Demon Seed Pixel Art Process
When I make art for Joshua, I'm always intimidated because my design needs to "sit on the same shelf" as his amazing music. To make it the best it can be, I take as much time as I can and put the design through its paces.
First I wanted to just start sketching to loosen up. Rather than going with whatever nonsense might be in my head, I went straight to the source and doodled a level from Castlevania 3.
This was not the direction we decided to go, but that's good information to have.
For the next sketch, I wanted to keep some of the elements that I liked drawing and looking at from the first sketch. Spikes, cubes, maybe some bats -- it looks more three-dimensional and it still felt like a Castlevania level.
One fear of mine is that I'll forget I'm working on pixel art and try to bite off more than I can chew. High resolution pixel art is time-consuming and difficult to pull off, so I wanted to try a quick pixel rough to see where this was headed.
Coloring and shading are important for a piece like this, so I continued on to ensure things weren't getting out of hand. Sure enough, as I colored I was seeing signs that the resolution was too high for me to handle with the time I had. I'd need to use a smaller canvas, which meant fewer elements and a simpler environment would be best.
Also, the words "Demon Seed" are so cool but look a little lost in this iteration. More emphasis on the title would benefit the design.
After having gone through some paces, I had a good idea of what I could and wanted to make. The title would have a bigger role, which takes pressure off of the environment. The blocks stayed, along with some floating spikes and a skull because, ya know, Castlevania. I blocked everything out and it felt reasonable.
Next I began to render the pixels. I could tell immediately that the resolution was more my speed and at this size I'd be able to make a better overall design.
Lastly I added the first pass of color. It looks anemic at this stage, but at low resolutions the detail can really shine, so I went straight into shading and polish.
Here's the entire process. The end result is not as good as VLAD II but here we are. If I could do anything differently, I would have added more detail like creatures and treasure scattered around the blocks. Make it feel mossy by covering the surfaces ...