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Procreate Pixel Art: A Journey into Pixel Perfection

If you look very, very, very closely, in the very heart of every single art you see online are just essentially a bunch of pixels bunched up together in pixel perfection to create the masterpiece you see before you. Take for example this sample artwork you get when you download Procreate, “Chef’s Nap” by Nikolai Lockertsen. It looks amazing, doesn’t it? If we zoom in right here, you’ll see the tiny little pixels that this artwork is built with!

Chef's Nap by Nikolai Lockertsen
Chef's Nap by Nikolai Lockertsen

Zoomed In showing pixels
Zoomed In

However, in this blog we will be discussing not these fully rendered pieces but the pixel art we often see in games! If you’re a fan of retro or indie games, you definitely have seen the likes of it. No worries if you're new to all this – we've got your back. We'll explain everything in a friendly and easy-to-understand way. So fire up Procreate, and let's embark on a pixel art adventure together!

What is Pixel Art?

Pixel art is a super cool form of digital art. It's all about creating images using tiny little squares called pixels. You know those old-school video games with blocky characters and landscapes? That's pixel art! It has this charming and nostalgic vibe that many people love. By strategically placing those pixels, you can make awesome and detailed artwork. It's like building with colorful building blocks, but on your computer or tablet.

Pixel Art of a Kitchen
Pixel Art of a Kitchen

Procreate for Pixel Art

Alrighty, let's take a quick peek at Procreate's interface and basic functions! We’ll be breezing through the basics just in case you’re new to the block!

So, when you open up Procreate, you'll be greeted with a canvas – that's your digital art space. Pretty exciting, right? At the top, you'll find a bunch of handy tools and options. There's the brush menu where you can choose different brushes (preferably pixel art brushes for this one!).x

You'll also spot the color picker to pick your favorite colors and create some seriously vibrant pixel art! And don't forget to customize your canvas size to fit your pixel-perfect vision. Pro tip: go for smaller dimensions to maintain that classic pixel art feel. The smaller the canvas, the more pixel specific it will have to be to make your work recognizable!

Now, here comes the fun part! Procreate has some cool features like grids and symmetry tools. These help you keep your pixels in line and create symmetrical art effortlessly. It's like having a built-in helper that keeps your artwork looking super neat. Since pixel art in small sizes need to be super specific, the grid option is such a great tool to see where exactly you need to make a mark.

Grid Drawing Guide
Grid Drawing Guide

And when you're ready to rock your pixel art game, there's the layers option. Think of them as transparent sheets that you can stack and work on separately. This way, you can easily edit specific parts of your art without messing up the rest. Layer organization is key, my friend!

That's the lowdown on Procreate's interface and basic functions. It's a breeze to navigate so don’t be afraid to explore!

Pixel Art in Procreate

So, first and foremost, let's get our canvas set up for some pixel art fun! It's like preparing a blank sheet of paper, but digital style.

First off, size matters! When it comes to pixel art, smaller is often better. It helps maintain that charming, old-school pixel vibe. So, go ahead and choose a canvas size that fits your artistic vision. Procreate gives you the freedom to customize it to your heart's content.

Now, here's a pro tip: make sure your canvas settings are pixel-perfect. You want those squares to be crisp and clean! Check out the settings and make sure you've got the right resolution and pixel dimensions. You can experiment and use any size you prefer but typically 100x100 is already a big canvas for pxiel art! You can start with 64x64 or 32x32 and adjust if you need more space.

Making a new canvas in Procreate
Making a new canvas in Procreate

Oh, and let's not forget about colors! Pixel art is all about embracing a limited color palette. It's like choosing your favorite ice cream flavors, but with pixels. Procreate lets you create custom palettes, so you can pick and mix the perfect colors for your pixel art adventure. Limiting your color palette is also key to good pixel art. Since we’re working with very limited space and pixels, too many colors will make your work muddy and confusing to look at.

Limited Palette for Pixel Art
Limited Palette for Pixel Art

How to Do Pixel Art in Procreate

So how exactly do you start making pixel art? First things first, let's start from scratch. We'll guide you step by step on how to create pixel art like a pro!

Step 1: Pick your pixel art brush

Go to the brush menu and select a brush that's perfect for pixel art. You'll want one that gives you precise control over those tiny squares. Feel free to experiment and find the brush that suits your style! You can look online for a bunch of free pixel art brush, if you already found a brush you’d like to try and you’re not sure how to use it, feel free to check out our blog on How to Import Brushes to Procreate! You can also make your own! Might be a future topic, wink wink!

Pixel Brushes
Pixel Brushes

Step 2: Do a rough sketch

Whatever you’d like to create, make a rough sketch of it first before diving into making it pixel perfect! When you have the general idea, you can move on to the next step!

Rough sketch for a Pixel Art Kitchen
Rough sketch for a Pixel Art Kitchen

Step 3: Start pixelating!

Time to unleash your creativity pixel by pixel! Use your brush to place individual pixels on the canvas. Be patient and take your time. Pixel art is all about attention to detail, so don't rush it. You can start with black for now and recolor it later! This is easily done with the Alpha Lock in Procreate.

Also! Remember that Procreate offers some handy tools like grids and symmetry options. Use them to keep your pixels in line and create symmetrical designs effortlessly.

Pixel Art Kitchen
Pixel Art Kitchen

Step 4: Layer it up

If you want to add depth and detail to your artwork, try using layers. Think of them as transparent sheets that you can stack and work on independently. It makes editing and organizing your art a breeze.

Step 5: Save and share your masterpiece

When you're happy with your pixel art creation, save it and give it a cool name. But beware! Saving it normally will make it blurry for export so here’s a pro tip for you!

Pro tip: Before exporting, make your canvas around 2000x2000px big, resize your work and make sure “nearest neighbour” is selected in the options! Now when you save your work, it’ll look as crisp as you made it!

Export Trick for Procreate Pixel Art
Export Trick for Procreate Pixel Art

There you have it, a step-by-step guide to creating pixel art from scratch in Procreate. So, grab your digital paintbrush and have a blast pixelating your way to artistic greatness!

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