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11 Hypnotic Retro Sci-Fi Pixel Artists with a Knack For Dystopia

Cool Pixel Art

12 Amazing 8-Bit Pixel Artists To Follow
Cool pixel-art creators drawing simple realities and small universes in fantasy, sci-fi, and cyberpunk

If you lived on Earth for less than 30 years, chances are you missed a historical phase of art. The birth of pixel art, the moment when figurative creation becomes interactive, the dawn of the videogame era.

Being one of the best pixel artists back then wasn’t much of a thing outside the nerdiest programming studios of Japan or the US.

Those early pixelart gurus and game developers probably didn’t even realize how they were changing the world of entertainment forever.

Nowadays, video games have gone very far from those pioneeristic stages, but retro-style pixelart is not dead at all.

There’s indeed a quickly growing niche of passionate artists and users who understood the intrinsic artistic value of pixel-art – simplifying imaginative realities to their core, thus revealing their hidden significants… a bit like expressionism if you want.

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amazing pixel art

What is Pixel-art? How does a pixel artist work?

Pixel art is a form of digital art, where images are edited on the pixel level.

Richard Shoup’s SuperPaint system in 1972 was maybe the first translation into the digital world of a concept that is though much ancient.

Mosaic and beadwork, are indeed very similar to pixel art, a very reduced number of points (or fragments) of different colors meant to be figurative.

Since the whole visual digital world is based on pixels, we have to mark a line to what we call pixel-art, which most pixel-artists agree on being “control over the individual placement of each pixel” – an interesting form of digital-hand-crafting.

Of course pixel-art is meant to be animated, not static, and often interactive, which gives this art-form a further level of depth.

Creating moving characters and objects for video games is called spriting, a term used in computer graphics to describe a two-dimensional bitmap that is used in tandem with other bitmaps to construct a larger scene.

This form of art is so unique that it remained alive despite the exponential improvement of graphic processors – carving its own space among the lovers of minimalism.

Retro pixel-art is now seeing a second youth… let’s have a look.

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cool pixelart

12 Best Pixel-Artists: What Great Sci-Fi Pixelart Looks Like

Surrealist, fantasy, sci-fi, and especially cyberpunk and dystopian settings are very popular in nowadays pixel-art – because we love those genres we selected our favorites accordingly.

1. Kenze Wee – Dreams in Pixels

pixel creators kenze wee

As a young student born in one of the most futuristic cities on Earth, Singapore, the art of Kenzee Wee Hong Ming is full of high-tech mysticism.

Thick skylines of tall buildings, sometimes reminding of a tropical forest, alien spaceships, flying cities, and psychedelic vending machines.

Follow Kenze Wee on Behance

2. Roman Gonzo – Another Style of Pixel Art

small pixelartist roman gonzo

Roman Gonzo, @gonzo_indie on Instagram, is a Ukrainian Illustrator, animator, and indie developer with a peculiar style.

Roman hosts tutorials and fast-drawing videos for pixel artists wannabe on his YouTube channel, were he teaches how to use software like Wacom Intuos.

His weirdly geometric character design has with is signature 90° angles has built a reputation in the pixel art niche.

Follow Roman on Behance

Check ” Arcade Game Typography: The Art of Pixel Type “, a survey of ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s arcade video game pixel typography

3. Waneella – Everyday’s Cyberpunk Pixelart

cyberpunk pixel art waneella

Wisely mixing everyday low-life city corners with mesmerizing cyberpunk inserts, Waneella is a mysterious pixel-artist with a growing fan-base.

She/He started in 2013 on Tumblr, and the art has been constantly evolving since then. The color tones of each piece are unique, and the landscapes, often lifeless, poetic and evocative.

The theme is often (but not only) a reinterpretation of far-east metropolis like Taipei, Incheon, or Yokohama – tangled wires, tiny apartments, convenience stores, led lights…

Explore Waneella’s work on Tumblr

4. Mr. Valemberg – From Cyberpunk to Space Odysseys

alien pixelart mr valenberg

From contemporary cyberpunk scenarios to epic sci-fi from a distant future, Mr. Valenberg’s low-fi pixel art draws inspiration from milestones of cinema like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Waking Life, and Blade Runner.

There’s always a romantic touch within the paintings – dark and cold color tones, a vein of Murakami’s surrealism, and a character design drawing from underground fashion.

Mr. Valenberg is presently working on a point&click adventure game called Virtuaverse, which seems a pretty cool cyberpunk retro game.

