Pixels Go Mad: The Celebration Of Pixel Art


Pixel art lives both in and beyond computer screen. Artists design pixel art posters, magazine covers, album covers, desktop wallpapers, paintings, “pixelish” video ads and even pixelated tattoos. And there is a good reason behind it: in times when popular design solutions strive for real-life-look or perfection pixel art offers a distinctive and creative artistic approach which is extremely expressive. In fact, pixel art can be impressive as well. This post attempts to prove just that.

Below we present over 50 excellent pixel art designs — illustrations, paintings and posters as a part of our ongoing monday inspiration series. Some of the works presented below have an extremely high level of detail which is why you can observe pixel art for hours and still miss some details it contains. You can find ever more resources related to pixel-art in an overview we’ve presented in the end the post.

Please be patient: the images may take some time to load.

The Celebration Of Pixel Art

Einstein in the Swiss patent office1
Keen attention to details: the Swiss cheese looks tasty. An ad for SIM Global Education designed by eBoy pixel artists — the recognized masters of pixel art. Resulting pixel animation2.

Pixel Art - MCS_Einstein_patentoffice.jpg (thumb)3

Pixels gone mad. Jason Huang, a designer and illustrator from Taiwan has created a… well, unusual splash-page for his portfolio web-site. The “size” of this pixel city is over 10 Mb. Resolution: 10.000×10.000px. Well, that’s A LOT of pixels. We are speechless and feel smashed.

Pixel Art - LOVEPIXEL5

Polyfonken’s Pixel Art6
Pixel art illustrations by Tuukka of Finland, Helsinki a.k.a Polyfonken of Ghost Monkey. Outstanding shadows and lightning.

Pixel Art - Polyfonken7

Pixel Art - Polyfonken8

Rubik meets pixel art. Don’t forget to check out Rubik Cubric’s Pow Poster Matrix.

Pixel Art - artworks / rubik10

Pixel Art - artworks / rubik11

Rod Hunt’s pixelart12
Rod Hunt’s illustrations are realistic and colorful. The artists mixes vector graphics and pixel art.

Pixel Art - In a middle of nowhere13

Pixel Art - In a middle of nowhere14

Brazilian and German bloggers Thiago, Pi, Jojo and Mariana present themselves as friendly and laughing pixel characters.

Pixel Art - burp!

Illustration Friday: Green15
What about using pixel art to visualize real projects? “This illustration started out as a way to help visualize what the deck on the back of our house is going to look like when it is finally done. This artwork was done pixel by pixel and then some raster art frames and shadows were added to m ake the piece look a bit nostalgic and antique.”

Pixel Art - Illustration Friday: Green16

Pixel Art Desktop Wallpaper17
This artwork was created by Juan Manuel Daporta (Caracas, Venezuela) in MSpaint in about 8 months in and out. Impressive.

Pixel Art - Pixel Art Desktop Wallpaper18

3 Square19
A painting in the pixel art style. Pixels also live beyond computer screens. Notice how well we can understand the idea behind the pixelated painting. That’s a hard thing to achieve.

Pixel Art - 3 Square20

Pixel Art - 3 Square21

Paul Robertson’s Pixel Art22
Space battles, Super Robot Wars style. Roberson has his own style in the pixel artwork.

Pixel Art - Paul Robertson23

Adobe Air poster24
A pixelated poster designed for Adobe Air launch. So many details in one single image. By the way, can you find a monkey on the image below?

Pixel Art - ADO_Airposter_45t_CUT.jpg (PNG, 1088x704 Pixel)25

Men’s Health: Back Pain
How would you interpret this artwork?

Pixel Art - Picasa Web Albums - Mike - Pixel art - MensHealth_Ba...

City of crazy dolls26
This illustration is vector-based, but it is designed in the pixel-art-look. An interesting idea.

Pixel Art - WN CityOfCrazyDolls Incomplete27

Kirby’s Cupcake28
A painting in the pixel-art-style. Created by Ashley Anderson.

