I think it’s time for a new tutorial to inspire some people creating great games. Question for this post is: How to create pixelart for video games?

1. What do you need?

Thinking about pixelart and what you need for it, I tried to find the rudimentary thing. So what is that? You only need some thing to draw on that might have a grid. So my idea for that is a sheet of paper with a grid pattern printed on it and some colored pencils.
With this stuff you can do all things to create pixelart in general. Of course you also can use a PC and your creativ work will benefit from that. There are a bunch of software that are made for digital drawing and creating arts and also able to create pixelart, but the really basis is some thing like a sheet of paper and some colored pencils.

2. Basics

So now you have decided what to work on, that might be a PC with software or just a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. Maybe you also are able to draw relativly pretty. But there are some things you might consider for creating beatufil pixelart.

lines You can use different line type for drawing your pixelart and there are some "beautiful" lines and some not that "beautiful". The major point is the increase in x (hroizontal) and y (vertical) direction. A line with a stady increase of let us say 1:2 looks better than a line with a non-stady increase. An increase by 1:2 means: when you go 1 steps in x direction than you go 2 steps in y direction and draw a straight line between these points. The picture beside surely helps you understand what I mean. Also notice the different look compared to the non-stady increase line. This line looks more like zic-zac and appears not that straight and nice looking.

shapes Understanding lines means you can use them to create different shapes because shape consist of lines. Creating a shape simply means combining (different) lines. E.g. you can now draw a square using you knowledge about lines … and also animate it by "turning" it in a direction so that the pictures combines in an animated GIF create a turning movement. I hope the images beside shows it. You also can make circular shapes combining different line types to a full circle. Because a circle is symmetrical along two axes you only have to draw a quarter of it and than combine the quarters to a full circle.

Color palette
colors Surely you’re interested in creating colorful and not only black and white images. Considering you images are mostly not that big messured by pixels you don’t have much space to draw shadows and a 3-dimensional effect. So for shading and setting highlights you want to use darker/brighter tint than the background. To have a nice effect a reduced color palette is mostly what you want. You can keep it simple and use a triple of every base color in your image (a base color, a darker tone and a brighter tone). But you can also use more tint for a base color. The effect of more/less colors is obviously different, more colors make the object look more 3-dimensional, a smaller color palette gives a bigger retro charm.

letsgamedev_pixeln_outlines Maybe you already have seen pixelart images with outlines. Outlines are an optional part of pixelart, some use them and some don’t. Like using bigger/smaller color pallettes the effect of having/not having outlines makes a difference. There are also different type of outlines, you can make them thick or thin, only black ore in a different color. Imagine you want your drawn character to have kind of an aura in you game. You could achieve that by using outlines in different colors indicating different states of you character. In general outlines give a higher contrast to the background.

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