A Moment With…

The ex-ocean artist Si­mon But­ler dis­cusses his new ven­ture Di­nosaur Pie

Retro Gamer - - CONTENTS - You can reach Si­mon at si­mon­but­ler57@hot­mail.com and view his work at di­nosaur-pie.co.uk.

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.

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