Road to pixel art: Styles and poses | Juan Camilo Ramirez | Skillshare

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Road to pixel art: Styles and poses

teacher avatar Juan Camilo Ramirez, Indie Game Developer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Working with a pixel art software

    • 3. Drawing our first character: Sonic

    • 4. Drawing from some more games

    • 5. Drawing interesting poses

    • 6. Creating a original character

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About This Class


Welcome to Road to Pixelart  In this class you will work on just one topic: Characters. While every topic such as color, perspective and composition are extremely important I found out that it is very easy to learn pixel art if you just commit to one area at the time.

We are going to study pixelart from other existing videogames and then apply that knowledge to our own art.

This are the exercises you will be doing in this course:

  • Create 4 characters in the style and pose of other existing videogame characters.
  • Redraw those 4 characters on different pose using images of people as reference.
  • Create your final own character using what you have learn.

Meet Your Teacher

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Juan Camilo Ramirez

Indie Game Developer


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1. Introduction: Hi, guys. My name is Camilla Ramirez, and I am again cover for a lot off. Your cell was wanted to create pixel after my own games, and I found out that I was very deep people to do on. I saw many tutorials and so many articles from people that create XLR and I always have issues with that because I was never able to take. But they have taught me in those videos are no tutorials on, then continue from that to make my own arms. And I struggle with that issue for many years until last year, when I finally found a frozen that allowed me to slow my your and allow me to create my own picture. The process is very simple. It's nothing out of this war. We're going to study picks a lot of that already, except for order games like we're seeing that house style that is similar. To do this we want to create, and then we're going to see things like, How is the character Dawn on? How is the color supply on Shane applying and all of that? And we're going to try to create our own original character using sort of the same stuff. We're not trying to copy the star who are trying to do an exact replica off on existing stuff. We are basically just living from that and the process itself. It's also very simple. We're going to start with just a basic shape without thinking so much on proportions correctly. And then we're going to start refining that shape a little bit more on after that would move on to Colores, as in the basic colors, and they will continue to refine the shape. We don't have the final shape until very later in the process, Andi. Then we're going to look at the reference again and see how is the child of life. So where the shells lie is the correct they're going to have on outline or something, and we're going to apply dozing no less two hours on Friday. By the end of this course, you're going to have a horrible at least nine drove for original characters that are going to replicate the style of the game. We have looked at the same four characters, throw in different positions, so we're going to use a site that is going toe give us our host reference. We're going to draw our character that we did before in style, any game. And we're going to use the Post to create a new character. So the final character is our own original, right? We're not going to look at any reference for that, but we're going to apply some of the knowledge that we learned from studying. Now they're Sprite. So we want our hotline. How one shouts, Hominy Pelosi, we want for per section. And from that point we can start applying these no relation. We can do a lot of things with these techniques. No, just about posted and just about styles. We can apply this to animations, backgrounds on all sorts of stuff. So first in the next year, we're going to start looking a little bit on the tools that I'm going to use for the video that we are all in the same pitch. So see you there 2. Working with a pixel art software: welcome to the scores. And before we can actually start doing some strides and chicken some reference. I want to take a moment and talk off the tool that I'm going to use throughout this whole course. I'm using a cell for called a sprite and you can get it at a sprite. That or it is a great tool for pixel Are you have super for layers, animations and many other Selves. But we don't say that this is for itself costs around $15. But you don't really need to use this tool for following this course because we're not going to work with animations or layers or any fails. We're going actually to use only some of the tools that are available in every so far out there. So you can even work with Emma Spain if you want. But I want oh, talk, at least on how to configure case, right, so that it had the same layout that I'm using. So if you're using a spray you can full of these. So the first thing that I want to talk about is these blue lines that you can see on this right, and this is the great. You can hide that by pressing control age. And the other thing that I want to talk about is these bar or this panel down here, which is the layers panel and the animation panel, and you can hide that by president up. So that whole I really wanted to say about, because this is basically the screen that I'm going to be using on the whole course. So in the tolls itself, I A. So I say I'm going to use only the basic tools. So the 1st 1 is obviously the pencil tool allows me to drop of something. The 2nd 1 is the filler tool. So if I draw a shape, then I can press gene to select the feeler pocket, and then I can