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Creating a Free NFT Pixel Art in just 5 Minutes

Without the use of Photoshop or any editing software

NFT Artwork Collection named Drunk Merlion by Dongyeon Lee
Drunk Merlion Collection by author

Lately, we have been hearing cases of digital artwork being sold for millions of dollars and this includes artwork that does not exist in physical form. These up-and-coming artworks are recognised as digital assets known as NFTs, Non-fungible Tokens. This form of art utilises blockchain technology to certify its originality and ownership, suggesting that the artworks are non-editable.

According to data from market tracker DappRadar, as the frenzy for crypto assets reached new highs, the sales volume of NFTs surged to $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021. With the increasing popularity and demand from the NFT Market, you might start to wonder how can one create their own NFT artwork.

The good news is that anyone can become a NFT artist! For those of us who prefer to experiment with a more diverse style of art, we can create our artworks by drawing on an iPad or Photoshop. However, this article is for those with no formal background in art but are keen to create their own pixel NFT artwork for free and without the need to purchase any software programs. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Source for a Base Photo

Google image search result with a keyword, Merlion

Sketching based on your imagination sure is cool, but this skill may not come as easily for some of us. Let’s say you want to create an art piece of a drunk Merlion with dyed hair. This comes with the challenge of sourcing for an exact reference for this hipster Merlion, hence we can start with a simple Merlion image as your base photo.

Feel free to crop the base image should you only need certain parts of the photo. There is no need for now to include multiple complex shapes as the pixel art will do the work of simplifying those shapes.

Step 2: Resize the Selected Photo

The next step would be to visit the site resizeimage.net and to upload the selected base photo. Should the image size be too large, an option would be to adjust the sizing to 32px x 32px and download the resized photo as a PNG image.

Screenshot from resizeimage.net

Step 3: Trace & Sketch!

Now for the most exciting part, it’s time to start drawing! Visit pixilart.com/draw and upload your resized image from step 2. Do remember to add a layer before you start the tracing process. Click on the pencil tool and start tracing the resized image on the new layer.

Tracing with Pencil tool on Pixilart.com
Trace with Pencil tool

Step 4: Color your Sketch and Add Elements

With an existing sketch, we can now proceed to colour our sketch and add elements. In this step, we will be utilising a different layer for each element, this ensures that we can edit a specific part of the image without affecting the other parts.

Coloring with Pencil tool on Pixilart.com
Color with Pencil tool
Adding elements for each layer and coloring background on Pixilart.com
Add elements for each layer (Hair, Eye, etc) and colour your background
A screenshot of layers for each element on Pixilart.com
Add additional elements on separate layers, if you want (sunglasses, mask, etc)

Ta-da! Your creation is completed!

It is highly encouraged to add more elements to the artwork for the purpose of mix and match! By playing around with the different layers, you can expand your very own NFT art collection!

GIF of NFT Artwork Collection named Drunk Merlion by Dongyeon Lee

This marks the end of Part 1 for our NFT artwork creation guide, be sure to look out for Part 2 as we walk you through a step-by-step guide on how we can get your artwork out in the market! Be sure to follow us on Medium or on Instagram @2359media.

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