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365 days of pixel art (medium.com)
109 points by eigenbom 818 days ago | hide | past | web | 34 comments | favorite



Great project! I'd like to tell to everyone who want to start drawing pixel art, I built a very simple tool to get started with this technique: http://drawbang.com.

Try it, give me your feedback, and share your pixel art masterpieces!


Neat :)

I definitely need a right-click colour picker (or shift-click) to work more easily. Can I suggest cutting back your GUI, removing that 3d look, or if you like it too much, then making the pixel art pictures also be 3d like that.

Also your palette is way too saturated. Check out something like http://androidarts.com/palette/16pal.htm for a much nicer set of colours.


Nice, thanks for the suggestions!

I definitely must find some time to make a lot of planned features/fixes. See a list of them at https://github.com/potomak/drawbang/issues.


Er, why can I move right or up but not left or down?


Because I was lazy and you can move left or down by 1 by moving right or up by 15 :)


I've always wanted to do pixel art, but somehow things don't seem "right" when I try. What are some good tips for an amateur pixel-artist? And also, what are some resources you would recommend? I really want create something but always feel stuck


Sure. I find it best to keep it simple, use a decent palette like DB16 or Arne16, block in your shapes, and then add details. Constraints are your friend, especially when starting out. See what you can do with 4 shades of grey in 32x32 pixels .. for example can you draw a set of 8 different x-men within those constraints?

When you get to higher resolutions you need to think more about what the actual pixels are doing, are they jagged, are they banding or blurring, etc. A decent tutorial which covers those concepts is:

http://www.pixeljoint.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=11299

Understanding form and colour and shape and all those things from visual art is important for a lot of bigger pieces, but the nice thing in pixel art is that if you work in a low resolution it's easy to keep tweaking until it looks good. I did a lot of adjusting earlier on.

There are so many different styles of pixel art -- so browse Pixel Joint's gallery or the @Pixel_Dailies account until you find one that resonates. Copy and paste the image into your editor and then start pulling it apart to understand how it works. We did quite a few of these studies, and I found that artists like JunkBoy, AbyssWolf, and Mmro Tarius are especially instructive.

Good luck and I might see you over on Pixel Dailies sometime.


I wish I had that tutorial back when I was doing classic Mac software and needed icons.


THANK YOU this guide is incredible!


Are you good at sketching with pencil and paper? If not, I recommend dropping pixel art for a few weeks, picking up a good book by Betty Edwards or Andrew Loomis (both can be found as pdfs online), and filling a couple sketchbooks.

To make good pixel art, or any other kind of art really, first you must learn to see shapes in a particular way that's not intuitive for non-artists. It's a bit hard to explain in words, but if your mind hasn't learned that trick, your shapes will always come out wrong and you won't know why. Sketching allows you to learn that skill quickly and easily, while pixeling has so many distractions that IMO it's almost impossible to learn from pixeling alone.

With the right approach, as described in the books I mentioned, most people see obvious and major progress after just a day or two. I'm not exaggerating at all, it took me literally one day of sketching with Betty Edwards' book to go from "I can't draw, it must be genetic" to "I can draw anything right if I look hard enough".


This might be oversimplifying it, but I think there are basically two kinds of people - maybe not people, but dispositions? states? Anyway - those who see/process/comprehend images in terms of shapes, and those who see/process/comprehend images in terms of light and shadow. Not that you can't be artistic with one approach vs another, but when it comes to what is ostensibly drawing or sketching, especially with a constrained economy of space ala pixel art, it's very important to work in light & shadow rather than shapes to impart something identifiable. For example, I sketch terribly. But if I force myself to do pointillism (no strokes, only dots), I can't help but work in terms of light/shadow. My "pointillist" sketches are 1000x better than my unconstrained sketches. I haven't had much luck with Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain yet though. :/


The Loomis books are especially great and a must read for any figure drawing/painter/pixeller. However, if you start out with low-res pixel art (like a super mario snes sprite) then you don't really need to understand form at that level.


I can confirm this. I struggled a lot with making pixel art because I was trying to draw the outline with pixels and would always fail (except for rectangular inanimate objects like boxes and similar).

Then I tried to sketch first and it worked great. Here's the process:

1. draw by hand on paper

2. scan it (I take photos with my phone)

3. scale it down to the size you need

4. draw the outline (make sure two pixels do not touch except diagonally)

5. color with base colors

6. add shading

For steps 5 and 6 make sure you pick a consistent palette beforehand. Something with limited set of colors (say, up to 24) works best.

