Pixel art is a type of digital art where artists specify the location of individual pixels, which are built up to create intricate scenes, game backgrounds, characters, and 3D effects – all with a limited colour pallet. Think about those 8-bit graphics first seen with the release of gaming consoles in the early '80s and you'll know what we mean.
Developing this artwork doesn't require expensive photo editing software and a load of other fancy equipment, just a lot of time. Here are 35 top examples of pixel art from some seriously talented, not to mention patient, artists...
01. Ivan Dixon
Following the sad news of David Bowie's passing on January 10th, illustrator and gif-extraordinaire Ivan Dixon paid tribute in the only way he knew how. Featuring a range of Bowie's iconic styles, the homage is a wonderful pixel art look at why he was so influential.
02. Gustavo Viselner
It might have been released over a month ago but Star Wars fever is still rife among fans. Graphic designers and illustrators galore have been inspired by the new story, with some harking back to the old favourites – like this pixel art tribute by Gustavo Viselner. The artist has also created pixel art for Back to the Future, Aliens, Lord of the Rings and more.
03. Ben Porter
Ben Porter loves pixel art so much that last year, he embarked on a 365 day challenge, producing pixel art every day for a year. He also launched Pixel Dailies, a twitter account which shares daily pixel art inspiration and new creations by the man himself.
04. Marty Guerero
A game developer and pixel artist, Marty Guerero produces some really incredible pieces. This pixel art is a snapshot into Guerero's latest game design, with the artist also produces homages to Mario and a range of Studio Ghibli characters.
"Sometimes, I get really hyped about something, and I need to express it. Usually this involves just talking about it or reading more into it. Sometimes I do fanart! I was really hyped for the Witcher 3 earlier this year, and was listening to a lot of synthwave. That inspired this artwork," explains Ohio artist William Alexander.
06. Tom Schreiter
We can't help but love this pixel art interpretation of the 80's American musical class The Blues Brothers by Tom Schreiter. Pixelling since 1995, and doing so on a daily basis ever since, he's got a ton of brilliant pixel artwork under his belt – but this definitely one of our favourites.
07. Aled Lewis
Hot Fuzz meets Japanese arcade game Final Fight in this epic pixel artwork by designer and illustrator Aled Lewis. This piece forms part of an awe-inspiring portfolio, most of which has been influenced and inspired by his main passions in life; games, comics, film and television.
You don't often see pixel art go vintage, which is one of the main reasons we like this 'Don't forget to fix your Polariods' piece so much. Created by the artist known as Pixellent, this piece has been executed beautifully, the design featuring gorgeous, detailed pixel art, framed and styled to look like an old Polariod shot.
We've seen many artistic tributes to Darth Vader over the years here on CB, but we particularly like this cool pixel art version by illustrator and pixel artist José Eduardo Contreras Moral. Despite being stripped back to basics, Moral's design of the dark lord still looks incredibly menacing.
This brilliant 'Make pixel, not war' piece was developed by the artist known as Nasc. A developer specializing in Flash development, Nasc creates pixel art in his spare time. A minimal, yet expressive and powerful piece, this artwork. Expressive and powerful. This artwork is reminiscent of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Wanella produces these wonderful pixel based visual landscapes with fantasy possibilities. Her love for pixels is evident and original. Adding movement to her work with these vast examples of moving pixel worlds is a great example of how a combination of colour, squares and movement can be combined to great an original dynamic world.
12. Pixel Pour
Visual artist Kelly Goeller based in Portland took the concept of the pixel and worked around it a real life concept. This original installation is a great alternative to how the digital world can work in a different context. Her water flowing pixels was installed around the city offering citizens a playful visual and imaginary context brining both worlds together.
13. Fine Pixel Art
John O'Hearn is another visual artist that works with the tiny elements to create impressive and live size scale works exploiting the potential of colour, elements and illusion. His examples of portraits is a great example of how he achieves this and exploits the potential of pixel art and design.
14. Metin Seven
The work of Metin Seven combines design and pixel art with 3D elements creating the final artwork into a much more dynamic and detailed result. Along with the Steve Jobs re-interpretation, he has produced a series of characters based on square element combined.
Although print and digital designs are the most common when looking at pixel art and pixel artisits or designers. Here is an original alternative to the use of pixels when combined with fashion, textile design and furniture. The beautiful use of colour and pattern with squares inspires great creative possibilities and exploring what is outside comfort zone.
Next page: 10 more stunning pieces of pixel art