I'm interested in working as an artist in the game industry. Many job postings contain the phrase "pixel art". What exactly is pixel art?
This is the kind of question that's better answered with google. Pixel art is game art that is very restricted - you are literally using pixels to draw something, so they end up having a very boxy look. (Though a lot of pixel art now is done on a much larger scale and then made to look like it's been edited pixel by pixel.)
You can see in the bottom right of this image the actual size of the art, and then the larger left portion what it looks like zoomed in. Lines and shading are implied by individual pixels put in a particular colour. (An outline, for example, is achieved by making all the pixels along the outside edge black.)
As a quick search will tell you, pixel art is digital artwork that is created by drawing individual pixels in an image rather than say, rendering a 3D model. It commonly refers to clean, cartoonish graphics reminiscent of old 2D video games.
This forum is a pretty good place to get a good idea, because they also have a forum for "low spec art", which you can compare to their "pixel art" forum and see the difference.
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According to Wikipedia,
Pixel art is a form of digital art, created through the use of software, where images are edited on the pixel level. The aesthetic for this kind of graphics comes from 8-bit and 16-bit computers and video game consoles, in addition to other limited systems such as graphing calculators. In most pixel art, the color palette used is extremely limited in size, with some pixel art using only two colors.
In further detail, most pixel art creators are trying to imitate the look of video games from the 80's, because it gives a "retro" feel, due to consoles of the day only being able to render images in small sizes, such as 8x8 tiles. Additionally, some pixel artists limit the amount of colors in their assets, in order to imitate the color limitations of old technology, as stated in Wikipedia.