tutorials


When drawing multiple shapes on top of another, make sure that there are no outlines with 2px width. The shapes can touch each other or have another outline seperating them. Choose what fits your art work best and stay consistant in it!

One method of looking at color palettes is with graph, where palettes are classified with Dark/Light, Color/Light, Dark/Color or Color/Color. In the corners we can see the extremes of those classes, for example, no palette can be more Dark/Light than pure black and white.

If you struggle to draw a shape from your mind, use another medium for reference. You could look up photos on the internet, draw a sketch on paper, model it in 3D or come up with own methods!

These are the most-used types of perspectives. When drawing something from the front of side, it is called orthographic and has no perspective.
Top-down perspective is used in many video games. While it counts as ortographic as well, artists make a distinction here because it does not show one or two sides, but one side and the top of an object.
For Isometric, the scientists definition is different too, but we pixel artists use it as term for a virtually three-dimensional perspective.

This is a common work flow for me when drawing buildings. In theory, I first just put down some blocky shapes, then I add all the objects and bring the blocks into the exact shape I want. Afterwards I add texture, random details or even shading.
In reality, my work progress would be all over the place, with some objects completely finished while still standing between big blocks.

Negating the color of an outline is generally a bad idea. Use a second outline in the other color instead!

This technique creating shades between our two colors is what we call dithering. Like in the first example, it can be used for shading with transitions, or like in the second example, for texture like dirt.
Using dithering as color is really hard to pull of without looking bad! However, if you still want to try, make sure to offset the dithering together with the object's outline to make it not look flat, like in example 3. Different ratios of dark to light pixels can create different shades like in example 4.

When creating an isometric object, single pixel differences in width on the corners can drastically change how smooth or sharp the object looks.

The easiest, although not most realistic way to project something onto tilted surfaces is by simply offsetting the image by one pixel every two rows, once ever row, twice every row etc.

Making good looking cables or vines is the master discipline for clean linework. Avoid sharp corners, always use outlines, make the curves look smooth, pay attention that what you're drawing could be constructed in real life. On the right side you can see how it's done!

You can spare a lot of time by using tiles to quickly create large patterns and can then still make them more interesting or less repetetive by modifying them afterwards.

Fonts at small resolution are hard to make, since they consist of lines that would be too small to imitate with pixels. Usually you can go by the rule "Recognisablity > Accuracy". Who cares whether you left out a line if the result is readable?

As a small introduction into style and the options to archieve this, here are seven methods of creating a bush that I saw in pixel artworks or came up with myself. Styles with a comic-like look often use clear lines to simplify the shape, while styles trying to imitate filtered photos are very noisy and you can't make out any elements, just the texture. Another variant that was developed by pixel artists is to draw each leaf individually.

Here's another lesson on style: 7 types of clouds. Often, clouds are meant to just fit into the art work and not stand out, which means that there are a lot of different ways to draw clouds, fitting a lot of different styles.

When writing text with pixel art, please create your own font! There are so, so many possiblities to create a letter even in the smallest sizes! Draw the letter the way you like them most, not the way someone else does them.

When trying to archieve realism, you will have to use other perspectives than orthogonal or symmetric isometric. You could make the angles on isometric art works differ or work with one to three vanishing points like you did in school.

There are two main ways to shade curves: Either with line thicknesses or dithering. It is a question of style.

Many people do not realise how easy it is to create random patterns with a brush tool with 1px size. Just randomly move your mouse around, switch colors and then move it around differently, in circles, zig zags or whatever comes to mind. Like this, you can create a lot of distinct textures to use in noisy, heavily shaded or photorealistic art work.

Of course, shading is a question of art style too, not only for cylinders. Different amounts of dithering can create different amounts or realism, sharp edges can create a comic look and lines can look like a pencil drawing or manga.

Water can be tricky to pull off with only two colors. It can be displayed with an irregular pattern imitating small waves, as reflection of the world, or simply as a big dark area with some reflections. Remember to make the edge of the water object clear!

There are a lot of ways to dither. In variant #1, we have a repeating pattern, which can be broken to receive results like variant #2. In variant #3, I randomly placed the light pixels, and cleaned them up for version #4 so that no pixel touches another.
Note how variant #1 and #3 as well as #2 and #4 have the same amount of white pixels each, yet they look entirely different!

