Pixel Art Outlines Tutorial

Outlines are an important part of pixel art, especially in cartoony styles like mine. Here I’ll share all my tips and tricks to making them work for you.

Why use outlines

Yes, outlines are not required for pixel art, but you may have noticed they are pretty common, especially in sprites. There are a few good reasons to use them.

Outlines help separate objects from the background, as well as other objects. This is used in many games to keep the characters from blending in to the background so the player can more easily keep an eye on them. It’s especially important in pixel art because of the small palettes. If an object shared a color with something behind it, they would blend together, making it harder to figure out what you’re looking at.

Single Pixel Wide Outlines

The most basic line in pixel art is a single pixel wide. This is easy to draw when the line is going straight up and down, or left and right, but diagonals and curves take a little more skill.

The trick to make the segments of the line only connect diagonally. This may seem like it makes the line more broken up, but in a finished piece of pixel art our eyes perceive it as a solid connected line.

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