Pencil Tools, Pixels and Agata Nowicka

Posted at 2 pm on September 12, 2009 by

Posted in: Comic Art, Digital Illustration, Linear Illustration, Pencil Illustration, Photoshop, Pixel Art

I’ve seen the illustration work of Polish artist Agata Nowicka floating around online for a while now. I think Agata has done a superb job of creating work that is truly distinct from other illustration styles. With her unconventional ‘pixely’ lines and audacious colour choices, she certainly has a unique selling point.

I’ve asked her a few questions on her background and working techniques, with some interesting insights.

What training have you had in illustration?

As a little kid I spent most of my time at home drawing. Obviously my parents noticed and asked if I wanted to go to an art school. So I started it when I was 14 and it lasted 5 years. Even though I loved being in art school I decided not to continue at another level and moved to live in the UK for a few years.

I hadn’t been drawing much for the 6 years after school and came back to it after my return to Poland, at 25.


In putting an illustration together, Agata will draw some sketches on paper, looking for ideas and a composition. ‘I mainly work in Photoshop, using the pencil tool, hence the ‘grainy’, pixelated line. I couldn’t live without Wacom Intuos tablet (A5).

Believe it or not, for years I did all my work in MS Paint, which was a reference to the times when I had my first IBM and drew in Paintbrush with a mouse. I find it hard to part with pixels, but I’m thinking more and more often of going back to more traditional techniques.’


What is your secret to drawing life-like people and faces?

Years of drawing them actually! I use reference photos when I need to work fast but hours spent at an easel, drawing models and by the mirror, drawing self-portraits, gave me a lot.

Having said that, I don’t think I’ve developed any distinctive style of drawing people, other than the technique itself. I’m a bit disappointed about it.

ⓒ Agata Nowicka, 2009

Agata is about to start working on a comic about music. ‘I’m really excited about it and am seriously worried I won’t have enough time it deserves. I would be so happy to lock myself in for a few weeks of uninterrupted work. I find doing comics more demanding than any other illustration job. Also because I write my own scripts.’

All the best, Agata!

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