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Hello ! This time I bring a tutorial to do Pixel Art easily, where I will talk about how I work with this technique.

It is important to stress that despite the existence of several programs to do what I will teach, I will focus exclusively on Easy Paint Tool Sai (now called Sai), because I consider it to be a basic program, easy access and versatile which allows you to work on the different ideas you may have regarding drawing.

It is literally an ideal program for a designer or illustrator.

In this guide, I will not teach you how to download or install the program, for that you can watch this video, or find it by yourself, there are a lot of tutorials on this! I specify that the video that I read does not belong to me and that all the rights of this one belong to its author.

What I will show you will be the configuration of the Sai to work with Pixel Art; measurements, keyboard shortcuts, save formats, etc. In addition, you will have small descriptions in the form of a quote if I deem it necessary. These quotes are found at the end of a paragraph with a number next to it. Like this [0]:

[0] Like this: Here is the example of the quote. I am describing a concept here that can be difficult to understand.

Without adding too much, I'll leave you with the different steps that we will see together:

  • Sai configuration.
  • Folders and layers.
  • Sketches.
  • Lineart.
  • Colors.
  • Final result.
  • Fonts.
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Once the program is downloaded, we can start. Below is a screenshot that will let you see how I have my Sai. If there is something different from yours, you can change the look by clicking on the Window option or with the key combination [1] ALT + W, it is just aesthetic; it depends on how you want your program.

[1] Key combination: it consists of pressing two or more keys at the same time to generate a specific action within the program.

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Although this combination has a plus (+) in its description, you should NOT press the plus (+) key, only the other keys mentioned are sufficient, in this case ALT and W. Now the key combination will be surrounded. with a parenthesis ().

You must now create a new canvas [2], for that go to File (ALT + F) and select the New option (CTRL + N). You will have a popup window where you will have to define the dimensions of the canvas, that is to say the size of your surface to be worked.

Since Pixel Art should be small, you should place measurements that are less than 250 pixels in width and height, and with 72 pixels in resolution. I work with canvases that are less than 150 pixels, because I think that this way the effect of Pixel Art can be seen even better. Here is an example of the configuration.

[2] Canvas: this is the area we can work on. A canvas is made up of countless layers or sheets, and any action you take with the brush tool is reflected on it.

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As you will notice that the canvas looks too small, don't worry! You can zoom using the mouse wheel, or with the CTRL + + combination. You can also move away from the canvas, and move around with the program's navigation bars.

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The last step to do is to configure the tools we are going to work with: Eraser, pen and binary. To do this, you need to go to their respective area, left click on one of them and change its size in the box below. You can also use the ALT + CTRL combination and move the cursor until you get the size you want. All of these drawing tools should be size one (1p).

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A layer is the drawing sheet you will be working on, the program allows you to manipulate multiple sheets and each is individual until you combine them. This means that if in Layer 3 you made the drawing eyes, only Layer 3 will have those eyes unless you draw them in another layer.

Using multiple layers allows you to work comfortably, and if you make a mistake, you don't have to delete the parts of the drawing you want. Also, you can create folders (group of layers) in which you can save any number of layers, so it's easier to find the layers you want to work with.

To create a new layer or a new group of layers, you need to click on the icons below, or you can go to Layer (ALT + L) - New Layer (N) or New Group (s) option ) of layers. If you want to change the name of a layer or a folder, you need to double click on it.

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Note that each new layer overlaps the previous one. This means that whatever you do in Layer 4 will be seen in addition to what you did in Layer 3, but that doesn't mean that if you remove something from Layer 4 it will also be removed in Layer. 3.

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If you want to hide a layer or a group of layers (which we'll do later), click on the eye next to it. This way, this layer will not be displayed on the canvas.

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The sketch is the most important part. It allows us to guide us in drawing the lines, and with it you can create a base of how you want the design to look. There are three types of sketches:

Digital sketch: it is created once you have built the canvas, for that you have to use the Pen tool and make your drawing based on references or if you want by your own mind. A reference can be another drawing, figure, photo, picture, etc. I usually do my drawings mentally, or by referring to existing figures or drawings.

