How to Make Pixel Art in Aseprite for Beginners

In this introductory beginner tutorial you will learn how to make pixel art for your games and projects using Aseprite! We will cover different topics from creating your first pixel art image to sharing it with your family and friends!

Pixel Art in Aseprite

Are you ready to make your very own pixel art graphics? Whether you want to make something to share on social media or maybe you need a pixel character for your next video game, this Aseprite tutorial will help get you creating pixel art quickly and easily with Aseprite.

Getting Started

Pixel art has become a quick and easy way to create 2D images and sprites for your games or art projects.  Plus it just so happens that pixel art is also the fundamental for creating awesome voxel art because it uses the same art concepts. As of today there are lots of different editor tools available for making pixel art, but in this tutorial we will be using one of the most popular 2D image applications around! Aseprite is one of the most frequently used pixel editors for making pixel art because of its wide array of tools and the fact it was built from the ground up to make specifically pixel art!

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Create a New Sprite

To begin open the Aseprite application on your computer. You should see a screen that looks like the one below. To create a new sprite in Aseprite, click the New File button at the top left of the startup screen. 



When you click New File a new window called New Sprite will appear. This is where you will set some of the initial settings for the new sprite you are about to make such as the size and what color background should be loaded by default. For this tutorial, our pixel dog will be using a 24x24 pixel grid and we will be using a plain white background for our file. Once you entered these values go ahead and click the OK button. 



Next we will show you how to set up your workspace such as the grid so that we can start creating some awesome pixel art!

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Set up Aseprite for Pixel Art

Now that you have a blank canvas, we need to set up some basic settings in Aseprite that will help us make our first pixel art.


Turn on the Grid

When you first open Aseprite the canvas in the center of the editor is a solid white background that we initially set up on the previous window. Now technically you could just start adding pixels to the grid, but this would be kind of hard. Instead we will first turn on a grid in Aseprite that will help us see where exactly we are placing our pixels on our canvas. To turn on the Grid in Asprite, click View > Show > Pixel Grid. This will turn on a grid overlay on top of your canvas.



When you click Pixel Grid, you should now see a canvas that looks similar to the one below. Keep in mind this grid is only for guidance and will not appear when you export out your pixel art.



Now that we setup a basic grid it will be easier to see where we draw our pixels and how much space we have to work with on our canvas.

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Draw Your Pixel Art Image

In the previous steps we showed you how to create a new canvas and also how to turn on the grid for your canvas. Now that you have Aseprite set up for drawing pixel art its time to start making pixel art. Of course in order to draw our pixel art we first have to choose a tool that will allow us to do that. Even though there are many tools in Asprite for drawing pixels on your canvas we will focus on 1 primary tool. That tool is called the Pencil tool and we will be using this throughout our tutorial.

Select the Pencil Tool

The pencil tool will undeniably be one of the most used tools you will use when you start making pixel art. All you need is to select the tool and pick a color.

To begin lets start by choosing the Pencil tool from the toolbox on the right side. You can find it on the far right side of the application window. The icon looks like a pixel art pencil.



By default the pre-selected color when you open Aseprite will be white. However we need to change that because our canvas color is white, and we won't be able to see our pixels. To change the color to black simply drag the circle inside of the color picker on the bottom left into the black area. Alternatively you can just enter #000000 for the color number on the bottom left. We will stick with that color for right now because black is the perfect outline color for pixel art.



Great job! We are now ready to start drawing some pixels.

Outline the Body

And now its time to make some cool pixel art! To draw a pixel on your grid simply click anywhere on your canvas. Since we did all the hard work before hand of setting up Aseprite, it should literally be like filling cubes on a grid. We will start by outlining the body. Use the image below as a guide.


Perfect! Now that we have created the basic outline for our pixel art dog we can begin adding additional details on the outside like the ears that go on top of the head. Continue adding more pixels using the same method you used for the outline. Repeat the image below.


Awesome! Our pixel dog it is starting to take shape! Let's continue on by adding some basic detail for the dog face like eyes, a nose and a mouth.



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Add Some Color

Now our pixel dog is starting to look pretty great, however we have only been using one color. Let's change the color that our pencil tool is using so we can paint some additional details on our dog and bring it to life. Let's start with the body of the dog. Select a brown color from the color palette on the top left side of your screen. 


Once you click the brown color, you are ready to start drawing just like before. Click inside of our outlines and paint the dog brown like the image below.


Nice job! Our pixel dog is starting to look more and more like an actual dog. Now we could use these eyes, but our pixel art would look much better if we added a little design to them. Let's select the color white from the color palette on the left side. 



Now that you have the white color selected lets paint the eyes so that we can give it some additional flare. Try to follow the image below.


Well done. Now most dogs also have a tongue sticking out. To simulate this lets select a dark red color from our color palette on the left side.


Next lets give our dog a tongue. Simply click on the grid starting at the most and draw 4 pixels. Try to replicate the image.


Now our dog looks awesome. Once you start getting the hang of it you can start drawing additional colors and features to the dog as you see fit. We went ahead and gave the dog a collar. We also painted the chest and ears a darker brown to make them stand out more. Of course, the fun part of pixel art is being creative! This is what we ended up with:


Share your Pixel Art Image

So once you are happy with the way your pixel dog looks its time to share it with the world! So, how do you share your pixel art in Aseprite? To share your pixel art click File > Export. This will open the Export window.



Next enter the settings below. The only thing we will worry about here in this tutorial is the name and the Resize property. The name is self explanatory, this will be the name of our exported file. The Resize property is how much larger or smaller your image will be exported out as. In our case we want it to be 1000% times the size of the original. When you're done click Export.


This will download a copy that you can use to your computer.

Where to Go From Here

Now that you have learned how to set up Aseprite and the fundamentals for drawing your own pixel art, you can make more pixel art for your video games and projects. Thank you for reading this tutorial. Please share if you found this helpful!

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