Beginner’S Guide To Pixelart Pattern Design: Creating Seamless Designs

Pixel art patterns are a fun and creative way to add retro video game inspired backgrounds, textures, and designs to digital art and projects. Unlike continuous digital images, pixel art uses individually placed blocks of color, similar to mosaic tiles or needlepoint. This gives pixel art its signature blocky, pixelated look.

When these pixel art designs tile together seamlessly, they create ready-to-use repeating patterns. With the right planning and techniques, you can create custom pixel art patterns for websites, mobile games, printable project templates, and more.

Learning to design your own seamless pixel art patterns has many benefits. You can create patterns in any color palette, style, and complexity you’d like. The retro pixel aesthetic gives projects a nostalgic, 8-bit gaming vibe. Pixel art is also highly customizable and scalable, working well at any resolution. And since patterns repeat, you only need to design a small section rather than a full background image.

This beginner’s guide will walk you through the entire process of planning, sketching, and finalizing an original seamless pixel art pattern from start to finish using just a pencil, paper, eraser, and graph paper. Let’s get started!

Needed Supplies

When getting started with pixel art, having the right tools and software is key. Many pixel artists recommend using a graphics tablet over a mouse, as it gives you more control and capabilities. Some popular graphics tablets include those made by Wacom, Huion, and XP-Pen (Source).

For software, there are many great options to choose from. Aseprite is a common choice used by professionals due to its excellent pixel art capabilities (Source). Other top options include Piskel, Krita, GIMP, and GrafX2. Most of these programs are free or low cost, making them accessible for beginners.

Some other supplies that are good to have include a sketchpad, reference images, and color swatches. Starting with the basics allows you to get a feel for pixel art fundamentals before moving into digital work.

PixelArt Basics

Pixel art is a form of digital art where images are created and edited at the pixel level. Pixels, short for picture elements, are the smallest individual units that make up a digital image (Pixel Art Fundamentals: Introduction to 2D Game Pixel Art).

When creating pixel art, artists work within strict color palettes and small canvas sizes to render intricate designs and details pixel-by-pixel. The limited resolution forces artists to carefully consider each pixel and creates a retro, lo-fi aesthetic (Learn How to Make Pixel Art: Tutorial with Tips & Tools).

Some key aspects of pixel art include:

  • What is a pixel: The smallest unit that makes up a digital image.
  • Color palettes: Pixel artists use limited color palettes, often 16 colors or less.
  • Canvas size: Pixel art is usually created at low resolutions like 32×32, 64×64, or 128×128 pixels.
  • Common techniques: Dithering, anti-aliasing, shadows, highlights, and more help add depth and detail.

Mastering pixel art takes practice, but the limited nature of it allows artists to focus on small details and crisp, clean designs.

Planning Your Design

example sketches of pixel art pattern designs
Planning is crucial before starting any pixel art pattern project. Here are some tips for the planning process:

Brainstorm Ideas

First, brainstorm different ideas for the pattern. Think about the overall theme, objects, shapes or textures you want to include. Some themes for pixel art patterns include: nature, geometric, retro, pixel food and more. Sketch out some quick thumbnail drawings to visualize different concepts.

Create Sketches

Once you have an idea, start sketching out how the pattern design will look. Make the sketches larger than the final pattern will be so it’s easier to add detail. Sketch light guidelines in pencil so you can erase parts and modify as needed.

Choose Colors

Pick a color palette that matches your theme. Limit the palette to 2-4 colors for simplicity. Remember the colors will be the actual pixels so choose hues that have enough contrast. Plan where each color will go in the pattern.

Drawing the Base Shape

The base shape is the foundation of your pixel art pattern design. When drawing it, focus on creating clean, simple shapes to start. According to this guide, beginners should stick to basic geometric shapes like squares, circles, and triangles.

Keep in mind that complex shapes with lots of curves and angles may look nice, but will be harder to seamlessly tile. Save the complexity for when you add details later. Starting simple allows you to focus on technique.

Use pixel brushes that are only a few pixels wide to maintain crisp edges. Work slowly and deliberately to create smooth lines and consistent shapes. Don’t worry about perfection at this point, as you’ll refine things further along in the process. The key is establishing a solid base that sets up your pattern for seamless tiling success.

Adding Details

Adding the right amount of details is crucial for creating a visually interesting pixel art pattern without making it too noisy or cluttered. Here are some tips on choosing the number of details to include in your design:

  • Start simple – only add a few key details at first, like spikes on a leaf or squares on a geometric shape.
  • Focus details towards the center or key areas of interest in the pattern.
  • Odd numbers of details usually look best – 3 spikes versus 2, 5 squares versus 4.
  • Limit details on smaller pattern elements so they don’t get lost visually.
  • Build up details gradually, test rendering periodically. It’s easier to add than remove.
  • Pay attention to negative space. Don’t overcrowd the pattern.

