Pixelling: Status check

After many many years, I got myself doing some pixel artwork again. The motivation was this year’s Alternative Party. As I mentioned in my previous post, I entered the Retro Graphics Competition. I came second, and here is the picture:

Status Check

(picture scaled, click for 2x original image)

The rules were: 320 x 200 resolution, max. 32 colours. I had made the decision to enter the competiton months before the event. Of course I did not start drawing until the very last minute – just typical from me. This picture was made in two previous evenings before my Alt weekend.

A few words about the picture itself: I wanted to have a some kind of an idea for the picture, so not just to draw something. The first decision was to do something in the Alt 2009 theme, which was cyberpunk. And the second was to go cheap and have tits in the picture – to dig some votes of course! ;)

To combine cyberpunk and tits was really straight-forward: the picture would feature a topless cyborg girl. But how to have a good excuse for that, or even better, to attempt to tell a story with a single picture? I gave this some thought and came up with this idea: A cyborg is a technically enhanced human being, but as long as there is some humanity left the heart can be broken.

The picture portrays a cyborg woman inside a some kind of moist space, perhaps a shower, which also acts as a system monitor for the cyborg – also explaining the nudity. I did not want to make the female character robot-like, but to tell that she is a cyborg in a very subtle way – the display is showing results of a status check. The picture is seen from outside that space, so the character is behind (and against) a glass or transparent display. Or at least it was my attempt to illustrate this scenario.

I made the picture using Grafx2 – a great DOS-based pixel painting program that has now been ported to modern operating systems. The program was familiar to me from it’s DOS era, and I was glad to see the recent developement. I was now also able to use my drawing tablet. Still, the tablet was more useful only during sketching, and most of the work was done using a mouse.

Here are some work-in-progress stages, and the final version in 1:1 resolution.

Work in progress stage 1

Sketching and rough coloring made using tablet

Work in progress 2

Adding a little detail and doing some concepting still using mainly the tablet. Total of 15 shades of grey in use at this point.

Work in progress 3

Added some colour to the picture and recolorized the palette. 25 colours in use. Details being worked with a mouse.

Status Check, final

The final picture, using “only” 30 colours of the allowed 32.

The final picture here differs from the actual compo-entry only in that the competition entry was not signed.

The most important thing for myself was that I got into doing some pixelling after so many years. Of course I was happy to come in second place in the competition, and the prize wasn’t bad either. I think my picture deserved the second place – tits or not. The winning picture was brilliant in many aspects, so thumbs up for bracket and his Totally Accurate Controller 2050! And the rest just weren’t as good :)

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