5 Tips for Getting Started with Pixel Art
Welcome to the Familia blog. This is our blog’s first post. Today we are going to talk about getting started with pixel art. I’ve done all the pixel art for Familia. Learning pixel art has been a blast. Let’s get to our tips!
1) Work with Fewer Pixels
Less is more, especially with pixel art. With pixel art, size increases difficulty exponentially. When I showed Nick Woz one of my pixel art creations on his twitch channel, he told me to start smaller. Nick Woz is maybe the most prolific pixel artist and animator I have ever interacted with.
2) Don’t Use Photoshop or Gimp
Don’t use photoshop, gimp, or any equivalent program. Use a pixel art program. My program of preference is Pro Motion NG. Now it’s important to clarify that Photoshop and Gimp are actually great pixel art programs. However, Photoshop is aptly named and functions by default for dealing with photography. Learning how to use Photoshop for Pixel art has a bit of a learning curve and there is far less room for error in a program like Pro Motion NG.
The free version of the promotion will serve most pixel art needs. The premium version comes with some great features but I have not needed them. Many pixel artists also use a program called Aseperite.
3) Use a Reference
There is nothing wrong with using a reference to learn, even though some will say it’s cheating. When I was starting out, I used images from Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius. I feel the need to point out, that I do not recommend that you sell other people’s or work or take credit for the work of others as if it’s your own. There is a difference between using a reference as a study tool and plagiarism. In regards to art, always give credit where credit is due.
4) Pixel Art May Not Look Great At First
Be okay with experimenting and failing. It’s okay if your pixel art doesn’t live up to your vision at first. The most important ingredient in getting better at anything is time. I look at some of the art I did just a month ago, and I’m astonished how far I’ve come.
5) Find a Community
With the internet, we have access to various communities. I follow several full-time professional artists on Twitch and Discord. I regularly get the opportunity to interact with the best in the industry. I’ve found accomplished artists are surprisingly enthusiastic about helping others become better artists.
Participate in art challenges. If you would like to participate in an art challenge, consider joining my Discord server. Again, it’s important to get your art in front of your artist heroes as quickly as you can. Don’t worry about feeling like your art is up to part with art from an artist that has been doing art for years. The below art is from a recent art challenge on our Discord.
If you would like to discuss this further please visit our discord server so we can talk about it.
Since the initial publication of this blog post, I’ve also created a video with the same general ideas.