Activity: Make pixel art art
Pixel art is charming, retro and kinda goofy, and I see no reason whatsoever to restrict it purely to the realm of the computer monitor. I want pixel art I can enjoy in an analogue setting; I need pixel art on my walls; I demand pixel art in my kitchen. And since I’m sure you feel exactly the same way, let’s make some pixel art art together.
You will need:
- An image editing/painting application such as Photoshop, MS Paint or GIMP
- Some paper and coloured pencils, a canvas and paint or a medium of your preference (perhaps even cross-stitch kit!)
- Set up your digital canvas
A good real-life pixel size is about 1cm square. With this in mind, you need to measure your canvas and figure out the dimensions of your digital canvas. I actually had a couple of cheap canvases lying around so I took this mini one and measured it – it was 20x20cm, meaning that I can work on a digital canvas 20×20 pixels in size. Create a new artwork in your art software with those dimensions and fill the canvas with the principal background colour you want. Then, obviously, zoom right in so you can see what you’re doing.
2. Lay out your foundational shape
Rather than drawing an outline like we might in traditional art, pixel art is easiest (I find) when starting with a silhouette. Pick a colour that is common in the object you want to portray, and then draw its rough shape. I decided to paint an apple, since this is going to go in my kitchen – and still-life-style I’m going to use a real apple as a reference. The silhouette doesn’t have to be perfectly accurate; pixel art is more like a cartoon, focusing on the recognisability of an artistic subject.
3. Add in the other base colours
Old-school pixel art for games consoles and ancient computers had serious limitations, one of which being that you only had a small number of colours to work with. We don’t have to worry about these restrictions anymore (unless you want to do pixel art in hard mode) but it’s still worth picking out the base colours in the image and blocking them out on your silhouette to give you a structure to build upon for the next steps.Continue reading –>