What is Pixel Art?

by Annie Saxena on Feb 28, 2023

What is Pixel Art?

Pixel art is a type of digital artwork created with graphics software in which images are constructed solely out of pixels. It is frequently linked to the low-resolution graphics from computers and arcade video game consoles from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, as well as other constrained systems like LED displays and graphing calculators, which have a finite amount of pixels and colours. Even though the technology constraints have now been overcome, pixel painters and gaming firms continue to use the art form today.

In order to create a certain aesthetic or simply to reduce the perceived noise, the majority of works of pixel art are also constrained in terms of file size and the amount of colours employed in their colour palette due to software restrictions. Several video games are created utilising only two colours, which is common in older styles of pixel art (1-bit colour depth). Due to these artificial restrictions, pixel art bears striking resemblances to many other conventionally constrained art forms, such as mosaics and cross-stitch.

What is Pixel Art?

Pixel art is a type of digital art that use a particular method to produce visuals made up of individual pixels. Each pixel—a tiny, square-shaped unit of color—is put together in a grid to create an image. To give the image a particular, retro vibe, the pixels are normally quite small and a small colour palette is typically used in its creation.

While pixel art has been around for a while, it gained popularity in video games in the 1980s and 1990s because of the stringent pixel limitations imposed by the early computers and game consoles' poor graphical capabilities. Pixel art is still widely used by artists today to produce everything from digital graphics and animations to video.

Since each pixel must be meticulously positioned to achieve the intended image, creating pixel art can take a lot of time. Pixel art is created by artists using a variety of digital tools and software, including spreadsheet programmes, graphic design software, and even specialised pixel art programmes. An elaborate, highly detailed image that captures the charm and simplicity of vintage designs can be the ultimate result.

How do I Create Pixel Art?

There are many tools and methods you may use to make your own pixel art, and it can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. To get you started, follow these steps:

Choose a canvas: Choose the canvas' size before beginning. For novices, a smaller canvas is frequently preferable because it makes it easier to concentrate on the details without getting overwhelmed.

Decide on a colour scheme: Choose a small palette of colours to work with. This will assist you in giving your pixel art a unified and consistent appearance. A colour picker tool can be used to choose colours from a reference image or to start from scratch and build your own palette.

Draw out your design: Do a quick sketch of your design using a pencil or other drawing instrument. By doing so, you may verify that your image is proportionately balanced and that the arrangement of the pixels is planned out.

Start pixelating: Start dotting each pixel in your design. To ensure that every pixel is in its proper place, use a zoom tool to obtain a closer look at your work. Use your selected colour scheme and pay attention to the design's overall composition.

Create depth and complexity in your pixel art by adding shading and highlights using darker and lighter hues of the colours you've chosen. Although this approach can be time-consuming, it can significantly impact the outcome.

Improve your work: After you've finished creating your pixel art, spend some time to go over and improve it. Make sure your design seems balanced and coherent by adjusting any off-center pixels.

Save your pixel art into a high-resolution image file, then think about posting it online or in a digital art forum.

Aseprite, GraphicsGale, and Pyxel Edit are just a few of the software programmes that can be used to create pixel art and offer a number of features and functionalities to make the process simpler and more effective.

What is Needed for Pixel Art?

What you'll need to make pixel art is:

a laptop or tablet Since pixel art is a type of digital art, you will need a device that lets you make and edit digital images. This might be a tablet, smartphone, desktop or laptop computer, or any combination of these.

Software for altering photos: You will require an image editing tool that enables you to work with pixels and produce images with a constrained colour palette. Programs like Aseprite, Pro Motion NG, and Pyxel Edit are just a few examples of those available that are specifically made for pixel graphics. To edit images more broadly, you can also utilise programmes like GIMP or Adobe Photoshop.

While you can make pixel art using a mouse or touchpad, many artists find that working with a graphics tablet or pen is quicker and more accurate. Drawing directly on the screen is possible with graphics tablets, which also offer greater control and accuracy than a mouse.

A colour scheme: The colour scheme used in pixel art is often small, with just a few hundred colours. Choose one of the many pre-made colour schemes that are offered online or make your own.

Patience and attention to detail: As you'll be dealing with individual pixels and need to carefully examine each colour and placement choice, pixel art calls for a lot of patience and attention to detail. Making pixel art that is both aesthetically pleasing and emotionally compelling can take a lot of work.

Why is Pixel Art so Hard?

For a few reasons, creating pixel art might be difficult:

Restricted pixel space: Because there are only so many pixels in pixel art, each one must be carefully placed in order to produce the intended image. For beginners who are not accustomed to working in such a small area, this can be challenging.

Working with a small colour pallet presents another difficulty in pixel graphics. To produce a unified and aesthetically pleasing image, artists must carefully select the colours to use and know how to apply them.

Accuracy and attention to detail are essential to successful pixel art. To get the intended appearance, each pixel must be positioned precisely, and mistakes can be challenging to correct once they have been produced.

