If Monday’s feature on A Beads C Start wasn’t enough, here’s another batch of beady retrogaming goodness! Cave of Pixels make (quite frankly) exquisite bead art. Needless to say with these two you’ll have more than enough ideas for stocking fillers. The main man Iain Clark gives us the lowdown on these little treats and you can check out more on the official Cave of Pixels site.
Iain, great to have you and Cave of Pixels here at Arcade Attack!
Hello! It’s great to be here. I’ve been looking around your site and it’s definitely my kind of place – retro gaming heaven! (Very kind of you to say so! – Ed)
In a nutshell please tell our readers what you do and why you started up. Is CoP a full-time venture for you?
Well, a few years back I was at a comic con in London and I picked up a little Super Mario fridge magnet made out of tiny beads. After a little web searching I found out they were Hama beads, which you can buy in different colours, arrange in different patterns and when you iron them they fuse together. I thought it would be fun to make a few sprites for my own games room, so I started making some simple ones – mostly NES sprites like Duck Hunt, Mario and Bubble Bobble. It wasn’t long before I ran out of wall space! But I wanted to keep creating so I carried on! As my confidence grew I attempted more complicated pieces. I got such great feedback from posting my work on my website and social media that I decided to take the plunge and start selling my art at gaming markets (we’re glad you did!).
Unfortunately CoP isn’t a full-time venture for me, as much as I’d like it to be! I have a job that pays the bills, but beading is my past time and provides some extra pocket money!
We met at the recent London Gaming Market and my springing Sonic is now displayed proudly on my mantlepiece. How long does it take you to create these on average? How long did this one take?
Overall, the Sonic ones take about an hour and a half, from laying the first bead, to mounting in the frame. That is probably a good average time. As single sprites sell best I make them the most. However, I have made a few big scenes and portraits that have taken 9 or 10 hours in the past. It really all depends on the size and detail of the image.
What are your favourite designs?
I really like the ones that depict scenes from games. I like to recreate cut scenes from retro games especially, as they’re so detailed. I’ve done scenes from Yoshi’s Island, Ninja Gaiden, Zelda: Link’s Awakening (take note Adrian… – Ed) and I find it hugely rewarding to see a scene like that framed and on the wall.
Another favourite is scenes involving gameplay. I like to recreate a snapshot of gameplay in a frame and have had fun doing this with many games like Bubble Bobble, Donkey Kong and Duck Tales.
Another thing I’ve been doing recently is framing sprites against a background of box art from the game. The backgrounds really set the sprite off and turn it into a great little display. I’ve done this for many games, including Super Mario Bros 3, Metal Slug and Castlevania.
Do you do commissions?
I do take commissions! I normally ask people to email me their requirements and I’ll work with them to design something they want, at a size and price that is suitable.
What was your first computer/console growing up and favourite game to play on it?
I always wanted a NES or Master System as a child but my parents wouldn’t let me have a console that required a TV (they knew I’d be hogging the TV all the time). So I saved up my pocket money for weeks and bought a Game Boy. That thing was my pride and joy for years, it rarely left my side. I had so many games over the years that it’s hard to choose just one, but the one that stands out for me is Zelda: Link’s Awakening. I spent so long playing it and became totally invested in the story that by the time I finished it (with the help of a magazine guide or two!) I remember feeling happy with the accomplishment, but sad that I had no more Zelda to play!
I think we’ve all had that feeling! One more question we’ve gotta ask before you shoot off, if you could go for a few drinks with any video game character who would you choose and why?
Probably Gilius Thunderhead from Golden Axe. Just to try the magic potions. Also I want to ask him why is he on a quest for a golden axe when he already has one?
Good question. Wasn’t the one he started off with silver?? Readers, please help! Iain, great to have you here and we look forward to sending some commissions your way!
Once again, check out the amazing Cave of Pixels official site.