I recently read a great little tutorial on how to make a Game of thrones inspired, pixel art scene in the style of classic point and click games. Games like Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max and Monkey Island.
As these were some of my absolutely favourite games growing up I thought I would share the handy pixel art guide with you here.
This tutorial was published by Wacom and created by Andrew Scaife – a UK based comic writer and artist that creates pixel style images. He covered the basics of how to build up an image in a pixel style. For those who haven’t read it, here is a a super-quick summary:
How to make pixel art:
- Create a Photoshop file with a really small canvas. I use 320×200 pixels.
- Use the Pencil tool so your brush strokes have hard edges.
- Draw your image using layers to build up the image and add variety of tone and shading (I’ll go into more detail about this below)
- When you’re finished enlarge your image to the desired size, making sure to select Nearest Neighbour (hard edges) from the drop down menu.
In the tutorial Andrew talks about how he creates his pixel art using various layers for shapes, colours and then adding shadow and highlights to add to the sense of depth and reality. Well… pixel reality. He uses a Wacom intuos drawing table and Photoshop CC – Though the tools he uses are available in every version of photoshop I’ve used, so older versions should be fine! 😉 If you don’t have a Wacom or another brand of drawing tablet then I whole-heartedly suggest you stop what you’re doing and buy one now. I bought mine about 10 years ago and have never looked back. Anyway… let’s get back to the tutorial.
Each drawing starts as a rough sketch to block out the basics of the scene you are going to make (This is pretty good practice no matter what type of super-awesome artwork you’re making). At this stage you are simply trying to figure out the composition of the piece and all of the basic shapes. Andrew uses the pressure sensitivity on the Intuos to keep it loose.
[With pressure sensitivity off you will have 100% foreground colour with every mark you make, the same effect as using the mouse. With pressure sensitivity, you will be able to adjust the opacity of the colour from 0%-100% depending how much pressure you use when drawing.]
Once you are happy with the composition, start to fill in the shapes with rough colours, simple block colour will do as this is just block out so that you can easily distinguish between the components. Put each shape into a different layer, starting from background to foreground i.e. sky, then ground, tree, ice wall, wooden lookout etc. This image has 15 layers in it so far.
A great tip is that once all of the objects are on their own layer you can either draw directly onto the layer and toggle lock opacity for that layer. This means that you can’t colour over the lines or accidentally draw over another layer. Another approach is to select this blocks and use them as a layer mask. There are plenty of ways to use photoshop to you advantage. So make sure you play around with it to find what works best for you 🙂
The rest of the tutorial can be found here, but I will leave you with an animated gif of the process.
Game of Thrones Rules
If you, like me, are a MASSIVE game of Thrones fan then you probably hate the week-long wait between episodes (I got used to binge-watching the box sets). Well then, what better way to pass the time than to create your favourite scenes from the show?! I can’t wait to see what you create!