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Pixel Art Resources - Find the best tools, tutorials, and assets for pixel art

Pixel Art: A Guide for Beginners

Pixel art is a form of digital art that uses pixels as the building blocks of images. Pixels are small squares of color that combine to create a larger picture. Pixel art is often associated with retro video games and computer graphics, but it is also a vibrant and expressive art form in its own right.

In this article, you will learn more about pixel art, its history, its techniques, its examples, its challenges, and its resources. Whether you are a fan of pixel art or a curious beginner, this article will help you discover the beauty and joy of creating pixel art.

pixel art

What is pixel art and why is it awesome?

Pixel art is a form of digital art that uses pixels as the building blocks of images. Pixels are small squares of color that combine to create a larger picture. Pixel art is often associated with retro video games and computer graphics, but it is also a vibrant and expressive art form in its own right.

Pixel art has many advantages and benefits, such as:

  • It is easy to learn and accessible to anyone with a computer or a smartphone.

  • It is nostalgic and evokes the charm and simplicity of the past.

  • It is creative and challenging, requiring careful attention to detail and color.

  • It is versatile and adaptable, allowing for different styles and genres.

  • It is fun and rewarding, giving you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

How pixel art got its start and evolved over time

Pixel art has a long and rich history that spans from the 1970s to the present day. Here are some of the key milestones and events that shaped the development of pixel art:

  • In 1972, Richard Shoup created SuperPaint, one of the first graphics software that allowed users to create pixel-based images and animations.

  • In 1978, Space Invaders became one of the first arcade games to use pixel art for its graphics, setting the trend for many other games in the 1980s.

  • In 1983, Nintendo released the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which popularized pixel art on home consoles with games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda.

  • In 1987, Nintendo released the Game Boy, which introduced pixel art to handheld gaming with games like Tetris and Pokemon.

  • In 1993, Doom revolutionized first-person shooters with its realistic 3D graphics, which used pixel art textures for its environments and characters.

  • In 2004, Cave Story became one of the first indie games to use pixel art as an artistic choice rather than a technical limitation, inspiring many other indie developers to follow suit.

  • In 2010, Minecraft became a global phenomenon with its voxel-based graphics, which are essentially 3D pixels.

  • In 2021, Eastward became one of the latest examples of pixel art games that combine stunning visuals with engaging gameplay and storytelling.

How to make pixel art with the right tools and tips

To make pixel art, you need two things: a software program and a creative idea. There are many software programs that you can use to create pixel art, ranging from free online tools to professional applications. Some of the most popular ones are:

  • Piskel: A free online tool that lets you create animated sprites and pixel art in your browser.

  • Pixilart: A free online community and tool that lets you create and share pixel art online.

  • Aseprite: A paid software that lets you create pixel art animations and spritesheets with advanced features.

  • Photoshop: A paid software that lets you create pixel art images and images with various tools and filters.

  • Procreate: A paid software that lets you create pixel art images and animations on your iPad with a stylus.

Once you have chosen your software, you can start making pixel art by following these tips:

  • Start with a small canvas size, such as 32x32 or 64x64 pixels, to keep things simple and manageable.

  • Use a limited color palette, such as 8 or 16 colors, to create contrast and harmony in your image.

  • Use the pencil tool to draw pixels one by one, and the eraser tool to remove them.

  • Use the bucket tool to fill large areas with a single color, and the eyedropper tool to pick colors from your image.

  • Use the selection tool to move, resize, rotate, or flip parts of your image.

  • Use the zoom tool to see your image in different scales and check for errors or details.

  • Use the layer tool to separate different elements of your image and edit them independently.

  • Use the animation tool to create frames and transitions for your pixel art animation.

  • Save your pixel art as a PNG file to preserve its quality and transparency.

Some of the best pixel art works and games to inspire you

Pixel art is a diverse and inspiring art form that has many examples and genres. Here are some of the best pixel art works and games that you can check out to get inspired:


The Pixel Art of Paul RobertsonPaul Robertson is a pixel artist and animator who creates colorful and dynamic pixel art works, often inspired by pop culture and video games. He has worked on games like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game and Mercenary Kings, as well as animated shows like Gravity Falls and Rick and Morty.

The Pixel Art of WaneellaWaneella is a pixel artist who creates atmospheric and immersive pixel art scenes, often depicting urban landscapes and futuristic settings. She has a distinctive style that uses vibrant colors and subtle animations to create a sense of mood and movement.

The Pixel Art of Octavi NavarroOctavi Navarro is a pixel artist and game developer who creates detailed and realistic pixel art illustrations, often inspired by nature and history. He has worked on games like Thimbleweed Park and Photographs, as well as his own projects like Pixels Huh and The Librarian.

Hollow KnightHollow Knight is a metroidvania game that features beautiful and intricate pixel art graphics, along with a dark and mysterious story. The game takes place in a vast underground world filled with secrets, enemies, and bosses. The game has received critical acclaim for its gameplay, music, and art direction.

CelesteCeleste is a platformer game that features simple but charming pixel art graphics, along with a touching and emotional story. The game follows Madeline, a young woman who decides to climb a mountain called Celeste, while facing her own fears and doubts. The game has received praise for its gameplay, soundtrack, and narrative.

Stardew ValleyStardew Valley is a farming simulator game that features cute and colorful pixel art graphics, along with a relaxing and engaging gameplay. The game allows the player to create their own farm, interact with the townsfolk, explore the surroundings, and pursue various activities. The game has been widely popular for its content, charm, and replay value.

How to improve your skills and have fun with pixel art

Pixel art is a skill that can be improved with practice and experimentation. Here are some of the ways that you can enhance your pixel art abilities and enjoy the process:

  • Study other pixel artists and learn from their techniques and styles.

  • Follow pixel art tutorials and guides that teach you the basics and advanced topics of pixel art.

  • Join pixel art communities and forums that offer feedback, support, and inspiration.

  • Participate in pixel art challenges and contests that test your skills and creativity.

  • Experiment with different genres, themes, and styles of pixel art and find your own voice and expression.

Where to find more information and tutorials on pixel art

If you want to learn more about pixel art and how to create it, there are many resources that you can use to expand your knowledge and skills. Here are some of the best ones that you can check out:

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