Isometric pixel art character | Examples and How to create? 

Isometric Pixel Art

Isometric pixel art is a unique form of digital art that has gained popularity in recent years. It’s a technique that uses geometric shapes to create 3D objects in a 2D space.

Unlike regular drawings, isometric art doesn’t have a point where lines meet in the distance. This special feature lets artists make 3D shapes that show the whole form without changing the lengths based on how far away they seem.

Let’s look at what isometric pixel art is and how to create an isometric pixel art character

 Isometric pixel art character

The Process of Creating Isometric Pixel Art Characters

Creating characters in isometric pixel art is a complex process. In fact, choosing the right software is essential to make the process easy and enjoyable.

Here’s some advice:

  • Software Selection: Are you a beginner or an expert? Some tools are more user-friendly for beginners, while others offer advanced features for professionals.
  • Budget: Are you looking for free software or willing to invest in a premium tool? Your budget will significantly influence your choice.

Popular Tools for Isometric Pixel Art Characters:


Aseprite tool example for pixel characters
  • User Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Price: Affordable, ‎$19.99
  • Features: Aseprite is specifically designed for pixel art and offers a user-friendly interface. It has features like onion skinning, layering, and a robust color palette that are great for creating isometric characters.
  • Example: Many indie game developers prefer Aseprite for its simplicity and effectiveness.

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop for pixel characters example
  • User Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Price: Premium, subscription $20.99/month
  • Features: Photoshop offers more advanced features and is suitable for those looking to create highly detailed isometric characters. Its extensive toolset and plugins can be overwhelming for beginners but offer limitless possibilities for experienced artists.
  • Example: Professional artists and studios often use Photoshop for its versatility and integration with other Adobe products.

Free Alternatives:

  • GIMP: A free and open-source alternative to Photoshop. It’s suitable for those on a budget but still want a robust tool.
  • Piskel: A free online tool perfect for beginners looking to dabble in pixel art without any financial commitment.

Try Before You Buy – Many paid tools offer free trials or demo versions. Take advantage of these to test the software and see if it meets your needs.

We can see, that choosing the right software for creating Isometric Pixel Art Characters depends on your needs, skill level, and budget.

Aseprite is a fantastic option for those starting or on a budget, while Photoshop offers more advanced features for professionals.

Developer of Pixel art character

Grid Setup

Setting up the grid properly is a crucial step in creating Isometric Pixel Art Characters.

  • An isometric grid consists of lines forming equilateral triangles.
  • The angles between the lines are 120°, and the isometric projection requires a 26.565° tilt.
  • This setup allows for a 2:1 ratio, meaning every two horizontal pixels correspond to one vertical pixel.

Aligning the grid at 26.565° angles ensures that the pixels align correctly, giving the art its unique isometric perspective.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you set up the grid:

1. Setting Up the Grid in Aseprite:

  • Open Aseprite and create a new file.
  • Go to View > Grid > Grid Settings.
  • Set the Grid Width to 2 and the Grid Height to 1.
  • Rotate the canvas by 26.565° (this may require additional plugins or manual transformation).
  • Enable the grid by going to View > Grid > Show Grid.
Grid setting up in Aseprite

2. Setting Up the Grid in Adobe Photoshop:

  • Create a new file and select the Paint Bucket Tool.
  • Create a pattern by drawing two pixels horizontally and one pixel vertically, then define it as a pattern (Edit > Define Pattern).
  • Fill the canvas with the pattern.
  • Rotate the canvas by 26.565° (Edit > Transform > Rotate).
  • Enable the grid (View > Show > Grid) and adjust the settings to match the pattern.
Grid setting in photoshop

Use Guides: In addition to the grid, using guides can help maintain alignment. Look at existing isometric pixel art to understand how the grid aligns.

Zoom In: Zooming in will make it easier to see the grid and place pixels accurately.

Custom Brushes: Some artists create custom brushes that align with the isometric grid, speeding up the drawing process.

