How To Draw A Chameleon!

Crazy, funky little masters of disguise! Let’s draw some cartoon chameleons.

Chameleon Cartoon - Milan's Mischief

Firstly, let’s address the big question; what is a chameleon anyway? Ok, sure we all know it’s a cute lizard but here are some quick facts:

  • Chameleons are reptiles
  • They have the cool ability to change color
  • They have amazing eyes that move independently of eachother but can still coordinate together for stereoscopic vision during hunting
  • Chameleons have a really long sticky tongue aka: ‘weapon of genius’. (Imagine not having to get up off the couch to grab a snack. You could just reach out with your tongue and snap it off the kitchen bench) = genius.
  • They have a prehensile tail! (‘prehensile’ = acts like another limb that can grab onto stuff)

And lastly, (and I won’t get into too much detail about it here because I’m thinking of doing a long info-toon on chameleons because they’re so ultra cool)…. their skin containers nano crystals which is what makes it change colour. Think Mystique from X-Men. It’s like her power is actually possible! Imagine if we could harness that ability….

Nicola xx

Ps: Don’t forget all artwork on this site is original art created by me. I’d love you to recreate it and share your stuff on social, just remember to tag me @milansmischief  on Insta or TikTok (and no commercial resale allowed. Thanks!)

Cartoon Chameleon Drawing

Save this crazy dude on Pinterest for later!

Chameleon Cartoon - Milan's Mischief

How to Draw a Chameleon Step by Step

Let’s draw a crazy chameleon cartoon step by step. 


Reference Pic

Hey there friend! I just got back from a trip to London and I drew this little dude while I was bored at the airport. I like how the ‘sneaky’ text follows under the tail  🙂

So, I thought I’d show you how I drew this cute, sneaky chameleon. Scroll on for the step by step.

PS: This is available as a sticker in my shop!

Frog Drawing -Milan's Mischief

Before we start: Guidelines!

You know me, I love a good guideline and today is no exception. If you simplify my first chameleon drawing into basic shapes, you’ll see that it consists of a large circle for the head, a slightly smaller circle for the body and a curly tail. 

Guidelines are great for showing you the basic shapes of a character and giving you parameters to stick to.

Frog Drawing -Milan's Mischief

Step One: The Eyes Are LARGE

Ok let’s get started! I’ve made my guidelines super faint but still visible enough to use as a guide.

Then I started with the basic eye shape. Chameleons have huge eyes and can see a full 360 degrees around themselves due to their special eye shape and movement.

Frog Drawing -Milan's Mischief

Step Two: Heads Up!

Now we have our guidelines and our eyes, it’s time to start drawing the general shape of our cartoon chameleon’s head. These guys look like they are wearing some sort of gladiator helmet so you want to draw the head up to a peak in a rough, upside down ‘V’ shape.

I also added in the mouth at this stage. I went for a big smile but you can just as easily curve the mouth downwards instead of upwards to look more like a grimace if you want.

Frog Drawing -Milan's Mischief

Step Three: All In One

The back and the tail is one line with no breaks. Using my guidelines, I actually started drawing from the tail because I feel like the spiral in the tail is the hardest bit to get right.

So if you stuff that up, it’s easier to erase and start again rather than having to redraw the whole back as well if you start from the head.

Frog Drawing -Milan's Mischief

Step Four: Judgey Judgey

To get the chin and stomach right requires a little bit of judging how thick your tail will be. You want to leave enough room to draw a tail that isn’t too fat or too skinny for the rest of the body.

Also, you can make the chin quite deep (or shallow) depending on how you want your character to look.

Butterfly Cartoon by Nicola Milan

Step Five: Down We Go

When I drew in the rest of the tail I started from the top this time and drew downwards. I found this easier to get the thickness right as the tail gradually becomes thinner. 

If you find it easier to draw thin to thick, then by all means draw from the tail up. 

Cute-Turtle-drawing - Milan's Mischief

Step Six: So Leggy

Chameleon legs are actually pretty easy to draw. Simplified, they have a toe on one side and two claws on the other. No, I didn’t check this against all the species of chameleon out there, it just looked generally right from checking out a few chameleon pics online.

One other thing I should mention, I drew the back leg hidden a bit by the tail. If this irks you, just draw in the rest of the foot so it looks like the tail is behind. I couldn’t decide which way I prefered best so I just stuck with the tail in front this time. 

Cute-Turtle-drawing - Milan's Mischief

Step Seven: Walk The Line

This was the stage where I needed the branch that our chameleon friend is walking along. The feet just didn’t look right without it, so I drew one in to go with the depth of the toes so it looked like the chameleon was clinging tight.

Chameleons are arboreal animals; meaning, they spend most of their lives in trees, however noone is going to mind if you draw your chameleon clinging to a mushroom or a piece of gym equipment… or a shooting star on it’s way to Jupiter….

Cute-Turtle-drawing - Milan's Mischief

Step Eight: All Seeing, All Knowing

One of the coolest things about chameleons is their amazing eyes. Each eye can move independently from the other and they can also work together for stereoscopic vision during hunting. Sooo cool. It would be like watching life through two tv screens instead of just one. A bit of a brain workout that’s for sure!

For the reference drawing, I did both eyes focusing on the same spot, but this time round I drew the eyes doing different things. It gives the character and instantly crazy look. 

Cute-Turtle-drawing - Milan's Mischief

Step Nine: Gettin’ Cheeky

At this stage we’re pretty much there. You can clearly see that we have created a chameleon drawing so now it’s time to add a bit of flair.

This is where you get to draw a cheeky tongue poking out, vampire teeth, droopy eyes and all the bells and whistles 🙂


Cute-Turtle-drawing - Milan's Mischief

Step Ten: Spike It Up!

One last cool fact about chameleons is that the males tend to be way more ornamented with spikes and bumps than the females. Similarly to how male birds are colorful to attract a female mate, the male chameleons are adorned in an array of spikey wonders. 

Cute-Turtle-drawing - Milan's Mischief

Step Eleven: Get Crazy!

Add some funky vibes here my friend! You can draw spikes or circles, wiggly lines or punk hair. The world is your oyster and your chameleon cartoon is your playground.

Oh and notice how in this step I finally erased the lines seperating the legs from the belly? Very important.

Chameleon-Drawing by Cartoonist Nicola Milan

Use ALL The Colors!

I was going through a fluro phase when I drew this little dude so he got the full fluro color treatment.

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this fun tutorial on how to draw a chameleon. Don’t forget to pin this on Pinterest or share it with your buddies so they can learn to draw too.

I’d also love to see your creations on Insta – so tag me @milansmischief so I can see your brilliance!

Nicola xx

What’s Next?

Learn to draw a llama here.

Shop the fun merch!

Sneaky Chameleon Sticker

Sneaky Chameleon Sticker

Chameleon sticker in gloss, matte or transparent


Cyber Punk Turtle Gif - Milan's Mischief

Skull Cat Notebook

Skull Cat Notebook


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