Making pixel art!

June 11, 2017

This was a rare time that I felt musically drained. I couldn't get past the blank page. Instead, a very visceral image popped into my head that captured the feeling of losing something important. The image was a little house on a hill in a blaze of fire at dusk. It was a moment of longing for things to be simpler, and a realization that I couldn't go back. 


I decided to try to capture this image with a piece of pixel art. I had never done pixel art before, but after playing Hyperlight Drifter, I realized pixel art could be a very artistically evocative form of visual art. Plus, an undo button was appealing when working on an image.


Every pixel I placed felt deeply cathartic. As the sky and the grass took form, the colors fell into place. This was my first version:

 It felt amazing to have created this image from my head. I received some really helpful feedback on the picture saying that I needed to limit my color pallet and to remember that the fire is the biggest light source in the image. With that in mind, I made the grass and the smoke reflect the lighting. I limited the number of colors I used, and I cleaned up the holes in the image. This is my second version:

 The door was no longer that sickly yellow, and now a more welcoming brown wood color. The fire had been limited down to only had 4 colors, and the lighting in the smoke helped sell the picture as being set at dusk, rather than having sunlight illuminate the smoke from the side.


A realization I had was I didn't hold any expectations over myself when I created this artwork. I could be happy with it not looking perfect. Perhaps why I felt so musically drained was because I was in a place of extreme self critique. I held myself to a different standard when creating music and so creating pixel art was so freeing.


Brian Mowat

June 11th, 2017

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