Practice: If the 26.565° angle feels unnatural, practice drawing simple shapes to get used to it.

Setting up the grid at 26.565° angles for Isometric Pixel Art Characters can seem complex, but with the right tools and understanding, it becomes a straightforward process.

Character Sketching: Outline the character’s shape.

Sketching the character is a fundamental step in creating Isometric Pixel Art Characters. You should start with these points:

  • Define the Character: Know what the character is, its role, and its features.
  • Consider the Perspective: Remember, isometric art has a unique 2:1 ratio, so consider this when sketching.

    Start with a Basic Outline:
  1. Use Simple Shapes: Begin with basic geometric shapes like circles, squares, and triangles to form the character’s body, head, arms, and legs.
  2. Maintain Proportions: Keep the proportions consistent with the isometric perspective.

Sketching in Aseprite:

  • Create a New Layer: This will allow you to sketch without affecting the grid or other elements.
  • Use the Pencil Tool: Select a contrasting color and sketch the basic outline.
  • Refine the Shape: Add details and refine the shape, always considering the isometric perspective.
The process of sketching in Aseprite tool

Sketching in Adobe Photoshop:

  • Use a New Layer: As with Aseprite, this keeps the sketch separate.
  • Sketch with the Brush Tool: Choose a small, hard brush for precision.
  • Refine with the Eraser Tool: You can refine the shape by erasing and redrawing as needed.
Pixel art photoshop 2d example

Tips and Practical Advice:

  • Keep It Simple: At this stage, focus on the overall shape rather than intricate details.
  • Use References: If you’re drawing a known object or character, have a reference image handy.
  • Consider the Final Pose: Think about how the character will be posed in the final piece and sketch accordingly.

Look at how other artists sketch and outline their characters. Try sketching different characters and poses to get a feel for the process.

Detailing: Add features like eyes, clothing, etc.

Coloring and Shading: Apply colors to add depth.

Benefits of Isometric Pixel Art

Isometric pixel art offers several advantages:

Unique Aesthetic Appeal

  • Offers a fresh and engaging visual experience.
  • Stands out from traditional 2D art.


  • Suitable for various platforms and media.
  • Adaptable to different artistic styles.


  • Requires fewer resources compared to full 3D modeling.
  • Allows for quicker development and iteration.

Challenges in Isometric Pixel Art

While isometric pixel art offers many benefits, it also presents some challenges:

  • Alignment Issues: Ensuring proper alignment can be tricky.
  • Complexity: Creating detailed characters requires skill and patience.
Isometric pixel character example

Isometric character sprite

Creating an isometric character sprite means making a 2D picture that looks like a 3D object. It needs careful planning and the right steps to get the look you want. You might use tools like Aseprite or Photoshop to do this. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Sketch the Basic Shape: Start by drawing the basic shape of the character.
  2. Align the Grid: Make sure the grid lines are at the right angles to help you draw.
  3. Add Features and Details: Put in the things that make the character look real and alive.

Isometric character sprite is liked by game makers and artists because it looks deep and full in a flat space. If you follow the tips in this article, you can make an isometric character sprite that looks good and is done the right way. Whether you’re just starting or have done this before, this article will help you get better at making an isometric character sprite.

Character moving grid pixel art

Final Thoughts on Isometric Pixel Art

Isometric pixel art can be a bit boring at first, but with practice, it becomes second nature. It’s a great choice for turn-based strategy games, but may not be suitable for platformers due to the perspective simulation.

  • Accuracy: Make sure things are properly spaced and lined up along 2-step lines.
  • Start Small: Begin with small projects and gradually take on more complex scenes.

The Magic of Isometric Pixel Art

Isometric pixel art is more than just a visual style; it’s a creative expression that combines geometry, design, and imagination. From game graphics to architectural drawings, it offers endless possibilities.

By understanding the basics and practicing the techniques, anyone can create stunning isometric pixel art. The key is to start small, be accurate, and let creativity flow.

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