Pixel Art - Kirby's Cupcake29

Pixel City30
Pixel cities deserve their own post. This one has a beach, colorful baloons, a fishman and protesters.

Pixel Art - Pixel City31

King Henry32
A vivid illustration of a theatre stage with King Henry and his court. Resulting animation33

Pixel Art - MCS_ShakesBack_17t_henry.jpg (thumb)34

Make Pixel, Not War35
Expressive and powerful. This artwork manages to deliver the message directly and reminds of Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Pixel Art - Pixel NascImpact - Pixel Art, Galerie, News, Brushs, Goodies, Tutorials (Photoshop, Flash MX)36

Space Invaders, Mario and Pacman on a pixelated playground. The black cat is pretty sweet, too.

Pixel Art - Space Invaders38

Pixel City39
Notice the how well different perspectives are used. For instance, Sony and Coca-Cola logos are orthogonal to each other.

Pixel Art - FTN_glbl500cover_11t.jpg40

Ms. Pacman41
“This is part of a wedding gift I did for two very good friends. Guess what the other painting is.” Created by Ashley Anderson.

Pixel Art - Ms Pacman42

Einstein in front of the blackboard43
Notice how well shadows are used. And coffee seems to be pretty hot. And yes, the mass-energy equivalence is actually E = mc2.

Pixel Art - MCS_Einstein_bboard.jpg (thumb)44

Christ the Redeemer45
The famous statue in Rio de Janeiro in pixels. The guy at the top of the statue seems to be a pretty cool one.

Pixel Art - pixel_corcovado46

Communication City47
Pixorama one more time. iPods seem to be pretty happy. The six birds too.

Pixel Art - FTN_CommunicationCity_06t.jpg (thumb)48

Darth Vader49
This one is freaky. José Eduardo Contreras Moral designs Darth Vader.

Pixel Art - Darth Vader al no tan detalle50

Panda Chart51
We are not sure if pandas actually eat strawberries. Apparently, they do. A simple yet cute pixel artwork.

Pixel Art - Panda Chart52

City Glow53
Pixel art meets vector art. Multi-panel graphic installation at Union Square subway station in Japan. An interesting artistic approach. By Chiho Aoshima.

Pixel Art - Little Boy: The Arts of Japan - Exploding Subculture54

Don’t forget to fix your polaroids55
Pixel art goes vintage. A creative approach.

Pixel Art - Don't forget to fix your polaroids56

Pixel Art – 1px Solid57
“Just playing with some pixel art and 1px solid branding. That’s me sitting all alone on my Mac.”

Pixel Art - Pixel Art - 1px Solid58

Warrior of Light59
Yes, that’s pixel art. The colors and shading are incredibly smooth. The used palette has only 32 colors.

Pixel Art - Warrior of Light60

Album Cover61
A pixelated cover for Groove Armada’s album “Get Down”.

Pixel Art - N73_GAsingle_08k.jpg (th)62

In a middle of nowhere63
36 colors, 40 hours of work: stunning result. Notice how well shadows are designed. You can also take a look at how this image was created step-by-step64.

Pixel Art - In a middle of nowhere65

Waiting Room66
Of course, pixel artists have pixelated wallpapers in their offices. Example: Israeli pixel design studio “Three Squared”.

Pixel Art - 3 Square67

8BitBuddy V0168
“Rendered in Cinema 4D, part of my 8BitBuddy Pixel inspired 3d 8 bit chaps.”

Pixel Art - 8BitBuddy V0169

BerlinKiosk is a game about combining over 300 pixel-products to form the layout of a berlin-underground kiosk. To pixelate 300 products a designer from Berlin, Germany needed two weeks.

