Pixel Art: it's like graphic lego and that's why we like it

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Pixel art used to be how designers made computer and video game graphics, building pictures up block by block like some kind of graphic lego. Tools have changed, but the old pixel-by-pixel style lives on in small format screens like some mobile phones and in the hearts and minds of anyone with an affection for nineties computer games.

Digital nostalgia is partly why pixel art has taken off as an art-form, but it’s not just retro – it’s also an interesting way of stylising images.

Why it’s pretty cool
Check out picture three in the gallery for Rubik Cubism – I find the mental powers needed to create a pixellated version of the Mona Lisa out of Rubik Cubes kind of mind-boggling. The fact that your eye can decode all these odd blocks of colour is pretty impressive as well.

How do you do it? Draw an outline with a line tool, choose a colour, zoom in and start placing pixels. Purists say you can only use the paint or pencil tools. We say, whatever works. ‘Dithering’ is the name for the chequerboard effect where colours blend into each other.

Click on the first picture to start the gallery. We show four forms of pixel art and two little pixel-inspired products for sale.



  • wheels slowly turn… yes. that’s the ducks from duckhunt for the NES in picture 6. thanks Alex, i do now.

  • I love pixel art. Before I started creating Lego mosaics for a living, I was a graphic designer. My favorite things to design were logos, but I would geek out by zooming in and building the elements one colored pixel at a time.

    I’m glad to see it’s making a comeback – especially as an art form. There’s a lot to see on my website, as I custom build pixel art for people – all out of Lego bricks. Check out http://www.brickworkz.com to see more.


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