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How to Become a Pixel Artist

Updated on January 21, 2017
That Grrl profile image

Laura has been writing online since 1996. Her first content was sold to a print zine. She is a solo publisher of her own sites.

8 Bit Pixelated Flowers


Pixel art is an image drawn pixel-by-pixel using a limited color palette and usually primitive/ retro computer graphics tools. Microsoft Paint, a bitmap graphics editor, was a popular software for creating 2D sprites and pixel art.

Pixel art was used for 2D games. It's retro now. 3D games took over and there weren't many 2D games around any more. MapleStory is one which still uses pixel art. Computer icons and those tiny smiley graphics are also still created using pixel art.

Like ASCII art, pixel art is coming back into usefulness now that there are small applications (for mobile phones, etc.) which need simple art files and illustrations.

I've begun making pixel art. Mine is the size of icons. I've used some of my pixel art as favicons for my sites. It's interesting to work with pixels. You need a fairly steady hand, or the patience to go back over your work and remove tiny extra lines and pixels one by one. Most of the graphics software make it easy to fill in your colour. To make the more detailed art you need to pay attention to shadowing and light. Just as photographers and other graphic artists do.

Pixel art used for icons is much simpler. It's flat. You can use two basic colours, one for the outline to give it shape inside the basic outline and the other just to give it colour rather than leaving it black and white.

I'd like to do the more detailed pixel art. I've been working my way up to it. I'm not ready to share my early creations, they are a bit discouraging while I figure out the process and how to make the light and shadows work to give my graphics depth rather than just looking odd and warped.

My Pixel Art Avatars in Real Size and Enlarged

My Pixel Art Rose

Pixel Art Drawing Tutorial

Learn Pixel Art


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    • SotD and Zera profile image

      SotD and Zera 5 years ago

      Sorry for the trouble! And thanks for the comment on my hub.


    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      You're welcome Zera. (Both of your comments came through. I deleted the double).

    • SotD and Zera profile image

      SotD and Zera 5 years ago

      Even if they're being overtaken by other graphics, there's still a lot of charm in pixel art. Thanks for the roundup of resources!


    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      Thank you. I love odd, vintage and unique art. Especially the simple stuff I can understand and work on myself. I'm good at ASCII art but I'm still getting the hang of pixel art. I've seen some amazing, very detailed art that makes me think I will never have a masterpiece of my own, but... that doesn't mean I have to give up on my little miniature masterpieces.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      I bet I could do this! I was an art techer before any of this was around and this would be all new for me. I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. I gotta give this an Up ONE AND BEAUTIFUL. I'm now your fan!