Beautiful Examples of Vexel Artworks and Tutorials


Vexel art is a digital art that is an entirely pixel-based form of raster art that imitates the vector graphics technique, but is distinguished from normal vector graphics or raster images. “Vexel” itself is a mixture of two words ‘Vector’ and ‘Pixel’. Vexel designs are composed by using multiple layered shapes. It can be done in Photoshop, but vexel designs are not limited to only Photoshop; essentially, it can be done with any image editing software that has a good Pen Tool.

Below are some truly amazing examples of vexel artwork and also some outstanding tutorials that will help you to master the technique or at least get some understanding of how this technique can be used. Feel free to explore further works of the artists presented below. Enjoy and be inspired.

Vexel Artworks





Rica Venturan5


Vexel Portrait25197


Hard Candy: Scarlett Johannson9










Vexel Portrait25197




Revolution Spark23


Vexel Portrait25197


Avril april kwiecien27


Colors, Oldie N129


Thom Yorke the Android 31


Jennifer Garner – in Elektra33


Anjaylia Chan35


Ao Dai Viet Nam37






Closing in43


Staring at the sun45


Buffy: She’s like Madonna47


Vexel for me49




Jessica Redtail Color Test53


and I say welcome to the show55




Fear of the dark59


The Music In You-61


Where I End… and You Begin63






Yann Tiersen69


Vexel girl71


Beyonce Vexel73


Angelina Jolie Vexel75


Like a butterfly77


Our Earthly Pleasure79


As the world falls down81








Orange Plectrum89


Vexel Tutorials

Vexel Tutorial – Hair91
It’s really a fantastic tutorial, this tutorial shows you how to create beautiful hairs in vexel style step by step. Every step is thoroughly explained. Gives a really detailed hair output.


Create a Complete Vexel Image Using Photoshop93
This tutorial will instruct the reader on how to take a picture and create a vexel image out of it, through Photoshop. Numerous vexel techniques are taught. You’ll learn how to use the Pen Tool, and then put it to good use to construct hundreds of shapes that will compose a full vexel image.


Vexel Art in Photoshop95
This is an outstanding tutorial that covers the detailed process of converting a photo to a vexel illustration with the pen tool.


Vexel Hair tutorial 97
This tutorial is focused on the process of creating a beautiful vexel hair using stroke paths and gradients.


Vexel Eye Walkthrough99
In this detailed tutorial you will learn how to create an eye in this style, It also shows you creating star bursts for the eye as well as how to compose the vexel shapes one group at a time.


Something Red Walkthrough101
This tutorial will go through how you can create the vexel portrait with complete line work and step-by-step process of coloring it in a vexel style.


Vexel Start Tutorial103
In this Tutorial you will start with the making of a vexel face using layer opacities, posterize, Pen Tool, layer setup, and other basic vexel techniques. This is so easy that even the starting beginner can do it.


Vector Tutorial105
This tutorial is going to show you how to create a vexel car using line work and coloring. You will find it very outstanding.


Vexelling Hair107
A tutorial on how to make vexel hair in photoshop, it will show you some very cool techniques


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Aquil Akhter is a web graphic designer and has been working in this field for 8 years. He also runs the blog, which focuses on free web resources and inspiration for designers and developers.

  1. 1

    Nice Tutorials.

  2. 2

    Sorry, I just dont get it? It looks lovely and all, but not scaleable so why not use vectors?

  3. 3

    amazing stuffs~

  4. 4

    I also did some nice vector women artworks, check out my site :)
    at all

  5. 5

    Great post ;) Thanks

  6. 6

    July 3, 2009 5:36 am


  7. 7

    Joan Maresh Hansen

    July 3, 2009 5:59 am

    Beautiful Imagery. This is the kind of stuff that needs to be taught in schools so that young artists can gain skills in digital media. Art departments need of support to bring technology to young people. THANKS for SHARING your expertise!

  8. 8

    the Unknown Pic is : anjaylia chan !! its written besides the picture !!! :)

  9. 9

    wow, are you serious? some of this stuff is truly outstanding!! i am thoroughly amazed by all these talented artists.

    kudos on the christian bale one! ;)

    Sinoun O.

  10. 10

    Very cool!

  11. 11

    Nice collection, these are good:) Their pretty much all portraits though, is there a reason for that?

  12. 12

    Uh. Vector that looks like a stylized photograph. Not that hard to explain.
    Otherwise it’s just graphic made in photoshop.

