Young adult programs

Pixel Art

Length of Program

2 hours.

Program Description

Computer art has various forms, including 3-D rendered art, fractals, enhanced photography, animation, mixed media, computer-painted and computer-drawn art, etc. The program provides opportunities for teens to explore computer-developed and computer manipulated art.


This high technology art form sounds more complicated than it is. In some cases, Photoshop or similar graphics programs are needed, so be sure to check out the software before deciding how to present this program. Low-tech and freeware alternatives are available in most cases. If you do not have technology support in the library, check with a local computer store, community college, or graphics business.

Invite a photographer to demonstrate how to use a digital camera and get the best results. Have the teens take photographs or scan them onto a diskette. Then allow the teens to manipulate their images either on the library’s computers or on their own computers. Print out the art to display in the library. Schedule the library’s computers for a contest for the teens. Host an art show and award ribbons and prizes for creativity, humor, originality, etc.

Ask for recommendations at local colleges, high schools, and computer businesses and photography stores presenters who can demonstrate other computer art techniques to the teens. Display books and create a list of links to Web sites that encourage computer creativity.


Legos Architecture

Legos™ is a three-dimensional form of pixel art. Purchase or borrow sets of Legos and hold a design contest. Invite local architects or engineers to judge the best designs.

Web Work

Let the teens explore available freeware and graphic art Web sites. Reserve your library’s computer lab or a bank of computers for this program. In advance, explore Web sites with tutorials such as Pixelfreak at and Pixel.Nascimpact at Select one for your teens to use as an introduction to the program. Bookmark these Web sites on each of the computers that will be used during the program. Also bookmark other sites that teens will view during this program, such as Pixelfest at that has many excellent examples of pixel art. Let the teens complete the tutorials and begin to create original pixel art.

Limitation: The number of computers available for use will limit attendance but the program can also be repeated as long as the links are bookmarked on the computers.

Books to Display

  • Careers in Computer Graphics and Animation by Garth Gardner.
  • Digital Fantasy Painting: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Visionary Art on Your Computer by Michael Burns.
  • Mind-Sharpening Pixel Puzzles: Visual Challenges for the Logical Mind by Conceptis Staff.
  • Painting with Pixels: How to Draw With Your Computer by Alister Dabbs.
  • Perplexing Pixel Puzzles: Visual Challenges for the Logical Mind by Conceptis Staff.

Books to Booktalk

  • The Art of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones by Mark Cotta Vaz.
  • Christmas Adventure of Space Elf Sam by Audrey Wood and Bruce Robert Wood.
  • Dinosaur Hunt: Texas-115 Million Years Ago by Karen Carr.
  • Let There Be Life! Animating with the Computer by Christopher Baker.
  • Making Up Megaboy by Virginia Walter.

Web-based Activities

This free software allows kids to create their own t-shirt designs and open their own online store. Created by Austin computer guru, Alan Watts, the program is simple to use and does not require downloading onto the library computer.

A self described “pixelated playground,” this Web site has pixilated video games, pixilated desktops, icons, and fonts that are downloadable, and beta test pixel video games created by the Pixelhugger webmaster and friends.

Players use 15” by 15” black and white squares to create an animated online animal. Requires no special software or downloading.

Web Sites

Museum of Computer Art

So You Want to Be in Pixels

Video to Display

A Bug’s Life. (95 minutes)


16color is a free-ware computer program available at It is simple to use and was developed by Austinite Alan Watts. It allows users to create animated film clips on the Internet.


Tesselmania Deluxe.



Professional Resources

Kids' Computer Creations: Using Your Computer for Art and Craft Fun by Carol Sabbeth.


Texas Reading Club 2004 Programming Manual / Color Your World...Read!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011