Pixel Art - Das Pixeln der BerlinKiosk Produktpalette mit 300 Produkten hat 2 Wochen gedauert.71

Pixel Art - Das Pixeln der BerlinKiosk Produktpalette mit 300 Produkten hat 2 Wochen gedauert.72

Pixel Art - Das Pixeln der BerlinKiosk Produktpalette mit 300 Produkten hat 2 Wochen gedauert.73

Pixel Art – Sky TV74
A pixelated advertisement for Sky TV.

Pixel Art - Pixel Art - Sky TV75

Beer meets pixel art.

Pixel Art - BEER77

Pixel-Art in Real-Life

Sometimes pixels leave the boundaries of computer screens as designers sometimes experiment with pixels and “pixelate” their own environment. This design approach looks distinctive and somehow attractive. Maybe because we all have once stuck on some level playing Mario, Pac-Man or Space Invaders.

Wall designs at BNN/ 101 TV headquarters78
570 5.25″ painted floppys glued to the wall. “Walldesigns created together with my buddy Formaddict. Interior design (not finished on this photo) by Workshop of Wonders.”

Pixel Art - Wall designs at BNN/ 101 TV headquarters79

Pixel Art Wallpaper80
Excellent for gift wrapping and interior design.

Pixel Art - pixel art81

Panda Cross Stitch82
A pixelated cross stitch. We’ve seen panda and strawberies above already.

Pixel Art - Panda Cross Stitch83

Cooking the OXO way84
We’ve all seen books like this. “Pixel art” from 1940s.

Pixel Art - Cooking the OXO way85

Pixel Art - Cooking the OXO way86

Baldomero el cocinero87
Pixel art meets Lego.

Pixel Art - Baldomero el cocinero88

Pixel Art Tattoos89
Beautiful and unusual.

Pixel Art - Pixel Art90

Bead Pixel Art91
Pixelized video game characters built out of beads.

Pixel Art - Funny Pictures - Cats - Bead Pixel Art - Cool Pictures92

Pixelcouch93: what about some nerd’s furniture for true pixel ninjas? Royal College of Art graduate (UK) Cristian Zuzunaga has devised a fabric based on a ‘pixel’ concept, which is being produced by Danish manufacturer Kvadrat and sold through Moroso94. The price is unknown yet. [via95]

Pixel Art - thecoolhunter.net - Pixel Couch96

It’s Raining Drea97
Pixels meet architecture.

Pixel Art - FFFFOUND!98

Pixel Block Chocolates99
This chocolate bar also delivers a “social” message.

Pixel Art - Pixel Block Chocolates With A Social Message - Yanko Design100

Richter’s Pixel Window in Cologne Cathedral101
Gerhard Richter has recently redesigned the 113-square-meter Cologne cathedral window. The window is literally pixelated as it is made up of thousands of colorful squares of glass. “Pixel art” large scale.

Pixel Art - Photo Gallery: Richter's Window in Cologne Cathedral - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News102

Space Invaders103
Ghost guys from Pac-Man are out there, in front of you and me.

Pixel Art - P1020827104

Admire your handy-work105
Not bad considering it was all done rather spontaneously over lunch one day.

Pixel Art - Step 6: Admire your handy-work106

Last Click

Arjan Westerdiep Pixel Art107
This video documents the construction of a massive and minutely-detailed pixel illustration. It’s the work of Arjan Westerdiep, who created the image in MS Paint in a process that took him 560 hours. Arjan’s website allows you to click around the entire piece and watch it get drawn pixel by pixel.

Move Your Feet – Junior Senior108
A pixel-based music video. Pixels old school. Smashing!

Game Over109
“Game over” is an art project developed by the Swiss artist Guillaume Reymod. It consists of a series of collaborative animation movies which revive some of the very first video games. The pixels are replaced by a group of real human-beings that are moving from seat to seat in a theatre during about 4 to 6 hours.

