Pixel art lives both in and beyond computer screen. Artists design pixel art posters, magazine covers, album covers, desktop wallpapers, paintings, “pixelish” video ads and even pixelated tattoos. And there is a good reason behind it: in times when popular design solutions strive for real-life-look or perfection pixel art offers a distinctive and creative artistic approach which is extremely expressive. In fact, pixel art can be impressive as well. This post attempts to prove just that.
Below we present over 50 excellent pixel art designs — illustrations, paintings and posters as a part of our ongoing monday inspiration series. Some of the works presented below have an extremely high level of detail which is why you can observe pixel art for hours and still miss some details it contains. You can find ever more resources related to pixel-art in an overview we’ve presented in the end the post.
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The Celebration Of Pixel Art Link
the Swiss patent office
Keen attention to details: the Swiss cheese looks tasty. An ad for SIM Global Education designed by eBoy pixel artists — the recognized masters of pixel art. Resulting pixel animation1.
Pixels gone mad. Jason Huang, a designer and illustrator from Taiwan has created a… well, unusual splash-page for his portfolio web-site. The “size” of this pixel city is over 10 Mb. Resolution: 10.000×10.000px. Well, that’s A LOT of pixels. We are speechless and feel smashed.
Polyfonken’s Pixel Art
Pixel art illustrations by Tuukka of Finland, Helsinki a.k.a Polyfonken of Ghost Monkey. Outstanding shadows and lightning.
Rod Hunt’s pixelart
Rod Hunt’s illustrations are realistic and colorful. The artists mixes vector graphics and pixel art.
Brazilian and German bloggers Thiago, Pi, Jojo and Mariana present themselves as friendly and laughing pixel characters.
Illustration Friday: Green
What about using pixel art to visualize real projects? “This illustration started out as a way to help visualize what the deck on the back of our house is going to look like when it is finally done. This artwork was done pixel by pixel and then some raster art frames and shadows were added to make the piece look a bit nostalgic and antique.”
Pixel Art Desktop Wallpaper
This artwork was created by Juan Manuel Daporta (Caracas, Venezuela) in MSpaint in about 8 months in and out. Impressive.
A painting in the pixel art style. Pixels also live beyond computer screens. Notice how well we can understand the idea behind the pixelated painting. That’s a hard thing to achieve.
Robertson’s Pixel Art
Space battles, Super Robot Wars style. Roberson has his own style in the pixel artwork.
Adobe Air poster
A pixelated poster designed for Adobe Air launch. So many details in one single image. By the way, can you find a monkey on the image below?
Men’s Health: Back Pain
How would you interpret this artwork?
City of crazy dolls
This illustration is vector-based, but it is designed in the pixel-art-look. An interesting idea.
A painting in the pixel-art-style. Created by Ashley Anderson.
Pixel cities deserve their own post. This one has a beach, colorful baloons, a fishman and protesters.
A vivid illustration of a theatre stage with King Henry and his court. Resulting animation
Make Pixel, Not War
Expressive and powerful. This artwork manages to deliver the message directly and reminds of Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Space Invaders, Mario and Pacman on a pixelated playground. The black cat is pretty sweet, too.
Notice the how well different perspectives are used. For instance, Sony and Coca-Cola logos are orthogonal to each other.
“This is part of a wedding gift I did for two very good friends. Guess what the other painting is.” Created by Ashley Anderson.
front of the blackboard
Notice how well shadows are used. And coffee seems to be pretty hot. And yes, the mass-energy equivalence is actually E = mc2.
Christ the Redeemer
The famous statue in Rio de Janeiro in pixels. The guy at the top of the statue seems to be a pretty cool one.
Pixorama one more time. iPods seem to be pretty happy. The six birds too.
This one is freaky. José Eduardo Contreras Moral designs Darth Vader.
We are not sure if pandas actually eat strawberries. Apparently, they do. A simple yet cute pixel artwork.
Pixel art meets vector art. Multi-panel graphic installation at Union Square subway station in Japan. An interesting artistic approach. By Chiho Aoshima.
Zo fix your polaroids
Pixel art goes vintage. A creative approach.
Warrior of Light
Yes, that’s pixel art. The colors and shading are incredibly smooth. The used palette has only 32 colors.
A pixelated cover for Groove Armada’s album “Get Down”.
Of course, pixel artists have pixelated wallpapers in their offices. Example: Israeli pixel design studio “Three Squared”.
“Rendered in Cinema 4D, part of my 8BitBuddy Pixel inspired 3d 8 bit chaps.”
BerlinKiosk is a game about combining over 300 pixel-products to form the layout of a berlin-underground kiosk. To pixelate 300 products a designer from Berlin, Germany needed two weeks.
