Illustration: Design Pixel Art Villains

Beginner level Adobe Illustrator Adobe Illustrator

Create a new document

Step 1

Create a new document. Set both the width and height to 200 pixels. We'll be creating “pixels” in Illustrator, so it’s important that we use this exact size.

Creating the pixels

We're going to illustrate the characters in a Pixel Art style, therefore we need to create: pixels! Well, “pixels” as Illustrator works with vectors and not with bitmap.

Step 1

We'll start by creating a white square with the rectangle tool (M) with a size of 200x200 px, just like our document. To set a specific size to our shapes, just click on the document with the tool selected and the properties window will appear. After creating the square, center it in the document.

Step 2

With the square selected, go to Object > Path > Split into Grid. On the new windows, set a number of 40 rows and 40 columns. That way, the square will be split into lots of small 5 px squares that will be our “pixels”.

Step 3

Now select the grid and go to Edit > Copy > Paste in front (Ctrl + C and Ctrl + F). This will create a duplicate of the grid just above the other. With that duplicate selected, go to View > Guides > Make Guides (Ctrl + 5). This will turn our duplicate grid into many guide lines. This is super helpful to guide us when it comes to illustrating the characters, since we'll know exactly where the "pixels" are. Also, make sure “Lock Guides” is checked, so that we don’t move our guides.

Testing the Live Paint Bucket

Before we start creating the characters, let’s learn how to use the tool.

Step 1

With the grid selected, go to Object > Live Paint > Make. This will allow us to paint the squares with the tool.

Step 2

Now select the Live Paint Bucket. This tool allows us to paint the squares faster. Otherwise we'd have to paint the squares one by one.

Step 3

Select any color as the front color and click on any box to see how its color changes. If you hold the click and move the cursor, the tool will draw all the squares it touches. You can even double-click on a square and it will paint all the squares. This is going to be very useful when we make the characters.

And that’s how you create and paint the “pixels”. If you want to erase any colored square, just select White as your front color and click on the square.

Creating Jason Voorhees

Now, for the fun part of the tutorial, let's start by creating Jason Voorhees. You know who he is, the guy who chased guests from Crystal Lake Camp with a machete in the Friday 13th movies.

The characters are easy to create if you look at the specific amount of “pixels” that I use for each part of them and follow. Each character will be divided into: Head, Torso, Legs and Shading except for this one, which will have a more detailed explanation.

Step 1

Let's start by creating the outline of the mask. For this we'll use black, and you can see in the image below the specific amount of squares that I used for this. The most important thing is that our character is symmetrical; if for the left side of the mask we used 5 “pixels”, for the right side we must use the same amount, so that the character looks good.

Step 2

Now let's fill the mask with the color #eadcc2. Then we'll paint two 3x3 black squares groups to create the mask’s eyes.

Step 3

To finish the head, we'll add the "holes" and red dots of Jason's famous hockey mask.

Step 4

Now for the torso, we'll draw Jason's jacket this way. Look at how many "pixels" I use.

Step 5

Then we'll add the hands like this.

Step 6

Finally for the torso, we'll color the different areas. For this we can double-click on each part and color it completely.

For the green use #006838, and the grey is #58595b.

Step 7

The bottom is pretty easy. First we'll create the pants like this:

Step 8

And then we'll draw the feet.

Step 9

Now let's color the pants with #929497 and the feet with #58595b.

Step 10

Now, Jason wouldn’t be Jason without his machete, right? So we need to give him one.

Use #929497 for the grey and #ed1c24 for the red.

Step 11

To finish Jason, let's add a little shading. First, we're going to turn off the guide lines, since we don't need them for this part. Then we'll change the color of the outlines to a darker tone than the color inside. For the jacket, the outline will be a darker green, for example.

And finally we'll add lighter shades in certain areas to create a little volume in our character. Take a look at what I did with the jacket and the mask to guide yourself.

Creating Freddy Krueger

In the 80's and 90's this guy was literally a nightmare. Now we're going to draw him in pixel art.

From now on, we'll divide the characters into 4 steps so as not to make the tutorial too extensive.

Step 1

First, let's draw his head. Of course, don’t forget to give him a hat!.

For the face, use #edbfaf for the skin and #be6a50 for the scars.

The brown on the hat is #6d462f

Step 2

Now let’s draw the torso. Actually, you can use the same body you used for Jason. That will save you some time.

Use #be1e2d and #009444 for the creepy green and red sweater.

Look carefully how I drew the razor-armed glove and use #6d462f, #f9ed32 and #a7a9ac for the brown, yellow and grey.

Step 3

For the legs, just use the same ones from Jason, and change the color of the pants to #6d462f

Step 4

Finally, let’s change the color of the outline and add a little shading to Freddy. This is how it should finally look!

Creating Pennywise

The scary clown from IT won’t haunt your dreams anymore when we draw him as pixel art.

Step 1

First, we'll draw his head. Look at how I did the hair, which will be a #ed1c24 color, same as the clown's nose.

For the face, use white and the eyes will be #eabc00

Step 2

You can use the same torso from Jason and Freddy, but use these colors.

#23b497 for the greenish tone, #69328d#401f54 for the purples and #eabc00#f15a29 for the suit.

Also, don’t forget to draw his balloon!

Step 3

The legs are very easy, just change the colors to the yellow and orange you used for the torso.

Step 4

Finally, let’s change the colors of the outlines and add a little shading to Pennywise. This is how it should finally look!

Creating Ghostface

This one wasn’t even that scary, but it was a good character and a terror icon. Ghostface will be really easy to draw as he is literally black and white.

Step 1 

First, we'll draw his head. Pay attention to the shape of the eyes and the hood on his head as it has a certain number of “pixels”.

Step 2

The torso is really easy too. Same body as the other characters, but black. Make sure to give him a bloodied knife!

Step 3

For the legs, use the same ones as before but make them black.

Step 4

We don’t have to change the outlines for Ghostface as he is wearing all black, however we can add some shading to him and it will end up looking like this!

Placing our characters on a background

Now we have our four characters, so it’s time export them and place them together on a nice background!

Step 1

To export the characters and remove the white background select the grid, go to Object > Live Paint > Expand.

Step 2

Now click one of the white squares and go to Select > Same > Fill Color and you will have all the white “pixels” selected. Just remove them and  the character ends up with no background. Repeat this for all the characters.

Step 3

Create a new document. The size will be 700 x 30 px.

Step 4

On this new document, create a 700x300 px rectangle, and go to Object > Path > Split into Grid. Then set the rows to 30 and the columns to 70 and you should have a grid of 10x10 “pixels”.

Step 5

After setting the grid to live paint via Object > Live Paint > Make, set the color to #35000 and fill the squares. Now just start painting the squares randomly with different tones of red, you don’t have to be too accurate here as the randomness will give a nice touch to the background.

Step 6

Now, just place the characters above the background and that’s it! Our favorite horror movie characters in pixel art!

What do you think of this tutorial?


7 months ago

Hello, any suggestions if you would like to work in larger sizes, for example 1080 x 1080 px? how much can I put in size, the size of 200 limits me in question of size, worth the redundancy help pls

Get ready for Halloween with this pixel art tutorial where we'll create the characters that terrified us when we were children. Only this time their pixelated versions created in Adobe Illustrator won't scare us quite so much.

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Beginner level 50m 7,231 views