Introduction to Pixel Art for Games

Ever wanted to create awesome 2D pixel art for your mobile games? This tutorial walks you through the process of building simple yet powerful pixel art characters. Includes best practices, insider tips, and step-by-step instructions to create a simple but powerful retro character for your game. By .

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Where to Go From Here?

I hope you all enjoyed this tutorial and learned a bit more about pixel art!

Before you go, here are some final tips:

Character showing each step to completion

  • Always remember to avoid using anti-alias, gradients or too many colors for your assets. This is for your own good, unless you really know what you’re doing.
  • If you REALLY want to emulate a retro style, look for art from old consoles with limitations, such as 8-bit or 16-bit consoles.
  • There are PLENTY of styles in pixel art aside from the ‘retro’ ones. As hardware advanced, assets could use more or just different (cooler!) colors. This led to more variation and even new artists who didn’t know how to use older hardware making pixel art. Newer consoles and some mobile phones have games with these styles, so look into those!
  • Some styles don’t use dark outlines; others don’t even use light or shadow variation. It depends on the style! Knowing how to shade the art is good, which is why we went through it in this tutorial, but keep the style you are going for in mind when you make creative decisions.
  • If you feel confident, you can search more detailed tutorials for these terms: isometric, dithering, anti-alias (yes, there is a way to make it without automatic tools), celout and subpixel animation.

Pixel art seems easy to nail because it’s easy to get started. However, it’s actually very demanding and takes some time to get the hang of it and make good pixel art.

The best way to advance your skills is to practice, practice, practice — and get some feedback from fellow pixel artists!

I highly recommend posting your work in pixel art forums or social media groups to find other artists who will give you advice. That’s a great way to improve your technique! Start small, practice a lot and get feedback, and you can create awesome game-ready pixel art.

If you have any questions about pixel art, please join the forum discussion below. I hope to see some great pixel art from you guys in the future! :]

This is a guest post by Glauber Kotaki, an experienced 2D game artist available for hire.