Vexels are a style of design composed of multiple layered shapes. Photoshop is a popular program to use to compose these graphics, as a pixel output is part of the style, though almost any software with a good Pen Tool could be used to make vexels.
Get inspired by a wide spectrum of vexel artists. Learn how to create your own vexel graphics through beginner and intermediate tutorials on the subject. And don't miss the time-lapse vexel videos. Get to know the characteristics of this strong digital style.
Communion by Cristiano Siqueira
This is my favorite illustrator, so he tends to find his way into my writing. After reviewing other artists below, compare them to this artist's portfolio. His work has a strong combination of both realism and fantasy. He masterfully mixes multiple styles of design. One of the styles of design he works in is vexel. The artwork displayed here is called communion. In this style Cristiano surrounds each vexel shape with line work—distinctive.
Resist by Binjoo
This vexel illustration has some smooth transitions across the skin tones. The hair, while also vexel in style, has a slightly different look. The illustration has a remarkable level of stylized realism. There is more vexel artwork in Binjoo's portfolio. This artist has written some tutorials on the subject. We link to a couple of them in the tutorials sections of this article.
Charlize by Jussta
The vexel style in this illustration has a somewhat harsh feel. This is a choice available to the vexel artist. When you use larger layered shapes, fewer transitions, and irregularity in the shapes, the vexel style will appear stronger. It will stand out more and dominate the piece. There are many unique designs in this portfolio. Jussta uses this style of vexeling, though this artist also uses softer transitions as well.
Kate Beckinsale by David Nanchin
This vexel shows the shaped transitions with a medium strength. The vexeling of hair is done with flat shapes making up the highlights. There's a good mixture of different colors. David's vexel gallery is filled with celebrity portraits.
Orange Plectrum by John Norris
This vexel artwork is one of a series the artist has on the Red Hot Chille Peppers. This main figure in the illustration uses large, irregular vexel shapes. The technique employed gives it a painterly style, which contrasts the guitar that has a technical feel. Most of the artist's portfolio is made up of vexeled cars though.
Candy by Cappuccino-Girl
This is a bright image that looks great. The vexeling shows in many parts of this image, most notably on the skin. Though, notice how the vexel design takes on a different patterning across the different cloth textures adorning the model in the illustration. There is a variety of colorful portraiture in the artist's gallery.
Something Red Walkthrough
This vexel tutorial has great results. The tut doesn't cover every detail of creating the design, though. It starts with complete line work. Then it gives an overview of the process of coloring it in a vexel style.
Vector/Vexel Art in Photoshop
Linda from vexels.net created this tutorial. This is a well-known tutorial in the vexel illustration field. It covers the detailed process of converting a photo to a vexel illustration. It shows each main step of creating this graphic with the Pen Tool.
This tutorial covers one of the common techniques employed in creating vexel graphics. It applies Posterize to a photo. This tut gives a guide that can be followed for creating basic vexel shapes. It then shows the process of using the Pen Tool to create a small portion of this image. It's not an impressive result, but a good beginner step in this process.
Vexel Eye Walkthrough-Tutorial
This basic vexel tutorial shows how to create an eye in this style. It shows how to compose the vexel shapes one group at a time. It covers creating star bursts for the eyes as well.
Vexel Start Tutorial
This is another tutorial to help you get up and running with vexel graphics. This one covers using layer opacities, posterize, the Pen Tool, layer setup, and other basic vexel techniques.
Other Cool Stuff
This is the leading vexel art community. They have forumns artists can post their work to and many more community features. There is a good explanation of What a Vexel Is on the site. Unfortunately, the site is shutting down. Hopefully, an equally good site will take its place. Before it closes its doors, check out some great vexel artwork posted there.
Vexel Art Flickr Group
If you're looking for a place to post your new vexel creations or to view a collection of vexel artwork then check out this Flickr group. It's not a huge collection, but still worth checking out.
How to Vexel
This tutorial explains some basics about vexeling. It gives practical advice on how to succeed with this art form. If you're new to creating vexel designs, then review this article.
This time-lapse video shows the complex process of designing a vexel-style illustration of lips. Numerous flat shapes are created with the Pen Tool. The process shown is that of building up layer upon layer until a final design is reached.
Vexeling in Photoshop
This time-lapse video shows the process of creating a moody vexel illustration. It uses a reference photograph and significantly changes the colors in the process, though it emulates the lighting and tones in the photo. The work has a good final result but is simple enough that beginners could follow and likely emulate.