Pixel Art: Celebrating a Bit of Retro Gaming Artistry

Pixel mushrooms from Nintendo's Super Mario games.
Image from Nintendo Mushroom Vectors by Vecteezy.

Today, we celebrate pixel art. It’s a modern homage to retro gaming, usually of the 8-bit and 16-bit era. So, let us take a look at some talented folks.

Pixel Art

One of our favourites is wanpaku pixels (above), who pays tribute to retro gaming. Such as Final Fantasy VII and many NES games.

Although he also covers recent indie games like Undertale.

There are plenty of pixel artists around. Many are on Twitter, showing off their fancy creations. Some of which are totally unique.

The popularity of pixel art has exploded in recent years. For us, it has a couple of key factors that makes it stand out:

  • Nostalgia: For the games of yesteryear, the art provides a trip down memory lane. Titles we played, and loved, as children.
  • Visual appeal: It just looks bloody good.

There’s that mishmash of old meets new in the art, which lends it a colourful and often uplifting quality.

Other work is reflective and melancholic—introspective. A lot of pixel artists take real world settings and turn them into digital form.

If it piques your interest, a proper belting way to locate great pixel art is to head to Twitter. Type in #pixelart into search and you’ll see a mass of stuff.

Some pieces are deliberately rather basic, embracing minimalism—white space, few colours, and a sense of sparsity.

Meanwhile, you get more advanced concepts. Such as this 8-bit version of Shawshank Redemption. That’s a mixture of pixel art, humour, and other guff.

Although we’re showing this 8-bit version of Spirited Away thing instead. Just because. Well, Studio Ghibli lends itself rather well to pixels.

There are books on this, of course. The Masters of Pixel Art is an example.

Although you can also go off and learn how to do all this—there are plenty of free tools online. And YouTube channels explaining how to give it a go.

You can also check out the art of Professional Moron. Yes, we really do have a lot of talent. Yes, we know we’re undiscovered geniuses. Thanks!

Into the Pixel

Right, there are exhibitions on all this stuff as well. As you can see above.

Pixel art isn’t as commonplace as your more established stuff (see A Concise History of Art).

But it continues to gain in popularity. We doubt it’ll ever have the same respect as the likes of classic art, from Vincent van Gogh and many others.

Yet pixel art does have an immediate appeal about it, that may attract folks to art who might normally ignore it.

Ultimately, we’re encouraging you to go off and have a gander. There’s so much of this stuff online it’s difficult to cover all the talent out there.

But a great starting point is on Twitter. Go forth and stare at pixels.

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