Sources and Resources


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  62. 62 http://hello.eboy.com/eboy/2007/05/30/n73_gasingle_08kpng/
  63. 63 http://pixeljoint.com/pixelart/29178.htm#
  64. 64 http://www.foolstown.com/pix/isowip.gif
  65. 65 http://pixeljoint.com/pixelart/29178.htm#
  66. 66 http://flickr.com/photos/zivtzi/63706651/
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  73. 73 http://flickr.com/photos/maxoon/2416772166/
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  76. 76 http://flickr.com/photos/clioyu/1637028059/in/pool-the_pixel_artists
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  97. 97 http://ffffound.com/image/9c6ed9222bcdbf3ad5aa082aa3e7f791c56c9793?c=864939
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  119. 119 http://www.goontower.com/
  120. 120 http://hongkong.edushi.com/

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    You guys need to follow this up with a post on pixel art tutorials. That would be awesome.

  2. 52

    The new Christian Aid charity advert on UK TV is fully pixel art. Though I think it does unfortunately trivialize the current disaster in Burma.

  3. 103

    Très très très impressionnant !!!

    Vive le Pixel Art !

  4. 154

    Let’s not forget the first pixelated image ever created: Salvador Dali’s Abraham Lincoln(aka ‘Lincoln In Dalivision’)

  5. 205

    Magnifique… tout simplement magnifique !!
    Merci Smashing.

  6. 256

    Giovani Spitfire

    May 7, 2008 11:25 am

    Oh… I really, really, really would like to be part of it! Sniff….
    pixeltemple DOT com


  7. 307

    the best ive ever seen

  8. 358

    that’s not pixel art.. *this is*

    true demoscene art.. 32 colors or less..

  9. 409

    Oh! My city of crazy dolls is here. So nice of you.
    Thanks guys!
    See ya

  10. 460

    Like everytime but this one is my favorite on smashingmagazine so far!

  11. 511

    There’s a great gaming site (Game Driven) that’s full of this type of art. Check out the maps. All the little buildings have pixel-art interiors that function as chat rooms.

  12. 562

    Pixel!!! TSCHACKA!

    “Baldomero el cocinero
    Pixel art meets Lego.”
    -> This is no lego!

    Greetings from Lukas Rieder

  13. 613

    I love pixel art sooo much !
    thanks for this article !

  14. 664

    The link to the piece with the title ‘Playground’ is actually done by Army of trolls

    not whoever you’ve linked to on Flickr. The flickr user seems to just be hosting a bunch of pixel work by a variety of people – myself included. Please change the link, and double check your research!
    Thanks, Denise. (I’m also linked up there)

  15. 715

    Cool. Tnx!

    p.s offtopic:
    Why you dont have a forum?

    Hey, I’ have a design site for webmaster: http://flashripper.net/en/
    There a lot of icons i.t.p How is he?

  16. 766

    Hi, there’s a video clip from a german electro producer named Anthony Rother, all pixelized too.
    Watch it!

  17. 817

    Nice pixelart acrylics on canvas by this artist: http://www.paolojacopomedda.com/

  18. 868

    Also check out the work by Rod Hunt

  19. 919

    Wow it’s amazing. I’ve found a city pixel art from http://www.myflexiland.com

  20. 970

    I love pixel art!!! :-)))) Pixel art + Street art is awesome!

  21. 1021

    you “missed” two wonderful netlabel called 8bitpeoples.com and jahtari.org :) they make the perfect 8-bit-sound for pixel-graphics. both netlabels come along with wonderful pixel-artworks. enjoy, mo.

  22. 1072

    I miss the absolut pixelmaster, DRUBUBU., some really impressive flash-pixel work.
    Where pixels, flash and art meet, so to say: http://www.drububu.com/

  23. 1123

    The 4th one isn’t by Rubikcubism it’s by a guy called Invader – he uses the word Rubikcubism to describe his artwork.

