Pixel Character Tutorial

This pixel assignment was quite possibly one of the funnest assignments I have done for this class. It was one of the first, too! While it was fun, though, it did require some odd little tricks to make it work. So, here’s a tutorial on how to make a 16×16 pixel image!

My own assignment didn’t turn out exactly as I would have liked it to, so I’m also using this tutorial as an opportunity to improve on what I had previously created!

For starters, I highly recommend using the program Paint.NET to work through this assignment. This program is free to download and very comprehensive for doing basic art and photo editing. Once you have the program, chose an idea — a character, vehicle, or anything that requires some sort of detail — and find some sort of reference image. I used this picture of Clint Eastwood from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for mine:


Now that we have everything we need, it’s time to begin! Start by opening Paint.NET.


Then, go up to “Image” and select “Resize”.


Make sure it’s set to “pixels/cm” and change the numbers to 16 x 16.


Now you’re ready to draw! Zoom in so you can see your pixel box better.


Make sure you keep your reference image on hand for when you begin to draw! Make an outline with a few solid colors first, so you can make sure you’re using your space wisely. Once you’re satisfied with this outline, start working on filling it out! Focus on color and shape more than outlining or composition. Since your image is so small, you need to make sure you get as much as you can out of the space provided. Color and shading is vital in this project, since it is your only way of creating depth and distinguishing features. Here’s my process in recreating Clint Eastwood’s famous image:

Now that the image is done, it’s time to resize it so you can show it off! Unfortunately, Paint.NET doesn’t do a very good job in resizing something so small without blurring the image. So, to maintain the integrity of your new tiny picture, save its original size (be sure to save it as a PNG or JPEG file and flatten the image). Then open it in Microsoft Paint and click “Resize”. 500 pixels is a good size for the image!


And you’re done! This project is lots of fun, but it requires a lot more work than it seems to make it look good. Hope this was helpful, and good luck!

Clint Eastwood Pixelated Large

Here’s my first try of this image versus the one I made for this tutorial. What do you think?

Pixel Comparisons

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