Overview

Drawing art on the C64 back in the late 1980's was incredibly limited compared to drawing on a modern computer. This following pages detail the C64's graphic capabilities, and how pictures were drawn on it.

Most games didn't use bitmap graphics as they were too slow to manipulate with the limited processing power of the C64, but instead used a character set based system, which allowed for smooth scrolling and other effects.

For static pictures, artists could use bitmaps, but these were limited to a maximum resolution of 320x200, with a fixed palette of 16 colours, and there were other limitations too.

In more recent years C64 coders have used programming tricks to create high resolution modes with more colours, but back then you had to make do with the basic bitmap modes and colours.

Luckily the palette's colour range was really well chosen, so it was possible to do several sets of graduated shades using the 16 colours and judicious use of stippling.

Unfortunately later versions of the C64 had differences in palettes from the original C64. In my opinion the 'new' colours weren't as good or as versatile as the old. In particular the orange was a lot darker, almost brown. It made my artwork look a bit different, and sometimes made it look worse.

To drawing pictures on the C64 there were two main modes - High Resolution mode, and Multicolour mode.

Next page: High Resolution mode