A pixel art character.

Pixel Power: Form & Colour

Middle - Adult

Ian MacLean

Ian MacLean

About the author

Ian MacLean is a professional pixel artist/animator and illustrator who has worked in the gaming industry for 16 years. He considers himself a super nerd and has the polyhedral dice, comic collection, and miniatures to prove it.

Art & Design, Game Design
Video Tutorial


This video covers the basics of using form and colour to enhance game sprites, using the free, open-source software, GraphicsGale. Viewers will learn about basic character design, and how shape language can influence the ways that users perceive their character sprites. 

Form can take sprites from flat, basic drawings, to robust living characters that inhabit their game worlds in a more believable way. Choosing a light source, and keeping that source consistent, can help define the form of sprites and tiles, in addition to lending information about setting, time, or emotion. 

Colour is another element that can push a sprite from good to great. Learn about the colour models used in creating sprites (RBG/HSL/HSV), and what the differences and similarities between them are. Establishing colour ramps can make the process of colouring sprites easier, and those colours can further enhance the form and feel of a sprite. Finally, warm and cool colours can lend a painterly touch to your sprites, and compliment your lighting and form rendering.

Video Tutorial