I often get asked if I had any tips for people who are just starting to make pixel art or if there was any advice I had for beginners. So I decided to put together a few tips that I hope will be helpful.
Before being able to start drawing, you of course need to know what software you’d like to use. Now, I personally think that it doesn’t really matter what software you use and I believe that the best software for you is usually the one you know best and you’re most comfortable working in.
Some examples of free programs you can use to make pixel art are:
- Lospec Pixel Editor
Some examples of paid (but relatively affordable) programs you can use to make pixel art are:
#2 Keep it small, keep it simple
Now that you’ve chosen your software, the fun part can finally start – making the art!
Start working in low-resolution and keep your canvases small, e.g. 64x64px or 128x128px. The bigger the canvas, the more detailed and complex your images will be. When you’re just starting to make pixel art, you’ll probably want to focus on readability and simplicity and avoid adding too much detail.
Colors are hard. There’s lots to take into consideration when it comes to working with color and creating your own palettes, like hue-shifting, being aware of the values and so on. There are a lot of tutorials explaining color theory on YouTube, which I would recommend checking out (there are some links to useful tutorials at the end of this blog post!).
However, there are also many awesome premade palettes you can use. Here’s a great list of palettes for pixel art on Lospec: https://lospec.com/palette-list .
#4 How to improve
One of the most fun parts of making art is that you’re constantly learning something new and that you’re constantly improving. However, this can be hard sometimes and it takes much time and effort, but there really is only one way to improve – and that’s to practice. Try to practice as much as you can and, if it’s possible, try to draw every day.
Start with small and simple pieces, familiarize yourself with the basic principles and techniques of pixel art and if you’re feeling comfortable with what you’re drawing, try creating more complex and bigger images.
#5 Have fun!
I know I just said that you should practice as much as possible, but that doesn’t mean that you should burn yourself out. Take your time, do what you love and do it at your own pace.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and don’t let anyone discourage you.
Also, try not to compare yourself to other artists and don’t forget that Social Media DOES NOT determine your self-worth. It’s easy to panic, looking at other artists’ work and seeing how amazing these artists are and realizing how much you still have to learn (that’s what I usually do), but don’t get discouraged by that. Keep learning and practicing at your own pace and have fun!
I’ve already written a blog post where I listed some of my favorite pixel art resources, but I figured I might as well put together a more extensive list of resources here.
What software to use?
- YouTube tutorial by Brandon James Greer
Getting started with pixel art
- Introduction to pixel art on Lospec
- Pixel art tutorials on Lospec
- Introduction to pixel art by Pedro Medeiros
- Pixel art tutorials by Pedro Medeiros
- Getting Started with Pixel Art! by Brandon James Greer
- Pixel art tutorials, tips and tricks + specific Aseprite tutorials by MortMort
- Pixel art tutorials by GDQuest
- Tutorials by sadface
Color and palettes
- Understanding Color by Blender Guru
- Using Colour In Your Paintings by Marco Bucci
- List of palettes on Lospec
YouTube channels (timelapses and tutorials)
- Brandon James Greer
- Pixel art and video games by Octavi Navarro
- Luis Zuno
… and tons I forgot!
So, these are some tips and resources I think might be helpful to beginners : )
Thank you so much for reading and have fun creating!