Pixel Art Practice

We are going to learn how to draw pixel art by recreating the following Pokemon heads. They are ordered according to complexity.


Drawing is JUST understanding Shapes, really well…

Drawing is simply the mastery of using shapes. Our first Pokemon, Weedle, is really just several circles and a triangle. Watch how it draws to see that you can use shapes in three ways:

  • Additive – creating space
  • Reductive – removing space
  • Layered – combining space


As you break a drawing down into individual steps, it’s not as hard as it appears. The key to drawing is how shapes can help you build an image. It takes practice to understand but makes drawing way more easy than trying to “eyeball it.”


It won’t always look perfect

Give yourself time to practice. Even my Psyduck isn’t an exact match to the one about.

The duck bill is a perfect example of the Layered technique. It may at first seem like a hard shape but as you break it down, you can see smaller shapes make it up.

The nice thing about pixel art is that it’s easy to tweak or change. At the end step, I fixed up his duck bill to round a little better.

Curves are hard but they aren’t impossible. Use lots of little straight lines to create the illusion of a curve.

New Piskel (1)
New Piskel

Sometime it helps to sketch first

Rattata has a lot of different shapes, some circles, some triangles.  If you aren’t sure how to draw something on a computer, maybe try to draw it on paper.

Once I drew it on paper, I was able to figure out where to place shapes and now it will be easier to draw on the computer.

When drawing with pencil, draw lightly. Do not press down hard or you will have a hard time fixing mistakes. Draw harder as you become more confident that the shapes are correct.


Study what you are going to draw.

Pikachu is definitely the most complicated of the heads to draw.

One way to learn to draw something is to trace it. You can use thin wax paper and trace the object to get used to it.

Another method is to “mark it up” or “block-in.” Draw lines on top of the existing drawing so you can begin to understand how the shapes work together.

To your amazement, you realize that this Pikachu head has 4 sections of equal height. You can see these sections similar to how you do “Connect-the-dots.” Find places or lines where objects line up.

Inside of your computer drawing program, you can then draw this grid in one layer and then draw the picture in the layer on top.

I drew the red lines to show you how to divide up the page, halfing it into the 4 sections. Then by figuring out the rectangle in the middle of his face, you can figure out how to space the lines across.

pikachu drawing