IJ: What is Pixel Art? (Pixel Art vs Oekaki Pixel)

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ThePixelPalace's avatar
This Information Journal is a brief, short address to the subject stated in the title. Please make sure you make full use of the helpful journals and tutorials mentioned within the journal!

You would think that most people who delve into pixel groups like this one would have a clear cut idea of what pixel art is, but the truth is actually the opposite: many people only have a muddy idea of what real pixel art is.
Well, let's start from the top, shall we? One bullet we can easily make is that pixel art includes the use of pixels.

:bulletgreen: The use of pixels

Okay, but what counts as a pixel and what does not? First of all, the main tool used to create pixel art is the pencil tool. Don't even think about touching that brush tool :icondivaplz:
Other tools that can be used are the eraser and, arguably, the fill/bucket tool. That's about it. If you are creating real pixel art, you cannot use tools like the paintbrush, gradient, blur tool, smudge tool, etc. Pixel art entails the placement of individual pixels. This does not mean, however, that every single pixel have to be delicately placed.
The Pixel Joint has a wonderful tutorial on what the definition of pixel art is, and what can be a pixel, and what is not here: www.pixeljoint.com/forum/forum…
Also, check out this helpful journal by :iconprojecteducate: that hits on various pixel art misconceptions and issues:

The Pixel Art CommunityWelcome to Pixel Art’s PE week! Firstly, I’d like to begin by discussing where we are in the Pixel Art community, where we came from and where we might head in the future.

Why discuss the definition of Pixel Art?
Why is it so important to discuss the definition of Pixel Art? It becomes important not only when it comes time to update the category’s description for the sake of organisation and clarity, but also when confusion and misconceptions become increasingly common among those in the community itself. As Pixel Art grew from being primarily used for old computer and gaming systems, that could not handle much data and therefore not too many colours per palette, into something used with more contemporary technologies like Photoshop and MSPaint, Pixel Art itself was bound to reflect those changes. This change has become apparent in new styles, new techniques and questions around the need for the “old rules” of past

So now we have another bullet:

:bulletgreen: The use of pixels
:bulletgreen: The use of only the pencil, eraser, and fill tools

But is there more to this? Of course! Here is a major problem with pixel art classification:

Tell me, are both of these genuine pixel art?

Pixel Art: Arikalen wants FISH by Katolin Petit Dragon by AbyssWolf

Well? The answer is no. But how? you ask, They were both drawn with the pencil tool!
Here is a definition of pixel art:

Pixel art is a type of digital art that uses pixels to make up the work. With pixel art, the artist has to place each pixel properly to create a certain effect. One dot out of place could make the piece look strange. Properly done, the artist can create backgrounds, characters, and three dimensional (3-D) effects with a limited color pallet. In pixel art, the artist places each dot in just the right place to create his desired effect. Most times, this means the artist will have to work placing one pixel at a time.

So, now what? Well, take a second look at the two deviations. The one on the rights has distinct lines around the edges, and carefully placed darker pixels for shading and lighting. You can tell that the pixels were, indeed, placed individualistically. Now, the one on the left does not have clean lines. Actually, it looks like it was "painted" with the pencil tool. This is what we call an Oekaki Pixel.
An oekaki pixel is an image that was made by painting with the pencil tool, to put it bluntly. The pixels are not placed as carefully or one by one as they are with pixel art.

:bulletred: Disclaimer: Just because there is a difference between an oekaki pixel and pixel art does not make one inferior to another. There is just a difference, that is all.

As you can imagine, many people get the two mixed up, and end up putting oekaki pixels in the pixel art category.
Oekaki pixels have a category of their own, I believe!
Take a look at this journal for more info about oekaki vs. pixel art:

Pixel Art and Oekaki MisconceptionsDespite the fact that Oekaki has it's own sections/galleries throughout deviantART, we are finding that more and more people continue to incorrectly place their Oekaki artwork into Pixel Art, which generally results in hours of gallery clean-up.
Despite their similarities, these two styles of art are really quite distinct from each other and that is why deviantART has separated the two.
Oekaki, being the Japanese word for 'doodle', is more of a technical style than a genre. It's often created with specific oekaki software, such as oekakiBBS, paintchat and opencanvas, although it can be created using anything; msPaint and Photoshop are used just as often.
Pixel art and oekaki have the tendancy to be often similar, but they both have their distinct characteristics:
    * Pixel Art is a form of digital art, in which images are edited on the pixel level. This does not necessarily mean that every single pixel must be placed by hand, but instead only for the most p

And do not fret if you have been submitting oekaki pixels to this group, because we accept those was well as pixel art :D

So some of you may have a better understanding about pixel art and oekaki pixels, but some of you may be more confused than ever. Don't freak out, that is normal. Pixel art is a complicated subject to grasp, and most of us, if not everyone, are still learning, including me!

You are urged to check out the :iconprojecteducate: Pixel Art Week Journal for loads of tutorials and pixel information!

Project Educate: Pixel ArtThis week is to celebrate and learn more about the art of pixels.  Pixel art is defined by deviantART as: "Pixel art drawing, using only the pencil tool, hand laying individual pixels one at a time, under high magnification." (But more on that later =)ClefairyKid and I have put together a week of articles and events that we hope will be informative, interesting and fun.  Here is the schedule*:
The Pixel Art Community by ClefairyKid http://fav.me/d5bvdh1
Pixel art tutorials by Lyricanna http://fav.me/d5bspd5
Interview with Cyangmou by ClefairyKid
Furcadia Ports and Stamps - Categorization, where and why - by Lyricanna
Interview with Ice-Pandora by ClefairyKid
A Week in Pixel - Weekly Feature - by Lyricanna
Interview with ValaSedai by ClefairyKid
Pixel Art Critique in Communityrelations chat 3PM EST, 12PM PST
Digital Dolls and Pixel Art – Similarities and differences - by :de

We have the basics down right now, and there will be more info journals in the future. If you would like to contribute something particular about pixel art in an upcoming Information Journal, just send the group a note!
If you have any thoughts or concerns related to the subject of this journal, you can post a comment below.

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dorothyblueeyes's avatar
would someone PLEASE list some oekaki sites which are still open,'(many are getting their domains sold() that are not disabled by this current"java update" disaster? in English, that is. ??PLEASE??  i updated my java, and now the miserable thing blocks me from applets of many oekaki sites, altho i list each site in "exceptions" inside. I am not interested in pixels at the moment(until i start doing some photography). I can't find any oekaki sites anymore, and i'f like to download the Japanese DRAWING-PAINT SOFTWARE, cause the javas now unsupported by Oracle!!--like the shi-painter-pro and the chibi-paint. Heck, I could maybe use them just on my computer if oekakis get extinct. this Japanese software is really GOOD. it's be a shame to lose it.  thanks!!!---dorothybluNuu Woohooooo! Singing Sherlock Holmes I love deviantART!