Step 3 Create a new layer and draw the outline with a one-pixel, black Pencil (B), using the supplied animation guide and photo as a basis. The supplied guide helps develop a range of characters from larger ‘boss’ figures or thinner female ones. It’s a rough guide for compositing
and animating my pixel art characters.

Step 4 Using the Eyedropper tool (I), sample the darkest area of skin tone on the photo and create a small square of colour. Do this three more times to create a four-tone palette of skin tone.

Create another layer below the outline layer and, using a one-pixel brush and your four-tone colour palette, shade the image (again, using the photo as your guide).

It’s best to keep all the different elements of your artwork, or different layers, as it makes it easy to reuse them on other figures. This is especially useful with ‘baddies’ as most 16-bit games used very similar figures. For example, one baddie might have a red shirt and a knife, while a later one is identical, apart from a blue shirt and a gun.

Step 5 Repeat this process for the other parts of the figure, shading the fabric according to the other elements within your source photo. Remember to continue sampling using the Eyedropper tool to create colour palettes first, as this ensures a consistent colour set that looks great and fits with the relatively limited colour palette of 16-bit games.