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Posts tagged with ‘WIP’

I begin with a quick sketch of the client's character to be sprited to get an idea of the character's anatomy and important details -- I will exaggerate details as I see fit, so a model is necessary. After the character model is approved, I sketch my basic idea for the pose I will sprite the character striking. This is a throwaway drawing to use as a starting point. All my commissioned sprites are on a similar scale, so I use the head size to figure out how tall to begin drawing the sprite. The sketch is still sloppy at this point and focuses on establishing arcs These sprites are done with a more sculptural touch than a other drawings I do. I purposely ignore the palette of the character and focus on simply building out shapes and keeping areas separate.

Here is a breakdown of my pixel commission process, using the sprite I am working on for domoblog's commission, Roxie! The final sprite will use the character's correct palette, but here is a glimpse of how I tend to work on bigger sprites like this one. I don't worry about keeping the palette right at first, so I like to pick colors to represent color boundaries so I can make sure each area reads.

I am constantly sculpting sprites to eke out any illusion of curvature I can use to make the final product look solid. It’s important to omit details that don’t read while working so you can plan around possible tangents and other readability issues that can come up as you add complexity to your piece. 

Would you like a pixel piece of your character, or some other piece from me? Here are my prices!

I’ve been sick for a while, so I was unable to finish this pixel prototype in time for father’s day. The last thing I was working on was a prototype of Anthem’s dad, Cliff, the previous man to bear the title “Anthem” and protect machines and cyborgs from the wizard menace. I’m still working on fixing up Cliff’s silhouette and nail down the design for his mechanical parts. Anthem’s dad is one of his closest friends in the whole world.

I have been assembling Anthem's sprites by muscle group, deciding what groups to exaggerate and which ones to omit as I work. I will adjust the rotation pivot point after making the symmetrical bits. I build the Spriter armatures in Photoshop using a script from the Spriter Forums. The black dots are rotation points that bones connect to. I use these to prototype new animations to hand draw later.

I’ve been sick for a few days, but still getting work done on sprites. I like to work on pixel art the same way I work on any other illustration. Many of the sprites I am building are initial studies that will be used to build the actual sprites I’ll be using in my game project
The purpose of the studies is to hone my anatomy skills as well as to develop a consistent anti-aliasing and shading style for this project. A quick turnaround helps me tweak the design of my sprites if they don’t quite work correctly in the first few iterations. I have an easier time solving small anti-aliasing and other rendering problems if I’ve already addressed them before. I begin humanoid sprites I will be animating as nudes, using things like belly buttons as landmarks.

I haven't changed the standing sprite at all. Worked on the hair animation some more. I'll be working on arms next, then legs. I extend the canvas when I want to work on secondary details. I like to make rotations of each arm for later reuse. Each rotation is at an increment of 45 degrees to start with, and the proper

Most of tonight’s stream was dedicated to correcting issues with the secondary motion of Anthem's hair and preparing parts for the remaining bits of the walk cycle. I prefer to start off pixel animations in place but I like to move them forward when working on secondary details and checking arcs and the like. Animating this way isn't always the most exciting thing to watch, but stockpiling parts and taking measurements makes the whole process much easier to deal with. 

I bounce back and forth between Graphics Gale, Photoshop and Manga Studio 5 for my pixel workflow with a little bit of Illustrator tossed in. Manga Studio is where I start, drawing organic shapes and building my prototype. I move on to Gale for the bulk of my animation work and use Photoshop and Illustrator for various tasks such as equally distributing heel markers in the ground plane and combining frames to test arcs.

I’ll probably continue streaming tomorrow evening. See you guys then!

I'm finally satisfied with the standing nude sprite, so I'm going to make an exploded version of it to make idle animations in Spriter. I've got quite a ways to go on this walk cycle. The bulk of my work today will focus on finishing it. Trying to get a few of these items on Anthem's finite state machine done!

Working on animating some sprites. I will be accepting commissions during this stream - just check my prices and choose what you want. Join me!

The older sprite to the left had a poorly realized silhouette and was generally muddy and confusing. The new one is much clearer.

