The First Year

When I started this pixel journey last year, I didn’t know what to expect. I had seen so many other artists’ embark on these Design 365 challenges where they create a piece of art everyday for a year, that I knew it was something I wanted to do. But for the longest time, it was just another thing I put in the back of my mind as something I would get to at “some point.” Then early last summer, my friend (shoutout to Sam Hayes) approached me about helping him make a game: a pixel art, magical creature combat game (to say the least). And of course I said yes, who doesn’t want to make a computer game with their best friends, strike it big, and retire at the ripe age of 25? The main issue? Other than none of us having enough time to get much work done on it, I had never made pixel art before. I loved vintage video games, but in my 18-odd years of drawing and painting and designing and coding, I hadn’t ever tried to make something with just a few pixels. But once I dived into it, I fell in love.

I should also note that I’m a huge proponent for minimalism, so having this new medium that was entirely based on having such a small artboard? It was basically the dream. I worked through a few mockups of animals for the game, and that’s when it clicked: I would make pixel art, everyday, for an entire year. But not just any pixel art, I would continue making animals, plants, and other nature-related pixel art to tie in my love for the environment. Tying in so many different aspects of my life that I was passionate about would not only make it hard to quit the project midway through (“Momma didn’t raise no quitter!”), but it would just make the project mean that much more and have that much better of a chance to really takeoff. And who knew, maybe I could help change some people’s outlook on the myriad of environmental crises we are living through/creating as a human species.

So starting with one fact a day, one pixel design a day, and a whole lot of determination, I was going to try to raise awareness on the environmental issues we face by creating a larger appreciation for what is at stake. Not just polar bears, not just some of our coral reefs, but the entire planet as we know it.

**This entry was initially shared as a blog post on the Pixel Planet Today Tumblr.

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