Make Pixel Art Dolls

Pixel art dolls are pixelated figures, usually humans, which are often seen around the internet in dress-up games and such. This article will help you make your own pixel art dolls using MS Paint.


  1. Choose your painting program. Examples include MS Paint, Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and many others. For this tutorial we'll be using MS Paint, as it's installed on every Windows computer.
  2. Get yourself a base that you'll like to use for your doll. A base is a nude body, usually a person on which you'll draw clothes, shoes, hair, etc. A lot of dollars (people who make pixel dolls) offer these on their website, other great places to find them are Pixistar ( and DeviantArt ( When you have the base, load it in your graphics editing program of choice.
  3. Get a palette that you'll use to make the shading. A palette is a range of colors, dark to light, to create a sense of 3D and shading. Again, you can usually find these on doller's websites. Or you can make your own by taking five or six samples of different shades of the colors you'll be using.
  4. Get started with the hair. Use the darkest shade of the hair color to make the outline of it. Start with an easy hairstyle, or find an example of one on the web. If you mess up, you can undo by pressing Ctrl+Z.
  5. Fill in the rest of the hair with the third-darkest shade of the hair color from your palette. This will be your base, and the rest of the colors will later be used for shading.
  6. Select the second-darkest shade of hair color from your palette, and add in streaks of it where you see fit. Once you feel you've had enough of it, select the third-lightest shade and add in streaks of that as well. You don't need to have very many of these. Now, draw a halo-like circle over the hair with the second-lightest shade, and add in tiny bits of the lightest one into it. This is the light reflecting off the hair.
  7. Zoom out and repeat these steps on the rest of the clothing - find the darkest shade of each color, and use it to draw the outlines of the skirt, t-shirt and shoes. Again, start with something simple, or go online to browse for ideas.
  8. Color in the clothes and shade where you see fit. If they look too bland and boring, add in designs - stripes, bubbles, flowers, words, - make it original!


  • Look for other great tutorials online. Many dolling sites have posted their own tutorials. There are also many tutorials (as well as bases) posted at DeviantART.
  • Practice, practice, practice, practice. . .
  • Join forums - it's the best way to get help and find exclusive awesome bases.
  • Study other doll creators' styles to tone your skills and create your own style. Do not, however, copy their style exactly and claim it as your own. This is looked down upon by most.
  • Try to ask experienced dollars for tips


  • Be careful to follow the rules when using resources posted by others. Many doll websites offer bases and palettes, and it is usually okay for you to use those, but rules differ from website to website, so make sure you read them and follow them.
  • It's usually NOT okay to take parts from other people's finished dolls to make your own. This is known as Frankendolling in the community, and is considered art theft.
  • It is never okay to use someone's base commercially. If you can somehow gain real currency in any way by using another person's base, you may not use it without permission. This is theft.

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