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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Journal Project
Design

Join the Tuts+ Community Journal Project: Pixel Art Character!

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Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

At some point in our lives, every artist keeps a sketchbook. Whether you're more of a doodler or have a knack for fabulous detail, journals are a great resource to get out all your creative energy!

We want you to join us in having fun with this project, using everyday things you already have around the house. I and some other great instructors will help steer the way by picking exciting challenges for you to tackle, but we do want you to feel free in letting your imagination run wild! 

And the journal you'd like to use is strictly up to you! So pick an old time favorite, or if you're more adventurous, learn how to make your own from scratch.

The Project Challenge: A Pixel Art Inspired Character

For our fourth project of this series (see the first, second, and third) we want you to create a pixel art inspired character drawing. Not sure how to do this? Don't worry, scroll on down for a mini tutorial on this technique after catching up with the guidelines.

When you're finished with this project, come back to this post to upload your work and share it with us. You'll automatically get featured in our Community Showcase so don't be shy! We're dying to see your results! 

How to Enter This Community Project

  1. Upload a clear shot of your journal art to the comments below. Remember to Save for Web with a fixed width of 600 pixels.
  2. Include your name and a brief bio along with your work.

Guidelines

  • Upload a clear shot of your journal art to the comments section.
  • For the best results: Try to shoot your pictures using ample lighting. Natural/outdoor lighting works best! 
  • Traditional media only. Because we all have to get dirty from time to time!
  • When you publish your artwork on this article, you agree that the graphic can be included in one or more articles on Tuts+ and perhaps shared with other readers on the Tuts+ network via social media. 
  • Submit and have fun!

Pixel Art Character Tutorial

Here's my process for creating a pixel art character. Read through it to get inspired, and then post your results in the comments!

Tools of the Trade

My trusted notebook pencils and eraser Never leave home without them

The tools you need for this project are some pencils and your notebook. Nothing too crazy required. Here is what I'm using:

Let's do this!

1. Start by Sketching a Grid

You can work with any sized grid you want. The smaller the resolution (amount of squares) the simpler the drawing. I will be working with a grid sized at 24 units wide by 32 units tall. You will erase this grid later so sketch it light.

Draw a grid like this one that is 24 x 32

2. Sketch Your Character Over the Grid

By doing a quick sketch of your character over the grid, you can very quickly get an idea of which blocks will be colored in. You can begin to erase the underlying grid as you're sketching.

Capes make every sketched character happier

3. Outline Your Sketch With Squares, aka Pixels

Next we want to turn the smooth sketch into a blocky, pixelated character. To do this we simply trace over the grid lines nearest the sketch outlines, basically drawing a bunch of squares.

Close up of pixels drawn over character sketch

4. Fill in the "Pixels" With Your Choice of Colors

The final step is adding colors. Color in the appropriate blocks and erase your extra pencil lines. 

Close up of pixel art characters face D

Finish it all off by adding a single-pixel black border around the drawing to make it pop off the background. Here is my final drawing next to the original sketch so you can see the difference (you will be drawing over and replacing your sketch).

Character pencil sketch and colored pencil final drawing
Sketchbook with a character sketch and final pixel art inspired illustration

That's It! Now Show Us Yours!

What type of characters are locked away in your head? What about some amazing kawaii food? Share your creations in the comment section below!

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