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Post feature Report RSS Eight Dragons! - How the art is made

A short article about how artist Chris Hines works with Aseprite to create graphics for Eight Dragons.

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Some History

It's been some 25 years now that I've been creating pixelart, I'd like to think that qualifies me to say something about it, but looking at tutorials on the subject here and there, it seems that my methods are pretty uncommon.

My career with drawing pixelart started in 1991ish with graph paper and a ZX Spectrum, where as a boy I'd map out the Mario sprites by looking at magazines and typing them into my Speccy, in lieu of owning a nintendo console.

Fast forward to 1996 and Nathan (the other creative member of Extend Mode) and I had learned C++ and were filling the halls of the adult education establishment we attended (we were 16) with the sounds of our game projects. In this heady time, Amiga and DOS games were king and art packages were expensive. My method in this period? Typing data statements having learned the standard VGA 256 colour palette. When the Matrix came out in 1999 I wasn't surprised by the statement "I don't even see the code" because I had gotten to the point where I could see the graphics by looking at the massive arrays I'd typed in.

My first use of an actual art package came after a chance meeting with Ian Harling (Cybermorph, The Lost Patrol). The year before he'd been a speaker at our school career's fayre, where he'd earned the moniker "The blag it bloke" because most of the questions directed at him about getting into the games industry were answered with, "well, you've got to blag it", and as it happened, he was attending the same adult education establishment as Nathan and I to learn the newly useful Photoshop. To cut a long story short, he sold me his 386 DX4 (PC for the young), which had installed upon it, what was soon to be the love of my life, Deluxe Paint II.

Deluxe Paint II and Aseprite

For all the years between 1996 and 2016, every time I created art on a computer it was with that same copy of Deluxe paint, lovingly transported from machine to machine and hosted in DOSBox when Operating systems moved on. I could never find another tool that worked as well in the pixel space, until Aseprite, and with that, here's some video of me using it to create some graphics for Eight Dragons.



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