  13. 13

    The lady in the picture called “Candy” is Japanese pop singer Koda Kumi
    Give her some credits for her beauty….

  14. 14

    “Ao Dai Viet Nam” is really beautiful. Most of the others are just the usual sexy girls and stars.

  15. 15

    Wow, Áo dài from my country! That alone makes this article worth reading ;)

  16. 16

    I agree with nina. Why not just use vector? These look very pretty, but if they were just straight vector, the quality would be even more amazing, plus you’d be able to scale. Very cool post though.

  17. 17

    I agree with one of the posters. This is not scaleable so what is the point? Is it just because the people who do “vexel” art can’t for some reason.. use the pen tools on Illustrator? Hah.

    Also, these are all traces of images. How can you say they are artists when they TRACE over an image? There are a few in this bunch that seems to be artwork created by themselves though.. but a lot of them (the celebrity ones mainly) are allllllll traced. Come on…. same with a lot of vector “art work” out there, they are all traced over!

    Please. There is no such thing as originality anymore, but don’t call these people ARTISTS for tracing!

  18. 18

    What impresive technic nice work, thks for the tip :D

  19. 19

    Superb artworks I have admired vexels for so long now, but really it is very time consuming work, I like first one apart and jennifer garner, definitely the best so far in my opinion, Loved it.

  20. 20

    OMG that’s so beautiful!
    Love it :)

  21. 21

    Basically: complete crap from people who can’t “draw” without a computer. The only impressive part is that you could find so many examples of bad taste.

    I thought this blog was for designers, but I guess it’s for designer wannabes…

    My eyes hurt… Unsubscribing.

  22. 22

    On top of that a lot of them REALLY have the auto trace feature used on them. If you used it you can spot it right away.

    Ah well. Client buys it, then it does not matter.

  23. 23

    Floris Fiedeldij Dop

    July 3, 2009 2:25 pm

    How do you guys keep knowing what I am working on and need help with ;) Excellent as usual.

  24. 24

    Not a big fan of the word “vexel” for some reason but I love vector art. Some of these are very nice!

  25. 25

    Áo dài Việt Nam, I love it, i love my country too.

  26. 26

    Awesome… just loved all of them…
    i’d love some more tutorials…

  27. 27

    these are incredible, in my opinion this is (or one of) the best posts you are created, as there is a lot of inspiration to be gained from each of the image, plus the tutorials see to be very nice, i will defenately have a try at some of the.

    i’d love to see a collection of vexel artwork on animals (i imagine a parrot would just look “smashing”)

  28. 28

    Tejendra Shandilya

    July 3, 2009 7:39 pm

    will very helpful ………..amazing tutorial list

  29. 29

    What is the purpose of it all? I don’t see any underlying concept that gives the “artworks” depth. Using Photoshop filters, plugins, et al is not artwork or ingenuity. I almost wondered why people do vexel art when it hit me that they cannot do vectoring.

    More and more of these articles are demonstrating what not to do when it comes to design. Unsubscribed.

  30. 30

    mmh, can’t decide which one is the most misogynist…

  31. 31

    I like this kind of stuff, I have tried myself to do something vexels, but still I can’t truly master it, but these tutorials will really help me a lot hopefully, really superb post.

  32. 32

    I am your silent reader but in this post I can not stop myself, so commenting, really its mind blowing artworks… will definitely try it out and you should publish artworks post regularly… keep it going.

  33. 33

    I was under the impression Vexel was dead, but the artwork produced really is beautiful. Looking forward to giving the tuts a go.

  34. 34

    just say woooooooooooooow,really beautiful artwork

  35. 35

    best da best artwork,be coooooooooooooool

  36. 36

    Joseph Spurling

    July 4, 2009 5:03 am

    I’ve been a little confused recently what exactly ‘vexel’ means. I get it now and what’s more… I like it a lot!

  37. 37

    Hi, keep it I like Yann Tiersen poster…

  38. 38

    Not sure what is the point, vectors are good for certain purposes, bitmaps are good for others… but mixing both you get the worse of both.

    Vectors are good because its scalable, but its a pain working with vectors.
    Bitmaps are easier to work with, specially if you have a Wacom tablet, but its not so scalable.

    I think this is just a trend, actually you can get the same outcome using just vectors, or using just bitmaps.

  39. 39

    Its Awesome Work

  40. 40

    It looks like vector, but has all the drawbacks! WOW!

  41. 41
  42. 42

    Vexel art is pointless. And most of these appear to be trace-overs. I thought Smashing was for professionals, not playing artist with a pirated copy of PS.

