Want to brush up on Procreate? Envato Elements author Pixelbuddha discusses running a business and Procreate tips.
Well known for their wide range of premium design assets, Pixelbuddha has quickly become one of the most popular and innovative authors on Envato Elements. The business started out as a twinkle in the eyes of self-taught designers Nick Frost and Greg Lapin, and was originally a DIY design project aiming to recreate the most popular products on the market. Now, it has grown into a team of talented professionals who are passionate about bringing the best free and premium resources to the design community.
Pixelbuddha produces a range of graphics, templates, mockups and versatile creative tools available on Envato Elements, most notably their incredible Procreate brushes. The Pixelbuddha team work hard to design, create and sell creative assets through some of the largest platforms and marketplaces in the world, including their very own creative community.
In this interview, we take a look inside the creative mindhive of Pixelbuddha to find out how they turned a two-man project into a full-blown professional agency. Discover their tips on how to use Procreate, and how they go about creating incredible design assets for Envato Elements.
We started out as freelance UI designers. In 2013, when Flat Design became all the rage, we created one of the first commercial icon sets in this style. They turned out to be in enormous demand, so we decided to launch a website with freebies and premium design items. It was entirely intuitive, and we were just curious about what might come out of it.
Pixelbuddha soon became very popular, and a few years later we introduced our paid membership program. We also started creating more design products, including effects, brushes for Procreate, and other add-ons, which are now available on some of the largest marketplaces in the world. While it sounds a bit ridiculous, 2020 has been the best year in the history of Pixelbuddha.
Every designer at Pixelbuddha has their unique skills and talents, which allows us to perform flexibly on the market.
As for how we create products — well, it’s always different. Sometimes, one of us gets an idea and we do our best to introduce it. Or sometimes we notice a certain kind of item is popular on the market, and we create our own iteration of it.
As soon as we have an idea, we discuss it during our weekly sprints, make mood boards, and do sketches. Once we have a clear understanding of the product, the creative work starts, which is always different.
For us, just making a good product isn’t enough. So, along with high-end assets, we prepare insightful help files and guides, record tutorials, and design beautiful presentations to show every aspect of the work and stand out from our competitors.
Thanks to Procreate, making Procreate brushes has become one of the priority fields we work in. Our illustrators almost immediately fell for the app’s convenience and multiple handy features. So, we decided to try our hand in creating custom brush packs for Procreate, and the process immediately got us. Today, two of our illustrators are involved full-time in developing new Procreate products.
Along with multiple illustrators and creators worldwide, we were hooked by the creative freedom possible with Procreate. On one hand, it’s simple and intuitive. And on the other, using Procreate allows customers to experiment and combine brushes any way they like — you can even create brand new brushes!
This is a tough question, and we’re not sure we have an answer for it. Since we’re always creating products for various categories, we have to create designs in a range of different styles. What remains unchanged and vital for us, is to present our work via graphics of the highest standard. Beautiful shots with exceptional imagery, balanced typography and other high quality design components. The idea is that any design should work despite the chosen style.
There are also a range of very different designers in our team. Each of them has their strengths, which ensures a wide variety of styles in our products. For example, one of our designers creates Procreate brushes for her favorite style of classic sketching, while another releases shading brushes with a modern minimalist presentation. That’s what makes Pixelbuddha.
Firstly, a regular set of design apps: Photoshop, Illustrator, Procreate, and Affinity. Like everyone else, we draw inspiration from Pinterest, and we also make mood boards for our future products there. And of course, we can’t disregard office routines like weekly meet ups or brainstorming.
We’ve been selling our work on Envato Elements since our early days. At the beginning, we treated it as an extra source of passive income, and just re-submitted our releases from other marketplaces there. But this year, we’ve paid particular attention to it.
With a wide selection of products and stats on how they perform on the platform, we could better understand how our customers use the service. This way, we started tooling part of our releases precisely for Envato Elements. It’s helped us achieve huge growth, which is just mind-blowing.
For the present moment, Envato Elements is the most coherent and complete catalog of design goods available by subscription. We use it ourselves as we often need something for product presentation like mockups or fonts – in this case, a subscription allows a designer to download and try as many variants as they need.
Not long ago, we re-launched our website to feature all our premium assets, and we hope to focus on the development of this section. And of course, we sell our products on other big marketplaces like Creative Market and Design Cuts.
We don’t track the use of our work as much we would like to. But it’s always super nice to get positive feedback, emails from satisfied users and examples of how they used our products.
Our greatest accomplishment is the community of Pixelbuddha. Hundreds of thousands of users visit our website daily to download freebies, subscriptions and premium items. We’ve become quite a well-known project compared to other similar ones, and it’s amazing.
This year, the focus for us has been the relaunch of our website. There is still much work to do, but it’s a huge event for us. In autumn, we’re going to introduce a few new brush kits for different software. And if everything goes well, a big Pixelbuddha mockup bundle too.
Firstly, Zippypixels and Genetic96. As mockup creators, they create perfect content that no one can match.
Secondly, we admire JRChild and Guerillacraft who make awesome brushes. We work a lot with Matej from Guerillacraft — he distributes some of his items on Pixelbuddha. And seeing his success among our users, we know our passion for his work is shared.
Develop and broaden your skills. The market is evolving, and you should quickly adapt to the changes. Read a lot, watch a lot, and follow the leaders of the industry.
Don’t treat design as an easy business, and don’t focus just on the success stories. Every experience is unique: someone can create a best-seller without a fuss, and someone can fail after years of attempts. Dream of the best outcome, be ready for the worst one and work as hard as you can.
Finally, understand that you can’t always create what you like and be at the top. What you should do instead is analyze the market, see what it demands and make products that sell.
Feeling inspired? Head over to Envato Elements and start creating! Or, for more creative inspiration, check out these Inside Illustration Q&As with 3D Illustrator Amrit Pal Singh, Watercolor Artist Kaleriia Tverdokhlib and illustrator Danilo Sanino.