Chinatown Detective Agency, General Interactive Co., 2019–present (work in progress)

Retronator Community Feature

A new Community Feature! Today we’ll look at Indie DB, the home of—you guessed it—indie games!

But before we do that, hello! Welcome back to Retronator Magazine, a place where we look at beautiful pixel art (and related) imagery, up big, fullscreen, without too many distractions! I’m returning to writing after 2 years of working solely on my game Pixel Art Academy, so I thought I’d quickly say hi. If you’re an old reader, I hope you’ll be happy to hear I’ll be publishing more articles again.

For newcomers, some advice: the way to read my articles is to slow…

6-month productivity report

I quite enjoy the practice of writing my work hours down. It keeps me accountable/grounded to how much I’m actually getting done. Previously I often had the feeling that I’m working a lot, but without the numbers to back it up, it felt more like satisfying some sort of a workaholism ego than actionable information I could use to improve my life. I’ve been diligently tracking my working time this year and I now have data to do some self reflection on the various styles of living I’ve tried.

A view of my calendar where I track my work hours (annotated with things that happen in-between).

Note that I only write down pure productive hours, so if…

Why you need to master your craft, tell the world about it, and give it time.

I got into talking about Tumblr yesterday and I don’t think people realize how powerful and especially long-lasting reblogging is.

For context, I run a pixel art blog called Retronator and 3 weeks ago I posted a news item about David Moyano’s map of the USA.

The United Pixels of America, David ‘Danc3r’ Moyano, 2019 (via NetCredit)

It’s been 3 weeks since I posted it and I just woke up to 800 new likes+reblogs, some of them from 23 levels deep.

Visualization using the Reblog Graphs feature on Tumblr, which you can enable on the Labs section of Settings.

The chart is an insightful visual representation of word-of-mouth spread. It teaches…

Someone asked on Twitter, at what point can you start calling yourself an expert, and I said (knowingly bluntly) never. The more experienced you are, the more you know how much else there is to learn and to me this makes too big of a grey area to place any arbitrary line down at which expertise begins. (It’s not 10,000 hours of practice.)

Becoming proficient in one area of art even has negative consequences. As a beginner it’s your only job to span the infamous gap of work that sucks so much you never want to make art again. When…

or why Elder Scrolls is the better RPG series for your self-efficacy

I always admired The Elder Scrolls, Bethesda’s line of role-playing games that includes Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind, Daggerfall, and Arena.

How I feel and what to do about it

It’s been two and a half years since I launched my project Pixel Art Academy on Kickstarter. Anyone that runs a campaign has to set an estimate for delivery of the rewards. I estimated mine for September 2016. It’s 2018 now, and I’m nowhere near done.

Being late comes with a variety of bad feelings. Guilt, panic, stress, worry, disappointment, self-deprecation. What was once a happy activity of posting updates to backers, becomes a dreadful anticipation of letting your supporters down. Many projects go silent for this reason, which only makes things worse.

I’m certain that it’s a feeling every…

“been sick for awhile so thought i’d take some time to draw something fun n’ relaxing”, Amanda ‘Merrigo’, 2016

Retronator Artist Feature

Oh my, I’m very late with this. It’s been exactly two years since the last artist feature in the mag. The blog has seen a few in the meantime, but it’s about time for another longer look at an artist’s work.

I had a short chat with Amanda a.k.a. Merrigo about this article in July … 2016. So yeah, very late. But we’ll make the best of it. We’ll make it into a learning experience. Amanda’s work is just perfect to talk about color schemes.

Retronator Photo Review

Not every article in Retronator Magazine is a behemoth of learning—sometimes I just have too many photos to fit in a Tumblr post. Today’s image overload comes thanks to the magazine for old video games: Retro Gamer.

Gods, The Bitmap Brothers, 1991

Retronator Do It Yourself

In this series we’re learning how to draw 3D objects onto 2D surfaces, a process known as graphical projection. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you should read Part 1: Introduction.

Here’s the big picture:

Octobit day 17: Flora, Matej ‘Retro’ Jan, 2017

Retronator Community Feature

Octobit is a journey, a quest of willpower to draw 31 images during October. Unlike Pixel Dailies or Pixel Joint’s weekly challenges, it happens once a year. Yet, it’s still a marathon—a one month pilgrimage to see if you can beat … mainly yourself.


Octobit was started by Bruno Moraes in 2016 as a pixel art alternative to the very popular Inktober. Bruno posted a set of suggested themes and off he went.

Matej ‘Retro’ Jan

I run Retronator and make Pixel Art Academy.

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