Sadly, you will always have to water mark your art before uploading it on twitter to make sure you get the credit for it. There are a lot of creative ways to do so though! I myself almost always just put my name in the bottom right corner, although often with experimental typography. Instead of your name, you can also use initials, your social media account, an iconic symbols or a combination. You can make a harder-to-see third color, put your name right inside the art work itself or make fancy decorations. All water marks on this image are real, created by some twitter friends for their art works.

This art style is an interesting challenge and widely used, especially for dark settings. After drawing the shape, you create shading with different gray tones, replace them with dithering and then clean up and create transitions. If you want to, you can add an outline on the darker side to make the shape clearer.

You don't even need lighting, shapes or anything like that to create different styles. Just by using filled shapes or lines with different thicknesses you can give very different vibes to a piece of art.

Adding extra outlines inside an object can make it sharper and punchier. Though, like with outlines around an object, it also makes them look more comic-like and less realistic - it's your choice.

This is an art style I came up with myself, so I kind of had to make a lesson on it, even though it's not 1-bit. You create an object with multiple colors, take away every second row and column and then connect the points you're left with to create a cool, traditional, cool and mysterious looking pattern.

Cleaning up line work can be very tedious, but is almost always worth it. The key rule is to always use the same line width, and to keep it even where multiple lines meet each other.

As a challenge to myself and a proof to everyone else, I created almost all of the japanese Kana in just five pixels height! While latin letters can be made with as little as 3 pixels height, japanese artists often struggle to use text inside small resolution pixel art. I hope this can help!

1-Bit without outlines is a thing, and one of the most interesting challenges there are for 1bit artists. To keep it simple, try to create lineless artworks without perspective first.

So let's make clear that not in the spirit of the lineless challenge is working around it by using dithering for entire shapes or 2px wide outlines. Try to work only with one color and negative space!

To add character to a shape without using any line work, you can "rip" through it, cut out smaller shapes basically.

So here's an example of a lineless art work. When looking at the ears or tail, you might say that there are in fact 1px lines, but actually it's just small shapes. Imagine this art work on a bigger canvas: it would be cylinders or something, not lines.

Make use of line thicknesses! Experiment with line widths that are not natural numbers as well!

>Pixel Ninja's Twitter

The dither-heavy dark art style we learned before is close to what Cherub did in many of his art works from 2021, but he has a very special version of it, which uses different outlines or other seperators on each side.

>Blind Cherub's Twitter

For a strong comic look, you can use the darker color for both shading and coloring in the same art work.

>Rainy Day's Twitter

Here are four ways to glitch and art work - in a way that looks cool, I know it's not actually authentic!

>Vlad's Twitter

Post took glitch effects to the next level and made all of us 1bit artists learn from him. He's very experimental with it and dared to take away big chunks of the art work for these effects.

>Postmodern Ouroboros's Twitter

As you can see, I'm a big fan of glitch effects, and over the time I came up with a few myself.

If you see Pixel Ninja in the tutorial, you already know it's about punchy look and outlines! Sometimes he used three outlines with 1.5px width without it looking bad, for extremely sharp shapes!

>Pixel Ninja's Twitter

And here we have an expert on dithering again! Putting some irregularities inside the dithering can give it a lot of texture and make it look even more realistic on most objects.

>Blind Cherub's Twitter

I always put a floor underneath my scenes in pixel art, but Batfeula thought outside the box and just left it away. He used other objects like plants to signal where it is supposed to be.

>Batfeula's Twitter

As always very experimental and strong, Modern used frames in multiple art works to display multiple objects that don't belong together, and brave as always he even broke them at some places to use them exactly as he wants. It's not about realism, but looking cool.

>Postmodern Ouroboros's Twitter

This is a tiny study I made, and an attempt to make up as many terms as possible for future artists to learn in 1-bit classes in school. As you can see, it is possible to make cool looking rows with small objects that do not have any meaning. And this is the case for bigger shapes as well!

I talked about it in a tutorial before, but I got multiple messages by people that still weren't able to create random patterns, so I captured my way of doing it on video. It really is not that hard, just hard to explain!

That's it. For now.

But there's always more to learn! If you're interested in that, make sure to read my 1-Bit Color Palette Study, and check out my art works in the Gallery or on my social media accounts, as well as their Progress Images as orientation and examples. Check out the people linked underneath some of these tutorials as well! All of them are great online friends and incredible 1-bit artists!