A Moment With…
The ex-ocean artist Simon Butler discusses his new venture Dinosaur Pie
The ex-ocean graphic artist tells us about his brand new pixel project, Dinosaur Pie
Simon Butler has been a graphics artist for over 30 years, honing his craft at the likes of Ocean Software, Virgin Games and Imagine Software. Now he’s taking his love of pixel art and pop culture to new levels in order to create a selection of different designs that will instantly make an impact on those who grew up in the Seventies and Eighties. Simon tells us all about Dinosaur Pie.
Why set up Dinosaur Pie?
I started doing low-res portraits of friends and family and a few of them suggested I try my hand at other images to see if there was a market. My youngest daughter gave me dozens of suggestions and it just snowballed from there.
Why focus on the iconography from the Seventies and Eighties? These two decades tend to contain the most iconic images that resonate with the target audience. Here you can find movies, TV shows and music stars that have stood the test of time and are not only wildly popular, but have that ‘retro’ feel about them that was my main intention. It’s a golden age, seen by some as tacky and cheesy but by others as a time of classic viewing with stars that were part of an important era, something that was “theirs” as they were growing up. I’m just creating funny little images that I hope resonate with that special time in people’s lives.
My work on my Dinosaur Pie product is a throwback to my ZX Spectrum days Simon Butler
What tools do you tend to use to create your work?
I use Pro Motion by a German studio, Cosmigo. It’s been my sole art tool for game graphics for over 20 years.
It’s very similar to the Amiga software Deluxe Paint, so the transition from one to the other was incredibly easy and in my opinion, it just can’t be bettered.
How long does it take to create a typical piece?
Some just flow easily and seemingly create themselves; others can be a genuine pain in the ass. It differs from piece to piece. They can bring a ton of problems and if it’s a commission, then they’re problems I have to solve. I have set up certain guidelines and try not to veer from these for fear of losing the ‘style’. If one of my ideas isn’t working, I can walk away and forget about it rather than try to work miracles with as few pixels as possible. Some take minutes; others haunt me for days.
What do you do to make your work stand apart from other pixel artists out there?
My art has always been cartoonish, so that has put me in a different box to a lot of other game artists. My work on my Dinosaur Pie product is a throwback to my ZX Spectrum days where you had to suggest shapes with a minimal amount of pixels, but now I can throw in as many colours as I see fit. I never gave this venture any conscious thought; it seemed the solution to solve the graphical problems. How do you add personality to your creations?
The majority are side-on stances, but if an action ‘pose’ is required, I do the best I can in the set size. I make an effort to not have them turn into ‘sprites’ and while a few have come close, I feel there’s a continuity of style in the majority of the work to date.
What would readers need to do if they wanted a bespoke design? Contact me via my website, Facebook or email. I’m online almost all the time and open to all suggestions.
You can get all the Doctor Who incarnations separately or as a single print.