  43. 43

    Mind blowing! fantastic!
    Truly Art Lover

  44. 44

    this stuff is colourful, but hardly could be named art…
    some experimentation are nice and it’s interesting to explore boundaries between vector and raster graphics. Vexel is a technique to be learned and lately forgotten, just to be kept in mind as a tool and not a scope in itself.
    In the end 90% of what’s shown here are expressions of a new form of craftmaship…like airbrush was in the 80es…a bit repetitive in the end…
    anyway…Compliments on the patience of all this guys!

  45. 45

    Very nice :)
    I like most of them

  46. 46

    I love Cobain , I love his sound. and I love these artworks too.

  47. 47

    You wouldn’t spend hours in Illustrator drawing little squares to make a raster image. Why not just make real vectors?

  48. 48

    These are really nice. I’ll definatly be looking at the tutorials.

  49. 49

    Why is the subject matter of vexel art seemingly limited to pop culture foolishness?

  50. 50

    Everyone that can’t see what this is, face it!

    It’s art, whether you like it or not. We all have different tastes in art, something I think you ‘designers’ (as you pitifully call yourselves) seem to have a problem comprehending.

    There is art out there that I completely hate. You know the kind. Someone throws a couple of red blobs on a wall and hey presto – art you’ll see in a gallery for years to come! But hang on, my unborn child could have done better and it’s not even out yet. But still, I have to accept it’s art.

    This comment is aimed at the children that will read this and then litter the comments (just like I’m doing here) with pointless crap. If your not interested, don’t look at it! If you really want to unsubscribe then DO IT! But please stop coming back and reading future posts!

    I think this work is great. I could find copies of the photographs easily on the internet or in magazines. But to see this kind of art – someone had to have created it. Both the taking of the photo and the final drawing reflect a good image of the person/s portrayed.

    Great post, keep up the variety.

  51. 51

    There’s a lot of misconceptions in some of the comments I’ve read.

    Why not vector? Most vexel artists don’t create vexels for the purpose of selling them, but simply because it’s a hobby, something you enjoy to do. So resizing is not necessarily a problem. Also vexels allow you to include raster elements that you wouldn’t be allowed to use in vectors.

    Every vexel is a trace? I beg to differ. Surely there are still a lot of people that follow a reference picture too closely, to the point where it’s almost impossible to see it’s not a photo. (Still, kudos to them for having the patience and will power to MANUALLY and INDIVIDUALLY draw hundreds if not thousands of shapes!) Yet, a lot of people use reference pictures as just that: references. They don’t recreate the image, but they use it as a guide, they add their own vision to it, add elements, change stuff around. I wish I could post links here to give you an idea of what I’m talking about.

    Just my two cents. Art is art. :) As long as you enjoy what you do, no one else should have the right to knock what you’re doing.

  52. 52

    Cool post. I think vexel art is a cool digital expression. Thanks for the post.

  53. 53

    It’s a cool technique but should be viewed primarily as a photo filter in my opinion. That said, I think some of the commentators who are blasting this post for being aimed at “wannabes with pirated copies of PS” and unprofessional hacks, etc. need to relax. I think anything that allows people to express themselves creatively is a good thing, even if its a simple Photoshop trick. Unless someone is trying to pass it off as an original painting, who cares? Who are you to decide what is worthy as ‘art’ or ‘creativity’? And if it threatens you that much, I’d say you probably don’t have much faith in your own art and creativity.

  54. 54

    I agree with the above about ‘why not just use vectors?’. I also agree about the tracing.. it’s.
    Another thing is that these all have the same look.. there is barely any variety.. I’m so bored after looking at 6 of these…

    The one bright point is the before/after with the hair… finally something original.. using this (or simply a vector) technique and mixing it with photography.. actually enhances the artwork and isn’t just a simple copy…

  55. 55

    Some of these are nice, but many are just examples of what you can get by fiddling with live trace on a photo in illustrator. Some of them are even just out and out bad attempts at live trace.

  56. 56

    My main problem with this is that its name implies something completely unrelated. Its name implies its a form of pixel-art, but in reality it is just a vector style done with raster graphics. Vexel is a confusing and misleading name for the style.

  57. 57

    All of them would be very beautiful on any… trucks!

  58. 58

    eduardo De Faria

    July 7, 2009 1:45 pm

    It’s incredible that nobody creates a software to do that automatically…

  59. 59

    That’s a very nice list.. I can’t wait to do one for my wife!

