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Is Pixel Art Easier Than Drawing? My Experience with Pixel Art

Pixel art is a creative and unique art form that can give you a new way to showcase your skills. If pixel art is brand new to you and you’re more familiar with drawing, you may be wondering how much of a learning curve you’re in for. Is pixel art easier than drawing?

Pixel art is not necessarily harder or easier than drawing; both art forms simply require different sets of skills. Any type of art will be challenging at first, since it’s unfamiliar. Pixel art requires practice but, with time, can be a fun art form to pursue.

I’m a longtime artist, but newbie to pixel art. I decided to give pixel art a try and see if any of my existing drawing and art skills would naturally transfer over.


Other artists may have a different experience, but I didn’t find that any of my previous art skills benefitted me when trying my hand at pixel art. 

For my first jump into pixel art, I used Piskel. It’s a free pixel art platform with an intuitive interface that let me quickly and easily try pixel art.

And, what did I discover? To be honest, pixel art was HARD! 

flower in pixel art
My first attempt at pixel art

Firstly, I struggled to form the shapes. Circles? Yeah, I thought that drawing perfect circles was hard enough with paper and pencil. When you only have square pixels to work with, it gets a lot harder. My brain couldn’t figure it out.

Secondly, I couldn’t figure out how to connect shapes. With each pixel being the same size, I had to be strategic to make sure that the pixels for each shape lined up correctly.

Lastly, what the heck am I supposed to do with shading?! As an artist who usually relies heavily on blending, I quickly realized that my familiar ways of shading wouldn’t work with pixel art. 

Instead, I would have to learn an entirely new skill of strategically changing and placing colors to give the appearance of shading and shadows. 

In short, it didn’t take me long to realize that pixel art was going to be more of a challenge than I first expected. 

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While pixel art was challenging for me, I wouldn’t definitively say that pixel art is easier or harder than drawing. They’re just different. 

I have many years of experience with drawing and I remember the days when drawing was an extreme challenge for me. Yet, with lots of time and practice, drawing got easier.

I’m a newbie to pixel art and haven’t put in the same time and practice into it that I have with drawing. So, yes, pixel art is challenging for me, but that’s what I should expect. 

If you’re personally wondering if pixel art will be easier than drawing for you, assess your current art skills. What comes easier to you right now? What’s more challenging?

For me, the type of drawing that I’m most comfortable with is VERY different from pixel art. My skills with realistic pencil portraits don’t translate to pixel art very well.

procreate drawing of dog
This is the type of art I’m used to, which is very different from pixel art

On the other hand, if you’re more skilled with color, line art, and cartooning, pixel art might come easier to you.

You might also have a better chance of picking up pixel art more quickly if you learn the basics first. While I jumped in head first, I’m well aware that I would have fared better had I taken a class or researched the fundamental skills I would need.

Luckily, pixel art resources are easy to come by. There are a lot of great tutorials on YouTube and some phenomenal classes on Skillshare. 

In the end, pixel art was not easy for me. There’s no doubt that it’s an art form, like any art form, that requires practice and dedication. Try out pixel art for yourself and see what you think! It could be a fun art form to add to your repertoire of skills.

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