This is a talksprite tutorial, I will take you step by step on how I make my talksprites. I hope this helps. This goes into a lot of detail so it may be rather wordy.
If you have any questions or get stuck, just send me an ask and I’ll be glad to help.
NOTE: The program I use for artwork is Gimp Version 2.6.11
While this is not necessary to make talksprites, if you would like to use the same version as me, you can get it HERE.
(Do NOT get the newer version of Gimp, it is far different and difficult to handle.)
Step One: The sketch and size
You want to make sure your talksprite is the correct size, or it won’t look right. To do this, you’ll want to take a look at one of the official talksprites first off.
(The older ones are smaller than the new, alpha troll ones, pick your size accordingly.)
Here I have taken a random Nepeta talksprite.
Now I set the opacity low, then sketch my character over it.
Note that you should never trace a talksprite, we merely do this to make sure our character will be the correct size.
Tracing would look strange anyway, because the talksprites generally have many different face shapes, which you’ll want to do with your characters.
Step Two: The outlines
Typically, I’ll start with the hair. You’ll want to do this with your brush at 1 or 2 pixel width, to make sure you get the spikiness correct.
If you’re using gimp like I do, use the pencil tool for this.
If you’re doing white hair, just outline it with 2 pixels width.
Now you’ll want to outline the very outer edge of everything, this outline will be thicker than the rest.
I typically use 5 pixel width for this, on both the smaller and bigger talksprite sizes.
Next you’ll want to do the inside.
Anything that would be black on your character will almost always be solid black in your talksprite.
For the rest of the inside outlines, you’ll want to make them 2 px in widge. (3 pixels width on bigger talksprites.)
Typically, the skin is outlined in black, while the rest are colored outlines. (this doesn’t apply for every official sprite.)
Step Three: Coloring
Now fill in your colors!
Remember to color pick and use the official colors for for the skin, eyes, and horns, otherwise your character will look strange.
Now you’re ready to shade! Remember to keep shading rather simple, and not to make your shading color too dark.
I don’t make my shade color any darker than about 6 to 12 shades darker than the original color.
Note that horns do not get shaded, and there are no highlights!
If you highlight your talksprite (like above), it will look strange. You’ll only want to do this if something on your character is made of metal (or if your character’s eyes are human/filled in with the color of their blood.)
Step Four: Animation
Getting a basic talking animation isn’t too hard. It only requires two frames sans blinking if you add it.
In gimp, each layer = 1 frame. It plays the layers from bottom to top.
200 ms per frame is average for talking animation. In gimp, you can either add (200ms) to the layer name or when you save it as a gif, gimp will ask you how long to play each frame.
Now, when I add blinking, the blink frames only go 100 ms per frame. I allow 6 frames of talking before adding the blinks.
You’ll need a regular frame and a blinking frame together, both set to 100 ms.
Doing this will make both frames together equal 200 ms and thus keep the animation’s timing correct.
I usually make my characters blink twice, making them blink during both the closed mouth frame and the opened mouth frame.
After that you’re all finished with your basic talksprite!
Always feel free to animate different expressions and just have fun with your talksprite.