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How to Draw the Grinch

Jackson is a film and animation enthusiast who enjoys drawing. He likes to create tutorials to help others learn how to draw.

Learn how to draw the Grinch with this easy, step-by-step tutorial!

Learn how to draw the Grinch with this easy, step-by-step tutorial!

Grinch Season

It's that time of year again when we hear sleigh bells and mistletoe and eggnog and good cheer all around. But, do you know what else? Each year that loathsome green menace comes around to ruin it all for all the Who's in Whoville. No, eew, gross, I don't mean that!


You know the guy I'm talking about. He looks funny. He smells funny, and he has overall poor social skills to go along with his greedy and insensitive nature. He's become an icon for that nasty bad neighbor that everybody loves to hate and talk about behind their back. He's the type of person you pretend to loathe, but you can't wait to hear about all the different sorts of mischief he'll be causing this season. There's a whisper, a rumor, an overwhelming feeling of, "What will he do this year?"

Yeah, that's the guy.

Here is the Grinch in his Santa suit.

Here is the Grinch in his Santa suit.

A Childhood Memory

When I was a child, I'll be honest, I was fairly oblivious to certain things around this time of year, and even many others. But you know, every now and again, I'd be playing with Star Wars figures or cars or what-have-you, and all of a sudden, my father or mother would plop me in front of our glass bubble television screen encased in a wooden shell, and click the channel dial all the way to some number. Things are so different now, that kids today would probably be frightened if they were near an old TV.

Anyway, initially, I may see some news program or something boring, before all of a sudden a chorus of drum beats would sound from the set, followed by a slow spinning graphic of poor quality that read only, "SPECIAL." The graphic would spin and grow as if appearing from a far-off place, and that's when I knew something great was about to appear on the screen. Would it be Charlie Brown, Frosty the Snowman, or maybe my most favorite of all mean old cave dweller voiced by none other than horror icon Boris Karloff?

As a child, I loved that nasty green menace, and as an adult, I still do. So, if you want to follow along, I'll show you how to sketch him in all his nauseating glory, as both his normal self, with no clothes, and then again when he's wearing his makeshift Santa costume. You know. When he tries to fool poor little Cindy Lou Who into thinking he's the real Santa.

So, whenever you're ready, let's get started!

Materials You'll Need:

  • paper
  • pencil
  • eraser

Difficulty: Easy

Cost: $0.00



1. "You're a mean one Mister Grinch," and because of that, you begin with a straight vertical line to start. Everything should fall on this line. Then make horizontal lines for rough estimates on the base and top. In addition to the top and bottom lines, you'll also need a mid-line.

Start at the top line, and ironically enough, the very first shape for the Grinch is a heart shape for the lower half of his head. Then finish off the remainder of his head with a half-oval.

Mark out another oval just below the mid-line for his belly. Now it's his torso as another half oval above the belly shape starting just a bit under the chin. Now lay stick figure arms, but make sure they bend at the elbows about halfway in between the torso. The arms should be skinny and long and reconnect with the body at the top of the belly.

Give him legs from the bottom of the belly to the baseline. Give them each a bend about halfway down. And finish each with sort of a wedge shape for the feet in either direction.


2. Now fill out the body. Give the neck, arms, and legs some mass, but not too much. Make sure he is very skinny. Also, give him angled claw-like hands arcing up from the sides of his belly.


3. These are his accessories. No human would have these things. I'm not sure what these things are called, but roll some lines off of the scalp of his head. Try to make them look as though they are rolling forward over his eyes, but not into them.

Also, add the neck fluffiness. I'm not sure what this is called either, but the only other creature I've ever seen with this is Kermit the Frog. You don't need to be too exact here. Just try to make it look like jagged fluff coming from his neck region. It's all very chaotic, so the crazier the better.


4. Now's the fun part—his face. Erase the top of the heart shape that interferes with the face, and just go for a straight V-shape from where the half oval connects with the heart. This V-shape is the start of his eyebrows. Give him some eyes right off of them as half-circles, and don't forget the retinas, as well, also half-circles. Next, make his nose, but don't make it an oval—make sure it has nostrils, like an animal. It's very important. Look at a dog or cat for an example, if you need to.

The smile is the best part. He's smiling, right? It's not a normal smile. It's all twisted, so think, snake, and wriggle it around his cheeks. Connect his nose and mouth with a curved line, and then hint at his cheeks against the bottoms of his eyes, because when someone is really smiling, their cheeks bulge upwards.

Let's get back to the eyebrows because they're not done. Fluff each of them up a bit, and cross the brows in the middle, with one overlapping the other. Also, add a couple of lines in the forehead, because anyone with stress has those lines.


5. Now, let's clean him up, so to speak. Erase any unneeded lines, darken any that you need darker, and introduce anything special you think you might need, like lines on his feet, some scruff on his cheeks and chin, add shadow to his belly, and make sure that neck thing has enough definition. And all of a sudden, "Stink, stank, stunk!"


