I'm curious - what do you not like about modern pixel art/duelyst's pixel art? :o
so ok ive gone on about how pixel art is not supposed to be a literal representation of something right? like because it’s a technically limited medium you can only get so close to an accurate representation because eventually you’ll get obfuscated by pixels and the audience will inevitably be like ‘i dont know what that is’ but that’s ok, because engaging the audience’s imagination is the point of any good fiction, and the audience filling in the (deliberate or otherwise) gaps in the apparent design allows the player to come up with their own interesting interpretations and get inspired
if not: that’s the nutshell for my argument for pixel art. pixel art is good because it’s sort of shit but in a way that makes you actually think about things and what they are, could be, and are supposed to be, and even the flaws point you in the direction of cool shit
as opposed to say the general trend of modern game art, which is more literal; if you see something, the game expects you to take it completely 100% literally and matter-of-factly. there’s no room for interpretation, just an image of a pretty thing that you can offhandedly consume and then just move past or, if they get really lucky, you get inspired but not necessarily due to any thought process or intrigue on the game’s side: just because the art was pretty, and you want to copy that exact style of art. but that’s still not the point. the point is to just be pretty
and really i’m pretty ok with that though because like, i can’t expect AAA games to build games that are deliberately unclear. that’s not why they make games. they make games to sell, not inspire new games (if anything they want to actively discourage people making new video games because then that makes more competition) ([distant screaming]) and the games that they make do sell, so like, whatever. as long as AAA games get people into video games, and those people explore their tastes, and those tastes lead them to play more interesting games and think and grow as people and maybe even developers, then i’m content, and i can suffer through another dozen ubisoft/bioware/bethesda cash grab (as long as they throw me a bone and i get a new vegas or somethin like once in a while too)
but the problem is that on the niche-ass experimental-ass indie level (and i dont mean like fuckin walking simulators per se i mean like fuckin Aces Wild and Risk of Rain and Enter the Gungeon and the shit that would NEVER fly in the main market), modern game art still exists, with still the same basic logic (that people buy pretty things) but there’s this big key problem here and it’s that pixel art still looks like shit
like no matter what you do pixel art is still low resolution, chunky, clumsy to animate and hard to read so making it really pretty pixel art with smooth animations (which i actually sort of dont like in general) (drop your frames, kids) and perfectly proportioned bodies is just spending a bunch of time on something that will make something look ‘objectively better’ but not only remove what’s unique about the game but make it look more like the shitty homogenized master-of-none blob that is the AAA industry
it’s like someone looking at a motorcycle and saying like ‘but cars are better, though’ so they take an arc welder, some starving art student, and $30,000 and turn it into this
like good job idiot you’ve taken all of the shitty parts of a motorcycle and merged it with all the shitty parts of a car
a motorcycle is supposed to get you to go where you want to go. a car is supposed to get you, your friends, and possibly you and your friend’s things to where you want to go. making a car-shaped motorcycle makes a heavier motorcycle that is worse at getting you where you want to go and it doesnt even have any of the other perks that fuckin cars have like driving around friends and sleeping in the back seat so like what the fuck
why did you do that
like i mention duelyst in particular cause it’s really fuckin egregious. the pixel art doesnt interact. i’m not sure the sprites even like touch one another on purpose or anything. it’s undynamic, all the animations are completely prebaked, once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, and none of them are interesting. it’s not even like fighting games or like mecha shit where the attack is like emblematic of their character or like really over the top or something they all do the same cliche poses and all have the same pocket particle effects
i could actually pick on like a bunch of people for this (paul robertson comes to mind too in particular) but for the sake of expressing my point i’m gonna keep ragging on duelyst
anyway, here’s blue shell rabbit. he’s got a sword. his special attack is that he swings the sword and it explodes
‘here’s the lore’ the game says. ‘if you read this it will all make sense’
nothing about it doesn’t make sense
nothing about this character is making me ask any questions
and to be clear this isnt like a general disposition toward ‘good’ pixel art it’s really more of a general disposition toward uncreative pixel art that uses smooth animations and ‘good color choice’ (read: the same soulless machine-baked palette of ‘fantasy colors’ that is either completely divested or actively fighting the environment every time) to mask what feels like they didnt even try to hide that you can accurately describe their character on a spreadsheet
• blue • sword • explosion • bunny • turtle
you can have ‘holy fuck’ and ‘what is that’ in the same sentence
i mean there’s actually a certain level of art to that too, and it’s actually sort of unfair to duelyst because i know they’re making a fuckin league of legends style hero game and i know they cant spend much time on each character because i know they have other characters to get done but like
Starting off my end-of-hiatus transition by easing myself in with updating maps and doing some portrait work. I’m probably going to be expanding on some sections, since I decided that some others were dragging the story down and would probably be better off cut entirely.