Explore the art of Mr. Valenberg on Instagram

Check ” NES In Peace: Exploring the Art of Interment on the Nintendo Entertainment System

5. Kryssalian – Eclectic Fantasy Pixel Art

sci-fi easy pixel art kryssalian

Spacing a wide range of genres- from dragons and cockatrices to Asimovian planetary colonies, passing by Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep – Paris based pixel artist Christopher Anry is definitely one to follow.

On Kryssalian’s Instagram profile, we can admire his bucolic fantasy animation – that although short already tell a story – but also terrifying Lovecraftian monsters and tense cyberpunk scenes.

Follow Kryssalian on Instagram

6. Kldpxl – Optimistic Futures in Pixelart

good small pixel art kldpxl

Diverse and varied is also the work of Kldpxl, or Khaled, a pixel artist based in Riyadh.

His drawings often represent reality but with a dreamy sci-fi feeling – examples of this are his realistic skylines and his beautiful planetary series, which depicts astral bodies of our solar system in an accurate and evocative way.

His art is though serene, somehow relaxing, lacking the elements of dystopia we’ve seen in other artists so far. A welcomed break.

Follow Kldpxl on Tumblr

Check ” Pixel Art for Game Developers

7. Pixeljeff Design – Retro Sci-fi Pixelart Made Fun

pixel game art pixeljeff

Taiwanese pixel-artist Pixeljeff is in business since 2013, with a lot of different projects in his archives.

His fan-art, Stranger Things, John Wick, Joker, is precise and often hilarious.

Real-life scenes are also among his favorite topics, although sometimes with Pokemon or anthropomorphized animals as protagonists.

Enjoy Pixeljeff’s work on Instagram

8. Slynyrd – The Poetry of Nature in Pixels

realistic pixel artist slynyrd

Among our absolute favorites is certainly Slynyrd, a pixel artist and game designer from Kansas, USA. It was very difficult to choose a single picture to represent his work, so go check his profiles.

After a career in graphic design, Raymond discovered a long-rooted passion for pixel art, making it his full-time commitment since 2015.

His imaginative art creates magical universes where intergalactic science fiction and bucolic fantasy atmospheres collide in fluent and surreal poetry. He’s currently working on a game called Thyrian Defenders.

Follow RaySlynyrd on Insta

9. Geography of Robots –

sci fi pixelart games

Yutsi is the pixel artists behind Geography of Robots, a collection of games, interactive fiction, and other experiments that explore the hidden geographies, conspiracies, folklore, and environmental histories of the American South.

The content centers on the creator’s industrialized hometown of Norco (Louisiana) and the surrounding River Parish region – immersive graphic adventures where cyberpunk and dystopia are just shades of ordinary lifes.

His games Swampstar, Norco:Faraway Lights, and End Millennium are playable for free from Geography of Robot’s website.

Follow Geography of Robots on Insta

10. Norma 2d – Pixels of Solitude & Abandonment

8bit painter norma 2d

You might have noticed we left some of the best pixel artists for a gran finale, and Norma 2d is certainly among the most mature creators in this list.

Her art fluidly transmits feelings of solitude, uncertainty, loss of identity, like her short interactive pixel-art piece “False Reality“.

Surreal scener from post-apocalyptic futures are also among her favorite themes – the decadence of both Earth and space, full of dirt, loneliness, and debris.

Visit Norma 2d profile on Deviantart

11. Nostalgic Tree – Nature Takes Back Her 2d-Space

2d pixelart  nostalgic tree

The worlds of Nostalgic Tree are full of magic, and ancient ruins, and overgrown moss and jungles eating relics of a long-gone mighty past.

Maybe aesthetically more fantasy than sci-fi – tech leaves the space to nature, with old trees eating up the remains of ancestral civilizations whose advancements seem more spiritual than technological.

Explore her work on Deviantart

Pixeldanc3r – Mapping the World in Pixels (& more)

love pixelart pixeldanc3r

The last amazing retro pixel artist of this list is Argentinian 2d designer Pixeldanc3r. His project are very diverse but always fascinating.

Some have a vaporwave aura, while others are more cartoonesque – very interesting are also the pixelart maps he makes of American countries, an original project indeed.

But maybe what we like the most are his dreamy sci-fi drawings, calm natural landscapes ripped by surreal inserts.

Follow Danc3r on Tumblr

Check ” FF DOT: The Pixel Art of Final Fantasy ” to discover the intriguing evolution of pixel art from the Final Fantasy series

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So, what do you think? Who’s your favorite Did we miss some pixel-artists we absolutely should’ve mentioned?
Let us know in the comment section below!

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