Do you know about 8-bit shugei? Meaning literally "8-bit handicraft", it's retro-gaming themed DIY art encompassing any number of formats such as perler beading, cross stitch, papercraft, sculpture etc. This has been going on long before there was a word for it of course; before I learned the term earlier this year, I made one for my brother as a handmade Christmas gift.
I was never an RPG kid (I'm not an RPG adult, either) but the one game me and my older brother could always agree on was Dragon Warrior 4 for NES. I really can't articulate what a big impression the game left on 7-year-old me; the huge enemy sprites had so much personality and character. The story captured my imagination like Mario Bros. couldn't (the cliffhanger ending of chapter 2 when Princess Alena returned home to find her castle completely deserted was downright haunting) and the world-spanning plot with multiple playable characters left me feeling like they were my friends.
Anyway, in recent years my extended family has adopted a tradition of hand made "secret santa" gifts so that people can get personalized presents and we don't have to spend 2K Moneys buying shit for everyone. When I drew my brother's name this past Christmas I had a good idea!
Okay, I didn't have a good idea until the last minute. But this isn't bad for a night's work!
Real 90's Kids know that this shadowbox mimics the battle screen from classic Dragon Quest games. I believe there's a technological reason for the black backgrounds in these games--maybe enemy sprites were actually displayed on the NES' background sprites layer to cram more huge graphics onscreen than would normally be allowed? My ignorance is showing; by all means let me know if you have an answer.
For my project I used three of my favorite enemy designs: Mad Clown, Babble, and the OG monster, Slime. All the graphics were drawn in Photoshop, printed onto photo paper and mounted on stacked foamcore of varying heights.
|When you don't want ugly white edges on cut out paper things--carefully run a black marker along the edges.
|More black foamcore for the background!
|everybody in the pool
To finish it off I took some brown craft paper and using my girlfriend's linocutting materials I carved out some cute little stamps for the wrapping:
My brother liked it; and bizarrely enough, the day before I even gave it to him he bought me a copy of Dragon Warrior 4, filling an important gap in my NES collection!
If you're interested in seeing some 8-bit shugei from other people check the Twitter tag I linked up at the top, or look at this excellent spotlight by my friend Oliver on Minus World.