Sprites are an integral part of the design and visual aesthetics of many classic and modern 2D video games. For kids who are coding their own games, they’ll want to learn how to make a sprite.

Games are usually made up of a lot of individual sprites. They are unique in every game and express the artistic side of game development. Students can get creative with drawing their own sprites in our kids coding classes.

Let’s walk through how to make a sprite.

What is a sprite?

A sprite is a 2D graphic or image that represents a character, object, or element within a video game.

sword sprite pixels
fire sprite pixels
Bird sprite pixels

The use of sprites originated with arcade video games. They were used to produce screen images more efficiently and meet technical limitations. Developers today use sprites because they are small in file size and easy to produce compared to 3D models. 

Sprites make up the visual components of a game like the characters, enemies, items, and other interactive elements. They are often animated to create the illusion of movement and bring visual elements to life. This makes a game experience more engaging and fun. 

An example of sprites are the main characters in popular 2D games like Mario and Sonic. The background images, like the questions mark boxes in Mario and the gold coins in Sonic, are also sprites. 

How to Make a Sprite

Scratch is a simple and free way for kids to make a sprite for their game. 

We use Scratch to teach fundamental concepts in our coding classes because it’s one of the easiest platforms for beginners and kids. It’s quick to get started and has its own library of sprites and game characters for those who don’t want to start from scratch.

how to make a sprite bird

There are also many other ways to make a sprite including SpriteLab, Photoshop, and Piskel. 

Kids can choose whichever app they like best to draw their game sprites.

Steps to Make a Sprite in Scratch

Step 1 – Create a new project in Scratch

To get started, create a new project in Scratch. We will draw the sprite in this new project.

Create a new project in Scratch
Name the project new sprite

Step 2 – Select the “Paint” option to create a sprite

In Scratch, kids can choose from 4 different ways to make a sprite:

Adding sprites in scratch

We are going to use the “Paint” option in Scratch to make the sprite.

Paint a sprite

Scratch Paint Interface

Now, we are in the Scratch painting interface. The paint tool can be used to create new sprites and edit sprites from the Scratch library.

scratch painting interface

Scratch Paint Tools

FillSelect the fill color.
OutlineSelect the outline color.
Outline sizeSelect the outline size in pixels.
SelectSelect objects on the canvas.
ReshapeReshape objects on the canvas.
BrushDraw on the canvas.
EraserErase objects on the canvas.