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Old November 23rd, 2010 (11:28 PM). Edited October 10th, 2011 by Logiedan.
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Pixel Art - Resources, Terminology and Tutorials

Table of Contents
→Terminology & Jargon


Hello! Welcome to the new Resources, Guides and Terminology thread where you can take a look at what pixel art is, the jargon of pixel art, tutorials and resources for your pixelling needs!


Sprite needs - A great resource for sprites with a variety of sprites from different consoles and many different games. - Another great resource specifically for Pokémon sprites. Currently they have every Pokémon sprite up to the HG/SS games. - This link is a Pokémon sprite resource but also a nifty tool for your fusion idea needs! - Another Pokémon sprite resource with a lot of sprites including the new Black and White Pokémon.


GraphicsGale - A custom made program designed for spriting and pixel art.

Terminology & Jargon

Table Of Contents
Terminology & Defining Pixel Art
Pixel Art Jargon
→Scratch/Custom Sprite
→Sprite Edit
→Isometric Pixel Art
→Pillow Shading
→Splicing and Recolouring

Terminology & Defining Pixel Art

Pixel art - 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 part, depending on what is considered pure pixel art. The use of things like the fill tool and brush tools are (arguably) valid tools for pixel art as they only speed up the process of creating pixel art. Use of filters such as anti-aliasing and such, however, are not considered valid. You can, however, manually simulate anti-aliasing.

A common misconception is that any drawing done with the pencil tool in a small drawing space can be considered pixel art. Pixel art is categorized by the method of drawing, not the results. Don't not confuse pixel art for oekaki drawings.

That was a paraphrased version, you can read more here:

Spriting - In this context, spriting refers to the creation or manipulation of existing sprites. A sprite by definition is a 2-dimensional, prerendered image integrated into a larger scene. Spriting can include combining pieces of multiple existing sprites to create a single sprite, recoloring an existing sprite, creating a new sprite from scratch, and so on.
Credit to Allstories

Pixel Art Jargon

Pixel Art has a lot of words in its language that some people may not know about or understand.

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PNG and JPEG are basically two different types of ways to save picture files. PNG should always be the first save type to save pixel art, GIFs are a second and are commonly used for pixel art animations.
I'd like to talk a little about JPEG. JPEG is a save type you would always want to avoid saving a pixel art as, it creates unnecessary pixels and fragments into your pixel art which makes the piece unprofessional and is an eyesore.

PNG should (like I said above) always be the first save type for your pixel art. Unlike JPEG, it keeps the quality clean and is safe to save your pixel art as.

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Lineart is basically the outlining of the sprite. It's more of a starting point of any sprite and is usually started first for any piece. Of course eventually the lineart is coloured and selective outlining is used. Selective outlining is mostly in Pokémon sprites where they colour in the lineart with a brighter shade to show depth and positioning of the sprite.
Examples of Lineart

Credits to members of PJ and TSR

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Anti-Aliasing is when you put pixels at the edge with a similar hue,saturation and lightness/darkness to make the area look more smooth. This is usually done with lineart and shading. The Pokémon sprites mostly use this technique.
A look of Anti-Aliasing

Examples of Anti-Aliasing

Credits to Nintendo

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Basically what determines how much depth the piece has and what makes the sprite look more 3D than making it look 2D and flat.
Tutorial on Shading & A look on shading

Credits to members of PJ

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Saturation is the intensity of a colour. The more saturated it is, the more bright and vivid it is. Less saturation causes the colour to look more grey-ish and more dull.

A look at Saturation

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Basically the difference between the colours. High contrast means more difference and low contrast means less of a difference.

Example of Contrast

Credits to members of TSR

Scratch/Custom Sprite
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A custom sprite is made from 100% scratch, meaning you did not use anything as a base and it is a completely new sprite.

Example of a Scratch/Custom Sprite

Credit to Gors of TSR

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A great technique with a use of cross-hatching to create mid-tones and a way to use less colours.

A look at Dithering

Example of Dithering

Sprite Edit
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Commonly made in Pokémon sprites. A sprite edit is where you take a sprite as a base and make minor or heavy edits of it.

Examples of a Sprite Edit

Credits to members of TSR

Isometric Pixel Art
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A spriting style with a different perspective.

Spherical Ice's Isometric Tutorial

Examples of Isometric Pixel Art

Credits to members of PJ

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The lightsource shouldn't be hard to define. It's the source of light in your pixelart and where the light is coming from. A lightsource is needed to shade things properly.

Pillow Shading
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This technique of shading is a common mistake for beginners and first-time spriters. Pillow shading is when the darkest shade is on the sides of the sprite and it starts getting brighter as you start shading to the middle. It shows no depth and its recommended to not shade like this. It's very similar to banding. The first picture in the spoiler is pillow shading, the second picture is how you should be shading with a consistent lightsource.

A look at Pillow Shading

Splicing and Recolouring
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Splicing is where you fuse two existing sprites together. VERY common with Pokémon sprites where spriters take two existing Pokémon sprites and add parts/colour from another into another.
Recolouring is simple and not difficult to do. Recolouring is where you replace colours of sprites for different colours. Again, very common with Pokémon sprites.

Examples of Splicing

I made these.

Examples of Recolouring


This is a list of tutorials regarding pixel art only.

Chesu's Tutorial - Pokécommunity's very own large tutorial bank regarding pixel art from Chesu.
Lineart - A small tutorial about simple straight lines.
Anti-Aliasing - A nifty tutorial about how to do anti-aliasing and what should be avoided.
Cleaning Lineart - A short tutorial about cleaning up lineart and some curves.
Dither - A tutorial to show was dither looks like and how it can be done.
Colour Ramps - A great tutorial about palettes and colours.
Shading(1)/(2) - Small tutorials about shading.
Texture Shading - Different types of materials and how to shade them.
A lot of credit to PJ members

Pokemon Black and White Animation tutorial - as the title says. great tutorial by PC member Magicsaur

if you have any comments or a useful tutorial you want to be added, please feel free to VM or PM Logiedan
(old thread) old credits go out to Allstories, Kenji, Kike Scott, Chesu, Fox♠, Amachi, Signomi, ArmidilloHD, Sapphire_Dragon, Tendo, _DarkDragon_, Espio, RoteKatze, Spherical ice and Dark pegasus
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