Bruno Moraes is one of our favourite pixel artists out there. And now he answers our questions!
1. How long have you been making art for games?
I think I can say some of my first ever digital art attempts were little sprites, that I could animate by passing the image files really fast on windows photo viewer. Say, 5 years ago? Something like that.
When I started learning programming, I could see them run and jump and do things as I wanted them to, and the first time is a crazy magical experience, really. But for years it had only been a hobby, a couple of assets for a friend, some sprites for a game jam, nothing more. I only took a step further and started taking the time to learn and do it more seriously, and well, professionally, by the beginning of the year.
2. Where do you ﬁnd ideas for your designs? Tell us something about your creative process.
I don’t mean to sound generic, but I can easily be inspired by anything, really. And often what I end up making doesn’t have anything to do with what ispired me in the first place, it’s hard to explain. But let me try.
If I’m walking down the street and see a beautiful house, it doesn’t necessarily inspire me to draw a house, but instead, if an architectural detail catches my eye, it leads me to a string of endless associations and when I get home I have this crazy need to draw something as random as a space firefighter dog. This summarizes inspiration for me. My most creative material comes from those times when I have literally nothing else to do but think about all things. Like when I’m stuck for hours in a bus (which happens more often than not in Rio), or the nights it seems humanly impossible for me to fall asleep. Yep, definitely the times when I am most productive (aren’t we all?)
3. We really like your pixel art. Do you recognise any inﬂuence from other pixel artists? Which pixel artists you like the most? And what about artists working on other styles?
(Thank you!) I try really hard to absorb different aspects in other people’s art. Sometimes I don’t think it works, sometimes I just think it happens so slowly and gradually I can’t notice any changes.
I’m deeply in love with toyoi yuuta’s work, his pixel scenes give me a whole lot of feelings I wish I could show through my own. Gustavo Viselner, for his amazing movie-inspired scenes. Len Stuart, for his work on Pixel Noir, a gorgeous looking super clever game (that is on kickstarter right now so make sure to take a look).
As for other Styles, I’m a big fan of Ian Worren (the art director of Gravity Falls), Patrick McHale (creator of Over the Garden Wall) , Rebecca Sugar (creator of Steven Universe) and Drew Green (storyboard artist at Cartoon Network).
4. You’ve made art (sprite animations) for Xintana’s Legends‘ alpha version (by Double Ring Studios and Radical Graphics). How did they contact you? Was it a remote work? How was your experience working in the game? Any favourite anecdote you remember?
I’m in a pixel art group on facebook, called (guess what) “Pixel Art”, and it’s a really good place for receiving feedback and sharing what I’ve been doing. So, the “boss” was there and found out we had a friend in common working on it; so we easily worked things out. But they invited me in such a hurry to have the alpha version ready in time, it was a little bit stressful to me, since I still take a whole lot of time to do animation. To sum it up, I made a bunch of animations for the main character and one of the bosses; and it made me really glad to see them move through the amazingly drawn sceneries the team was coming up with. Oh, and they’re from Colombia, so, yeah, completely remote work.
We had a bunch of miscommunication issues, language related, and the one that comes to my mind is how I was initially supposed to do a “slicing through walls” animation and I would come up with all kinds of ideas for that, but none of them had anything to do with what they had in mind. It was only after a couple of days I finally figured out they wanted a “sliDing through walls” animation, and suddenly everything made sense.
5. You have some really interesting pieces on your Tumblr (Some with more than 30k notes!) What do you think of the platform? Does it help to make your work known out there? Any other platform or tool you use to market your stuff?
Tumblr has its ups and downs, many of each. And it takes a lot of time and effort to really start being seen. But when one of your posts first goes BOOM, it’s an undescribable feeling, maybe one of the most exciting things in this sedentary and kind of futile internet world.
On the other hand, there’ll always be posts receiving way less love and attention as you expected them to, but it used to make me way more frustrated than it does now. We all have hits and misses, and I’m still young and can always try again, right?
But I guess I owe a great part of all this momentum I have going on right now to tumblr, my dear followers gave me enough courage, over the time, to keep doing what I do and showing it everywhere I could. So yeah, thumbs up to tumblr and tumblr people.
It’s growing! Ask anyone and they’ll tell you the same. Making games is super cool. From time to time a great game comes up and I’m amazed with what people are doing. But it’s a slow process, and I can’t help but think some of these games are *kind of* misjudged for being Brazilian. I think we tend to expect less from what is made here, in general, and when a new game, different from what we’ve been seeing around, emerges, we tend to be biased and shine too many spotlights over it. Maybe they really are all that! But recognition is far from being fair, and sometimes we value things for wrong reasons and we’re not even aware of that.
But I’m proud to mention some awesome, recent examples of big achievements by some fellow Brazilian game developers:
7. What are you working on now? Any scoop or exclusive for us?
I’ve been making a lot of commision work! They’re usually nice, interesting ideas and, whenever I can, I take them a tiny bit further as a “bonus”. As my personal projects, well, if I finished everything I started, I’d probably have made twice the content I have right now. I’m writing/doodling for a webcomic project of mine, and it’s been in my mind for months now. Expect a lot of exciting, real characters with unpleasant relatable stories as they dwell in these wild decayed space environments. It’s gonna be fun. I’m also thinking about my next “Pokemon+Disney princess” kind of series, people seem to like it a lot, and I have a great time coming up with the most diverse Pokemon teams.
8. If you have to choose three and only three game developers to follow their work closely, which ones would you choose and why?
Is this Sophie’s Choice all over again? LET’S DO IT:
Reverge Labs mainly because of Skullgirls, the amount of detail on those thoroughly animated beautifully appealing sprites makes me cry (often), I watched a bunch of the making of videos, and I advise you to do the same. It’s almost hard to believe for a mere mortal such as myself.
9. Are you a heavy gamer? What games are you playing now?
I am not, believe it or not. Very few games captivated me enough to have me playing hours and hours, days and days straight. I’m not very proud to say that i’m part of the population that has dozens and dozens of games they’ve never played on Steam. In my defense, I’m more thorough nowadays, and when I do buy a game, I’m most definitely gonna play it. Recently I’ve been playing Rivals of Aether, Pokemon Sage (Demo version), Picross DS, The Dream Machine, and Kirby: Triple Deluxe.
10. One last random question. If you could mash an animal and an electronic device together into some kind of cyborg thingie… Which would you choose? Why? And how would you call it?
This question instantly reminded me of The Flintstones and how they’d always use actual animals as appliances (those bastards). But let’s see, how about a chameleon and a laptop charger; and whenever your laptop is running out of battery and it’s really important that you plug it in; it hides somewhere, camouflages and disappears. I’ll call it “My laptop charger”.
* (I like how for you, reader, this question seems to have taken me 3 minutes to casually answer when it actually took a whole day of background thinking.)