Want a free year on Tuts+ (worth $180)? Start an InMotion Hosting plan for $3.49/mo.
Pixel by painstakingly crafted pixel, artists create masterpieces styled as early video game art. Let's take a look at some of the top pixel art studios and artists that will leave your mouth dripping with wet little squares. Then we'll review a wide range of beginner to comprehensive pixel art tutorials. And don't miss all the articles, resources, and collection of other cool stuff to be found in this solid collection of pure pixel love.
EbOY is Steffen Sauerteig, Svend Smital and Kai Vermehr. One of the things they do is create with re-usable pixel objects. They then use them to build complex and extensible artwork. Their style of work is often filled to the brim with exciting objects and characters. The scenes they create are saturated with activity. Visit the EbOY site or view a sample of their pixel work below.
Denise Wilton of Styledeficit
This artist has a wide range of design and illustration experience. She's made some great pixel based illustrations. The one linked to below was for Time inc. You can visit her various projects here. One of which is a great online flash site where you can create pixel based cities with premade graphics, it's easy to use and fun, check out City Creator.
Gary J Lucken - Army of Trolls
Army of Trolls is the portfolio of London born, Switzerland based videogame obsessed artist Gary J Lucken. He's influenced by Japanese toys, pop culture, and old 2D videogame graphics. Follow a link to his portfolio below.
Pixel Temple Studio
Visit the Pixel Temple site. The team is composed of Giovani Faganello and Michelle Lang, and are some of the early practitioners of Pixel Art in Brazil. One of their early projects was Electronicland, which features some impressive Pixel Art style city street corner illustrations. Below is a link to one of their projects done for Nike and meant to star Lebron James.
Photoshop Skills: Pixel Art
This tutorial outlines the key elements to create Pixel based illustrations. The tutorial walks you through each step in creating: a building, car, signage, and a cheeky lagoon style monster. You'll learn rigid design techniques, as well as organic shape creating, and adding a cartoonish style to your Pixel Art.
Building a Pixel Art World
This is a tutorial that you'll want to at least skim if you're a beginner in this style. Then once you've gotten better at Pixel Art reread it, as their is a wealth of information here. There are a handful of mini tutorials that show you how to build Pixel Art using professional techniques. Their is also advice given on numerous topics, such as: using grids, textures, reusing objects, adding reflection and shadows, preparing the art for print, and much more.
Isometric Pixel Art, Complete Guide
This is a comprehensive multi-part beginner tutorial on creating Isometric Pixel art. It's a good place to get started, even though it using MS Paint as the program of choice. Everything covered here can just as easily be done in good ol' Photoshop.
Isometric Building Tutorial
This is another good beginners tutorial on Pixel Art. There are some good tips here like having an actual pixel view window open in Photoshop and then the working window where you will be zooming in to place pixels as well. The tutorial covers the process of creating an isometric building.
Dithering Tutorial - Basics
This tutorial is a great introduction to the topic of dithering, which is a patterning effect that occurs with low resolution graphics do to limited colors. Now this is often a problem when creating gif images for the web based on photos, but in Pixel Art dithering can be used to stylize areas, for example make shadows across objects. This is one of many good tutorials on creating Pixel Art on the Deviant Art site. See the paragraph below for more.
Other Pixel Art Tutorials on Deviantart
Deviantart has some great Pixel Art tutorials, especially for those new to the topic. The search query I used there is "pixel art" photoshop tutorial, which turns up numerous tutorials worth reviewing on the site, here are a few: a cute tutorial on Pixel Art Animation, a really basic tutorial on Pixel Art Character Creation, and a basic Pixel Shading Tutorial that shows you how to place shadows on a sphere. There are also more great tuts if you look deeper into the site.
Articles and Resources
Pixels Go Mad - The Celebration Of Pixel Art
In a typical Smashing style, this article boosts over 50 pixel based illustrations from numerous illustrators and designers. There are examples of pixel art style being carried onto physical objects. You'll also find some additional resources on pixel art. The image shown here is from Eboy of Einstein in the Swiss patent office, you can also view the awesome full Einstein animation here.
This is a great Pixel Art dedicated community to join. The forum is active and they run numerous challenge based contests there. Members have multiple ways to communicate with each other and each member can place their pixel art images in a gallery and show off their work. They also interview Pixel Artists and more.
The Way of the Pixel Artist
This guide covers some of the important topics for creating Pixel Art. You'll learn how to create clean lines, smooth lines, and perfect circles. You'll also learn about dithering, shading, and some additional tips as well.
This is an interesting way to display Pixel Art. Each section of the site is a hallway designed in a pixelated style. You can then click on rooms and paintings to view artwork. Of course, there is a pixel art section to look at that type of artwork as well. The Eros Room on Floor Two has some Pixel Art characters and scenes for example.
Pixel Lovers Flickr Pool
The Pixel Lovers Flickr Pool has all sorts of pixel based love. Much of what's showcased is pixels applied to products and pixels as applied in the wild. The
Pixel Art & Sprites Pool is similar and worth checking out as well.
Other Cool Stuff
Lego Cycle© Pixel Animation
If you do a search for Pixel Art on YouTube you'll find over 1,000 videos on the subject. This one is on a pixel based animation done up lego style. It's all pixel created lego blocks being used to form structures and then being torn down and rebuilt into other characters and scenes. It moves at an energetic pace and demonstrates the creative building block process.
This is a project where participant each stake out a plot of land in an online pixel illustration. Here is a detailed plot created by one member that shows the pixel dam project space members can utilize. PixelDam is named after cities like Amsterdam. You can stake out a claim in PixelDam or even on PixelMoon.
Habbo is a hangout for teens online. It's a virtual world created in pixel art style. Think pixelated Second Life. Users can style their characters, create living spaces, interact with friends, party, hang-out, and play games.
Kirupa is a popular Flash forum. KirupaVille is part of the sites lab section of additional Flash based experiments. You can get more information here about the KirupaVille project or view the the town below.
Kaliber 10000 - K10K
This site is a great resource for design news and inspiration. They have a large collection of free pixel based patterns. The site has a pixel based design with little pixel characters in the footer. And of course the site is focused on delivering numerous experimental art issues on a regular basis.