Should I Make Pixel Art?


Very early monday morning I randomly woke up after about four hours sleep & I couldn’t fall back to sleep. I can’t remember what I dreamt about but it made me think about the disparity between all the things I want to create (games, art, comics/manga, stories, etc) & my current creative abilities. I wish I could just materialize ideas like I do in my dreams, but I know that in reality it takes a good deal of time & dedication to do a single idea well.

This made me think of creating pixel art (I’ll explain why further below). When I found that simply writing a note to look up tutorials wasn’t enough to ease my mind, I thought to myself “I’ll go make a sprite”. Boot up my computer, open GIMP, find some Final Fantasy 1 sprites for reference, & about an hour later I’ve made a 16×16 JRPG NES style blue wizard. It was pretty straightforward to make, but then again sprites don’t get much simpler than this. I was on a roll & went for a Wonderswan Colour version as well.

My two blue wizards in NES & Wonderswan Colour.

My two blue wizards in NES & Wonderswan Colour styles.

The sprites I used for reference.

The sprites I used for reference.

I didn’t copy & paste or edit over the original sprites; just the pencil, colour picker, & eraser tools were used. I don’t know the actual colour values for the NES & Wonderswan colour palettes so I’ve made do with the colours used by the original sprites.

These were done pretty quickly, but that’s mostly because I was mimicking existing sprites. I believe the process for making art typically goes something like: initial sketch, lines, base colours, lighting & shadows, then details. I imagine the original artists would have spent hours just playing around with pixels & colours to get it right. As for me, I wouldn’t want to try anything bigger than 32×32 at this stage.

Why have I suddenly made pixel art? Simply put, art is something I’ve been thinking about getting back into recently. I used to do a lot of drawing when I was younger. I recall that I was pretty decent for my age (I probably would have become a graphic designer if I wasn’t so swayed by games & computers), but I’ve fallen out of practice since high school. Learning to make games has been my main free time, non-lazy, focus; so much so that I’ve only done art if it pertains to a project in some way.

At first I thought of practising sketching but recently I’ve been thinking of learning pixel art instead. It makes a lot of sense to me:

  • I’m aspiring to make games so I’ll need artwork for it. It’ll also help me work better with game artists.
  • I could use it to make comics. I think of myself as a visual storyteller more than a literature writer so it could be a medium I’m more suited for.
  • It might help me get my sketching skills back.
  • It’s a new way of expressing myself.

The only real issue is taking the time to do it. I’m already slow enough as it is with my game projects (a mix of stuck & procrastination at the moment) so I don’t know if I’ll actually commit to this. Its a cool thing to be able to do, but I need to earn the ability first.

Thanks to for having Final Fantasy 1 sprite pages. I would have posted this yesterday but my tired brain stopped working partway through writing. I don’t know if I’ll be doing any more sprites in the near future.

To any artists reading this, any advice you’re willing to give will be much appreciated (also thank you for taking the time to read this & being awesome).


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