A couple of days ago I decided I was bored of the website and that it needed updating and tidying up. So I chose a more arty theme (if you remember, the previous one was a bit dark and clunky), and went about simplifying the content, removing anything I deemed superfluous to the site.
My reviews section has now been banished to a link in the Links section, as it was a leftover from the early days of this site, before I discovered pixel art. Also, I've added an Events page, meaning that visitors don't have to scroll through all my blogs if they just want to see which markets I'll be working in the future. Other than that, I have just trimmed excess content and tried to make everything clearer and simpler. I even took some "arty" photos to use as banners throughout the site! I'll probably take a few more soon, so that I'm not repeating any of the pics on different pages.
So I hope you enjoy the new and improved Cave of Pixels! let me know if you have any comments or suggestions!
I've been fairly busy over the last week, so let me bring you up to speed!
The big one has been DEADPOOL! I've wanted to make a portrait of the movie version for a while now, and here is the pic I settled on, next to the design I came up with:
Here are a couple of progress shots:
After I'd followed the design and laid all the beads, this is how it looked. It took about 4 and a half hours to get to this point.
At this point I compared it to the original picture and made amendments to the eyes (tidied up the shapes, made them more white) and bag strap (made it more pink). After some taping and ironing, here is the finished product in a 40x50cm frame!
This week's update is decidedly less exciting than usual (if you could call any of them exciting), as the big piece I've been working on can't be revealed for another couple of weeks! It's a gift for a birthday, and I don't want to ruin the surprise. All I can tell you is that it took about 5 hours to make, and measures 50x50cm. All will be revealed in time!
Other than that, I framed the Guybrush Threepwood commission, and sold another piece that has proven popular at the last couple of gaming markets - Yoshi's Island!
This isn't the exact one that sold (there was no border and hence more beads in the one I sold this weekend), but the scene is the same. Although I've sold two of these now, they take quite a while to make (due to the detail), so I think I'll make something different (but of a similar size) for the next market. Also, I prefer making new artwork rather than repeating something I've done before.
I have also been working on a design for a new piece which I think will look cool when finished, but don't want to spoil that surprise until it's been created and presented to the intended recipient! Sorry I'm just a big tease this week aren't I!
I'll have more stuff to show you next week I promise!
This week's update comes a little later than usual, as I didn't want to reveal a commission I'd completed, and possibly spoil it for my customer, who got it as a present for her boyfriend! Anyway, last week's work consists of two big projects and one smaller.
First up is the Batman V Superman portraits of the holy trinity - Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman. I finally got a frame for it, as well as some appropriate backing card to mount it on.
The coloured backing card definitely enhances the picture and makes the characters stand out I think. It's a shame there is no space visible behind Wonder Woman, or I would have used gold or yellow there!
The project that has taken up most of my time this week is a commission of Star Lord, the main character from Guardians of The Galaxy. Here is the picture my customer wanted beaded, next to the design I was able to create for it:
As you can see, the bead design looks a lot more messy than the original image, simply because the image is quite detailed in places, which can be hard to express when using 5mm beads for pixels! My customer didn't want the picture to be too big, so I thought 50x50cm was as big as I could reasonably go, while also being the minimum size to give enough detail. I found myself using the design mostly for guidance on the outlines, and used the original image to fill in a lot of the detail by eye, "cleaning up" the design as I went.
Here are some progress shots taken at different stages:
I used fewer colours than my computer design suggested, in an attempt to keep the picture as simple as the original image. It took nearly 5 hours to bead and iron, and now looks pretty badass framed and mounted:
The owner certainly seems happy with it!
The smaller project I've just started work on is a commission for someone who was at the London Gaming Market last week, but missed the chance to buy the art she wanted. I guess she hesitated too long to think about it, because when she came back to my stall to buy it, it had already sold about half an hour earlier. Anyway, she got in touch and will soon have her own Guybrush Threepwood from Monkey Island, he just needs a frame!
It's been a long time since I last shared any pics of my games room, and since then it's come along quite a bit. While its usual state is one of disarray, as it doubles as my beading workspace, last weekend it was super tidy, so I thought I'd take some pics.