When detailing your pixel art, it’s crucial to keep your linework clean. Here are some techniques to help:

  • Use straight single pixel lines rather than jagged edges whenever possible.
  • Avoid “jaggies” by using diagonal lines instead of purely vertical/horizontal.
  • Use round shapes instead of hard corners and angles.
  • Connect lines cleanly rather than leaving 1-pixel gaps.
  • Smooth jagged edges with anti-aliasing when possible.

Following these tips will help you add the perfect amount of crisp, clean details to your pixel art pattern.

Testing Seamlessness

Once you have finished detailing your pixel art pattern, it’s crucial that you test it for seamlessness before finalizing the design. This involves exporting the pattern and seeing how it tiles or repeats across a surface. Here are some tips for testing seamlessness:

Export The Pattern

Export your pixel art pattern design into a standard image format like PNG or JPG. Make sure to export just the repeating pattern portion, not the entire canvas.

Test In Different Tile Sizes

To thoroughly test for seamlessness, bring the exported pattern file into an image editing program and tile it in different dimensions like 100×100 pixels, 500×500 pixels, etc. Zoom in closely at the edges where tiles meet. If there are any gaps, inconsistencies or sharp transitions, then the pattern needs fixing.

Look For Issues

Look for common seamlessness issues like colors not aligning perfectly, pixels not transitioning smoothly between tile edges, shifts in the pattern alignment, gaps where pixels fail to line up, etc. Any seam lines or inconsistencies will be clearly visible when tiled.

Fix Problem Areas

If you spot any issues with your tiled pattern, take note of the specific locations. Then go back into your original pixel art file and tweak those areas so that the pattern lines up properly. Re-export and re-test until all seams are smooth.

Taking the time to thoroughly test for seamless tiling will result in a high quality and usable pattern for projects. Only finalize the design once you can tile it without any visible seams between pattern repeats.

Finalizing the Pattern

Once you have a complete pattern design, it’s time to finalize it before exporting. Here are some tips for finishing touches:

Balancing Colors

Take a look at the overall color palette and make sure there is enough contrast between colors. You want there to be visual interest, but avoid colors clashing. Try lightening or darkening certain pixels to improve the balance.

Checking for Errors

Carefully scan the entire pattern, pixel by pixel, to check for any errors or inconsistencies. Zoom in close to spot tiny mistakes. Make sure there are no stray pixels and that the pattern connects seamlessly on all sides.


When ready, export your pattern as a PNG file with transparency. Make sure to choose the appropriate resolution for your needs – higher for print jobs or lower for web. You may need to test a few variations to find the ideal export settings.

With attention to detail and care taken in the finalization process, your custom pixel art pattern will be ready to use in creative projects and designs.

Using Your Pattern

Once you’ve created your seamless pixel art pattern, there are many different ways you can use it.


One of the most common uses for pixel art patterns is printing them on physical products. For example, you could:

  • Print your pattern on fabric to make clothes, pillows, blankets, curtains, etc.
  • Use your pattern as a wrapping paper or gift bag design.
  • Print stickers, notebooks, mugs, or other merchandise featuring your pattern.

When printing your pattern, be sure to use a high resolution version of your artwork so it doesn’t get pixelated or blurry.


You can also use your pixel art pattern as part of a website design. For example:

  • Use it as a background image on your website.
  • Incorporate it into interface elements like buttons, banners, etc.
  • Feature your pattern on your online portfolio.

When using your pattern digitally, be sure to save a web-optimized version of the file to keep load times fast.


In addition to printing, pixel art patterns work great for all kinds of merchandise designs like:

  • Apparel – t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, etc.
  • Phone cases and skins
  • Stickers and decals
  • Posters and prints

Pixel art patterns are versatile for any type of print or merch application. Get creative with products you can design!

Next Steps

After you’ve mastered the basics of creating seamless pixel art patterns, there are many additional skills you can develop to take your artwork to the next level:

Other Techniques to Try

Once you feel comfortable with the core principles of pattern design, experiment with other techniques like:
– Using more colors

– Incorporating symmetry
– Adding shading for depth
– Animating patterns

– Designing repeating characters or scenes


Animating your pixel art patterns can bring them to life. Carefully add frame-by-frame changes to make elements move, blink, or transform. Keep animations subtle and seamless. Export the finished animation as a GIF.

Building a Portfolio

Assemble your best pattern designs into an online portfolio. This will allow you to conveniently showcase your work and abilities. Link to your portfolio from your social media profiles and sites like Behance. Consider offering printable downloads or merchandise featuring your patterns.