A world in black & yellow
Samuele Feula is a really well known pixel artist from Italy. He is a freelance artist who loves comics and videogames. For years he has have been drawing under the pseudonym of Batfeula, working on projects like Zine as well as RPG games and video game assets. If you see a black and yellow pixel art, it's probably his!
Your first memory of Pixel Art?
I was born in the middle of the video game revolution, all the video game companies were abandoning pixel art and jumping into 3 dimensions, but I was very lucky: being the youngest of my big family I inherited all the old consoles of my cousins and so, while my peers were growing up with Lara Croft and Final Fantasy VII, I was playing old games like Super Mario, Circus Charlie and Bubble Bobble
When and how did you end up making Pixel Art?
I have been drawing daily for years now and some time ago I tried my hand at pixel art but the result was incredibly bad ... I thought it was not my calling and I had completely different projects in mind, so I decided to let it go. Then, two years later Covid arrived.
In full lockdown everyone spent their time as best they could and I decided to study two things: cooking croissants and making pixel art!
I started in the way that seemed simpler to me: small canvases and a few colors. To motivate me to do something different every day I started participating in the daily challenges of Pixel Dailies and over time I developed my own style.
"My style is an attempt to adapt the cute, rounded cartoon aesthetic to pixel art."
How would you describe your Pixel Art style?
My style of pixel art is often summed up with two words: black and yellow, but more generally I would say my style is an attempt to adapt the cute, rounded cartoon aesthetic to pixel art.
What sort of Pixel Art content are you creating the most (scenarios, characters, assets…)?
Most of all I work on character design, I often get hired to make characters and animations. Although I have tried it a few times, the backgrounds are still an uncharted land for me. I have the utmost respect for background artists, but I just can't find the fun in making them. I have also worked on various assets and probably one of my next personal projects will be a game boy asset for GB studio
What software/s do you use?
I've always drawn with Photoshop, so it seemed normal to me to use it for pixel art as well. Fortunately, I discovered Aseprite and it is perfect for pixel art and animation. For text modes, however, I use Playscii.
Can you give some insight into the creative process behind your Pixel Art projects—from conception through to the final version?
When I have an idea for an illustration, I first look for some reference that can help me and then I move on to the sketching phase.
I work completely on the PC, so I make the sketches directly on aseprite. From the sketch I move on to adjusting the lineart, I always like to make a black lineart that stands out in the background like in a comic. And finally, in case I'm not working in 1-bit, I switch to color. Since my pixel arts are very small I tend to always do everything on one level, knowing that I can easily correct what I don't like.
What Pixel Art projects are you most proud of and why?
At the moment the project I'm most proud of is "CHUNKY", the pixel font I recently released on itch.io.
It was a great experience, first of all because it allowed me to work in 1-bit (which is my favorite style) and secondly because it showed me how to be able to support an entire project on my own. Another project I'm proud of is "Terrific Tennis", a game for the last GBjam for which I made sprites.
Do you use a particular color palette? Which one?
I started the study of pixel art from 1-bit, but to differentiate myself from the usual black and white palette I decided to use a black and yellow one that over time has become iconic and made me stand out in the pixel art twitter community.
How do you feel about the Pixel Art industry and where do you see it in the future?
Pixel art is an easily accessible medium, even the oldest of PCs and Ms Paint are enough to create any type of pixel art you want, and with the ever increasing number of indie developers, I really think the Pixel art Industry still has a lot to offer for the next few years.
As for me, I have no idea where I will be in a year, I would like to collaborate on some big project for an indie game, but for now I think I still have a lot of things to learn.
"Pixel art should not be relegated only to the world of videogames."
Can you tell us the artist/s that you admire the most? (from any discipline)
As a pixel artist, the artist I admire most is definitely Paul Robertson. Firstly because I love his very cartoon style and above all because he is the living example of how pixel art should not be relegated only to the world of videogames. His animations for shows like The Simpsons, Rick and Morty, and Gravity Falls are fantastic.
What advice would you give to other artists who are starting in the world of Pixel Art?
The best advice I can give is this: pixel art is a medium like any other art form, so before you start, make sure you have some basic drawing knowledge.
Question made by Angus Doolan: Are there any technical restrictions that you self-impose even though they only make your life harder?
My whole style is an imposition to make my life more difficult: limited palettes, small canvases; but often these limits push me to give my best!
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