Gamedev Grievances #36: More Pixel Art By A Non-Pixel Artist!

So with another semester of uni over, I’ve finally had some more time to work on Ambience and start applying some of the finishing touches. One of those “touches” is revamping the characters’ mugshots, which I originally made over a year and a half ago (wow, how time flies!) and posted on here.

Since then, though, I’ve realised that the mugshots are okay, but still could be better. Since I’ve had a bit more practice at pixel art in the past 18 months, I decided to redo them once and for all. But this time there’s an added twist: instead of depending too much on copying and pasting features, I decided to draw each character’s mugshot independently and from scratch.

Here’s how they turned out:

The Player

As you can see, I’ve gone for a slightly different, almost “anime”-like style with these new mugshots, and I’ve also made them bigger so that I can draw out more detail in the characters’ faces. The player’s mugshot was an important one, since the player sees it all the time in-game, so it had to look pretty good. Most of the original features and colours remained the same with this one, including the player’s spiky bed-hair. The hair was shaded a little differently to the original and uses highlights a little more carefully.



Again, Vulcan’s mugshot uses the same colours as his original mugshot. The open, smiling mouth was very tricky to pull off, and even now I’m not totally happy with it… (Closed mouths are so much easier to draw!) On the plus side, I think Vulcan’s hair turned out fairly well and nicely reflects his headstrong, fiery personality.


Speaking of hair… Zephyr’s hair was daunting to begin with, but it was actually easier than I thought it would be. I realised that I didn’t have to go into huge detail to bring out the bushy, woolen texture – a few wavy highlights here and there were enough. I also drew Zephyr’s eyes a little differently, not just to make them more feminine but also to give her that permanent, slightly annoyed expression.


I actually liked the “furry” texture of Pontus’ hair and beard in his original mugshot (and NPC sprite), so I replicated that here. (In fact, I coloured in Pontus’ beard by picking a 4-colour palette and just scribbling over the beard with each colour in turn until it looked good!) I also made his eyes smaller and his nose bigger compared to other characters to make him seem a bit beefier and less friendly.


Ooh boy, this one was tough. Clarissa’s mugshot has so many unique elements: her eyes, her hair, her lipstick… Making expressions out of that lipsticked mouth was pretty difficult, but I managed to get some inspiration from the original mugshot. I also replicated her dry, slightly frizzy hair texture from the original mugshot, and gave her some eyeliner as well to complete her unique look (even though, well, Clarissa’s not exactly the sort of person who would wear eyeliner to work).

Thanks to her trademark fringe, Clarissa’s face is quite asymmetrical and this meant that I had to pixel in each eye as completely separate features. In the original mugshot, I made the hair over her covered eye partly transparent so you could see the eye underneath, but this time I just made the eye outline a little lighter and kept both her irises the same colour. It gives pretty much the same effect but requires a smaller colour palette, which is easier to work with. After all that work, I think her mugshot turned out pretty well!

I’ve still got to complete mugshots for some minor characters (particularly Foss’ Henchmen), but it still feels like I’ve reached a milestone, and I’m much happier with how the mugshots look in-game.

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