pixel art is great





Pixel Art is a branch of digital art that is mainly related to video games and has become very relevant in recent years. This type of art is characterized by representing characters and entire worlds using blocks of colors joined together.


In this article I will show you what are the basic concepts of Pixel Art and how we can configure the tools that Clip Studio Paint offers us to work with this style.

Basic concepts


It is a point on the screen that can have different colors and even transparency.


It is a succession of several pixels that are connected to each other, its length increases the more pixels are connected.


They are multiple lines that are connected to each other, gradually varying their length from shorter to longer, and when it reaches the desired maximum length, it is gradually reduced.


As we could see, pixel art is basically creating lines that follow a pattern to create shapes. A jaggy is a pixel or pixels that break the pattern and make the shape look weird.


Jaggies are not always bad, so it's up to us which ones to remove and which ones to leave, it all depends on the artistic direction we want to take.


These are pixels that connect with two or more pixels, they are generally not very pleasing to the eye and you have to remove them, to remove them you can simply delete them or change their color to make it a separate pixel.


It is a process that consists of adding pixels with intermediate colors or reducing the transparency of the original color to create the sensation of smoothing.


NOTE: In Clip studio paint the tools bring an anti-aliasing option which we must deactivate or reduce to a minimum to work in pixel art.

Pillow shading:

It appears when light and shadow are not applied correctly when painting, this consists of applying the shadow around our object and placing the light right in the center, causing our object to look like a pillow, hence its name.


Dithering consists of creating a pattern and simulating the different tones generated by a gradient using only two colors to achieve it.


Resolution is basically the number of pixels displayed on the screen, Full HD resolution displays 1920 pixels long and 1080 pixels high, this resolution is so high that it is very difficult to differentiate individual pixels. For this reason, you must work with low resolutions so that the pixel art can be appreciated in a better way.


Personally I recommend working in resolutions that do not exceed the resolution of 640 x 360 pixels for a complete image, the characters will be of a small portion of this resolution, everything will depend on the size of this on the screen.


The program that I will use to create the character is Clip studio paint, now I will give you a list of the basic tools that I use and how I configure them to work.


•Dot Pen: It is a brush that paints only one pixel at a time, you can find it in the "Markers" section.


•Tumpin pen: A brush that increases in size depending on how much pressure you apply to your graphics tablet. It's in the "Pen" section.


•Auto select: This tool helps to select multiple pixels of the same color with just one click. It is located in the "Auto select" section.


•Lasso: With this tool you can create an area and automatically select all the pixels that are inside it. You find it in the "Selection area" section.

These tools come configured with anti-aliasing activated by default, so we must deactivate it from the "tool property" window, you can activate this window by clicking on windows > Tool property.

If the anti-aliasing option does not appear from the tool property, you must activate it by clicking on the settings icon and look for the anti-aliasing section to make it visible and be able to modify its parameters. You can do this with most CSP tools, from brushes to selection tools.

Finally we will modify the transform tool to prevent it from generating strange artifacts when transforming an object. To do this you must select the layer you want to modify and go edit > transform > transform / rotate, or press the shortcut CTRL + T, when doing this the properties will appear in the Tool Property window, in this window look for the interpolation method option and change it "Hard edges (Nearest neighbor).

designing a character

Now that we know all the basics, we can begin to design our character, for this we must select a theme and the characteristics that give our design personality. I chose a duck with a mask and ninja weapons.


The silhouette is a technique that is used to design characters, regardless of whether pixel art or high-resolution art is being used. The silhouette helps to recognize the character without having to see more than its shadow and allows us to add details that allow us to give our design a distinctive character.


It is not necessary that you start by designing a character with its silhouette, but it is important that you keep it in mind while you design it.

Line art

In this process we basically draw the outline of each of the details with the dot pen or tumpin pen tool. At the beginning you should not worry about the line looking strange, the important thing here is to capture the pose, once we are satisfied with the result we can eliminate the doubles and jaggies from our line.


Pixel art is characterized by its limited resolution and color is no exception, color palettes are reduced and limited, currently recent hardware allows us to reproduce a much larger number of colors but it is recommended to limit it to five tones per color to maintain the essence of pixel art and avoid making it look strange with so many colors.

The colors selected for this character have four tones, each of which corresponds to a base color, light, shadow and line.

Now we can start adding lights and shadows, for this I recommend treating pixel art like any other type of digital painting, apply the shadows and lights trying to respect a point of origin and avoiding the pillow shading technique.


Personally I like to color the lineart a shade darker than the shadow to unify the design more, but it is totally valid if you leave the lineart a single color or completely black, it all depends on the artistic direction you want for your project.

polishing details

Now all that remains is to polish the details, for this character I decided that the mask does not completely cover the head and only covers the eyes, I also added a small tuft of feathers to give it more personality. The weapons were also changed to nunchucks as they fit better with the poses.


Remember that you can make the changes you want in any of the processes, the important thing is that it fits with the project you are working on and that you feel satisfied with the design you achieved.

export and share

With our complete character, all that remains is to export it and share it.


In CSP, when we export a file, it gives us the option to rescale the final image, this is not the best option since if we increase the size, a filter is applied that does not respect the proportion of the pixels, deforming them and automatically applying anti-aliasing. This is useful for high resolution images but not very useful for pixel art.


To export correctly we must first modify the resolution of our document,

first we will go to edit > Change image resolution... and from this window we will look for the scale option and we will change the value to which we want to scale, in my case I worked on a canvas of 48 x 48 pixels and I scaled it by 20 to obtain an image of 960x960.


Finally, change the Interpolation method option to Hard edge (nearest neighbor) to maintain the proportion of each pixel when scaling it.

With our document scaled to the desired resolution, we can now export following the normal procedure, clicking on File > Export single layer > .png (PNG...) and selecting a scale of 100%.

Recommendations when exporting:


•Create a copy of your document before scaling the resolution or make sure to revert the changes before saving so you can continue editing if necessary using the original resolution.

•When scaling the resolution of the image make sure to use integers, this will prevent the pixels from being distorted.

•Export using PNG format since it will respect the colors and will not create strange artifacts in our image.

•Scale the file to a resolution equal to or greater than 512x512 pixels to share on social networks.

Pixel art is one of the styles that I enjoy doing the most and I wanted to share a bit of my knowledge with you. Let me know in the comments if the post was useful.


Thank you for reading!


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