Hullo, all you marvellously talented gnawable brains.
I've stalked through here and several other pixel communities the last few years, slowly - ever, ever so slowly - studying every little bit of work that I can, saving and sorting oh so many pixelations into my little research folders, desperate to learn and hopefully incapable of giving up. I long believed I couldn't ever draw, but after discovering pixel art and putting in a good deal of effort I discovered that if I give anything long enough, I can do it. Give it a million years and I might even actually do it well.
It has become increasingly clear that my progress may be so slow because I haven't sought out guidance and critiques from those in the know. Frightened of being told to abandon it altogether for having no hope, and some such nonsense.
In short, I'm boggled and feeling at my wits end tonight. I would love any tips or secrets - the ones you're willing to share, anyway - on how to better draw the foliage of trees. Especially more time efficient methods. I've spent ages trying to find information on how to draw trees and have hopefully already read everything on this forum regarding it. If I may have missed something, feel free to link. Going for another search after posting this.
Below you'll see a little WIP sheet with my 'experimental study of trees in pixel form'. Or something. None of the trees are finished pieces, as I felt all of them failed on some fundamental level - I know something's wrong beyond what I mention below, but I don't know WHAT. That's why I'm here.
Reference material was mostly trees from this forum thread example sheet
, work by HulioG (on this forum), a trunk outlined from work by Zyndicate
, and one from RMXP. I'm looking to design a tree you'd see many of in a game map, so am not looking to make it too asymmetrical.
Things I think
- Ignore the very early attempts on the far left and bottom right, please!
- The base of the trunks was crudely shaded simply to give me some idea of depth - I didn't think they required primary focus just yet. I figured not ALL beautiful pixelled trees have branches visible - or show very little. I did try to get the shapes and structures down though. Foliage etc has not been intentionally anti-aliased yet as I was trying to get an understanding of form and so forth before fully polishing off anything.
- Layer Tree on the top right has perspective issues, I think - I somehow made each 'layer' of leaves look exactly like that - layers. Instead of bunches of leaves in a more, uh, globular fashion.
- Leafy Tree involved creating several leaves of similar sizes and pasting them one by one to create bundles. It seemed not the most sensible method to 'learn to draw' by for the time involved, but providing I manage to shade it properly, it might look most like traditional pixel art and be a wiser path to follow? I thought as I was trying to study form, I would focus on ones I'd draw completely.
- Ball Tree was the easiest and I think may have been the best attempt. However, I don't know how to translate that into having leaves, rather than being blobs of colour. I haven't yet figured out how to paint leaves in. Also the perspective wound up too flat. I feel the far right version (before highlights) looked better. I have since been trying to google how to shade flat top mushroom shaped discs for being similar but haven't found anything... they're a bit odd, something about two main highlights before the terminator?
- Pepper Tree confused me. Until it came to the last three lighter shades, it seemed to be coming along quite well. I haven't completed the last few shades as they were simply more of the same 'create leaves clustered and scattering towards the next shade' and I realized that wasn't working.
I'm not sure if the issue is my color palette. I have tried several. I'm also partly colour blind.
I also find the lighting to be confusing to work out. It's to the top left, behind and above the trees.
Does anyone think I was on the right track with any of my attempts? Any advice on a general direction to follow would be much appreciated.
I apologize for not having written this earlier in the day when I may have been a tad more coherent and less scatterbrained. I've let trees keep me from dinner and it's now near 1am... eep.
Thanks for your time.