pixel tutorial

here is my pixel art tutorial! i use aseprite mostly (and sometimes pixaki) for making my pixels. libresprite is a good alternative too! if you have any questions please don't hesitate to message me in my cbox or email me!

step 1 | sketch

in this tutorial, we are doing a lil squid! sketch your squid, don't worry about getting it perfect. we will do another layer for the actual lines.

step 2 | lines

this is the step i usually make any huge corrections. feel free to play around with the lines. in the example, i moved the face down a bit!

step 4 | basic color

the easiest part! time to use the trusty ol paint bucket. pick whatever colors you want and fill it in.

step 5 | shading + highlights

time to add shading an highlights! try to pick colors that are cohesive without just moving the color down towards black or white of the same hue. try to think of your light source and where the shading would be on the object. don't be scared to experiment, it's honestly not much different from regular digital art

animating your pixel

in this example we are using aseprite but other pixel programs will also have animation options. we are gonna keep it simple for this pixel.

step 1 | frames

right click on the "1" and select new frame. it will duplicate your drawing and you should have a "1" and "2"


step 2 | frame edits

make your edits on the second image that you duplicated (and any subsequent images) you can make it as simple or complex as you want and the more frames you have, the more fluid your animation will be.
here are frame 1 and 2.

step 3 | animation speed

double click on the frame numbers to bring up the frame properties menu. this will allow you to change the speed of your frames. it is measured in milliseconds and the higher the number, the longer the gif will linger on the specific frame.

step 4 | saving

once you have finished, save your pixel as a .gif and make sure "animation loop" is checked (it should be default) and thats it! you're done!

tips and suggestions

color picking

the worst noob mistake i think is picking colors badly. just going down towards black or white or just changing what's called the "value" of a color. it makes art look very grey and dusty and after you get used to it, it will be fun and easy to pick more interesting colors.

bad vs good palette

the top example is using colors from the example above whereas the lower one is using a more interesting palette where some colors go closer to yellow and others go closer to blue and purple. it take a bit of practice so don't be afraid to mess around with the colors!

other mistakes

pillow shading and jagged lines! the one on the left has both and the one on the right is neither. pillow shading is when the darkest colors are on the outside and the lighter ones are on the inside where the is no defined light source. the other biggest mistake i see people making is their lines are jagged. what does that mean? the corners are connecting vertically or horizontally and not only diagonally. click here for a bigger picture of the example to see what i mean.