In this post I’ll make a quick breakdown on how I use Affinity Designer’s Pixel Persona to create full bitmap illustrations without using any of the usual bitmap editors out there.
STEP 1: First of all, I switched to Pixel Persona. This mode is located in the upperToolbar. This way you’re allowed to use Designer’s bitmap brushes. I usually start by doodling around with a basic round brush, with its opacity and size controlled by my Wacom’s pressure, so it behaves like a regular drafting pencil.
STEP 2: In this case, I didn’t worry about the messy line work, sometimes I tend to keep the energy of the original rough sketch by cleaning it up using the Eraser and the Paint Brush on and off (like with a real pencil). Once I was happy with my base lines, I blocked the main shape with the Lasso Tool and filled it with a medium grey tone on a second layer under my base sketch.
TIP: Black lines and gray tones are kinda boring to start coloring in. In this same step, I used a Colour Overlay Effect on my rough lines to give my sketch a ‘softer’ look with a violet tone. For my fill layer, I added an HSL Adjustment Layer to take the boring gray fill away. Then I grouped the fill layer and the Adjustment Layer andRasterized the whole group to apply the HSL Adjustment permanently and been able to paint over it.
STEP 3: I blocked my fill layer by duplicating it and using the copy as a Layer Mask. This way I can paint freely without worrying about painting outside of my base color. As you can see in the picture above, I’ve used a very basic set of brushes for the coloring part.
STEP 4: I kept adding more colors, trying to find a nice palette. In this step I only used flat ones, in order to have a very clear idea of my color harmonies.
STEP 5 : Once I was happy with the flat colors, I started with the basic shading. Here I used the Color Picker A LOT, in order to keep my tones as even as possible. For this illustration I went for a very basic shading, almost like a manga character.
STEP 6 : This next step is post-production. I added some Adjustment Layers on top of my artwork to fine-tune the final colors. My usual winner combo is Levels/Curvesand Selective Color. I try to keep the post-production layers stack as simple as possible.
That would be pretty much it. As you can see, Affinity Designer is a very versatile piece of software for bitmap illustration. Here you can get vectors and bitmaps to work together or use both independently. Magical!
Let me know in the comments if you find these type of art breakdown posts useful. See you next time guys!