How to start with pixel art if you’re a noob?

Welcome to the very first blog article for our upcoming game Speed Limit! As you may already know, Speed Limit demo is available on Steam, but we are actively working on new levels.

Through these blogs, we aim to get you close to our development team and invite you to our weekly updates which will cover all sorts of topics that are related to actual development (duh), pixel-art, sound, music, tips ‘n tricks, and a lot of other stuff.

For this blog, we have invited our experienced pixel artist, Jurica who will answer some of our (silly) questions – just for your convenience.

Additionally, Jurica made five timelapse videos showing how he does pixel art (using Aseprite), which can help you with your pixel art endeavors.

Who is Jurica Cvetko? Tell us a bit about yourself!

Starting with the hardest question… so I’ll go the easy route. I’m a programmer turned pixel-artist, after the programming career made me rethink what I want to do with my life. Turns out it was game dev 🙂

How are you spending time during the quarantine?

Catching up on drawing skills, Unity tutorials, and various hobbies.

How many times can you wash your hands under a minute?

One detail job is 30 seconds, but I lose precious seconds getting the soap, so I must say I am under two washes a minute 🙁

How many packs of toilet paper have you bought since the beginning of the quarantine? Admit it.

Just one double pack 🙂

A paparazzi photo of Jurica leaving his local store tells a different story.
Right. So, you are doing pixel art for Speed Limit, and you are pretty damn good at it. But you are a programmer, too. How come you have decided to do pixel art, instead of programming?

I liked to doodle since before school, but never took it to a decent enough level to make it into a hobby/career. A year would pass and I would look back wishing I did more.

So around 3 years ago I said enough is enough and started regularly improving my general 2d and pixel art skill.

How difficult is it to make pixel art?
Easy to start and difficult to master.

Jurica Cvetko, Speed Limit pixel artist

Coincidentally when the company I previously worked at was closing, Igor and Aleks from Gamechuck saw my hobby project where I did pixel art and decided to give me a shot. We kind of took a chance on each other and it turned out great for all involved.

What drove you into pixel art?

Easier learning curve and probably a bit of nostalgia. I got my first computer, Commodore 64 when I was 3.

Can you describe the process of making a pixel art character for Speed Limit?
  1. Our game designer and project lead describe the feature, and an effect they want to achieve with the piece required.
  2. Google all the stuff we talked about because I don’t know half of the words used. Also to draw inspiration from different existing technologies/equipment and make some kind of composition.
  3. I draw 2-3 variations following the game art style as much as I can, and then we iterate on the best variation.
  4. Profit
How do you make animations for Speed Limit?

It depends on what I’m working on.

If it’s character animation, I start with just a gesture line or a silhouette of the motion that we want to achieve. Then I grind out the details following the basic design in a few iterations until everyone is happy with the smoothness and motion of the animation.

With non-character animations, I base the animation on the feeling we want to achieve combined with how actually things look IRL.

Most importantly, be consistent.

Jurica Cvetko, the best pixel artist in the universe

It could be adding clunkiness to a rouge snow plow, menacing… ness to agents chasing you, or just fun background stuff.

How much time did it take for you to make the main character from the game, including all his animations?

Ooooh, you should have asked me to track the time spent! I have no idea. The design and most of the animation for the first stage were already done by Igor, I just had to improve on some. But the character uses different animations in every stage, and I still have a stage left to so its an ongoing process.

How difficult is to make pixel art?

It is easy to start and difficult to master. You can get away with a lot of stuff, but also exaggerate other. You need to learn color theory, anatomy, composition, general 2d art, basics of animation, you name it. I still feel I have much more to learn than I know and have my work cut out for me for some time.

If I wanted to start making some pixel art, where should I start?

Easiest and fastest – I would recommend an online app https://www.piskelapp.com/ that is easy to use and has basic animation covered.

Then open up a YouTube pixel art tutorial or a Twitter tutorial, e.g. Pedro Medeiros and just go wild, and most importantly, be consistent.

What other pixel art games do you like, and why?

If we are talking visually only, I love the latest thing with pixel art – mixing it with modern visual effects. Recently released games that come to mind are Inmost and The Eternal Castle [REMASTERED].

I am a sucker for good atmosphere and Inmost and Eternal Castle have nailed it.
Impatiently waiting for Narita Boy, The Last Night and Death Trash.

Never mind pixel art; as the last question – what games are you playing during the quarantine?

I am a one game man, and the game is Dota2. Kidding not kidding.

Lately, I have been going through game jam games, so a lot of small and short games to pass the time.

Also, make sure to follow Jurica on Twitch!
Watch Making boats, planes and explosions from frulica on www.twitch.tv

Enjoyed our first Speed Limit development blog?

A lot more is coming your way! In the meantime:

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