Get a free year on Tuts+ this month when you purchase a Siteground hosting plan from $3.95/mo
Vexel is a form of pixel-based raster art that imitates the appearance of what we know as vector graphics; smooth, sharp-edged illustrations that can be scaled up and down. Vexel art, however, is created using pixel-based shapes that are layered upon each other to create stepped but gradual color transitions. Gradients are sometimes used to give the artwork a more detailed and smooth look, but at the end of the day, no matter what technique has been used, the final outcome is a rasterized image that can't be scaled. This technique is typically used by those who are more comfortable with programs like Photoshop, rather than alternative vector-based apps.
Due to the amount of detail that can be put into an image using the vexel technique, it is a great process to use if you want to replicate images of both humans and animals, as well as landscapes. It can also be used to create illustrations like those we see being produced in vector-based applications like Illustrator. This post showcases 45 wonderful examples of vexel artwork for your inspiration. What's your favorite?
A great vector-style illustration that demonstrates that no matter how colorful and happy the world is, there will always be someone bigger than you willing to eat you up!
A very impressive and detailed vexel piece by Amanda Schubert, just imagine how many layers were in this PSD file!
An incredibly cute vexel print piece of two squirrels in love. The main shapes of the design were produced in illustrator, and once rasterized were colored in Photoshop, making it fit into the vexel category.
This piece falls under the subcategory 'Lineart Vexel', using pixel-based applications to produce complicated lines to form an image.
Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Thriller
A great vexel piece of the great thriller/action movie starring Angelina Jolie, 'Wanted'.
A beautiful vexel piece of a musician called Magdalene Veen. Be sure to click through to view the full size image so you can see the detail in the transition of the different colors.
A robotic sci-fi style vexel image. When viewed at full size, this image demonstrates the differences between vector and vexel images well, as you can see the pixels on diagonal lines.
A warm fiery color palette combined with intricate details make this piece stunning to look at. It was mainly produced in Illustrator, and was finished off using Photoshop to drop it into the vexel category.
A pretty immense, colorful abstract vexel piece by a psychedelic artist known as SaltyShadow.
Fear La uses a lovely varied color scheme and swirly patterns in the ocean to grab the viewers attention. This great piece of vexel art is very powerful and can be interpreted and enjoyed in many different ways!
Yet another colorful and gorgeous piece, with an abstract watercolor look to it. This is enough to make anyone wish for summer!
The combination of animals and landscape/scenery in vexel art is quite rare. This piece however, tackles the common problems spectacularly well and gives us, the viewers, something great to look at.
This vexel piece makes use of a monochromatic color palette to create a real gloomy and scary mood. The detail of the sky/water and the simplicity of the building creates an interesting combination and is pulled off very well.
A hilarious washed-out vexel that makes use of texture to add a completely different feel to the design.
An amazing portrait that was completed to improve the artists hair vexeling skills. The pink tones and hair work is just incredible, and it's hard to imagine how many hours this took!
A much simpler piece of vexel art compared to most others in this showcase, but still very impressive nonetheless!
Yet another beautiful vexel portrait piece, proving that the color combination of greyscale/b&w and red go tremendously well together.
This image has so much depth and quality that without close inspection it appears to be a photograph, especially if you're only glancing!
The popular rockstar Hayley Williams in vexel format, another piece that looks just like a photograph, although upon close inspection in full size you'll notice that it is entirely made up from hundreds of shapes.
This lovely colorful geisha piece of vexel artwork is enough to blow everyone away with the excellent details and shading.
Another portrait piece that could easily be mistaken for a glamour photograph.
This experimental and very colorful piece is one of the most detailed pieces in this showcase. When viewed at full size (over 1600 pixels wide) you'll really appreciate the detail, especially the eyes and eyelashes.