  60. 60

    Really Superb!

  61. 61

    Wake up, men! That’s absolutely HORRIBLE! What do you want to do with that? A carpet? Make a tattoo? Make a paint on your car?……………………….

  62. 62

    Is it a coincidence that such a labour intensive technique produces such unanimously infantile content?

  63. 63

    I think they are amazingly beautiful. I am disappointed reading so many comments by “designers” who think this is not art. It takes hours to make something like this. They make it in photoshop as well as illustrator if they want to re size it like a vector, its a matter of choice. They can use it just like you use pixel graphics, vectors graphics or any other stuff for web designing and all. Also, the sole purpose of digital art is not to just to use it for website/logo/whatever designing. People do it because they enjoy doing it, they like the results and there are many who appreciate their work.

    I have a strong feeling that those who are ridiculing this for form of digital art can not make one of such vexel/vector to save their lives. It takes a lot of practice and these artists probably handle the “pen tool” in illustrator as well as photoshop a lot better than you do. Its sickening how disrespectful these so called “designers” are if they are. Probably they are just jealous. To all the vexel artists, hats off! Most of the stuff looks far better than vectors made in illustrator. Its different and its amazing. I love these.

    P.S: I am not a great vexel artist, I have tried vexlling people but I suck and have no patience…I enjoy making cartoon vectors in illustrator and pixel art in photoshop but I admit these vexels are breath taking and I can understand how long t must have taken for each one the artists to make something as amazing as these.

  64. 64

    Oh and I think I know people who are saying this is useless and can not be called art are probably those who went to special graphic schools, took special courses for illustrator and spent hours leaning how to make vectors so they just can’t digest the fact that some people learned and mastered all that and better just using photoshop or by not going to special graphic designing schools.

    Please people…it shows you are plain jealous because you can’t help but make a negative comment here instead of ignoring the post if you did not like it.

  65. 65

    Making a negative comment is not necessarily a bad thing. Its called criticism, most adults can deal with it, and it’s utterly necessary to progress.

    Sorry to those who are hypnotised by the work ethic, but I really am intrigued to know why the content is so childish. I can’t find a more fitting word for the overwhelming surfeit of idealised images of women.

    There doesn’t seem to be any irony in these images: its like we are really supposed to be admiring the flawless skin, and the ‘come hither’ poses.

    Sorry, again, but I think its all poop. But just to be clear, I don’t really care about the technique… Its interesting, slightly playful, but doesn’t really add much the world. The same could be said of any technique. Technique always supports content, and its the content of these images that I find so repetitive, so tedious. So much so that I have to ask does laborious technique necessarily result in tedious, uncritical, and joyless content?

    The answer I suspect is “no”. But there is nothing in this selection to prove that.

  66. 66

    Thanks for your comments! I fully agree with you!

  67. 67

    To those who whine and complain about vector/vexel art: Have you ever TRIED actually sitting down and creating one? It’s rather obvious that those complaining must have had the auto trace on and failed at creating a vexel piece.

  68. 68

    Very nice. I love the Gaia one especially. I too, am not quite sure the purpose of not going all vector with these, but they look awesome none the less.

  69. 69

    Yes, I’ve tried to do my own vexel art. It is challenging. I know not everyone is going to love everything posted (I know I don’t) but that’s life that’s art. Sometimes you like it sometimes you don’t. I don’t expect everyone to love the art on this post but I do.

    Just because there’s no depth or deeper meaning here doesn’t take anything away from the final product itself.

    I’d like to see more kinds of art like this, not just vexel, but illustrative art.

  70. 70


  71. 71

    I wish I could do something like this! =[

  72. 72

    great and what a outcome, looks like a real revolution

  73. 73

    Really fantastic! I’ll have a look at the tuts…

  74. 74

    Hi i love tut thx

  75. 75

    I did a nice vector also, hihi. please go and see:

    thanks! :-)

  76. 76

    cool, very nice vexel images! specially the one from, I have a bit knowledge in crating vectorized image but I really want to learn how to create Vexel images…

  77. 77

    Hi, I do these type of illustrations, and just realized the term ‘vexel’ applied to it. derrrr.

    Hope you like this one, It’s one of my best pieces. Thanks

  78. 78

    I have been a part of the vexeling community for over 12 years now and I must say that most of these works are about that age. Most of the artists, such as Jerlyn Thomas, are now top designers since graduating college ( So yes, mostly a hobby of teenaged computer geeks who have since grown up to be stiff competition.

    I’m glad it was included.


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