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Fly, My Pretty! How to Draw a Winged Monkey Step by Step

This post is part of a series called The Wizard of Oz.
Create the Wicked Witch of the West in Adobe Illustrator
Create a Hot Air Balloon Scene From The Wizard of Oz in Adobe Photoshop
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Sometimes it's not zombies and vampires that scare us, but characters from childhood stories. Even though objectively they're not that scary, there's something in them that brings us chills even in our adult lives. The Winged Monkeys from "The Wizard of Oz" are certainly that type of character. Let's learn how to draw one!

1. Prepare for Drawing

This is the most overlooked part of drawing projects. Beginners often "strongly wish" they could draw something, so they just try to do it. Professionals, on the other hand, practice before drawing something new. You can't draw something well if you've never drawn it before!

Step 1

Find a lot of references of jumping monkeys and sketch them quickly. Try to capture the main rhythm of the movement, avoiding details. Use a small scale.

practice poses jumping monkeys

Step 2

Now switch to a variety of references of monkeys. Practice the details, but keep sketching quickly, without hesitation.

practice monkey details

Step 3

Time for wings. Draw flying birds, paying special attention to the placement of feathers. Try to find a way to simplify it; understand how it works. If you need some help, try my complex tutorial about drawing wings.

practice wings flying birds

Step 4

Finally, you can sketch a few poses of the flying monkey. Draw only the rhythm of the body, nothing else.

practice sketch poses

2. Plan the Skeleton

Step 1

Choose one pose from your practice sketches. Now:

  • If you're drawing digitally, copy it to a new file, resize to your preferred size, and lower the opacity. Keep drawing on a new layer.
  • If you're drawing traditionally, redraw the pose on a new sheet of paper on a bigger scale. Make the drawing subtle—these are just guide lines, not a part of the final picture.
choose a pose

Step 2

Build a simplified skeleton of the monkey out of sticks. It's similar to a human skeleton, so you can learn a bit about it in my other tutorial—how to draw a human in a simple way.

Don't forget about the wings!

Warning: you can draw freely and even sloppily until I tell you to stop. Don't be afraid of mistakes, crooked lines, or a general mess—we'll fix it later, I promise!

draw the skeleton moneky

Step 3

Sketch the torso and the head.

draw the big parts of skeleton

Step 4

Use the trick described in my tutorial about drawing 3D forms to give depth to the chest and head.

draw skeleton 3d prepare
draw skeleton 3d done

Step 5

Draw the hands and feet. Even though monkeys have hand-like feet, they're not 100% hands.

draw hands feet

Step 6

Add the fingers and "toes".

draw fingers toes

3. Build the Body

Step 1

Have you ever seen a drawing dummy? Their "joints" are spherical, and they don't only allow rotation—they also define the width of the part. We can use them here, too.

Hips are very complicated, so you can use two or even one sphere in their place.

draw joints speheres
Use directing lines to understand the 3D form of the creature.

Step 2

Draw the open jaw. It can be made of two halves of a sphere!

draw jaw open

Step 3

Add some details on the face.

draw monkey face eyes nose
draw monkey ears eyes

Step 4

Take a closer look at the hands and feet, and draw spherical joints for every finger.

draw monkey finger joints

Step 5

Once the whole shape is established, you can emphasize it with outlines:

draw monkey body
draw monkey hands feet fingers

4. Draw the Wings

Step 1

Start with the marginal coverts, or "wing arms", as I like to call them.

draw wings arms

Step 2

Add another row of coverts.

draw wings coverts top

Step 3

One more...

draw wings coverts secondary

Step 4

Now draw a place for the main feathers: secondaries and primaries.

draw wings secondaries primaries

Step 5

Time to draw the actual feathers. Start with very simple, round, symbolic ones...

draw wings little feathers

... then switch to more elongated feathers.

draw wings feathers top
draw wings feathers primaries
draw wings feathers secondaries

Step 6

Big birds often have slotted primaries. Here's how to draw them:

draw wings slotted primaries
draw wings slotted primaries done

5. Finish the Drawing

Step 1

If you're a traditional artist, you probably have a mess of lines on your sheet right now. Don't worry, that was the plan! To continue, take something making dark lines and emphasize the parts of the sketch that are important to you. Then place a new sheet of paper at the top. Can you see the lines below? If not, use thinner paper or make the lines even darker.

If you're drawing digitally, simply merge all the previous layers and make that new layer almost transparent.

traditional darwing layers

Step 2

Using the lines below as a base, draw all the details. Be careful and slow now—this is the final version.

draw winged monkey sketch

Step 3

When you're done, you can stress some of the more important lines to make the drawing more interesting.

draw winged monkey done

Good Job!

That was a lot of work, wasn't it? If you enjoyed it, try some more of my tutorials. And if you had problems at any point, you can solve them by going through my How to Learn to Draw series. See you next time!

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