Behind the Logo
Bear with me as I indulge for a bit.
People often ask me: “So JPH, what’s up with that avatar you use? It looks like a dude from an Atari 2600 game or something.”
Actually, no one ever asks me that. No one ever asks me anything. But it’s a question I’d like to be asked, and I’m tired of waiting for my eventual breakout hit that will take the internet nerd scene by storm and morph me into an aloof celebrity, so I’m gonna tackle that question now.
Nope, this isn’t a character from a game, in case you were wondering. It’s not a pixel art replica of a character from some game or movie or something like that either. I also didn’t borrow this from some other website; I made it myself. I’ve always been a fan of pixel art, so some months ago I decided I was going to start making some of my own, and this was the first picture I made.
I didn’t have much of an idea of what kind of character I wanted to make, and I think that shows. All I had in mind was “Guy with gun and hat and black hair.”
I made some other sprites as well. The rest of them were imitations of various friends’ avatars on a site I used to visit called Gaia Online. I stopped going there awhile ago, but I still have the pictures I made if you’re curious.
That first guy with the gun has always resonated with me the most, probably because that one was inspired by what I had in mind rather than what someone else chose for his or her avatar. I’ve always been a fan of simplicity in design, and it shows in damn near everything I’ve ever made (although I don’t know how much of that is due to stylization and how much of it is just because of plain old-fashioned laziness on my part).
See, the thing I love about pixel art and its simplicity is that you can instantly recognize what it is, but what makes it interesting is what it could be. We don’t know anything about this pixel guy except that he’s a guy with a gun and a hat. Is he a cop? Is he a shady dealer? Is he a private investigator? Is he a rampaging psychotic gunman a la Serious Sam? That’s really up to the viewer to decide.
Maybe I’ll give pixel art another go someday. Those pictures don’t look very good but they certainly look better than anything I’ve ever hand-drawn.