This is a list of 5 free online pixel art makers that can help you to create beautiful 8-bit/pixel art by filling a grid of pixels with different colors. Most of these applications have a variety of tools to make drawing easier and faster. The most common tools that you will find in all of these listed applications are the pencil, eraser and the paint bucket. Two of these online 8-bit art applications can mirror the drawing on one half of the canvas, on the other. Another pixel art maker lets you draw on different layers. This helps in designing complex 8-bit designs.
You can use these to make 8-bit sprites that can be used in online forums or in classic 8-bit game designs. If you’re designing 8-bit games then make sure you check out BeepComp to make 8-Bit music that can be cued in the game.
So take a look what we have in the list.
Piskel is a complex online pixel art maker which can make 8-bit GIFs in addition to 8 bit images. If you want to make those cool looking 8-bit sprites you see on profile pictures of a forum, then this is the tool you need. Piskel has a wide range of tools that make drawing effortless. Apart from a pencil, an eraser and a bucket, Piskel provides you a vertical mirror pen, a function that can also be found on Danielx’s Pixel Editor (which we will talk about next). There is also a variant of the paint bucket which paints pixels of the same color. Other than these two you’ll also find a lightening tool and a lasso selection tool.
Making a GIF on Piskel is pretty basic. You just have to add frames on the frame panel right to the toolbar and draw each frame of the GIF you want to make. The preview of the GIF on the top right will keep you on the right track. The speed of the GIF can be changed by messing with the FPS (frame per second) slider below the preview.
Now, it’s time for you to bask in the cheerfulness of this smiley face I made using Piskel:
Piskel also helps you manage used colors with a manageable color palette. There are also transform tools on the right to manipulate the 8-bit image you make. Click on SAVE at the panel on the right to save your creation as a GIF or a ZIP file of all frames in PNG.
Danielx’s Pixel Editor is the most easy to use 8-bit art maker in this list. It offers you the fundamental tools to draw a simple pixelated image like the pencil, paint bucket, eraser, selection tool, etc. The best thing about this tool has to be the drawing symmetry that allows one half of the canvas to mirror the other half, both horizontally and vertically. This way you can draw much faster if your image is symmetrical on either of the axes.
It took me barely 30 seconds to draw the silly otter face that you are looking at above. The symmetry can be set horizontally and vertically simultaneously. This mirrors quadrants of the canvas. This is an awesome setting to make kaleidoscopic images.
Danielx’s also has a little ‘Replay’ button at the bottom panel which shows a speed drawing of the image you have just created. The only thing that limits this pixel editor is the lack of a decent color palette with multitudes of color. The Image can be downloaded as a PNG file from the bottom panel.
Makepixelart is the most simplistic free pixel art maker in this list. It has a few basic colors with more than 8 editing tools. This is the only web application in this list which gives you an ‘8-bit feeling’ with its interface. Makepixelart is the only entry in this list which has a darkening and lightening tool to unevenly texture a solid color painted on the canvas. There is a palette of colors that can be configured with different colors from the color hive. The best part about makepixelart is the 3 layers where you can draw different images and organize them. If you‘re concerned more about fun than the end product, then you should use Makepixel art.
Make 8 Bit Art is another free website where you can draw 8-bit sprites on a large pixelated canvas. If you wish to jump into a challenge where fewer tools and more skills are involved, then this site is what you need. You only have two tools to draw, namely- the pencil tool and the paint bucket. Simple editing can be done with cut, copy, paste tools which otherwise could have been done with a simple rectangular selection tool and keyboard shortcuts. Brush size can be changed easily with the slider. The image can be imported and exported in PSON format which can later be loaded on Make 8 Bit Art for further development.
Pixelartmaker is another web application where there is a much bigger canvas to draw on. This pixel editor has a wider range of tools unlike the one above. However it is similar in terms of color palette with Make 8 Bit Art. The toolbar can be scrolled up so you have all the canvas for yourself. The grid can be turned off and on for the user’s convenience. Pixelartmaker can save an 8-bit art only as a PNG. This is a much lighter pixel drawing tool than the above which lacks brush-size configuration but has more tools. If you want the drawing to be a bit easier with minimal tools, then Pixelartmaker is what you should use.
Piskel is the winner of this list since it can make 8-bit GIFs as well as images. This web application has lots of tools that makes designing easier. Danielx’s Pixel Editor has symmetry oriented platform that makes designing faster if the 8 bit art you are making is symmetrical. This makes it stand 2nd in this race of 8-bit art makers. If your art is going to be complex then you are better off using makepixelart for its layer based application like in most of the designing platforms. The rest are good to use if you want to make some casual doodles.