Pixel Punkz, aka Martin Lathbury, is a pixel artist based in London. His passion for pixel art comes from it being an art form that never seems to go out of style and being full of endless potential.
He’s most famous for his Pride-themed Pokémon characters and in this time of isolation, he has been working to get a new piece out each day to help bring some colour and joy into our lives!
You can check out all Martin’s work on his Instagram – @pixel.punkz
I had the pleasure of catching up with him recently to talk about his life and work.
When did you first start out doing your pixel art?
I started pixel art about two and a half years ago. I was playing a lot of Stardew Valley at the time and thought to myself ‘I wonder if I can create a character like that?’. After some Googling on how to get started, I began to just pixelate everything I could think of in Photoshop.
What is it you love about pixel art?
For me it reminds me of the games I played on my Gameboy Colour as a kid. It’s simple but complex at the same time. Depending on the style, the difference of a couple pixels can completely change a characters emotion. There’s so much room for personality! It can be frustrating at times, but I’ve learned to love the process, which I think is key to any skill. You can’t just think of the satisfaction of the end product, you have to be satisfied with constantly failing and learning.
What was your first ever pixel art piece?
I think I made me and my boyfriend as Stardew Valley characters – cringe I know. The first piece I ever made that I published was a little two frame animation of Zenyatta from Overwatch:
How do you pick what topics you do for your art?
It depends on my mood. There will be days or weeks when I don’t feel like making something, so I won’t – I don’t like to force it too much. Sometimes I crowd source ideas but a lot of the time it’s whatever pops into my head, or it could be something I’ve seen that sparked an idea. Fantasy or pop culture tend to influence me the most.
What’s been your most favourite piece?
Hmmmmm. I would say my Witcher 3 piece. It was one of those rare occurrences where it came out exactly as I had pictured it in my head and was the furthest I had pushed myself out of my comfort zone in regards to style. Lots of artists have a distinct style where you can see a piece and instantly know it’s from them. I don’t think I have that, I’m quite haphazard with my approach I guess. I just like to make what feels good, and get better wherever I can.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on completely the Gen 1 Pride Pokemon series I do – trying to be more consistent, especially now we’re all in quarantine.
What have you got planned for the future of your work?
I’ve got some ideas in the style of the Witcher 3 piece which I think could be cool. I have got extremely inspired by the latest Witchbrook images too, so maybe something in the vain of that. Although that’s next level stuff and scares the hell out of me.
What games do you enjoy playing?
I’m someone who is constantly flipping between different games, I will go from Stardew Valley to Overwatch to Lego Harry Potter to the Witcher 3 in the same week. As long as a game is fun to play I’m open minded. I’m trying to play more indy games where I can as it’s important to support that part of the industry wherever we can, especially now.
What is the one game that is getting you through this isolation?
I just finished Ori and the Will of the Whisps, and, my god. That game is one of the most beautiful looking things. To have the skill to make something like that is nothing short of incredible. I played COD Multiplayer for the first time the other day with my mates – fun with friends, don’t think I will go back to it. I’m also playing Animal Crossing for the first time ever (like every other person on the planet). I think I prefer Stardew Valley if I’m honest. I feel like Animal Crossing is the cosy game for extroverts because it’s so extra, and Stardew Valley is the cosy game for introverts. I’m definitely an introvert. Also, I’m getting so fucked off with that seagull that keeps washing up on my beach. I’m like dude, sort your life out.
Where can people see your work?
Best place is Instagram @pixel.punkz. I’m on Twitter but planning on deleting my account tbh – far too toxic for me.