Hello everyone and welcome to another weekly tutorial from the Drawing Factory,  this time you will learn how to draw Joy from the Pixar movie Inside Out by Pixar Studios.

Joy is one of the five emotions controlling Riley Andersen’s mind. She lives in her brain and works with other emotions.

For this tutorial, I used the drawing software SketchBook Pro and a drawing tablet.

If you are looking for a guide to buy a graphic tablet you can check out my top 10 favorite drawing tablets. Also if you want to try out SketchBook Pro, you can Download Free Autodesk Software Trials Now!

How to draw Joy: the basics

As always before you even start drawing, take a good look at the reference image and try to see if you can visually simplify it into easier shapes and forms.

In this first step, I am showing an incredibly useful technique to reproduce with high fidelity one image you might want to use as a reference for your drawing. I called the technique the SmartGrid technique.

You might be familiar with the idea of using a grid on the original drawing to use as a reference to then reproduce the original drawing as closely as possible and that technique definitely works. However, I think that my SmartGrid is a better version of this traditional technique.

Basically, you draw a series of reference lines directly in contact with certain elements of the original drawing instead of just drawing a random square grid on it.

The main advantages of the SmartGrid are that you can draw fewer lines than a normal grid and those lines are going to guide you with greater precision to position the various elements of the drawing.

You can see here how I have drawn the SmartGrid on the reference image I used in such a way to pinpoint features such as the size of the head, the position of arms and hands and so on. I have kept the vertical line green and the horizontal lines red to make them more visible.

You do not have to copy my grid but you can certainly use mine as a reference to create your personal one. Let’s learn how to draw Joy!

In this next step, you can see how the SmartGrid looks without the reference image underneath. I know it might seem a bit confusing however once you have gotten used to it you will never go back to using the traditional ‘old school’ grid.

Just keep the reference image with the grid on it close and it will absolutely make sense.

The first step, as always, position the big elements first. In this case the head, the body and the skirt and legs of Joy.

As you can see the lines of my smart grid are guiding me precisely and I am confident I am going to position these elements correctly.

Time to draw the arms and the memory sphere Joy is holding. At this stage detail is secondary and form is primary.

Use the lines of the grid to position the elbows correctly and a compass to draw a perfect circle for the sphere.

The final large mass you need to draw is the hair of Joy. Again, do not focus on the single locks or hair strands at this stage, just their general shape.

Where they start and end, how they encircle the face of Joy.

This is the last step before moving on to drawing the face of joy. It’s time to join the elements together, the torso with the arms and the skirt, the neck and the folds of the skirt.

Still, very roughly, start forming your drawing a bit better and make the various elements and masses flow into each other more naturally.

Ok, time to move on and start drawing the face of Joy.

This is how the lines of the smart grid come in really handy as they can tell you how the eyes are positioned, the nose and the mouth.

As you can see here the key is just to use enough lines to get a clear idea on how to position everything without overwhelming the drawing with reference lines.

Take your time here as it is important to nail the expression of Joy otherwise, she is not going to look joyous!

And in a heartbeat (figuratively speaking) you have finished your drawing of Joy! Time to prepare it for colouring.

Remove all construction lines and clean the drawing from all unwanted sketchy lines as well. You should end up with a clean drawing that is ready to be fully rendered.

How to draw Joy: colouring

Colouring might seem daunting, I know I have been there, but it shouldn’t be. Just think of it as a series of subsequent steps the first being laying the base colours on your drawing.

At this stage what you want to do is (if you are using a drawing software like me) create a layer underneath the pencil and fill the various areas of Joy’s body with a pure flat colour. This is the base colour without any shadow or light.

See, pretty simple so far…

How to draw Joy: shadows and lights

Next decide where the light is coming from in your scene. In this case, light is coming from the right of the drawing.

Once you know that, you also know that all the elements on the opposite of the light source are going to be in the shade.

So pick yourself a soft brush with low opacity, a darker version of whichever base colour you intend to draw the shadows on and start applying layer after layer of it until you get to a shadow colour you like.

In this image, I applied for example a darker green on the dress of joy on the opposite side of the light source.

Now do the same for the other elements of the body and even for the hair. You can treat them as if they were a big blobby mass on Joy’s head.

Here I shadowed the body, the face and the sphere she is holding.

Once the shadows are laid re-do the same process again however this time with the lights.

Go over a certain area, say the dress, pick a lighter tone than the base colour and using a low opacity brush start applying layer after layer of the lighter tone until you get to the desired level.

Here, I have applied lights on the face, the dress, the hair and the sphere that Joy is holding in her hands.

Once shadows and lights are applied you can move on to applying some surface detail. At this stage I decided to go over Joy’s dress and draw the decoration on it, see those little bluish flowers?

More surface detail, hair and face.

In this particular drawing, after experimenting a bit with different techniques I found that I liked the best the effect of drawing single strands of hair one by one.

If you want to follow my lead, arm yourself with a bit of patience and with a small brush go over Joy’s hair and draw single strands following the natural flow of her hair. Also, change the colour of the brush making it darker or lighter to introduce a bit of variation as well.

There is no real how-to technique here just do your best until you are happy with the result.

For the iris and eyeballs (the white part of the eye) I basically used the same technique I used for the rest of the body, apply the shadows first and then the lights and do not forget the small highlight in the corner of her eyes.

Finally, I finished the rendering of the sphere by adding some strong highlights to it.

You may notice that there isn’t such a big difference between this drawing and the one before but this is what happens when you are getting closer to the end and you are refining more than making big changes.

In this case, I made another pass on the overall figure to improve in areas I felt needed improving.

And there you have it the final result! Do you like it?

Here I decided to take this drawing to the next level and I added the fuzzy skin typical of the characters of Inside Out, see on the arms and face.

Then I added a bit of pink to the checks and finished the surface detailing of Joy’s dress by adding a further, more subtle texture made up of a sort of silvery web.

Finally, I lightened the face and arms, even more, to finish it off.

This concludes the series dedicated to the characters from Inside Out, you can find the other tutorials here or watch the video tutorials on my YouTube channel.

I really hope you liked this tutorial! Did you find it useful? How did your Joy turn out? What do you want me to do next?

Let me know in the comment section below, I read and respond to all messages!

For this week is all from me and I’ll catch you drawing next week with a new tutorial!


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