Pixel Art: Very Best Artists on the Internet

From humble beginnings, pixel art has grown into a recognised art form and internet phenomenon.

By working with individual pixels, digital artists are able to build incredibly complex images and animations – from GIFs to complex dioramas and character portraits.

One of the best things about pixel art is how accessible it is. It doesn’t require advanced software or tricky programming, just a considerable amount of patience and creativity.

So prepare to feast your eyes, because we’ve scoured the net to bring you the work of the very best pixel artists around.


Waneella

Pixel GIF produced by Waneella as a commission for the Desolar Twitch channel
Waneella’s constantly moving pixel animations are almost downright hypnotic

Waneella produces some of the most original pixel art we’ve seen. Her mesmerising animated landscapes are brimming with colour and detail.

Spend some time browsing – and getting lost in – her collection of expansive pixel worlds. Her commission for the Desolar Twitch channel (above) is a particularly striking example.

Pixel GIF produced by Waneella titled "Vozvrashcheniye"
This illustration, “Vozvrashcheniye”, is one of the busier examples of Waneella’s pixel art

Waneella’s continuously looping GIFs will have you poring over each design to look for hidden details.

From bustling cityscapes to tranquil nature scenes, Waneella’s atmospheric work really celebrates pixel design as an art form.


Ivan Dixon

Pixel GIF produced by Ivan Dixon to commemorate David Bowie
David Bowie through the years
Pixel GIF produced by Ivan Dixon to commemorate Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka

Melbourne-based animator Ivan Dixon operates at the opposite end of the scale, in terms of detail. Using a 32×32 pixel canvas, his aim it to capture the likeness of his subject in as few pixels as possible.

On his Tumblr and Twitter pages, he regularly posts minimalist “bopping” animations of well known figures, such as the two GIFs above created to commemorate David Bowie and Gene Wilder.

Pixel GIF of a "Dumbo octopus" produced by Ivan Dixon
“Dumbo octopus”
Pixel GIF of a "Nautilus" produced by Ivan Dixon
“Nautilus”

In his day job, Ivan co-runs the animation company Rubber House. They typically work in a 2D drawn style, but Ivan enjoys making his pixel art as a way to relax:

“Pixel art is actually how I got into animation in the first place. When I was in high school I designed little games, and I needed artwork. Pixel art was really the only option, and I soon fell in love with the medium.”


eBoy

Detailed pixel art drawing of San Francisco created by eBoy
eBoy’s San Francisco “pixorama” is stacked with minute detail

eBoy is the collective name for pixel artists Kai Vermehr, Steffen Sauerteig and Svend Smital, who’ve been building these complex “pixoramas” together since 1997.

“The basic idea driving eBoy was to have fun – and use new digital tools and the new media. The decision to directly work on, and for the screen, led to the use of pixels. A modular based work system started to evolve and resulted in complex, object rich artwork.”

Pixel art depicting a Rolling Stones concert created by eBoy
This magazine ad for a Rolling Stones concert is just one example of eBoy’s excellent commissioned work

Famous for their illustration, web design, fonts, and toys, eBoy have produced work for some huge clients and partners. Among them are Adidas, Coca Cola, DKNY, Google, Kidrobot, MTV, Nike, Pepsi, Paul Smith, The New York Times, Wired Magazine, and Yahoo to name but a few.

You can read more about the story of eBoy here.


Paul Robertson

Pixel animation created by Paul Robertson as a commission for Blackbox
This lively animation was created by Paul as a commission for shipping company Blackbox

Australian artist Paul Robertson is a pixel art master. His animations include work created for cartoons, ad campaigns, video games and much more.

His pixel art is mainly featured on his Tumblr page, but you might also recognise his work from The Simpsons, Scott Pilgrim, Adult Swim and a litany of other famous projects.

Pixel animation created by Paul Robertson showcasing designs from the video game Mercenary Kings
An animation showing off the various pixel characters Paul designed for the video game Mercenary Kings

Paul’s lively, characterful pixel animations vary greatly in content – “Sometimes it’s cute, sometimes cosmic and psychedelic, and sometimes weird nightmarish stuff” – but the quality of his designs is consistently excellent.


Rod Hunt

Pixel art created by Rod Hunt for IKEA Russia's "Apartmentology" campaign
A huge illustration of ten different families and their apartments created by Rod for IKEA Russia’s “Apartmentology” campaign

Okay, so we’re cheating a bit here – despite often being put in the pixel art bracket, London artist Rod Hunt‘s work is actually built using vectors, not pixels.

We simply had to include him in our list though, the intricate detail of his isometric illustrations is staggering. Rod has built a reputation for his award-winning landscapes, teeming with characters.

Pixel art created by Rod Hunt for Toyota Aygo's "Go Fun Yourself" campaign
Rod’s vibrant city illustration was designed to help the Toyota brand appeal to a younger target audience

Check out the level of detail in this city illustration, which Rod was commissioned to create by Saatchi & Saatchi in London as part of the Toyota Aygo ‘Go Fun Yourself’ campaign.

Rod’s aim when designing this piece was “to create a bright, buzzy, colourful and provocative image, with a sense of the Japanese culture from which the car came”. We’re sure you’ll agree he succeeded on every count!


Our in-house graphic designers created some pixel designs of their own for our Design Your Future webinar about developing your career in the creative industries.

We hope you enjoyed this article and feel inspired. Let us know what you think in the comments section below, and don’t forget to share:


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