I am going to show you how to make a piece of pixel art out of stained wood. The organic nature of the wood adds a nice touch to the blockiness of the pixel sprite. In this example I am going to make a sprite from Zelda on the NES, but these same techniques can be used to create any sprite.
This Instructable will show you how I make a Link sprite...If you like it you should check out more pieces I've made at 8bitwood.com
Step 1: Tools and Materials needed
In order to make the stained wood pixel piece of your dreams you will need:
-wood for the pixels (I use select Pine from the local Home Depot)
-A table saw in case you need to rip the wood down to a smaller width
-A planar to make sure every strip of wood is identical
-A chopsaw to cut the pixels
-Clamps...a big help for cutting the blocks and gluing them together
-foam brushes for the stain as well as sealant
-sealant! I use a high gloss finish
-Wood glue. I use Titebond II wood glue
-A nice big straightedge for the gluing process
-Time and Patience...You're going to be cutting a LOT of blocks of wood...make sure you are mentally prepped!
One of the first things you need to do is create a template plan of the sprite you want to create. Here I have an image of Link from Zelda on a grid. I just went into photoshop and gridded out the sprite based on images from the game. You will notice that I use this pattern to figure out how many of each colored block I need as well as planning out the grain pattern. I like to create a checkerboard pattern with the wood grain because I think it makes the piece more interesting.
Once you have your pattern and know exactly how many blocks you need you can move onto the next step.