You’ve probably seen them floating around the internet (especially on Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit). Pixelated pictures and drawings of practically anything you can think of – from simple Minecraft mobs to hyper-realistic pixel sketches of Bowser (made by an incredibly talented user named Pandorum). 

 

Minecraft Pixel Art bowser

 

And they’re all done using Minecraft.

 

No, Minecraft didn’t release some sort of digital art program.

 

These pieces are called Minecraft pixel art – or pixel artworks – and they’re trending. Move aside, Minecraft houses, Minecraft farms, and Minecraft cities! People have found yet another outlet for their artistic inclinations and creative freedom in Minecraft, and it comes in the form of painstakingly crafting artwork out of little blocks.

 

Think Lego, but with much more freedom.

 

Table of Contents

 

  1. What is Minecraft Pixel Art?
  2. How do I Make Minecraft Pixel Art?
  3. What Can I Use to Make Minecraft Pixel Art?
  4. Step-by-Step Minecraft Pixel Art Tutorial – Mobs: Creeper
  5. Step-by-Step Minecraft Pixel Art Tutorial – Block: Pumpkin
  6. Step-by-Step Minecraft Pixel Art Tutorial – Block: Cake
  7. Conclusion

 

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What is Minecraft Pixel Art?

 

Minecraft Pixel Art is a fairly new internet craze that basically refers to in-game pieces of art (i.e., drawings, statues, 3D models, etc.) created by Minecraft players using Minecraft blocks like wool, wood, and concrete. 

 

 Minecraft Pixel Art wool

 

It’s basically like building a structure. You stack and connect blocks to create a house, a building, a farm, etc. The only difference is that you’re constructing what is essentially a giant pixelated 3D drawing/sculpture/statue in-game.

 

Since the Minecraft world is made up of blocks (essential cubes), the art has a very distinct old-school, pixelated feel to it. But many would argue that that’s part of the charm.

 

Pixel art doesn’t really do anything in terms of gameplay. You can’t live in it, you can’t get any resources from it, and you certainly don’t unlock bonuses or awards for it. However, the entertainment value in and of itself can be quite rewarding.

 

Sounds challenging and time-consuming?

 

It is.

 

But the more you do it, the easier and faster it’ll be for you. And, as mentioned earlier, many Minecraft players find the pixel art process to be artistically and emotionally rewarding.

 

You’ll also have something cool to show your friends when you’re done!

 

How do I Make Minecraft Pixel Art In-Game?

 

The beauty of creating pixel art lies in its inclusivity. Anyone, from a creative coding kid to a beginner programmer with little artistic inclination, can make pixel art. All you really need is imagination, attention to detail, and careful planning.

 

The third element is particularly important.

 

If it helps, you can think of Minecraft pixel art as sculpting or building 3D models. The pieces you use must mesh seamlessly together to create one cohesive unit.

 

We’ve broken the pixel art creation process into four general steps:

 

  1. Design or Choose an Inspiration Image
  2. Break Inspiration Image Down Into Single-Color Sections
  3. Obtain the Necessary Resources
  4. Start Building

 

Design or Choose an Inspiration Image

 

It’s highly recommended that you have some sort of source material or original image to copy when creating pixel art in Minecraft. Creating something from scratch is very, very hard to do. In fact, unless you have years of art experience and are an absolute pro at pixel art, we don’t recommend starting from scratch at all. It can be a waste of time and resources.

 

Having something to copy and visually refer to from time to time makes pixel art a lot easier.

 

Break Inspiration Image Down Into Single-Color Sections

 

Here’s where the “careful planning” element comes into play. You need to take a look at your piece and take note of all the colors in it. That includes things like shadows, shading, highlights, etc.

 

Deconstruct the source image into colored shapes rather than outlined areas with color in them. Then, think of the possible Minecraft blocks, dyes, and glazes that you can use to represent these colored shapes in-game.

 

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For instance; say you want to recreate a cartoon character in pixel art. Let’s use Spongebob Squarepants as an example, as his look is very iconic and distinct.

 

Obviously, you’ll be using a lot of yellow-colored blocks. But notice that his holes are a darker yellow color than the rest of him. Since there’s no dark yellow dye in Minecraft, you might use brown wool/concrete or yellow terracotta. Colored terracotta tends to be darker and more earthen than other blocks, so it’ll contrast nicely against yellow wool.

 

Notice how the inside of his mouth is also two different shades of red. His tongue is pinker. So you could use, say, pink wool blocks for his tongue and red concrete for the rest of inside.

 

Whatever you choose to do, it’s important that you decide on it before you start building your pixel art. Adjustments can be made during the process, of course, but too many variations from the plan may end up frustrating you.

 

Our suggestion: use graphing paper or computer programs to overlay a grid over your inspiration piece so that you can see when different-colored blocks start and end.

 

Obtain the Necessary Resources

 

Now that you have:

 

  • An inspiration piece/source image
  • A grid over your inspiration piece/source image
  • A rough idea of how to recreate your inspiration piece/source image

 

You’re ready to start!

 

Launch Minecraft. If you’re going to build your pixel art in Survival, Hardcore, or Minecraft Adventure mode, start collecting all the blocks you think you’ll need. Always overestimate. If you think you need about 15 blocks for one section, try to collect 25. If you think ten blocks for one area will suffice, gather 15 just to be sure.

 

If you’re building in Creative mode – which, honestly, is the most ideal mode for pixel art – you won’t have to worry about it since Creative mode gives you unlimited resources.

 

We highly, highly recommend starting in Creative mode. Aside from being able to fly and not running out of blocks mid-pixel-art creation, there’s zero risk of your artwork being destroyed by enemies or world events.

