Tuesday, December 16, 2014


In my day (and night and weekend) job as a freelance designer and illustrator, I recently was hired to do some advertising illustrations in a pixel art style, emulating the look of 8-bit video game graphics. It was a reminder of how much fun I had drawing on the old Tandy personal computer my family had in the late eighties, in which I would draw elaborate scenes inspired by the Sierra games I loved - especially the King's Quest and Space Quest series (for some reason, I was never allowed to play Leisure Suit Larry). I love chiptune music as well, so slipping into this complimentary realm felt very comfortable for me.

What came next was inevitable, I suppose: I began experimenting with pixelated saurians. It's been a fun exercise, and has actually given shape to a long-gestating project I've had in mind. The process of creating pixel art of dinosaurs fits in well with the driving inspiration of many of my design series, such as Cladistic Heraldry: how little visual information do you need to recognizably depict an extinct animal? Pixel art is all about that, of course. It leaves the viewer's imagination to fill in the visual gaps.

I've enjoyed creating these low-resolution archosaurs so much that I'm going to be releasing one every week for the next several weeks. To start, I translated my 2012 Anchiornis into a sprite.

Next, I chose Amargasaurus, one of my favorite sauropods but one I've never drawn.

Most recently, I heeded my wife's sage advice: "You should do one that people have actually heard of!" Thus, Tyrannosaurus rex.

Naturally, I am designing merch for these designs in my online store, in my quest to have a ginormous shop full of a diverse array of prehistoric animals. Mugs, stickers, and tees are all available at my Redbubble shop. I'll be sharing these weekly at the LITC Facebook page; like us there for treats like these, post sneak peeks, and scintillating conversation.


  1. Nice. I share your predilection for investigating how little you need in order to convey the requisite information, altho' more in the area of language and writing, and especially fonts. I also have designed levels for some computer games (just LaserTank these days) using similar restraints).

    1. It's a fun challenge, isn't it? I'll check out laser tank, it looks fun!

  2. These are really neat. I especially like that because it's so simplistic, the T-rex could be either feathered or not. It's all up to the eye of the beholder. And the Amargasaurus is just adorable. The rectangular shape makes me think these would look neat as bookmarks.

    1. Thanks a lot! I appreciate the integumentary ambiguity as well - some of the upcoming ones will be a little more obviously feathered, though.


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