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Create Pixel Art On Your iPhone With Dottable

Updated on February 18, 2016
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Pixel art has a unique charm that always reminds me of the arcade or game boy days. It is a style of digital art that has a long history, and still a big influence in today’s pop culture with games like Minecraft and Undertale. Pixel art requires no expensive software other than a simple program like MS Paint, but for anyone looking to create works on the go should go no further than Dottable. A free pixel art editor for iOS that’s easy to use.

Dottable is a light 4.7 MB app with an ice cream cone icon and although it has nothing to do with ice cream, this app is quite a treat. It comes with all the essential tools for pixel art in a simple and minimal design. I found myself focused more on creation rather than fumbling with tools and quickly learned this editor like a piece of cake.

When starting a new project the canvas can be scaled up to 120px x 120px. After selecting a size the editing screen will pop up with all the available tools. The interface is static and tools can’t be hidden like similar apps, but in the case of pixel art this is no issue and makes things easier and faster.

The view can be zoomed in and out using the slider below the canvas. Panning around is easily done by using the arrows around the canvas, or sliding your fingers around the small box in the very bottom right of the screen. The arrows are useful for precise moving whereas the box view is good for quickly jumping to different areas.

All the important editing tools lie on the bottom panel of the screen separated by two rows. The top row has 20 colors to choose from which can be customized by double tapping a square which brings up the color tool. There’s sliders for hue, saturation, darkness, and opacity which is nice for transparent elements while using layers. The color pallet will still be saved after saving and exiting the app.

The bottom row has all the familiar drawing and editing tools (draw, eraser, fill bucket, ect.). There’s also image manipulation tools that allow moving of cropped areas along with duplicating and reflecting layers. The eye dropper works exceptionally well and displays a live view of the currently selected color while you’re able to slide your finger around and precisely hone in on a color. This is great especially if you’re zoomed out and want to quickly find a desired color.

A fantastic feature about this app is that every project can have 20 layers, with the ability to insert high resolution background images for tracing purposes like the screenshot above of the chameleon. Layers can be hidden, duplicated, and merged. To bring up the layer menu click the small icon to the left of the color row with the 3 little paper stacks. From there you can also convert an image to pixel art by clicking the “image” icon.

After finishing your masterpiece it can be exported to the camera roll with varying resolutions and uploaded to Twitter. There’s also an option to display a grid while exporting an image if desired. The export button is located in the very top right corner next to the save button. The free version only plays a short ad after saving; there’s no restrictions on tools or features and no in app purchases. That’s why I give this app a solid A+.

With Dottable I’ve found it easier and more enjoyable to create pixel art. I bring my phone with me everywhere, so it’s very handy having this tool on the go when inspiration sparks or I feel the need to create. Computer software can sometimes feel distracting with all the tools and menus, but this app pushes that aside with a minimal presentation that’s easy to navigate. I highly recommend anyone interested in, or already creating pixel art to try this app regardless of skill level. All the tools are in the palm of your hand, now give it a go!

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