The Monkey King The Monkey King

Netflix’s latest original animated feature, The Monkey King, has been a hit for the platform and was its most-watched film last week.

Berlin-based character designer Uwe Heidschötter and Paris-based character designer Juliaon Roels were involved in the film’s development and have started sharing some of their character explorations on their social media pages.

Heidschötter has worked for numerous major studios, including Netflix, Dreamworks, Nexus Studios, and Locksmith Animation. Upcoming films to which he has contributed include Locksmith’s That Christmas and Laika’s Wildwood.

Roels has done concept and character work for Laika, Blue Sky Studios, Illumination Mac Guff, Sun Creature, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Netflix, and Cartoon Network. He has contributed to films such as Missing Link, The Secret Life of Pets, and now The Monkey King.

The Monkey King is a family-friendly retelling of one of China’s most popular fantasy tales. In the film, the charismatic Monkey and his magical sentient fighting stick set off on a quest to defeat 100 demons, an eccentric Dragon King, and eventually, Monkey’s own inflated ego. Along the way, a young village girl named Lin challenges Monkey’s narcissistic attitude and proves that even the smallest pebble can significantly affect the world.

The artists have shared sketches of all the leading players, which can be seen below. Both Heidschötter and Roels have plenty more artwork and insights on their social media pages, so be sure to check them out.


Baby Monkey:


Dragon King:

Red Boy, who was changed to Red Girl for the film’s final version:

Pictured at top: Character designs shared by Uwe Heidschötter and Juliaon Roels