A break from the norm in our latest Member Spotlight post as Jason Perry, otherwise known as FinalBossBlues, answers a selection of more in-depth questions about their time as a pixel artist. Jason has been a member of GameDev Market since 2015 & you can check out their amazing selection of high quality assets here.
– as a hugely popular pixel artist, what was it that made you pick this art style in particular?
I got into game development first– the pixel art came because I needed custom graphics. I got my start with RPGmaker 2000, and my high school years were devoted to editing the character sprites that came with the program. I also spent a lot of time studying the styles of SNES JRPGs from the 90s. When I moved onto creating my own characters, I would share them on various RPGmaker forums for other people to use them too. And I’ve been making and sharing game assets ever since.
– what is your favourite pixel art based game of all time?
I played Final Fantasy VI for the first time earlier this year. I’ve always known that it was a highly regarded classic, and I was familiar with the art but had never played it myself. When I finally got around to it, the game was better than I’d expected. So right now I would say Final Fantasy VI is my favourite 2D game– though of course favourites change all the time.
If we’re talking about the art specifically, Final Fantasy VI has some incredibly impressive environments and tile sets, though its character sprites are outclassed by a bunch of other RPGs on the SNES. Even more impressive than these old games though, are some of the incredible games coming out today in the indie scene. Games like Owl Boy, Iconoclasts, and Shadows of Adam set a high bar for pixel art in modern games.
– what would your top 3 tips be for someone looking to get started as a pixel artist?
#1: Art fundamentals. Even though pixel art is a unique medium, a proper knowledge of fundamentals will get you far. Lighting, form, etc. Although that isn’t where I came from myself: personally, my approach is hyper-focused on creating game assets, so I’m missing a lot of skills that would be foundational to a general artist. I stumbled my way into where I am today, so if you put the time into studying art, you can avoid a lot of the mistakes that I’ve made over the years.
Tip #2: Avoid perfectionism. It’s easy to spend a lot of time looking for the perfect solution for a piece of pixel art. But when your goal is to make a game, that time is often better spent moving on. Of course, make your art to the best of your ability. But the most important skill in finishing projects is knowing then to say “good enough”.
Especially because you will naturally improve over time. At some point you’ll want to go back and remake everything to match your new skill level. Sometimes that might be worth it. Most of the time, that is a dangerous trap to fall into. Keep moving forward!
Tip #3: More contrast. Almost every time someone asks for my feedback on some artwork, my response is: more contrast. It’s especially important when working in low-res with a limited amount of colors: more contrast between those colors will emphasize depth and improve readability.
– following that, as someone starting out, what tools/software would you recommend?
I use GraphicsGale for most of my pixel work. There’s newer software out now that has more features, like Aseprite which has some great animation tools. But I’ve been using GG for over a decade, so it’s comfy. GG’s simplicity would make it a good program for someone looking to get started, and it can be downloaded for free.
– of all of your asset packs, which one are you most proud of and why?
I’m not going to choose a single pack, because what I’m proud of most is that the entire collection is designed to work together. After creating a couple of core asset packs, I’ve expended on that with expansions that cover a variety of different themes. Altogether, there is more than enough to make an entire game, and that I think is worth being proud of.
You can connect with FinalBossBlues here…