I can’t really promise that I’ll update as often as I did before, since part of the reason I tried to put consistent updates out was because there was no demo to play - the screenshots and updates I posted were the only way to see what the game’s about. Now that a demo’s available, I think there’s a little less pressure to do that… still, thanks for sticking around!
Hello! I really admire your art and also your blog! You're like messiah to me tbh. So I've been looking into artists alley tips and print companies for a while because I want to try my hand at the artists alley starting next year! If it isn't too weird, could I know what your inventory list was like your first few years of aa? Like I've seen that for first cons, you recommend around 5-10 copies per print, but what about acrylic keychains? Uhh, washi tapes? What kind of items do you recommend?
Aw thanks! I’m glad you find my blog posts helpful :D And sure!
My very first artist alley table had this very meager list of stuff:
Buttons (10 different types, about 25 each because that was the minimum I could order from PureButtons)
Bookmarks (5 different types, about 100 each because again, minimum order size)
Commissions (I put together a little portfolio that had like 3 - 4 examples)
It was such a tiny table! Needless to say, I was sharing my first table with someone else.
How my table grew
In the next few months after that, I went a bit crazy and made about 5-ish 11x17 prints in a short amount of time, which enabled me to have my own table. I think I started making 4x6 versions of a few of the prints around this time as well. For the prints I consistently try to have about 10 of each, and that still seems to be a good number for me.
I also added to my commission examples portfolio as I did more of these.
I slowed down a bit and added about 2 or 3 so new prints that first year. At the end of the first year, I also put together two books (the first chapter of my webcomic and a sketchbook of my Inktober sketches). The minimum order for these were also 25.
The following year, I decided to start selling my Inktober sketch originals (since I had them lying around and it seemed like people would like them!) I also added more bookmark varieties (five magical girl staffs!)
Around Valentine’s Day of my second year, I made four types of Nintendo Valentines! I also made 10 of each of these as well. I added one more big print, and a few smaller prints. At this point, I’m thinking about retiring some of my older prints that I’m not as happy with once I sell of last of that stock.
And most recently, I dove into acrylic charms! These are definitely the most expensive investment, so I wasn’t able to really try these out until I had a bit of money saved up from selling at previous shows. I got about 10 - 15 of each of these (and actually sold out of my first batch at my last show!). I haven’t done washi tapes yet, so unfortunately I can’t give any advice there.
TL;DR: I try to do minimum orders whenever possible so I can test out a new product before investing more money into it, and I try to make at least one or two new things every few months.
As far as products to recommend, I don’t have a good answer for you – it really depends on the kind of brand you want to build up. Typical items that people will expect to find at an artist alley are prints, acrylic charms, and commissions, but it’s hard to stand out if those are all you offer because, well, everyone has those!
When thinking about what will sell well for you, a better question to keep asking yourself is this: Is there something special that only you can do, or is there something people really like about your art? For example, I started selling my original ink sketches because people really like them, and there’s not a whole lot of other artists selling original pieces. For a similar reason, I made pixel acrylic charms because I like pixel art and I wanted to attract the customers that really like pixel art too! I sort of have a mini RPG-item shop going on at my booth. I guess this is what people mean by finding your niche! I’m definitely still exploring, though!
Continually thinking about refining the theme around your artist alley table is important and will help you stand out from the crowd. Take a look at the tables of artists you admire — chances are, you’ll be able to describe their table with a word or short phrase, because they’ve honed in on that thing that makes their work special and unique.
I hope that gives you a helpful picture of how I grew my inventory over time :) Focus on making things that you find cool and interesting and you’ll have a full table in no time. Good luck with tabling, you’ll do fine!