Time-consuming: As each pixel must be placed separately, creating pixel art may be a time-consuming procedure. Complex or large-scale image creation may be challenging as a result.

Despite these difficulties, pixel art is nevertheless a rewarding and pleasurable genre of digital art for many artists. It is feasible to produce beautiful pixel art that captures the allure and simplicity of vintage graphics with practise and care.

Who can Learn Pixel Art?

Everyone can master pixel art with time, effort, and practise. Pixel art is a distinctive art form that anyone can learn, independent of their artistic background or expertise, even though some artistic talents can be useful.

Those who appreciate old-school video games and other digital media with pixelated images may find pixel art particularly appealing. Yet even if you don't have any experience with video games or digital art, you may learn the fundamentals of pixel art and produce your own original works by studying them.

Online courses, movies, and communities where you can connect with other pixel painters and gain comments on your work are just a few of the many tools available for learning pixel art. Anyone can produce beautiful pixel art with a little practise and a willingness to learn!

How do I can Convert Image to Pixel Art?

A picture can be made into pixel art in a variety of ways. Here are a few techniques you can employ:

Manual conversion: Doing pixel art by hand, pixel by pixel, is the most typical method. To manually color-correct each pixel in the image, you can zoom in on it using an image editing programme like Photoshop or GIMP.

Software for pixel art: You can create pixel art by using one of the many software tools that are available. Popular choices include Pyxel Edit, GraphicsGale, and Aseprite. To make creating pixel art easier, these tools frequently offer features like automated colour reduction and grid overlays.

Online converters: There are numerous online converters that can assist you in turning an image into pixel art. One well-liked choice is Pixel Art Creator, which lets you submit an image and automatically transform it to pixel art.

The process of converting an image to pixel art can be time-consuming and need a lot of attention to detail, so it's vital to keep that in mind no matter which approach you select. The ideal approach is frequently to begin with a simpler image and progress gradually to more intricate ones.

What are the Subjects of Pixel Art?

Many subjects, including the following, can be represented in pixel art:

Characters and environments from video games: Pixel art is frequently based on well-known video game characters and settings. Pixel art is most likely most closely connected with old video games.

Pixel art may be utilised to produce beautiful depictions of fantasy and science fiction themes, complete with people, settings, and modern technology.

Figures and portraits: Some pixel painters are experts at making pixel art portraits or representations of people.

Nature and animals: Pixel art may be utilised to make attractive representations of fauna and flora.

Using basic geometric shapes and colours, pixel art can also be utilised to produce abstract designs and patterns that are both complicated and aesthetically pleasing.

In general, pixel art is a flexible medium that may be utilised to represent practically any subject. Pixel art's constrained colour palette and resolution can produce a distinctive appearance that is sometimes connected to nostalgia and vintage appeal.

Is Pixel Art Real Art?

The answer is that pixel art is legitimate art. It takes talent, originality, and attention to detail to produce visually pleasing and emotionally compelling pixel art, which is created using a limited palette of colours and a grid of pixels.

Video games in particular have a long history of using pixel art, which has grown into its own distinct art form with its own set of techniques, standards, and aesthetics. Several pixel artists produce detailed pieces that are both beautiful and impressive, and they are highly regarded by both art lovers and gamers.

While some individuals might consider pixel art to be less "serious" or "genuine" than other types of art, this is merely a matter of taste and personal preference. In terms of ability and originality, pixel art is no different from other forms of art, and those who appreciate it can find just as much impact and significance in it. Like with every form of art, the worth of pixel art ultimately depends on the viewer.

Is Pixel Art Easier than Digital Art?

Although both pixel art and digital art are types of digital art, they require various abilities and methods. Since that it greatly relies on the unique experience and ability level of the artist, it is difficult to tell if one is intrinsically simpler than the other.

Working with a grid of pixels and a limited colour palette is typical of pixel art, which necessitates the careful and purposeful arrangement of each individual pixel. For more intricate designs, in particular, this can be a difficult and time-consuming task.

On the other hand, digital art can include a wide variety of styles and methods, such as photo manipulation, vector illustrations, and realism in digital painting. Different abilities and levels of technical ability may be needed for different types of digital art, depending on the style and technique being employed.

In general, mastering pixel art and digital art takes expertise, perseverance, and practise. One style may be easier or more intuitive for some artists than another, but this can vary greatly depending on the particular artist and their own artistic preferences and ambitions.


Digital art known as "pixel art" is produced by utilising a graphics editing programme to create and manipulate images down to the pixel level. Its distinct visual aesthetic, in which individual pixels act as the image's building elements, is what distinguishes pixel art from other forms of art. The result is a visual style extremely reminiscent of mosaic art, cross-stitch, and other needlework techniques.

The term "pixel art" was first used in 1982 by Robert Flegal and Adele Goldberg of Xerox PARC, although the concept had been around for ten years prior, such as in the SuperPaint system developed by Richard Shoup back in 1972, also at Xerox PARC. Pixel art has been around since the first image editing software and the first 2D games with graphics came out.