  24. 1174


    June 9, 2008 3:41 am
  25. 1225

    Paul Stride-Noble

    June 11, 2008 2:17 am

    Thanks Smashing magazine for including my pixel art (www.s-nd.com/pixeltown.htm) in this post, Its a true honour to be featured amongst all these talented individuals. I am available as a freelancer for any creative projects (www.s-nd.com)


  26. 1276

    Great list, amazing stuff.

    I humble submit my pixel city in addition:

    Hope you like it.

  27. 1327

    Jehzeel Laurente

    July 14, 2008 7:21 am

    @Dan – i saw you pixel city home and it rocks! :)

  28. 1378

    Cool wallpaper especially liked the Warrior of Light

  29. 1429

    Pixel art is not dead, and space invaders are still moving on!!
    Let’s see a new project on pixel art: http://www.pixandplay.com
    An innovation form a young designer in love with video game of 90’s.
    C U

  30. 1480

    Credit to the guy with the pixelated tattoo; it’s great. There’s a lot of work in here which is great artwork. I can’t get enough of this stuff.

  31. 1531

    Bravo on this collection! A whole bunch of animated pixel-art TV ads for the Canadian phone company Bell Mobility located here:

  32. 1582

    City of Crazy Dolls is interesting,but the idea isn’t original. In 2004 an artist on Deviantart called Silveryn did a piece called ‘The playroom of evil’ which stayed on DA’s front page for days it was that popular. It was a pixel art style done in Photoshop,much like City of…

  33. 1633


    January 25, 2009 11:30 pm

    i love pixel art!!! and now i’m considering myself to have a pixel tatt0o art too! yeah!

  34. 1684

    I am graphics designer , i0 would like to know, in what format pixel graphics are given for the games programmers.

  35. 1735

    I saw this webiste of pixel art named pixandplay.com it’s really nice, actually they send me the game no needs to be french as the site!!
    Choose the one in colour, I’ll send my pictures ASAP…

  36. 1786

    Oldschool Pixel Music Videos and Posters here: http://www.behance.net/Gallery/24h-mobile-music/129448

  37. 1837
  38. 1888

    Feel Free to add Your Web Link or Video Link to Youtubepixel.com.

    We are celebrating Pixels and your web link will remain permanent.

    Grab your pixels now at only 20cents a pixel withour opening promotional offer

  39. 1939

    One of your best posts. More like this, please. Thanks.

  40. 1990

    If you dig pixel art, check out this artist: andycareyart.com.

  41. 2041

    Laurent de Pixshirt

    August 30, 2009 5:45 am

    Nice collection

  42. 2092

    interesting and exhaustive introduction to pixel art i will use for art teaching, thx :-)

  43. 2143

    Trevor Doggington

    October 11, 2009 2:22 am

    Hey, great list of stuff!

    GameCity just did a cool experiment where they tried to communicate a variety of video games in just 15 pixels!

    Street fighter’s the best, IMHO. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDuMG-kgxJQ

  44. 2194

    Ivan Dos Santos Muniz

    October 14, 2009 7:02 pm

    Good post! The first i saw!

    Boa postagem! A primeira que vi!

    I’m brazilian!

    Sou brasileiro!

  45. 2245

    Check out pixel-based sculpture at: http://www.michaelwhiting.com/

  46. 2296

    Very Cool!

    Love EBOY

    Also, just found a new site not on here, http://citypixel.com/city/newyork.php

    Thanks for the font suggestion too, any suggestions for Isometric fonts?

  47. 2347

    At http://drawbbs.com/pixelart you can use the Pixel Art Oekaki to create PNG Image Pixel Arts including transparency and animation.

  48. 2398

    Zlatan Halilovic

    June 6, 2010 3:06 pm

    Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow, I’M FRIGGIN’ IN LOVE WITH PIXELS :D

  49. 2449

    lol This is Some good S***T i love Pixel art <3

  50. 2500

    This article is soooooooo juicy!!!!!!! love all this arts!!!!
    please visit http://perlerbeads.tumblr.com/ – art made from perler hama beads


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