Creating items of varying size in pixel art!

Hi everyone!

After my super fun Zoom chat with @Andielor last week he later launched the latest Pixel Art contest… and totally called me out…


Talk about pressure… so now I have to particpate… which I am secretly thrilled about. I really enjoy creating pixel art, but I rarely make it a priority, and since the competition only goes for a week, I have to make time for it.

Luckily for me, @andielor has set up a very beginner-friendly contest…

Pixel art contest - Items of varying size

Essentially you have to create an item that is very tiny… 8 x 8 pixels… but then you have to double and quadruple it’s size to 16×16 pixels and 32×32 pixels increasing the detail each time.

Sounds doable, sounds fun, sounds like great practice.

I’ll be using Pyxel Edit to do this, but honestly the default art program on your device would be sufficient for pixel art. Or you could use an online browser pixel art program like

Creating our item in 32 x 32

I’ve never done an exercise like this before, so I’m actually going to start with the big image and then scale down. So I’ll start a new document 32 x 32 pixels:

Pixel art contest - Items of varying size

While it looks big on the page…

This is how big it actually is…

I’m thinking that I’ll draw a glass with liquid in it… I’ve created a layer for the background that is just the colour #423737 and then made a new layer on top of that called glass that I drew this white cylinder on.

I’m filling it with an orange liquid (#e1511c)… on another layer called Liquid. I’ve made sure to not add in the liquid to the edges so that it appears that the glass has some thickness to it.

Using the awesome colour picker in Pyxel Edit, I’ve picked a new colour one box to the right in the Lightness section to go one shade lighter…

This lighter orange colour (#e56231) gives the appearance that the liquid has a surface, which gives it more of a 3 dimensional feel.

I’ve added a new layer called Shine and then drawn some white vertical lines on the left and right side to try and give the glass a more of a rounded feel. Not sure if I love it… but I’ll keep it for the moment…

I created a layer between the Liquid and the Shine called Liquid Shadow and I picked a slightly darker colour orange to provide a bit of a shadow within the liquid to again try and give it more of a 3 dimensional shape. This new colour is #ce4816.

Using a yellow/orange colour (#f5be88) I added some bubbles on a new layer called Bubbles… and then I turned the opacity of that layer right down from 255 to 35 to give us this…

Alright… I think I’m done with this now… and this is what it looks like at actual size:

Hmm, in hindsight I shouldn’t have put the edges of the glass right on the border of the 32×32. If I increase the image by 4, you can see it looks a little odd…

Pixel art contest - Items of varying size

I could be wrong, but I couldn’t find a Select All layers function in Pyxel Edit…

… to fix this issue I had to merge all the layers except for the Background. Then essentially move all the parts of the image in one pixel from the left, one from the right and one from the top.

It now looks like this… which makes a lot more sense against the white background of this blog post…

Step 1 of creating items of varying size in Pixel Art is complete.

Creating our item in 16 x 16

Right, so let’s do this all again but at half the size at 16 x 16:

Learning from the mistakes of the previous iteration, this time I create the glass one pixel in from each edge:

Pixel art contest - Items of varying size

In order to fit in the normal part of the liquid and the surface, as well as give the glass some thickness. It’s all looking a bit tiny:

Pixel art contest - Items of varying size

I don’t think I’m going to keep the shine to be honest. I think it actually confuses the viewer and doesn’t add anything…

Pixel art contest - Items of varying size

Instead I’ll just add the shadow to the liquid and the shadow to the glass to provide that illusion of 3 dimensions.

I think maybe this is done… this is what it looks in it’s actual size:

This is what it looks at 4 times that size:

Creating our item in 8 x 8

This is what I’ve come up with for the 8×8 version…

Pixel art contest - Items of varying size

It doesn’t look right at all… but 8×8 is so tiny I’m not sure what else to do. I’m seriously wondering if white was a bad choice for the glass…

… creating items of varying size was way harder than I would have guessed.

Here is the actual size:

8×8 is seriously tiny. Pixels are really small.

This is the x4 larger version:

I’ve created a brand new document to smash them altogether on…

Pixel art contest - Items of varying size

Which looks like this when multiplied by 16…

Pixel art contest - Items of varying size

and then the teeny tiny actual size:

Pixel art contest - Items of varying size

Thanks for coming along on this little adventure with me. As usual nothing in Pixel Art is as simple as it first seems… there are so many decisions you need to make in order to convey your message.

My message is… this is a glass of orange liquid.

While I’m definitely sure I was able to present that in the 32×32 and 16×16 versions (any maybe not even in the 16×16) I’m very sure I was not so successful in the 8×8 version. Still it was really fun!

Creating items of varying size in pixel art is so tricky. I’m going to have to do this again but this time go from tiny to biggest… I’m sure the decision-making aspect will be so different.

Thanks for reading!


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