 

Start Building

 

You’re ready to build! We recommend starting with the foundation of the piece and then building up and around it, but some pixel artists say you can start anywhere. Pick a point and build-out, section by section. The creative process depends heavily on your own artistic sensibilities. Do whatever you find easiest!

 

minecraft spongebob art

(Spongebob Pixel Art credits to Reddit user LIGyt)

 

What Can I Use to Make Minecraft Pixel Art?

 

What else do you use to create anything in Minecraft? Blocks. Lots of them. Some utilize the natural color of the blocks (i.e., the muted gray of stone Blocks or the earthy brown of some wood Blocks), but you can definitely use glazed blocks and dyed blocks for splashes of color.

 

The idea is to basically break down your inspiration piece into pixels, and then use blocks to represent those pixels in-game.

 

minecraft terracotta

 

Some blocks that are commonly used to create pixel art in Minecraft include:

 

  • Wool
  • Wood
  • Concrete
  • Stone
  • Terracotta

 

How Big Can I Make my Minecraft Pixel Art?

 

In Minecraft, the possibilities are endless. But the smallest size possible for a decent pixel art piece would be 1 block = 1 pixel. However, do note that Minecraft blocks themselves are also made of pixels. 16, to be exact. That brings a standard Minecraft block’s dimensions to 16 x 16, which means your pixel art would be roughly 16x bigger than the mob, block, or art piece you’re trying to recreate.

 

If you want to go big or go home, you can use 4 blocks to create a 2 x 2 area, for pixel art that’s roughly 32x bigger than the original picture. You can size up even more by using 16 blocks to create a 4 x 4 pixel.

 

What are the Challenges of Creating Minecraft Pixel Art?

 

Because Minecraft blocks are made up of individual pixels, they’re not exactly one consistent color. Stone blocks have varying shades of gray, for example. Wood blocks aren’t completely light or dark brown. This can prove to be difficult if the art you’re replicating is particularly detailed or has a lot of specific color areas.

 

minecraft dyes

 

Another challenge is that your colors are limited to the dyes and glazes in-game. So achieving more complex elements like shading or lighting for a particular pixel art might not be possible.

 

Of course, most art pieces are meant to be viewed from a distance, so. The variations won’t be too obvious per Minecraft block.

 

Step-by-Step Minecraft Pixel Art Tutorial – Mob: Creeper

 

Creepers are pretty easy to create once you get the hang of pixel art. Beginners may find it reasonably challenging, but a Creeper’s color scheme and general shape make it an ideal mob for first-timers to replicate.

 

minecraft creeper

 

Here’s a great tutorial by YouTube creator TSMC – Minecraft on creating pixel art of a Creeper:

 

 

And a similar tutorial (still by TSMC – Minecraft) on creating pixel art of a more detailed Creeper:

 

 

You’ll obviously be using a lot of green and lime green blocks when creating a Creeper (especially if you opt to do a plain one), but gray and brown colors will be needed as well. Try to use lime, green, white, and light gray wool or concrete blocks for the majority of the Creeper’s body. You can use glazed terracotta blocks for some parts to create texture and contrast. Stone or slime blocks are also great to use if you want more detail.

 

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Step-by-Step Minecraft Pixel Art Tutorial – Block: Pumpkin

 

YouTube channel The-_-Bystander has an awesome tutorial on how to create a Pumpkin:

 

 

Just remember that you’ll be using a lot of oranges and browns for this. Try orange wool/concrete, orange terracotta, and brown wool/concrete. You’ll also need some light gray blocks and some plain white blocks (glazed terracotta could be best for this). The pumpkin’s face will be made of brown terracotta and brown wool for lighter areas.

 

If you want to add a pumpkin stem, you could use a mix of green and yellow terracotta, as well as some yellow wool or concrete.

 

Step-by-Step Minecraft Pixel Art Tutorial – Block: Cake

 

For your friend’s birthday, why not craft a cute and tasty in-game surprise? This tutorial by MrMcTaco teaches you how to make pixel art of a giant Minecraft cake.

 

 

You’ll mostly be using terracotta, wool, and/or concrete in red and brown. The icing would be a combination of white and light gray concrete (for that frosted look). For the red specks on the top – which are most likely strawberries – you could use red wool or red concrete.

 

Conclusion

 

Minecraft pixel art is a fantastic, fulfilling hobby that can help you hone your creativity, artistic abilities, and problem-solving skills. Because believe it or not, critical thinking is needed to successfully pull pixel art off.

 

Table of Contents

 

  1. What is Minecraft Pixel Art?
  2. How do I Make Minecraft Pixel Art?
  3. What Can I Use to Make Minecraft Pixel Art?
  4. Step-by-Step Minecraft Pixel Art Tutorial – Mobs: Creeper
  5. Step-by-Step Minecraft Pixel Art Tutorial – Block: Pumpkin
  6. Step-by-Step Minecraft Pixel Art Tutorial – Block: Cake

 

For the Parents

 

Minecraft pixel art can also teach your kids the value of patience and perseverance. Like we mentioned earlier, the process isn’t easy. Aside from advanced planning and a fundamental understanding of image deconstruction (and reconstruction), your child will also need to know how to convert visual cues into actual measurements. For instance, if the base of a pixel art Creeper is 15 Minecraft blocks long, how many blocks should the rest of its body be in relation to its base? 

 

Challenges like these will pop up when creating pixel art in Minecraft, but we firmly believe they will only serve to hone your child’s skills even further.

 

Want to truly challenge your kid and unlock their coding potential? Try CodaKid’s FREE trial, today!

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