Making Pixel Koans

Pixel Zendo koans may be created easily with any paint program. Suggested programs are


SDG automatically resizes image koans to 200x200 pixels which can result in grid lines that become blurred or even disappear when you upload your koans. Some image formats also do not look as crisp as others. Here are some tips for creating good-looking pixel koans:

  • Start with one of the koan templates below or copy a koan from another player.
  • Then just use the Fill tool ("paint bucket") in your paint software to quickly recolor the koan's pixels.
  • Make sure your image is 200x200 pixels before you upload it. If you start with a template with the grid size that you want, this should be automatic.
  • Save your image using a lossless image format such as PNG or GIF. This produces sharper looking koans than using JPEG.
  • When creating koans with non-square grids (such as 2x4), make your pixels square and leave extra space outside the grid.
  • If you use the templates for non-square grids, use a paint program that supports or preserves transparency so that the space outside the grid is invisible.
  • You may wish to keep copies of your koan images (and those of other players) so that you can reuse them in future games.


SDG user AnalogKid has generated a set of pixel koan templates that you can use to quickly create almost any koan needed. Square grids up to 11x11 are pictured below — just drag an image to your desktop or right-click to save one to your computer for editing.

A more complete set of koan templates including all square and non-square grid sizes up to 20x20 is available for download:

Pixel Koan templates (red gridlines)

Scripts are included in this package for generating other grid sizes too. The scripts require a Unix-like shell, Python, and NetPBM to run. These scripts are not particularly easy to use, so if you need a larger template feel free to send a request to AnalogKid who can create any size that you need. (99x99 is the largest size representable on SDG if grid lines are shown).

Koan Editor

How to use:

  1. Enter the size.
  2. Check the checkboxes.
  3. Click on the image to save it.
  4. If that doesn't work (maybe in some older/mobile browsers?) you can also right-click on the image and click "Save image as…".

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