feel this this whole area. This also is available in every so far for the brush for the pencil. I can go back by pressing B, and I can throw again with it. The next tool is the racer, obviously, so I can access that by pressing E and I can just delete some pixels. There are so configurations to increase the size of the brush and out of that we don't really need that with this one is okay on the other to lease off course, the color picker. So if I have on area of this color now movinto on our car or later, then if I want to go back to that red I can press old and select that color and I go back to it and they find that tools are the selection tools on basically using three of them, which is m for ah, rectangular selection tool que for a for the last two. So if I want to, for example, movies here, which I'm going to use quite a lot to do some adjustments on the proportion off their bodies and the other one is in the want tool, which is accessed by person w so I can select a color usually is with these check box. I can select this whole area. But if I uncheck these, I can actually see, like, all off the red colors on do something with them and that's it. Those are the tools that I'm using. As I said, they are available for every source for out there from a miss pain, too. Graphic scale toe Photoshopped toe whatever they were told you are using. So there is nothing So there is nothing complex on that. The other thing that I want to talk about is the other told that I'm using that is not the sole for it is style you spend and you I'm using. Ah, graphic display. Tell it. But once again you don't need to use one of those. They are extremely useful to dio quick, quick shapes like if I want to draw just a circular shape, it is related to do it with this pen rather than if I were to do it with the mouse outside . I am right now, but it's also possible. As you can see, it's actually came better with the mouse. But it really means is that it takes more time for me to do ah, quick shape on the mouth and started finding that this is we depend on with the mouth is just need to be more careful on the shape and to move more slowly. But it's also very possible to do so if you're using a mouse, that's okay. But also very mind that if you're playing toe, continue these on the future on that long future, you may want to invest on one. Tell that for for growing you don't need that expensive When you don't even, you know, walk home, tell that you can get a another brand that is more cheaper and just get working that they're really cheap nowadays. So that's really all there is because we're goingto be working on this technique off throwing shapes a lot and refining them. So I have these basic shape. And then I started finding off. How do I want this to look like a head? Something like that, but not quite on working on that. So that's all the techniques that I'm using. So nothing complex. And with that say, that's all I really need to say. For the next video, we're going to start working on our first Sprite, which I'm goingto be chicken, a reference, which is sonic from the game. Sonic on you can be Can you get me if you want, so see you there 3. Drawing our first character: Sonic: Alright, guys, we're going to create our first character in this video. You can choose any character from any game that you want, but I'd suggest you to pick a character that doesn't have that many Colores and it's a small insights. That way it will be more easy to work with. The character that I take is Sonic the Hedgehog and we're going to work on it. The idea of this method is that we're going to check our reference and we will examine Howard features made for him. So we're going to look at things like How is the head made? What is the shape and size proportions with the rest of the body and also the shape and size of the body and the legs shows hands? And then we will proceed to create the post for a wardrobe. After that, we'll check the reference again to the house. The core apply, So basically we're out of the shadows and the highlights and we will apply that knowledge to our character. So checking this is bright. Sunny has a very round and big head relation with body. Body is also just the circle. The legs are straight Hyundai form an angle. Shoes are too big triangles, the arms are bent on the hands are a circle with some extra pixels. Part of the wrist. That's our correct right there. The results, of course, the spikes of the head. But we're going to need those, you know. Let's get rid of that. The first thing that we're going to work on is the head, and we're not going to copy. Want to want the regional referenced overthrow where he is going to make a shade or is roughly the same size, and once we have, something will do the same with the rest of the body. You can taken ill authority on doing something differently from the source material, for example, on doing the shoes much smaller. But I'm keeping the post pretty much the same. He doesn't have to be perfect because we're going to work on it throughout the whole process. Once we have the basic shape known, we can start adding some new details to draw. What I'm doing here is the leading some pics of from the body and the new ones between the legs and marry new detail that I wanted to become something like a row that they corrected is using. And then I added some hair and reduce the size of the head because they want him to be more humanoid. You should keep trying to add, and then it makes you feel like the shape makes more sense. He doesn't have to be perfect at this level. I know that every picture that you add to the sea Lloyd can make a big difference. So take your time on experiment. We're going to call or or character. Now, if you're not good at picking Colores, what you can do is select them from the river, and that's actually what I'm doing here. Sonic has skin colors red, lose the race, and those are