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Note that using references doesn't mean you have to copy someone else's work and proclaim it your own.

Traditional sketch: if you don't have a graphics card or find it boring to work with the mouse to sketch, you can do the drawing by hand, scan it, and add it to your canvas.

To add the drawing you need to copy it out of the program (CTRL + C or right click - Copy) and paste it on the canvas with CTRL + V. When you do this your drawing will be very large compared to the canvas, go in the Layer option (ALT + L) and select Transform (CTRL + T), once that is done, change the size of your drawing by dragging the borders until it is the right size.

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External sketch: if you just want to practice pixel art without making your own sketch, you can use an image that is not your own. This image can be a drawing or another sprite [3], to add it to your canvas you have to do the same process as the traditional sketch (CTRL + V) or see it as a reference.

Remember that if the source of the pixel art is not yours, you must indicate its place of origin. Advice given by this method should not be an excuse for plagiarism.

[3] Sprite: This is a 2D pixel map. In other words, it's already created Pixel Art for use in a video game, video, picture, etc. to represent something specific.

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Once we have our sketch we need to create a new layer by going to Layer (ALT + L) and New Layer (N) option. In this we will work on the drawing of the lines, but first we have to select the previous layer (the one of the sketch) and lower the opacity so that it is less visible and that we can differentiate our line from the sketch.

In the linearoscope, it is very important to use the binary tool of size 1p, if you use a larger size, it will not create the desired effect.

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We revise our sketch in the new layer, or we make an exact copy of the sprite. You can make the body parts in different layers or in a single layer.

I recommend doing this in different layers in case you need to remove something that doesn't match, so you don't have to worry about removing what shouldn't be. To erase you need to use the Eraser tool of size 1p or smaller.

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As I mentioned before, we are working on the Mega Man sprite, which causes us to only create the outline exactly as seen.

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When the screen is finished, don't forget to hide the layer you sketched on so that it no longer projects onto the canvas.


Sai has a wide range of colors. To select a color, all you have to do is left click on the color wheel or on the corresponding box. As before, it is a good idea to create a group of layers (ALT + L) (S) to make everything more comfortable, once this step is completed, all you have to do is paint with the binary tool.

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When painting pixel art, it is important to pay attention to the reference colors, so that the pixel art is more faithful to the original character or landscape.

If you don't get the exact color you can open your reference with the Sai in another window with the option File (ALT + F), and Open (CTRL + O), once you have done that you Just select your reference and it will open automatically.

Then to copy the color you want you need to use the color picker tool and left click, or right click on the area you want, you can also use the combination ALT and left click.

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You can paint pixel by pixel or fill a whole space smoothly, it depends on the Pixel Art and your taste.

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Once the painting is done we will have our Pixel Art, you can review the lineart with other colors to have a cleaner finish. To save the canvas, click File (ALT + F) and Save As (A), select the format [4] in which you want to save.

I am doing this in .PNG and after clicking the save button I select the 32bpp ARGB option, if you do this without the drawing having a background color it will make its background transparent. If you save the canvas only with the Sai: Save (S) option, its format will be .sai and it will only be displayed in Sai.

[4] Format: This is how a file is saved, and what allows programs to work with it. It is also known as extension. It is usually not visible to the user unless another option is chosen for registration.

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To enlarge your Pixel Art, you need to use Photoshop. I use Photoshop CS6 Portable, I'll leave you a video so you can see how to download and install it; it does not belong to me, so all the rights to its content belong to its author.

Once in the program, we selected File - Open, we searched our image and gave the option Image - Image Size.

As you notice a new open window, you can change the measurements of your image (resize), so that it does not lose quality you must place the option: By approximation (keep defined borders). After resizing, click File and Save Under, select the format again. PNG and click OK.

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This is Megaman's My Pixel Art with its respective sizes.

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And I add this animation that I made with Mega Man.

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All images are screenshots made by myself, the programs you see in the background are: Easy Paint Tool Sai and Photoshop CS6 Portable.

Well, that's all for this guide, I hope you liked it and I showed you how to work the Pixel Art, if you have any doubts or opinions you can leave a comment about it.


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