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Let's draw some pixels

I've been getting into pixel art a lot lately. It appeals to me on a lot of levels.

The coder in me likes it because it's so precise. Every pixel is placed just so. The color palette is limited to a dozen colors. Building a drawing out of such limited means reminds me of building programs out of primitives. There are design patterns in pixel art: dithering, manual anti-aliasing. There are abstractions that work and abstractions that don't. There's a lot of goofing around with RGB values and transparency settings; it's perhaps the most deeply computer-based art form you could come up with, and as a deeply computer-based human, I really like it.

The gamer in me is still partly stuck in the early 90's, so it's a huge injection of nostalgia to look at pixel art. NES- and SNES-era games had a charm that is unmatched by anything since. And I don't think that's entirely nostalgia talking; I still play old games and they're still so much fun. And the art in a lot of those games was just darned good. If you stop and look at it really carefully, and start to get an understanding of how it was made, you can't help but be impressed.

The "artist" in me (if there is such a thing in my brain somewhere) is blown away by some of the things good pixel artists can produce. Go look at and try not to slobber. Some of this stuff just looks amazing. Not "good for a pixel drawing", but good on a level anyone could appreciate.

Pixel doodles are also good practice for the RPG my wife and I are still ever-so-slowly creating. Creating art and music for a game are turning out to be much harder work than programming it.

In any case, I drew a cow standing beside a tree. And I made a new pixel art page to house my admittedly still-amateurish drawings.

Cow Tree

August 10, 2010 @ 4:19 AM PDT
Cateogory: Art