all the Carlos there in here. This is just a matter of putting on the difference race colors and see how is our character responding to them as a loonies? I keep hearing a dilating detail from the shape of the draw, but I'm not Alan. Any shell also like. Speaking of that, let's have a look to the shells from the reverence. The first thing that we know this is that in the area off the face and the torso, the shallows. A reply in a pillow shallowing style. That's something that I don't really want in my drawer. Something that I do want to check is the way that the shells are applied in the left side of sun expired. You can see that he has left, let a hand. They are darker than the rest of the body, so we're going to copy that style first. You can see they keep adding new detail to the draw, even in this face. So I modify defeat a little bit because I'm trying to find a shape that I like chicken or parts that have shadows. We can see that the right are as a shadow cast in the inside part off the arm. Let's talk a little bit about highlights. I want to talk mainly about Sonics head because it is really shine. And that's something I don't want to help you, because if you are a big highlight, the hair of this character, it is going to look like it's really greasy. So I just had a couple of pixels for the shines, and with that we enter the final section, which is the Longest one because it is adding final details. So here I am, a in a sort of this character so that he has something else. And now I'm a big souls. Call or shallows highlights everywhere in the body, and these Pelosis could take hours or even days. Because most of the times that I open a spry that I work in a previous day, I find details that I don't like anymore. It's all experiment with over stuff, like making the ice bigger or smaller or trying a different expression on Just see what works. Finally, we have our first character finished. Now I want you to step back a little on Don't post your right after you finish, take some free time, minimize the edit or guilt. Grab some tea and come back in a couple of hours. Check your drawer again, and if you find something you don't like, change it and step back again and repeat until you feel like you really like it, then mostly to the project section of the cores, so that other students can check you out. So final words on this This is a character that mimics the start off Sonny If you show this to someone that has played any Sonic game, they will probably be able to tell that Stella's. But with that being said, if you put this character in a Sunday game, he will look out of place. The main reason is that it also combines my own personal style, and that's the idea. We're not trying to re puff any sort of ourselves. We are trying to discover our own boys through the study of axes material, that's all for now. No. Forget the positive progress and continue with the next video. 4. Drawing from some more games: we have now finish our first character, but before we can move on to the next lesson, I want you to practice a little more on stands. So pick different characters from different games that you like, but that have different styles between them, maybe even stars that you don't like so much. It will be more challenging to do, and this is a great way to improve your skills. The first character that big is the protagonist of the metals look games. This is a cartoonish style, and it is quite difficult to replicate. The first thing that I notice about this character is that he has his knees, and it has a bit of a hunch over while holding his gun, I ended up changing this a bit because I didn't want my character toe hold this war like that. So the brochure ended up a bit were because the proportion don't much of correct. But that will be things that I will fix in a second pass off. Finding this character while adding the core lotion shallows, I noticed that this character has an outline that is mostly black except for the skin and hair, so I copied that, and I had to change the little be shading in the torso to make it more uniformed throughout the whole Sprite. Other parts, such as the skin depends more on the highlights to show the character features because the base color is very dark and the next character is a spread from a document game. And this has been the more challenging of the bunch that I selected. The only thing that I changed in the brochure is his right hand. I didn't want him to replicate it perfectly in terms of Shell win. This SL also has an outline, but the difference with this one is that the outline is also affected by their life. You can see that in the left parts off this fried. It uses a color for all the outlines. But in the right part of the outlines, it becomes black, with some exceptions to avoid having luxury as Cohen, any black the call officer apply very similarly to the two preggers characters, having the right side of the character cover in a darker color than the left part. The final one is from a game called Plus Familes, which has a more than or install a pixel art. It has more realistic proportions, and he doesn't have an outline. But it uses very well the colors to create a whole lot of details across this right. The calorie news is upto four call or for each part, which allowed states to bring some a specific parts to the front. - I want you to create your character in different styles as well. It doesn't matter how maney you do, but I think for is a great number to get used to the process. Once you have them ready, share them along with their references bright in the project section of the class and in the next lesson, we're going to talk about poses. 