If you are anything like me (and I have a feeling most of you are very like me) then you grew up playing games. Back in the 90’s, it was all about Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Genesis, Turbo Graphix, Neo Geo, etc. And you didn’t like it. You LOVED IT!!!! Growing up with Mario, Sonic, and the rest of the pixel gang – really made us fond of these 8bit graphics. When Pixel Art came around again, it really brought up that nostalgia emotion and all the memories of the days where we frolicked in an imaginary land full of pixels and fun with no responsibilities or repercussions for our actions. We love remembering those days. Oh those were the days.
Well Today we have rounded up some epic tutorials for pixel art – so you can not only ENJOY pixel art inspirations, but also, you can learn how to create your own! And carry the torch, if you will, and bring nostalgia to many more! Or you could even help the pixel art trend push itself back into the mainstream!
What is Pixel Art?
Well, im glad you asked. Wikipedia says:
Pixel art is a form of digital art, created through the use of raster graphics software, where images are edited on the pixel level. Graphics in most old (or relatively limited) computer and video games, graphing calculator games, and many mobile phone games are mostly pixel art.
The term pixel art was first published by Adele Goldberg and Robert Flegal of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in 1982. The concept, however, goes back about 10 years before that, for example in Richard Shoup’s SuperPaint system in 1972, also at Xerox PARC.
Some traditional art forms, such as counted-thread embroidery (including cross-stitch) and some kinds of mosaic and beadwork, are very similar to pixel art. These art forms construct pictures out of small colored units similar to the pixels of modern digital computing. A similar concept on a much bigger scale can be seen in the North Korean Arirang Festival.
Modern pixel art has been seen as a reaction to the 3D graphics industry by amateur game/graphic hobbyists. Many retro enthusiasts often choose to mimic the style of the past. Some view the pixel art revival as restoring the golden age of second and third generation consoles, where it is argued graphics were more aesthetically pleasing. Pixel art still remains popular and has been used in the virtual worlds Citypixel, Minecraft, and Habbo as well as among hand-held devices such as the Nintendo DS and Cellphones.
So yeah, there you have it, pixel art is for teh winz. Whether you just love pixel art, and want to learn to make some, or you might want to learn to do this to make your own game or something like that – whatever the case may be, I hope you learn a lot from these tutorials & inspirations. I hope they inspire you to create some retro throwback to the good ole days! Enjoy!
Great tutorial that helps you learn the basics of Pixel Art – some drawing skills required! lol
Nice short and straight to the point video tutorial for drawing a nice little 8-bit pixel art mushroom in illustrator! (so its vector, and can be resized without losing quality!)
This is a really fantastic background tutorial – gives you in depth instructions and even gives you animated views of a side scrolling level completed with the pieces – looks so good! Reminds me of every old school 2D SNES and Genesis Side Scroller. Mmmm retro nostalgia! I don’t think we have seen the last of this style in mainstream games, I have a feeling 2D & Isometric views are coming back in fashion.
Another great tutorial that will help drive home and burn into your brain the basics & best practices of working with pixels as an art form. Once you are done with a few of these bad boys you will be starting on the right foot!
This article will help you take your drawing and turn it into an epic pixel work of art.
This one is a little different, this one shows you how to take existing sprites (pixel arts) and improve them in photoshop! Good tips to know.
Good tutorial for creating an rpg character in pixel art!
Clouds are in almost every game, so its usually pretty good to know how to do those Here is how!
Along with clouds, in the scenery category, Trees are very common – so checkout this tutorial on the basics of creating a pixelized tree!
Colors are so important when it comes to pixel art – it can make or break the piece. This is a great tutorial for helping you choose the right palette for your pixel art design.
Another basic introduction to pixel art – from someone else’s perspective. This one helps you make a wicked steam-punk zeppelin
This one is pretty much an overview of pixel art – but definitely touches on some advanced topics and points, great read for all pixel artists (or soon to be)!
This is actually a quick and simple overview of someones workflow as they draw out some isometric pixel art – nothing fancy, but really simple! It is always good (as I have said before) To see how some people work on certain things, just to get the workflow and technique down, really saves some time. Another amazing thing is that they are using *gasp* MS PAINT to do this… lolol.
Another quick isometric pixel art workflow video, again with MS Paint – showing how to build out a living room – pretty epic to see this done in MS Paint!
Really nice starting place to really dig in, learn the basics, and wrap your head around pixel art. All good design comes from a great foundation ya know! Good tutorial for beginners of art pixelation!
I can hear you all saying “LOL PAINT” haha. There are several graphics programs available that are suitable for drawing pixel art in, however Microsoft Paint comes pre installed with most Windows based computers and it’s easy to use, which is why it’s featured here
Really good workflow tutorial on creating animated pixel art with GIMP. Most people make pixel art so that it can move like an old school 8-bit video game – so here is how to achieve such effects!
Really good workflow for creating a pixel art icon.
Cool workflow & clever techniques for adding patterns and just making some crazy designs with your pixel art – go nuts!
This is a really nice overview and reminder of how shadows and lighting shade different objects. Definitely a must for anyone wanting to master pixel art!
This is a pretty in depth overview of the pixel art workflow – creating a really nice little doll scene!
I love this one – that steampunk conveyor belt is awesome!! Looks like something straight out of an anime, or an RPG – love it. In depth shading & attention to detail.
Great workflow tutorial for drawing a pixel art base and doll – really good anime feel to this, RPG away!
Love this Elven Archer – really does looks straight out of a video game, could be Link! lol. This is a really detailed overview of how to do the pixel art – also at the end they show you how to animate it! Winning!
I’ve always wondered how to draw hair – in Pixel art it looks a lot harder than normal! This tutorial shows you how to start out with a plain colored outline of hair, and add in the ‘lines’ with well placed shading colors – epic tutorial!
This is a really great tutorial if you are making some sort of game or RPG that is pixel based. This tutorial shows you how to create scenery and backgrounds (trees, rocks, water, etc.) in pixel art (using MS Paint).
Another good tutorial showing you how to configure and setup GIMP for working with and creating pixel art!
Need More Epic Pixel Art Resources!?
Here are some more awesome tutorials and some Inspirations for your pixel artworks!
Pixel Art Inspiration
Do you love pixel art? What is your favorite 8-bit or old school retro graphics memory? Leave it in the comments below!! I used to play NES, SNES & Genesis for houurrsssss!! My fav is probably zelda or mario related stuff