The Santa Suit

6. Onto him in his Santa suit.

Begin to lay out the body. Start with the single line down the center, the heart and oval head, the oval and half-oval torso, and line the arms and legs, each with an angled bend—just like #1, above.


7. Now, fill out the body. Fatten up the neck, arms, legs and feet. This is #2, above.


8. Now, on to his face. In the case of his Santa suit, this is unusual. I build his face before moving on to accessories, because of his Santa hat. I don't want the hat to interfere with how I lay out his face. Either way, this is the same as #4, above.


9. Now, it's time for his Santa accessories, which require a great deal of fluff around the edges.

Start with that hat. Block it out like a rectangle where the fluff should lay down, and then curl it out like a little fluffy cloud. Now extend it in a narrow triangle to dangle the hat, with a diamond-shaped ball on the end.

Add some neck fluff. This time it's just small fluff around the neck and not the jagged stuff, so this one's actually easier.

Next up is the waist. Line this one out like a rectangle, somewhat like the hat, because this lays down in sort of a V-shape down the front, and then it overlaps to the left of his waist to demonstrate that it's wrapping behind him. Then go back, and make it look like a fluffy cloud.

Next up, the shoes. Yes, as Santa Grinch, he wore red booties, with white fluff on them. So, give him some white fluff at the top of his ankles, and be done with this.


10. Here we go, just like #5, above, we need to clean up the lines. So, give him a cleaner look, erasing some lines and darkening others. And, there you go . . . "You're a monster, Mr. Grinch."


Christy Lyons on November 22, 2019:

I cant wait to get started i been looking everywhere to find instructions on how to draw the grinch

Kathleen Crape on December 07, 2018:

Wonderful instructions

Terry Case on November 08, 2018:

How tall should the grinch be and Cindy lu ho and the dog

Mary on November 06, 2016:

I have always wonted to draw l'm going to try this Grinch thank you

Jackson Thom (author) from West of Left South Lucky on February 25, 2014:

@flycatcherrr: I'm glad you liked it flycatcher, and I'm glad I could give you a laugh. And you betcha, I have more on they way. I have a few more in my head that I'd like to do. My next one will probably be something for St. Paddy's Day. Thanks for the kind words.

flycatcherrr on February 25, 2014:

I love your tutorials. Not just the actual how-to artwork, but the way you describe what you're doing (and what we should be doing, to emulate) - that whole business with the "neck fluffiness," for example, made me laugh out loud. More of these, please! :)

Jackson Thom (author) from West of Left South Lucky on January 09, 2014:

@julieannbrady: Haha! The Grinch is a great character. I'm glad you got something out of it. Thanks for reading!

julieannbrady on January 09, 2014:

Gosh, I love the Grinch -- known a few in my lifetime -- and I do honestly think I can now draw him [or her]!

Jackson Thom (author) from West of Left South Lucky on December 23, 2013:

@takkhisa: Awesome! I'm sure your little cousin will love it.

Takkhis on December 22, 2013:

It is a great lens with step by step instructions! Now I can draw it and share it with my little cousin :)

Jackson Thom (author) from West of Left South Lucky on December 19, 2013:

@flinnie lm: Hi Flinnie, thanks for the nice comment. And I plan to keep them coming. I'm kind of in a place where I'm too old to be drawing stuff I don't really want to draw. If I don't feel it, I'm probably not going to do it. I'm drawing just for the fun-factor, so I only draw stuff that strikes me. I'm certainly not the best, and I know I never will be, but I'll have a good time while I can. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it!

Gloria Freeman from Alabama USA on December 19, 2013:

Hi I enjoy the drawing classes that I am taking, but it nowhere as much fun as your drawing. The teacher in my class have us drawing houses, building, boxes, trees, hands, sometime a face. You draw fun stuff, keep it coming.

Jackson Thom (author) from West of Left South Lucky on December 16, 2013:

@Elsie Hagley: Aaah, you're being too hard on yourself. This one's probably too easy, for you, kiwinana.

You just have to start by laying out the center line, and the build the shapes from there. He's basically a fat stick figure, with a heart-shaped head.

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on December 15, 2013:

Love it you have done a great job, wish I could draw like that, it's not as easy as you think for someone that has two left hands when she only uses her right hand for writing. Ha-Ha that's me.

Merry Christmas, hope 2014 is a great year for your drawings also.

Jackson Thom (author) from West of Left South Lucky on December 14, 2013:

@shoputopian: Don't worry. You don't have to be an artist to draw. You just have to have fun. Just put pencil to paper, and let the lines find their own way. The rest will work itself out. I wouldn't mind hearing how it turns out.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jackson Thom (author) from West of Left South Lucky on December 14, 2013:

@PaigSr: The Grinch is great! He's so strange and lovable. Hope you enjoy!

shoputopian on December 14, 2013:

Even though I'm not an artist I'll have to try this out myself, you have made it look simple for even me to draw.

PaigSr from State of Confusion on December 14, 2013:

Never thought of drawing the Grinch before. Thanks for the layout.