I want to make pixel art, let say 32x32 using a higher resolution image as guide. I can create the 32x32 layer on top of the image, but I cannot scale it so it covers the original image. resize layer changes the resolution.

is this possible ? thanks

  • No. It's not possible in GIMP. You might want to look at specialist pixel art software such as Asperite which allows you to use a reference image layer: see here for example which would do what you want.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 25, 2023 at 10:25

1 Answer 1


No, you can't use a lower resolution layer.

What you can do is:

  • Use a square brush which is the right size (for instance 4x4px if your higher resolution image is 4x bigger)
  • Make sure that you use the Pencil tool (and not the Paintbrush)
  • Perhaps set the Image Grid to the same size as the brush so that your strokes are aligned.

And when you are done, scale down your image 4x using "Interpolation: None":

enter image description here

The other solution is of course to first scale down your guide image, and work at the pixel resolution with the needed zoom factor.

Edit: Complements for using the Grid:

  • Obviously you have to set View > Snap to grid
  • The grid is where the center of the brush will snap, but can be off by one of the brush has an odd size. However, when you define the grid, you can set an offset to compensate for this.
  • "Snapping" distance is in display pixels, not image pixels, so if you zoom in you may click outside of the snapping radius of the grid elements. You can increase the snapping distance in Edit > Preferences > Image Windows > Snapping
  • thank you ! I tried that, but the pixels are not aligned to grid. tried snap to grid and align to grid, no result
    – Mariano DM
    Mar 25, 2023 at 22:32
  • See augmented answer
    – xenoid
    Mar 25, 2023 at 23:22

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