We call it a Pixmas tree — from ‘Pixel’ and ‘Xmas’, of course. I liked the idea of a low-rez pixelated image, square and precise, being rendered in the imperfect, splodgy and textured medium of hand-printing.
And since it’s Inspiration Month here at Unruley Articles, I thought I’d talk a little bit about the inspiration for this image.
I knew I wanted to do a Christmas Tree for our cards this year — it’s my favourite bit of seasonal iconography, and I knew I wanted to do another lino-cut. But I had a great deal of trouble arriving at the image — I tried several variations but the designs always ended up either too complex for lino work, or too ‘seen it before’ to satisfy me. I was stuck. So, dedicated professional that I am, I decided to put it aside and play a computer game.
Everything is made of blocks: the hills and mountains are blocks; the sun, moon and stars are blocks; the waterfalls, lakes and oceans are blocks, and, of course, the trees are blocks. The world of Minecraft is made of squares and blocks in the same way that our world is made of circles, cylinders and spheres. I really like the way that the game handles this pared-down and squared-off style within a modern 3D graphics engine.
Now my Pixmas Tree looks nothing like a Minecraft tree, but that’s where the seed of the idea came from. What if I took a lo-fi image, like you might see in a 8‑bit videogame, but rather than displaying it in the precise and sharp medium of a computer screen, instead printed it, with all the human messiness that entails. Wouldn’t that be fun?
I went back to the drawing board (well, drawing screen) and played around with these concepts, finally coming up with our Pixmas Tree:
So let me be the first to wish you a very Merry Pixmas!
Item: Pixmas Tree Cards
Materials: Ink on textured paper
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