Critique => Pixel Art => Topic started by: Jeygopi on June 22, 2019, 08:11:54 am

Title: How to learn how to make objects when bad at drawing (how to actually draw)
Post by: Jeygopi on June 22, 2019, 08:11:54 am

I haven't really ever been good at drawing. I would really like to learn pixel art as a new skill, but over the past week I have been trying to draw any object and it always looks really bad like a block figure.

I am trying to draw things with small amounts of shadow and lighting for an isometric rpg style game. I've read tutorials and videos, but none of them actually help me on how to draw, these tutorials are more focused about what to do after you have your drawing. A good example of art styles I'd like to get close to is stardew valley or to the moon or a birds story (since I want to make assets in a similar context).

I would really like any advice or resources to point me to how to look at an object and figure out how to draw it. I would really like to learn but I don't feel like I'm making progress.

Title: Re: How to learn how to make objects when bad at drawing (how to actually draw)
Post by: hobbler_toppler on July 06, 2019, 07:51:54 pm
Just "learning how to draw" is no easy task. You have to do a lot of work learning how to draw basic shapes, then apply that knowledge towards drawing more complex forms. The fastest way is to have experienced people critique your work as you're learning, but you have to be willing to put up with criticism and embarrassment. I'd advise you to post your best attempt at something, even if you think it's really bad (it probably is, which is OK). Having pros critique your work and give advice is such a huge shortcut to getting good; I wish I started doing it sooner, but I think my self-esteem was too frail at the time. Good luck.
Title: Re: How to learn how to make objects when bad at drawing (how to actually draw)
Post by: daramon on July 07, 2019, 09:46:20 pm
I feel your pain. I've always been awful at drawing, but here I am, needing to create pixel art.

I could try suggesting a few things. There were a few courses I went on that really helped. One is on Udemy, but if you hunt around for a voucher or pick the right time then a course is only about $10-20.


The author is also an illustrator, and the course is jam-packed with information about illustration in general and pixel art in particular. I felt like it was, in a small way, teaching me to "draw" through the medium of pixel art, rather than just giving me pixel art tips like other courses and tutorials. It also had a section dedicated to the kind of art you want to recreate. (Mainly trees, rocks, and character design). The author also has a Youtube channel.

But if you've tried a lot of tutorials and they're not helping then you may be just throwing money and time away.

So, things that have helped me that I can suggest:

Challenge yourself. You need to be practicing all the time. You'll only get better by doing. Pixel Dailies on Twitter is good.

Learn how light works. This is the most important thing, IMO. In order for something to look convincing, the light needs to work well enough to trick your brain. This is how you create solidity, depth and surface texture.

Study the world around you. If you're learning how to draw, you will start to see the world differently. As you walk around your neighborhood, take some time to look at how the light plays on a leaf, how leaves arrange themselves on a tree, how a fence or a brick wall change in color, shade and texture depending on their angle towards the light. Etc. Etc.

I would say keep looking at tutorials. This guy made a lot of pixel art tutorials as pixel art, all available on the blog for free:


There are hundreds more around.

Personally, I started making progress when I started studying other pixel artists. By working out how they did things like pick colors, represent depth and apply shadow, I started to get an idea what was going on. Pick a distinctive artist and ape their style! Or find game art you like, study it pixel by pixel and draw your own takes on the ideas you see.

Another thing to try is recreating photographs. I found this to be a really useful exercise: take a photo that you want to make into pixel art and reduce it down to (say) 64x64 pixels or something small like that. It will be a horrible mess, but you want to just eliminate the detail and block out any large, obvious areas to get approximate proportions right. Now pick a small palette and put the detail back in, using the photograph as a guide. You will have to do things like recreating the "idea" of something at a small scale, and translating the play of light and shadow into a different medium. Both things you'll need.

Or: "cheat." If you don't have the time or desire to learn this art form, you can employ someone to do it for you. I'm sure you can find someone on here or on Fiverr or something. I've done this, and I found it to be a great starting point. I ended up taking it and developing it myself, so it doesn't have to be either/or.

You could take a course in illustration or drawing if you liked! I like pixel art for its own merits though. It's like a cross between art and a puzzle. I have no desire to pick up a pen or a brush.

First and foremost, accept that a week is nothing. You're not going to learn how to do everything you need in a week, or a month. Yes, it's pixel art but it is also art. You wouldn't expect to paint good oil paintings in a week, so why expect to make good pixel art? If you're on a tight timescale then buy some in, either a bespoke commission or an asset pack or something, until your skills are up to speed.