I’m making good progress on that redesign for Anthem's sprite! I've made him somewhat bulkier and improved his anatomy in general. His arms are thicker now to help “sell” animations of him throwing and catching things; the thinner arms made those animation tests unconvincing. I included his navel because it is a landmark I need for determining the proper length of his arms. I generally make all my humanoid sprites nudes so I can reuse parts later. I'll probably livestream some more of this process tonight at around 7:30 PM EST.

Anthem's new sprite is barely finished and it already looks much better. I even managed to make him short enough to be 64 pixels high (minus his hair). A strong silhouette is super important for pixel art. A major part of my pixel development involves moving drawn parts around so the silhouette reads better and to eliminate tangents. I redesigned Anthem's sprites to be bulkier than before. He needs to look like he can grab and throw very heavy things while still looking like a child or young teen.

The major difference between pixel art and any other form of illustration is how much more essential economy of line, color and shape are. All forms of illustration benefit from judicious use of these elements, but pixel art stops functioning when any of those aspects are off. I place my focus on form in my pixel work, so the beginning phases of spriting end up looking like a blueprint. I make more parts of each sprite than I use for individual frames, and reuse those parts later; as a result, all my sprites use a similar scale, with Anthem's head being the base unit for my soft shaded sprites and Rabid's head being the base unit for my hard shaded sprites.

I'm still trying to decide if OVER-J's fluffy bits should extend into a heavy Pimp style coat or not. I'm gonna nail this design down! Seems like all the artwork I've been planning of OVER-J don't paint him in the most positive light... I've been drawing a lot of super quick muscular figures for fun lately. A really poorly planned doodle of Bruce Maxwell and Brad Steele from Treachery in Beatdown City. The first drawings of OVER-J depicted him seated upon a throne decorated with the helmets of lost Mega Men.

Here are several sketches from tonight’s livestream! Thanks for coming, folks! I’ll be streaming another day, maybe Friday. I will still be accepting commissions until my slots fill, so send me a note if you want one!

I keep laughing at that dumb robot Stranger. I gave him one of those horns you see elderly folks using in old timey stuff for an ear.

For practice, I like to revisit old concepts and play with them. Before the relaunch of my tumblr, I had a throwaway idea for a game that involved a mysterious cowboy with a Werewolf hand that rolled into town to clean up crime. The original doodle was discarded, but later I decided the player should be able to choose their gender. The game involved using the werewolf hand to block bullets, traverse platforms and that sort of thing.

All three protagonist design tests involved indicating a werewolf scratch on one arm and an oversized forearm/hand combo. I gave them each a little wheat somewhere on them, and tried to maintain a vertical stripe pattern on each torso.  It was a fun exercise!

A lady that looked like this came into my job recently and inspired me to make a drawing lesson for my kids. Build characters out of fruit shapes! Can you find all the fruit shapes in this guy? Start with a pear, throw in some bananas... I decided to kill two birds with one stone by documenting my process with these characters in Mischief.

Tonight’s stream was a test that helped me prepare my next tutorial — how to work fast with Mischief! Hint — make a dot and zoom in the layer its on to make a quick background wash! Hint two — use free transform to your advantage! Mischief is vector based so transforms don’t harm the quality of lines or “fills”…

I love this character design! I still need to finish redesigning my Cyborg kid...

Today’s Commission stream kicked off with this linework done to make a sprite for justinmdurden. Anthem is none to pleased to see near complete artwork of cyborgs that aren’t him.

Almost done! I like to have the strokes show as a stylistic choice. When I paint digitially I will only put the most basic framework down. I like to eyeball what I'm painting and make adjustments on the fly. Adding a little olive green in the eye areas help to make the skin more convincing. I often end up painting over things I painted before. I don't use the eyedropper, just eyeball the colors I need, adjusting the hue, saturation and lightness as needed.

Working on a painting of my lovely friend chevuron for practice. Go watch her at

Had to cut tonight’s stream short again because I’m in the city right now. Working on designs for the antagonists of my game. Focused mainly on their leader, Black Timbre - a wizard that holds a grudge against the protagonist and his family for destroying his right arm. Ever resourceful, Timbre casts magic primarily with his feet, keeping his missing arm covered with a cloak.

I’ll be iterating on these designs. Thanks for coming to the stream!