I titled this month April Fool’s Month, to extend the first day of April to a whole month of pranks and fun. It was also the month Elon Musk tried to buy Twitter, with the premise that “free speech” would be his overall theme for changing the social media service.
Like so many with me, I’ve weaned myself from Twitter (and Facebook). The only exceptions for me are the Pixel_Dailies account, and daily theme bot PD_Theme. Those accounts kept me there for my daily pixel art prompt. My reasoning was that if I want to improve my pixel art, I should do it more often. Spending many hours every day on pushing pixels in the Pixaki app on my regular (non-pro) iPad would certainly do that!
Judging from the 30 pixel art drawings below, I think I reached a next skill level. More importantly, I kept at it. All too often with previous challenges I gave up, didn’t take it seriously anymore, because that it the easy way to deal with a challenge. In the past month I regularly had to give myself a talking to motivate myself to pick up the iPad and start drawing.
If Twitter eventually changes into a place I no longer can identify with, there are other avenues for art prompts, specifically for pixel art. And if even that wouldn’t work, I can always go back to drawing with a pencil on paper.
Now I’ve tasted a modicum of success, I want more!
I also discovered why artists keep their intermediate steps to themselves. It spoils the surprise. Presentation is an important part of enjoying art, so the artist needs to make it as impactful as possible. I certainly am a novice when it comes to presenting my art.
Then there’s learning the tricks of the trade, art as a skill, instead of a vision. As usual, there are many approaches, and not every approach suits every artist. However, the human vision system is as it is, and using it to the artist’s advantage is a basic ability every artist worth their efforts should apply to their art.
Pixel art is limited by its small size, so placing pixels of the correct color in a meaningful pattern is rather important, if not crucial to the art form. It makes it highly suggestive and imaginative, and that is especially why it appeals to me. The tedium of likeness of more traditional art can bore the art maker so that they try to find stylistic shortcuts to avoid it, leaving out details the eye expects and can infer from what’s already there. Room for interpretation by the beholder is as old as the cave paintings of the Stone Age. Pixel art is no different in that respect. Still, there’s a lot to learn here for me.
There are certainly art styles, personal and cultural preferences of how to implement an artistic vision, as I discovered, but I haven’t scratched the surface on those either. Since I couldn’t find much publicly available in writing about pixel art style specifically, I guess I have to use insights of art teachers and critics in other art disciplines. There certainly are lesson plans available, but those are mostly restricted to a (local) educational system behind a paywall.
As is often claimed by experienced artists: “Art as a field is both wide and deep.” Even veterans in pixel art keep learning new things, improving their skills. It’s impossible to know everything and no longer improve as an artist.
Ah, there’s no end to this, bliss!