The mysterious Waneella

Retronator Artist Feature


Tumblr blog Waneella started its unassuming debut on February 11, 2013, with a campfire, a hamburger refrigerator-machine thingy, and a cake vending machine. Yes, that’s cake, not coke.

#forest #night #autumn (left), #awwtomat (middle and right), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2013

But don’t judge the book by the cover. Waneella’s humble beginnings immediately gave way to a mesmerizing artistic journey that left many in awe.

#sword&sworcery, Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2013
#The Lost Vikings #nintendo (if you know what i mean :3), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2013

After the initial explorations of the (by then already well spread-out) #sworcery thin legs style™, Waneella threaded towards huge vertical scenes with abstract tech machinery, towering deities, never-ending clouds and sleeping skylines.

#cats, Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2013
untitled (top-left), #moon (top-right), #punch drunka (sic, bottom-left), #robots #field #flowers (bottom-right), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2013
#robotics (cropped for Medium), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2013

By the way, when a coworker sent me a link to the blog on the onset of its viral takeover of the Internet, I responded, quote:

“This style became very popular due to Sword & Sworcery. This is just a kid that is copying that style, although he still did a badass job with The Lost Vikings.”

Thus began my infatuation with Waneella, which would leave my initial arrogance humbled (and forever haunt me for my incorrect, culturally-biased gender assumption).

#kowapowa #hare (so, inspired by kowapowa) (left), #cosmonaut #knight (right), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2013
#golem #skeleton #cage (left), untitled (right), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2013
#dog #street (There will be even a dog. Big dog.), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2013

What sets Waneella apart (and high into Tumblr’s stratosphere) is that all works are animated GIFs. It’s not a coincidence. Valeriya Sanchillo, the person behind the art, is working towards an animation degree with 5 years already under her belt.

#maktiko #happy birthday (Happy Birthday, dear Maktiko :3), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2013
Мотыльки (left), untitled (right), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2013
#for my beloved brother #happy birthday, Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2013
#city (left), #comission (sic, right), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2013

I am left speechless as the body of work presented so far has all been done in 2013 (and I even left half of her stuff out).

New pixel works have become rare in the last year as she’s nearing the end of her studies, but nonetheless spectacular when they do come.

#crystal coffin #НААДЯ (GIF for НААДЯ and their new song XXC) (left), untitled (right), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2014
untitled, Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2014
#sci-fi (left), #lkjhgvfdgh #happy birthday (right) Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2014
untitled (animation shortened for Medium), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2014
#pocket rumble (Hey everyone, we’re making a fighting GAME! (I’m drawing backgrounds)), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2014
untitled, Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2015
untitled, Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2014

Fortunately, her non-pixel art blog is just as fantastic, especially if you’re into more traditional animated movies beauty.

Illustrations for “Thanasphere” by Kurt Vonnegut, №2–4 (top to bottom), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2014
Illustration for “Thanasphere” by Kurt Vonnegut, №1, Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2014

Awesome animations notwithstanding.

#wanderflux #golem #soundcloud (Comission for awesome Wanderflux.) (sic), Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2014

Together with other ladies — Polina Minaeva (direction and animation), Phobs (idea and concept art), Katya Solomina (compositing) — and gents from the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, Valeriya is finishing their graduation project King Kills, scheduled to release later this year.

Backgrounds for animated film King Kills, Valeriya ‘Waneella’ Sanchillo, 2015

It’s nice to see, yet again, that pixel art is simply a form of art and all art experience improves your pixel art skills.

By the way, if you want some of Waneella’s art for yourself, she has commissions open for the Summer!


That’s it folks, another extended Artist Feature down the road. I can’t say how delighted I am to expand the 10-image Tumblr photosets into even longer journeys here on Retronator Magazine.

Next up will be a repost of the Moonman feature (an early posts from Stampsy before I switched to Medium) as I’m busy finalizing an announcement of my next pixel art project. Till then, happy pixels!

—Retro