5. Drawing interesting poses: we are now going toward composes. There are different ways to approach these, and we're going to work on a site called Quick Boaters that come. You can click on random posters and then process stopped. Now you can search for oppose that you would like to replicate for one of your drought. I'm going to select one toe work first on Sonny. The process is very similar. I start lying down some shapes without checking if the proportions for the sizes are correct. Once I have the first passed down, I start moving things around to fix the proportions to make it closer to my character. Then I keep refining the shape a little bit more before moving to the colors. I tried to apply the same rules for the shallowing, so I am making the part that is further away from the camera a bit darker. The rest of the process is pretty much the thing. I'll continue to do adjustments to the shape as I add new details, and I'll make sure that the head it's around the same size as my standard pose. Once I'm happy with the result, I'll move onto the next Sprite and pose. I choose a Syrian pose for this character because a meal dinner seem with all the sprites for the portrayed off this course, I usually try to picks up mix between relaxing in action poses and maybe even post is not taking problem. I really life reference, but from a comic book or other media that you like this technique of chicken, a reference material to do a sprite can apply to a lot of things. For example, where the impulses in this video. But I used this technique as well to do animations and even or things that are no human, like a tree doc or even a full landscape. You need to learn from what others have done and her have laid off, and it would be more natural for you to create your own art later. They weren't from Pokemon is always going to be the more complex to do because of the size of this right, And that's something the usual experiment as well. But also, if you're just starting, then you should keep it toe aside. So maybe three tobe a 32 picks off. What a bit larger than that and move on to bigger size. It's as you problems with your art. I took this chance off the signing this a spray to change some of the things that I didn't like from the 1st 1 mostly on the shadow in part. But I also did some minor changes to the proportions for these Final One. I wanted one that where you seen a sore in some way. I really enjoy doing characters using this method because he doesn't really take that long to do a first person. With the exception of the one with the document style, all of these characters took somewhere between 15 to 20 minutes. So it is a good exercise to do at least once a day, be composed because style and then do a new character with it. So there is not much else to say on this one. Don't forget to do at least one post for each of these characters that you've designed and posted to the project section of the course. We only have one thing left to do, and that is a sign, our own character, using our own unique style and all core that in the next video 6. Creating a original character: Finally, we're going to create our own character. The idea is that you don't look too anymore pixel er for reference on this, but keep in mind where you have observed in the spreads you have been working on. You can open a pose for reference if you want to draw your character in any special pose. What if you needed for gators? For the proportion of the body I remember, the first step is just to create a slew it without thinking too much fun. If it makes sense because you will be doing adjustments. Throw therefore process, trying to have some boundaries on the sides of the sprite so that you complain with the proportions more easily. For example, I am using a sprites background as a guy, and I'm keeping my stride to two blocks horizontally by three blocks vertically or 32 by 48 big Selves. After I'm done with this, you'll wait. I do some adjustments to make the proportions make more sense. We didn't discuss colors in this course because I wanted to keep it us focusing a topic as I could. So if you don't feel confident choosing your own colors, you can pick them from its pro You work on, or maybe even look for a palate online while doing the shelling. Think about what sort of techniques you want to apply. Is the character going to have an outline? Is the outline a solid color? What is also affected by life? What do you use the base color and then at shallows? Or will you use a base color and then at highlights? How many shades off each color will you use? I actually apply a different technique for a shell wins that I personally like a lot, which is at a little bit of leering without making it to abuse. I kept the left side of the body in shallows as itwas with one from sonic and middle salute . For every color section, I use a maximum of three colores. One was cooler and two shells, and I always avoid using an outline for my characters. I hope that you have let himself in from this method, but you're only starting something that will come with time. Best advice that I can give you for your personal learning is that you go out there to the communities and show them your work. Receive a lot of feedback and be prepared to face a lot and try different stuffs. Don't commit yourself to any sort off our style and see how the people react. You will find your boys with time and people will take notice on Will they start like your content? Try to take a new style from my game or any media at least once a week and studied. How are the shapes? Don't the shallow when the discretion of the character don't throw his face? Or is it made with the characters Modern movement? This type of study applies not only to styles imposes but to any other kind of creative learning colors, materials, animations, etcetera. I don't really have anything else to teach you on this topic, so don't forget to put your final character in a project section of the course and also a study what all their students have done as well. I hope that you had fun with days, and I hope that I was 10 years for foreign career taker and draw a lot