a Monkey: step 7

7. Draw a smaller "C" shaped line within each ear to detail it. Then, draw a larger "C" shaped line along the side of the head. This outlines the monkey's body.

Cartoon Monkey drawing - step 8
How to Draw a Monkey: step 8

8. Use pairs of parallel curved lines to draw the monkey's limbs. Use one pair for each of the arms and one pair for each of the legs. Connect each pair on the ends using a short curved line.

Cartoon Monkey drawing - step 9
How to Draw a Monkey: step 9

9. Draw the monkey's hands. Use connected "U" shaped lines to outline the fingers.

Cartoon Monkey drawing - step 10
How to Draw a Monkey: step 10

10. Use curved lines to draw the feet, with short, connected, "U" shaped lines forming the toes. Then, draw the tail. Use a pair of narrowly spaced curved lines, parallel and in a spiral shape.

Cartoon Monkey drawing - step 11
How to Draw a Monkey: step 11

Is your cartoon monkey in free fall? Give him a sturdy tree branch to wrap his prehensile tail around.

Printable Drawing Tutorial

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