How to draw a monkey

draw a monkey

How to draw a monkey. The monkey is a friendly animal to everyone, and above all, for its anthropomorphism, which has always fascinated us. Suppose you have come this far to understand how to draw a monkey. In that case, there are two reasons: either you are just starting your artistic career with the pencil, and therefore you need some advice to begin without making too many mistakes and have fun immediately; or, even if you already know how to draw quite well, you have realized that drawing a monkey is not as easy as you thought at the beginning.

The problem is that in drawing primates such as chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas – and therefore decidedly anthropomorphic – we often tend to get too close to man, making these apes even more similar to us than they are; at other times, however, we end up taking ‘humanity’ away from the monkeys, removing them from their rank. So in this guide, in addition to teaching you how to draw a monkey, we will try to highlight the points of contact and the differences between the portrait of a monkey and those of a human: it will seem trivial, but it is not at all the case. And indeed, paradoxically, learning how to draw a monkey to perfection will help you sketch your following human portraits of lotus drawing!

Drawing a monkey: everything you need

Let’s start this illustrated guide on drawing a monkey from the basics, from the drawing tools you will need to use to get your job done.

You will use graphite drawing pencils to be purchased in three different hardness levels:

  1. You will need a harder pencil for details and contours, such as an H or a 2H.
  2. You will need a medium pencil for the actual drawing.
  3. You will need a softer pencil (2B or a 3B) to make the chiaroscuro.

In addition to drawing pencils, you will need the proper support, and therefore good drawing paper.

Everyone, even the great experts, needs several sheets for sketches and sketches: so let’s first of all talk about sketchbooks, which contain paper of reduced weight. For the actual drawing – to be done when you are familiar with the shapes and proportions of your subject – you should instead use more robust drawing paper, with a greater weight: you will therefore need to have a good quality sketchbook. However, it will be better to use the most delicate piece later, when you have practiced and are sure not to waste paper unnecessarily!

During the realization of your drawing, you will undoubtedly have to use the rubber bread and the white eraser to erase errors and to clean the sheet, as well as a pencil sharpener (to be placed side by side preferably with a bit of sandpaper, to make the tips perfect). Finally, once your work is finished, you will undoubtedly want to make it last a long time; you will therefore need some fixative spray. Then, when you have everything you need, you can learn how to draw a monkey!

Did you know the details to look at before going to work?

draw a monkey

There are many types of primates: some are more similar to humans. Others, however, are very different, such as lemurs or the pygmy marmoset. In this guide, we will focus on the monkey that, more than the others, comes close to man as forms: we are talking about the friendly chimpanzee. You will most likely have an image of a chimpanzee in front of you, possibly found online.

We, therefore, invite you to study it well, catching the traits you had never noticed: its arms are long and robust to allow it to climb trees easily. But, at the same time, its shorter legs are visibly weaker (starting from the development of reduced calves and buttocks). Looking at the face, you notice that his jaw protrudes a lot, and the eyebrows arch. Then look at the hair: it is pretty smooth. It comes in tufts on the elbows, while it is absent on the hands and feet.

How to draw a monkey: sketching shapes and proportions

The problem of those trying to understand for the first time how to draw a monkey is often found at the level of proportions. Yes, because, despite being very similar to man, the monkey – in our case, the chimpanzee – has different proportions and other more or less pronounced elements. Therefore, before moving on to the actual drawing, you have to concentrate all the more on the sketching and sketching phase, especially since the monkeys can assume the most diverse positions: standing, sitting, on all fours, attached on a branch with only your hands, lying down and so on.

How to draw a monkey with a pencil easy

You have already learned how to sketch: now you have to choose one and put it on your ‘final’ drawing pad. Once this is done, you can start defining the natural contours of your subject, thus going beyond the pure stylization seen above. You will therefore make the trunk more likely, accentuating the belly and outlining the rib cage. In addition, you will give expressiveness to the face by drawing the eyes and ears, and you will provide a more toned shape to the limbs.

When your chimpanzee is outlined and recognizable on the paper, when its anatomy is well sketched with light strokes, you can abandon the hard pencil to take the slightly softer one to structure the drawing. Then, without going into detail, it defines the shadow areas and the darker ones, making more or more minor close hatches to leave the light areas lighter.

Finally, start drawing the fur of the animal: we are drawing a chimpanzee, and therefore we are dealing with a medium-long and smooth skin, which is missing only on the hands, feet, and face. However, that same face is surrounded by tufts of hair that make the monkey’s face particularly lovely. Furthermore, it must be the exact design of the hair that defines in detail the muscles and structure of the monkey, changing direction and increasing or decreasing in intensity.


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