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Pixel Art Tutorial - Basics for Beginners

I've been asked rather a lot recently how I make my pixel art, what program do I use, how do I make avatars..? I thought about making a quick little tutorial explaining the hows of my pixel art but then it occured to me that some people might need a little more than that. Some of you might not have the first clue of what pixel art is or how you go about making it but still want to give it a go. This tutorial is for you guys. If you've played around with pixel art before or have read other tutorials then you probably don't need this but if you've never seen anything beyond someone's icon on dA then please pull up a chair.

I also just want to say please don't be put off by its wordiness. I'm a very visual person, I learn better from images and diagrams than descriptions, but for some reason my tutorials seem to end up as a wall of text. I think it's somewhat justified in this case as I've tried to explain things rather then just saying 'this is how you do it, you don't need to know why'. Sometimes that extra information can be beneficial.

I always think of Delia Smith in situations like this, when she started her How To Cook programme and spent half an hour explaining how to boil an egg. People called it condescending and ludicrous but the fact of the matter is if you don't know how to turn on a cooker and heat water to boiling point then simply telling you to 'put an egg in a saucepan of water and boil it for five minutes' isn't going to help you at all. Sometimes you really need to explain everything. I love you, Delia ♥

I really do hope some of you find this useful. Remember though that this is just a guide based on what I know of pixel art and how I work with it. You'll naturally develop your own techniques over time and how you colour will reflect how you might colour digitally or paint traditionally - and all of that is perfectly okay. Wonderful, really, because uniqueness is great. And like I mention in the tutorial, there are loads of other things you can look into if you're interested, such as anti-aliasing, isometric pixel art, creating palettes... There's so many great ways to work with pixel art, and so many wonderful things to create. So good luck, guys, and remember to have fun.

Oh, and if you create your first piece of pixel art using this tutorial then I really would love to see. Feel free to link to it in the comments so I can take a look. :tighthug:


--> Pixel Art: Basics for Beginners
--> Pixel Art: Animation for Beginners


I'm posting this tutorial up in time for Gasara's Birthday Celebration Contests. Hopefully some of you will be able to join me in making March pixelicious and joyous!
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Kuroroka's avatar

Nice tutorial~

chagguk's avatar
Thank you sooo much! Due to your tutorial (the art is very pretty, also) I was able to do my first pixel art, that is my icon~
JayEagle's avatar
Pixel practise of Mecha by JayEagle  thank you! this is my first pixel!
RuiYoghurt's avatar
This helped me sooooo much, thank youu!!~…
sharkbait703's avatar
Thanks for the tutorial! I made my avatar using it!
Bodhi no background by sharkbait703
aquamarinesans's avatar
That's really good!
Br0kvn's avatar
tysm for this tutorial, its so helpful aH <3
ReMaCHeZ84's avatar
buen trabajo! muy útil para empezar tanto en pixel art como en gimp (y)
Windstrider2017's avatar
This was very helpful! It was thorough yet to the point. Being an impatient person, I loved being able to get started in a matter of minutes. I'm hooked now; pixeling is really fun. :D
Gasara's avatar
Ah, that's great. All the best with your pixeling! :la:
I understand that feeling of impatience too!
Immakitten's avatar
Helped me so much
OrangeRubber's avatar
Where can i donloud this prog?
Angelinia's avatar
Here: Just click the orange button that says "Download Gimp 2.8.16 directly" and it will start downloading.:D (Big Grin) I hope this helps. I downloaded GIMP today, and its a bit confusing because of the many tools and options, but there are many tutorials, plus GIMP is free.:excited: 
Immakitten's avatar
I just got it! Thanks!
Angelinia's avatar
You are very welcome! :iconheartrollplz:
NanaJane's avatar
But it is not a prog to make animation...
Angelinia's avatar
I don't know, but many people use it to make pixel icons.
NanaJane's avatar
Sorr. I got it!
Angelinia's avatar
Its okay! GIMP is very confusing for meSweating a little...  I guess it will take a few days to learn how to animate.
RePixelate's avatar
you can use it to animate too ^-^ just a little more complicated…
Angelinia's avatar
That is okay :D I think I will learn it with practice.
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OrangeRubber's avatar
Thank you mis = )
jetmcleod's avatar
Thanks for making this tutorial!  Here's my first pixel art:…
Gasara's avatar
Ah, that's fantastic! :love:
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