Tips to Make Pixel Art for Your Games

When creating your own video games, the art is extremely important. And you have only 3 choices to do the design:

Use Few Colors

Colors can be hard to get right. You have to pick colors that work well together, and that requires some "artistic feel" that not everyone has.

But a simple trick is to use a small number of colors. Here's my space shooter game, and it has only some white sprites on a blue background.

By having just 3-4 colors you can't go too wrong.

Use Simple Shapes

Let's say you want to build a 2D platformer like Super Mario Bros. You'll need at least 4 sprites for your game: player, enemy, coin, and wall. Each of these elements can be really complex to make: shape, colors, animations, etc.

But what if you only used basic shapes to do all of this? Here's a 2D platformer I'm working on.

Here each sprite is just a square, and it took me less than 2 minutes to create them all. This might not be the final design, but it already looks nice.

Try Low Resolution

If using basic shapes is not enough for your game, then you can try pixel art. But it can be difficult to make something that looks good.

One solution is to use a really low resolution for your sprites. The less pixels you use, the simpler it is to draw. Here's an example with one of my game.

It's cute, yet all the sprites are just made of 5 by 5 pixels. Here's a bigger view of the character.

Anyone can make a sprite like that.

Keep Iterating

If a low resolution sprite is not a good fit for your game style, then go for a higher resolution. Your first attempt will probably look bad, but that's okay. Just keep working on it until it becomes good. This process is called iterating.

Here's an example of me creating a little princess.

As you can see at the beginning it was ugly (left), but after a few more tries the result is quite good (right).

There's no way I could have made this sprite on my first try.

Conclusion

If you are not really good at art, try to simplify your design (few colors, basic shapes, low resolutions) to make your game look good. And then iterate until you have something you really like. With these simple tips anyone can make a great looking game.

The more pixel art you do, the better you'll become. It takes times, but it's worth it!

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