Art – Sky TV
A pixelated advertisement for Sky TV.
Pixel-Art in Real-Life Link
Sometimes pixels leave the boundaries of computer screens as designers sometimes experiment with pixels and “pixelate” their own environment. This design approach looks distinctive and somehow attractive. Maybe because we all have once stuck on some level playing Mario, Pac-Man or Space Invaders.
BNN/ 101 TV headquarters
570 5.25″ painted floppys glued to the wall. “Walldesigns created together with my buddy Formaddict. Interior design (not finished on this photo) by Workshop of Wonders.”
Pixel Art – Panda Cross Stitch
A pixelated cross stitch. We’ve seen panda and strawberies above already.
Cooking the OXO way
We’ve all seen books like this. “Pixel art” from 1940s.
Pixel Art Tattoos
Beautiful and unusual.
Bead Pixel Art
Pixelized video game characters built out of beads.
Pixelcouch: what about some nerd’s furniture for true pixel ninjas? Royal College of Art graduate (UK) Cristian Zuzunaga has devised a fabric based on a ‘pixel’ concept, which is being produced by Danish manufacturer Kvadrat and sold through Moroso24. The price is unknown yet. [via25]
It’s Raining Drea
Pixels meet architecture.
Pixel Block Chocolates
This chocolate bar also delivers a “social” message.
Window in Cologne Cathedral
Gerhard Richter has recently redesigned the 113-square-meter Cologne cathedral window. The window is literally pixelated as it is made up of thousands of colorful squares of glass. “Pixel art” large scale.
Ghost guys from Pac-Man are out there, in front of you and me.
Admire your handy-work
Not bad considering it was all done rather spontaneously over lunch one day.
Last Click Link
Arjan Westerdiep Pixel Art
This video documents the construction of a massive and minutely-detailed pixel illustration. It’s the work of Arjan Westerdiep, who created the image in MS Paint in a process that took him 560 hours. Arjan’s website allows you to click around the entire piece and watch it get drawn pixel by pixel.
Feet – Junior Senior
A pixel-based music video. Pixels old school. Smashing!
“Game over” is an art project developed by the Swiss artist Guillaume Reymod. It consists of a series of collaborative animation movies which revive some of the very first video games. The pixels are replaced by a group of real human-beings that are moving from seat to seat in a theatre during about 4 to 6 hours.
- 1 http://hello.eboy.com/eboy/2007/01/16/sim-global-education-einstein/
- 2 http://hello.eboy.com/eboy/2007/02/09/mcs_einstein_patentofficepng/
- 3 http://www.lovepixel.idv.tw/
- 4 http://www.polyfonken.com/index.html
- 5 http://www.polyfonken.com/index.html
- 6 http://www.rodhunt.com/
- 7 http://www.rodhunt.com/
- 8 http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/15087.htm
- 9 http://probertson.livejournal.com
- 10 http://hello.eboy.com/eboy/2008/02/25/poster-for-adobe-air-launch/
- 11 http://hello.eboy.com/eboy/2007/03/05/mcs_shakesback_17t_henrypng-thumb/
- 12 http://pixel.nascimpact.com/pix_tank.php
- 13 http://www.armyoftrolls.co.uk/
- 14 http://hello.eboy.com/eboy/2006/02/03/ftn_glbl500cover_11tpng/
- 15 http://hello.eboy.com/eboy/2007/02/10/mcs_einstein_bboardpng-thumb/
- 16 http://www.flickr.com/photos/thiagomano/295950936/in/set-72157594335969956/
- 17 http://hello.eboy.com/eboy/2006/04/28/ftn_communicationcity_06tpng/
- 18 http://www.asianart.com/exhibitions/littleboy/23.html
- 19 http://pixeljoint.com/pixelart/19741.htm
- 20 http://hello.eboy.com/eboy/2007/05/30/n73_gasingle_08kpng/
- 21 http://www.foolstown.com/pix/isowip.gif
- 22 http://pixeljoint.com/pixelart/29178.htm#
- 23 http://www.damnfunnypictures.com/html/Bead-Pixel-Art.html
- 24 http://www.moroso.it/
- 25 http://www.thecoolhunter.net/house/Pixel-Couch
- 26 http://www.thecoolhunter.net/house/Pixel-Couch/
- 27 http://ffffound.com/image/9c6ed9222bcdbf3ad5aa082aa3e7f791c56c9793?c=864939
- 28 http://www.yankodesign.com/index.php/2007/06/26/pixel-block-chocolates-with-a-social-message/
- 29 http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/0,5538,PB64-SUQ9MjQyNzkmbnI9NQ_3_3,00.html
Hold on, Tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? Like SmashingConf New York, on June 14–15, with smart design patterns and front-end techniques.