If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know I love creating artwork in Illustrator using simple or basic shapes. This tutorial takes that idea to the extreme by using nothing by the rectangle tool to create a simple 8-bit style pixel character. Pixels are usually associated with Photoshop, but the great thing about Illustrator is your artwork is 100% vector, so unlike Photoshop you can scale your design to any size while retaining those blocky 8-bit characteristics.

8-bit style pixel character

The character we’ll be creating is a 50’s style greaser with slick pompadour, leather jacket and blue jeans. All the features of the character have to be extremely simplified to fit within the pixel grid, so it takes a little imagination to reconstruct your character with basic blocks.

In Photoshop if you zoom in far enough you’ll see the individual square pixels, but in Illustrator we’ll need to set up a grid to work from. Under the View menu option select the Show Grid option and make sure Snap to Grid is turned on.

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  1. This is great! I got the 8-bit bug too lately: a carrot eating alien in 3D :)


    I did this using some software we are working on…kind of like drawing and Minecraft combined.

    This trend of 8-bit or lo-fi seems to coincide with a move away from skuemorphic design towards flat design. I think mobile has hastened the trend.

  2. Beautiful and simple tutorial once again. Just curious, you didn’t mention about the noisy gradient in the final image. Did you do it in AI or PS? And how is your most efficient method for getting layers or objects from AI to PS for post processing?

    Thanks a ton again for this awesome blog. :)

  3. Insane idea, just decided I should use it for branding my site. I was sure to +1.

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