When people hear the word pixel art, they probably imagine the graphics from the 8-bit and 16-bit video games of yesteryear. Today, while there still are a great variety indie games utilizing the old school style, there are also those that have given the term ‘pixel art’ a whole new meaning. Fans of the retro have created works of art in various mediums depicting some of their favorite characters in everything from minimalistic paintings, to graphic art, bead mosaics, wood block, jewelry, and everything in between. Are you a fan of video games and looking for a quick and fun project for the weekend or just want to decorate your place in pixel art? Well here are a couple of projects to get you started.
1. Bead Sprites
You probably remember these colorful little beads from when you were a kid in grade school. They’re called perler beads, hama beads, or just fuse beads. You put them on a little peg board and then apply heat with an iron to make the beads melt and stick together. Nowadays these beads are just as popular with adults in the pixel art community who are using these fuse beads to create some of their favorite retro video game characters. People are turning their finished pieces into everything from necklaces, to magnets, coasters, or wall decorations. The options are endless. Below is a video tutorial showing you how to create a set if Galaga sprites. For all other bead sprites, the process is pretty much the same. Get some beads, find a pattern, and go to work.
And of course if you don’t want to make them yourself, there are artists that would be more than happy to make your favorite
characters for you. A great example is Pixel Art Paradise.
2. Pixel Painting
picture courtesy of metheofficegamergirl.com
Of course you could just make digital pixel art, but that’s not nearly as challenging and has more limitations. Tear yourself away from the computer for a minute. There’s something special about picking up a paint brush and mixing just the right colors to make your painting pop. Whether it’s acrylic, water-colour, pastels, or whatever you’re into, pixel painting is a fun, if time-consuming, activity. To get started take your canvas or paper and draw a grid back ground on it. Fill in each square with color until you have the result you’re looking for. Pixel art paintings look great framed, as poster prints, or just by themselves. Try mixing styles too by combining pixel elements with other painting techniques for something really unique.
3. Wood Block Pixel Sculptures
picture courtesy of 8bitwood.com
If you’ve got a lot of scrap wood lying around or are just looking for a more affordable alternative to tangible pixel art, then maybe wood blocks might be an option. Various pixel artists are taking blocks of wood and gluing them together to make unique pixel decor for people’s offices and homes. Since you’ll be using wood blocks expect these pieces to be much larger in size compared to their bead counterparts. Some artists prefer to paint their blocks the different colours they need while others prefer the rustic look of natural wood grain. How cool would this invader look as a wall clock?