Micro Challenge #19 – Drawing with pixels

18 May 2020 - 2 minute read

Welcome to the nineteenth of Altitude Foundation’s #MicroChallenges2020

Today’s challenge will draw out the artist in you (pun intended)

What’s a Micro Challenge?

These challenges are short activities to help you develop, revise or refresh your coding skills, posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Micro Challenge #19

This week, our Micro Challenges are on an arty theme. To create images, computers use pixels – tiny squares which, on modern screens, are only visible when you get very close. However on older devices, like the 8-Bit devices from the 1980s, the pixels were far more visible (you can read more about 8-Bit aesthetics making a comeback here).

Pixels are arranged in a grid and images are created based on their coordinates. See, for example, this grid.

This grid could be described as:

Black: (0,1); (0,3); (1,0); (2,0); (2,2): (3,0); (4,1); (4,3).

However, I could also describe it as:

START: (0,1) → Y+2 → X+2, Y-1 → X-1, Y-2 → 2(X+1) → X+1, Y+1 → Y+2 → STOP

The Challenge:

Using a 10 x 10 grid (see below), create either a coordinate list or an algorithm for the following:

  • A diagonal line
  • A triangle
  • A star (design of your choosing)

Review it:

  • Could someone else draw your shape onto the grid, following your instructions?
  • Is there an advantage to one way of presenting the pixel pattern over the other? Why or why not?


  • Create your own image and write up the coordinates or algorithm. Can a friend/family member guess what it is?
  • Use the MakeCode editor to create random patterns by designing a programme which changes the coordinates randomly

Share it

We would love to see what you have created! Please send any pictures, videos, or files of your activities to us – either via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram  using #MicroChallenges2020 or to challenges@altitudefoundation.org. If you are emailing them to us, please let us know if you are happy for us to share your stuff on our social media platforms (with credit, of course).

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