P.S. You can check the graphics I created this way in my Twitter feed (@mbabuskov). Look for the horse-shaped robot and the spaceship images and see how those look way better than other stuff I drew earlier.


With all due respect, I just looked at your pictures and it doesn't look like you're sketching right. Like, they're "ouch" level bad, 1 on a scale of 1 to 10. Sorry.

My best suggestion would be to actually go through some exercises in the books I mentioned. You should see massive improvement within days.


Try more.

I know that it sounds like a douche answer, but, seriously — I don't know a single field of knowledge or art where it seems right when you try for the first time.


Saving the page doesn't save all the images. How annoying. I guess I'll get called a pirate or a content thief.

You can't even right click and use save as. I don't understand what sort of html or javascript is doing this, but I see it often. I tried using the page info panel and select all the picture and clicked save as, but it downloaded many blank files.

EDIT:

it was caused by the :large and :small. removed them, created a html file, saved as, done.


Page crashes chrome and safari on ipad. Fyi


Ah thx, thats a shame. There are a lot of tweet embeds in there.


I've enjoyed #pixeldailies immensely. Its one of the few things on my twitter feed that consistently brings me joy. Its also motivational - though I haven't tried my hand at pixel art, I've been drawing at least a little bit every day. Thanks for the pixels!


Great, I'm glad so many people seem to enjoy it! :)


So much talent. Hard to believe he spent so little time on each of these.


Thanks! I think I averaged about 30 minutes per day on these, with a few pieces taking up to 2 hours. The daily practise has had a huge impact on my speed, more than anything else.


Nice work. If you're into this sort of thing, you might also appreciate https://instagram.com/pxlpeeps/, though the style is more constrained, and the focus is on pop culture characters.


Neat :)

I'm also reminded of http://davegrey.net/tagged/pixel-art and http://iotacons.blogspot.com.au/ wrt small pixel art drawings from pop culture. It's amazing that you can capture character in so few pixels sometimes.


Could you sum up your personal feelings of games using pixel art over a more cartoony vector art?

Personally I felt that Paper Mario was a lot easier on the eyes than more traditional pixel art games.

BTW moonman looks totally amazing.


Scott McCloud talks about it a bit in Understanding Comics when he talks about the "universality" of cartoony imagery: http://www.kylechipman.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/u...

When it comes to certain kinds of art experiences I think too much fidelity gets in the way of the expressive power of the medium.

As an indie or hobbyist game dev it is way easier to create pixel art assets than higher resolution assets... never mind 3d. That's really powerful when combined with the universality component.

Sword and Sworcery, Fez, Moonman, vvvvvv, Corrypt ... lots of great pixel art goodness out there right now.


I can't define it. I love it. And I have no words better than that. I don't know if it's nostalgia of the 8bit era I grew up in. I don't think so. It's a blend of sensations. Legos also bring that feeling. The geometric simplicity, yet complex combinations.

Maybe the low-resolution asking your mind to fill in the details subconsciously. Like visual incarnation of words. It goes beyond the instantaneous perception.


I really like pixel art, but good vectorised games (masterpiece sample would be Another World) can have lots of charm and much better animations


Ha, these games fall in between don't you think ? or maybe I'm biased by my love with flashback (Another World cousin), AW was almost entirely flat, while flashback had pixel art elements. But still they share that minimalism found in pixel art (low res, low details, impressionism).

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-8vSAxF44FvU/Trk8AnyBdPI/AAAAAAAAKY...

http://www.anotherworld.fr/images/another_world/AW_arrivee_1...

ps: I love reading about AW making of http://www.anotherworld.fr/anotherworld_uk/page_realisation....


Yup, also read that. I guess you'd love reading (if not already) the making of Prince of Persia and /or Karateka


For a reason I never cared about these technically. Will do.


Thanks! Pixel art has a 'digitalness' to it that attracts me, but I can enjoy any style that is done well. A recent vector art game that blew me away, for example, was Hohokum.

Pixel art may be overdone but I think it's a pretty flexible art form and has a long way to travel yet. Just in the last year I've seen a lot of new and different styles, some of which are already appearing in games.


Talking of different styles, I think Cuphead looks incredible... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TjUPXAn2Rg


I agree :)




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