Above is the view of the console setup under the loft bed. I like the slightly enclosed "cave" effect the loft bed creates. It also came in handy when I wanted to create a lightgun rack! All the lightgun systems are connected to the CRT TV, as they don't work on modern flatscreens, but more on the consoles in a bit. You can see my shelf with all my NES, SNES and Megadrive games - as you can see, I don't own that many to be honest. The Majora's Mask beadsprite is also a clock. And yes that is a technical drawing of a Gameboy. Oh and by the way, that Dawn of The Dead poster is signed by George A. Romero and Tom Savini, just sayin'.
To the left of the console cave we have bookshelves and a trophy case. The Amiibo shelf is getting particularly crowded, and I don't even own the whole range!
Here's a better look at some of my comic TPB's and other nerdy books, as well as the trophy cabinet and games shelves on the other side of the room.
Moving along, here are my bead supplies, along with some other random items like a Tron arcade marquee and some autographed basketball cards (the holy trinity of Magic, Jordan and Bird). Up on the wall we have a few pieces of bead artwork I've made - Rage Against The Machine debut album cover, Judge Dredd portrait (signed by John Wagner), and a portrait of Donatello from the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, signed by Kevin Eastman. The other bits and bobs are a Back To The Future 2 poster, a technical drawing of the Megadrive, various comics, a Tron propaganda poster and some beadsprites.
And now the systems I've got going on! Connected to the LCD TV is an original XBox (modded to play emulators), a GameCube, a PS1, an Atari 2600 rerelease (with built in games, it doesn't have a cartridge slot), a Megadrive and a SNES. The photo on the right is less clear due to the lack of light in the cave, but the consoles are: a modded Saturn (can play JAP and USA games, and at 60fps too), a PS2 slim, a Dreamcast and a NES clone. I love the look of the original NES (it brings back good memories), but I've been through too many blinking red lights to own one again. The clone may not look great, but it's reliable! I've managed to get all these consoles connected and ready to go at the same time, it's just a case of selecting the right input and hitting the right switcher button to get what you want working!
It's been another busy week for the Cave! Most excitingly, I had a stall at the London Gaming Market at Bloomsbury on Sunday. The event seemed more spacious than last time, which made it more pleasant for attendees and traders alike. Although it didn't seem as busy as previous markets, it was still well attended, and definitely worth having a stall at! Here are some pics of my setup:
While my bigger, more expensive artwork didn't sell, it did a good job of attracting compliments and attention. As usual, Zelda and Mario were popular, and Sonic sold out very quickly. Must remember to make more Sonics next time!
I also bought a few things at the market:
The Nintendo light was from the folks at Let's Talk Retro, and goes perfectly in my games room. It hangs below the loft bed, dousing my consoles in a warm glow reminiscent of a certain district in Amsterdam. Anyway... I couldn't resist getting a little Lego Batman to go with my Daredevil one, and the prints are by Duncan Gutteridge (the artist who painted the Sonic 2 box cover), who was there to sign his work! Once I figure out where to put them, they will be on proud display!
Since the market I have had some commission requests, which is good as they are of subjects that interest me... more on that next time though!
The latest bead picture I've been working on is of Hellboy (the movie version):
I like how this one came out, it needed very few modifications to the computer design - the only thing I wanted to change was the eyes, which I think look much better now they are brighter. This one will be for sale at the London Film & Comic Con in July, where someone might want to buy it and get it signed by Ron Perlman, who will be a special guest there. I also plan to do a larger portrait of Hellboy in the next couple of months.
I also did a smaller scale project last week - Ghostbusters MegaMan sprites. I decided to design ones for the new, all-female lineup. I used the image below on the left as reference and adapted them to fit the ladies. I think I'll make a Ghostbusters logo and put them all in a big square frame, or a long narrow one.
Lastly, I'd just like to recommend a gaming website, Devon Gamers Shack. Jodi from the site was at the Gaming Market at the weekend and wrote a decent review (more in depth than mine!) and even gave me a little shoutout! So thank you Jodi, and keep up the awesome work!
My name is Iain and my addiction is making pixel bead art. My main inspirations are comics, video games and movies.