Tutorial #1 Hardware and Software for Pixel Art.
Photoshop for high detailed illustrations. Aseprite for game dev, sprite animations and tiles. Clip studio For animated illustrations/cinematic. If you are starting, go for aseprite.
Drawing Tablet: Any Medium or Large tablet, smaller tablets are less precise when zooming out. I use an intuos 4 from 2013. Avoid drawing tablets with screens, they are expensive. With them, you will have to work with your posture and neck curved, with your face watching to your desk, your hand always up and your head close to the screen, this is not good for long time periods, you will get tired soon. The best way to work is with a normal tablet on your desk with dedicated monitor for art, neck and chest at 90°.
For monitors a 1440p (2k) is a MUST, they are the best. Images are so sharp, they look real, while 1080p is so blurry, specially for pixel art, you need a 2k to watch the pixels the most sharp and clean you can. You also need a 100% sRGB IPS monitor, which means the colors will be the most accurate for web and the contrast won’t be affected by the angle you are watching it. I use a Benq Bl2420pt.
You need a good chair, go for a Herman Miller Aeron or Mirra 2, the best chairs in the world. Pixar, Facebook, Riot Games, Blizzard and any Silicon Valley start up have their offices full of them, from Obama to Mark Zuckerberg.
This is my secret to work +90h/week.
Tutorial #2 How to start doing Pixel Art?
First, you need a good collection of pixel art images from pixel artist and games that you like. For games, go to spriters-resource.com. For pixel artist #pixelart on Twitter. Start with simple and small assets and a few colors, 4-6 colors. If you are not experienced with colors, choose existing color palettes from https://www.pixilart.com/palettes, watching color palettes also helps you with inspiration, ideas and visualize future arts you want to do by just watching color some examples with those palettes.
For example the color palette of https://www.pixilart.com/palettes/the-depths-2909 Is an easy one to start, by just watching the gallery it gave me ideas to draw a lot of things with a thematic related with blue colors, like oceans, castles etc… and it’s a palette with only blue tones which makes it easier.
For resolution, I recommend at maximum 360p for illustrations, I usually work with 240p to 360p. 240p is the resolution of the NES and with 360p you can scale your artwork exactly to 720p or 1080p. Above 360p if you scale your image x3, your image will look blurry on 1080 monitors unless you zoom in the image. So stay below the 360p. Remember to scale your art exactly to x2, x3 or x4 when exporting. So all the pixels will remain exactly 1:1. For example, If your art is 300p you must scale it to 600p (x2), 900p (x3) or 1200p (x4). If your art is 300p, and you try to scale it to 1080p, you will get some pixels deformed.
Start with a resolution of around 300-340p and increase or reduce the resolution while you are working, the key to define the final resolution will be the size of the head and eyes of your character, once you define the size of the eyes and head of your character it will be easier to imagine the space you will need for the background.
While you are drawing try to zoom out your art frequently to see the full art, but make sure you are zooming out at 100%, 200% 300% etc… And not 123%, 235% etc… So, you will watch your art in 1:1 if you zoom out to 154% for example, you will see some pixels deformed, check in your software a tool to zoom out/in +/- 100% every time you use it, and assign a key to that tool. I do zoom outs in -%100 like 2 times per minute.
For character sprites the standard is 16×32, 32×32, 32×64, 64×64. If you are interested in commissions, prepare a good portfolio with character sprites with those sizes, since you will receive a lot of commissions with those sizes.
This tutorial is still being written, so come later for more updates 🙂 I’m also preparing a master course for free on YouTube, so stay tune on my twitter!