Tag: pixel art

Pixel Art: Brainiac

I didn’t realize it until I researched the character to get his look, but Brainiac has gone through a number of incarnations. In the 80’s, when I was a kid, Brainiac was a somewhat skeletal-looking robot with a large brain case. He’s basically a light color, like polished aluminum or chrome.

pixel art "Brainiac" by Chris Sanyk 128x128px

But apparently earlier (as well as later?) eras of DC comics featured an organic, human(?) green-skinned, purple outfit Brainiac, who appears to have some kind of electrodes on his head. Perhaps I’ll do a version of this Brainiac in time as well.

For some reason, I seem to remember the robotic Brainiac as being a human brain inside a robotic body, and you could tell he was a human brain inside a robotic body because his pink human brain was under a plexiglass dome, so you could actually see it. So here’s that version:

pixel art "Brainiac" by Chris Sanyk 128x128px

One thing I notice right away about this variant is how much more the flat top of the head jumps out. I want to re-do this with a more dome-shaped head. This wouldn’t fit my original 16×16 base figure, but there’s no reason I can’t take it out an extra pixel and adjust as needed.

pixel art "Brainiac" by Chris Sanyk 128x128px

Pixel Art: Absorbing Man

pixel art "Absorbing Man" by Chris Sanyk 64x64px


  1. Absorbing Man’s form is morphic, he adds mass and his shape and texture changes depending on the materials he is absorbing. Thus he can have many different looks. This is his “base” appearance, without absorbing anything.
  2. Palette swaps and gradient blends would be a good way to indicate his powers. In a video game, this could be done dynamically.

Pixel Art: Zzzax

pixel art "Zzzax" by Chris Sanyk 64x64px


  1. I’m not sure how well known Zzzax might be to non-comics fans. He is a monster comprised of electrical power, possessing a rudimentary human-like intelligence.
  2. I’m not completely happy with the details I got here; in the comics he looks like a humanoid form made out of pure electricity, with flames and jaggy zappy lines defining his form. Here, due to the pixel size, he looks more like a tree bark camouflage pattern as seen through a yellow filter.
  3. One thing I did like about this attempt is the very faint light yellow glow around his body.
  4. Since I’m not totally satisfied, I’ll probably have to refine my technique and try again. I’m tempted to re-do this using the Hulk body template, which will give thicker limbs and a more monstrous appearance.

Pixel Art: Nightcrawler

pixel art "Nightcrawler" by Chris Sanyk 128x128px


  1. Nightcrawler has a fairly dark palette, necessitating use of highlights to indicate some of his features. I really only needed to do it with his hair, to give the sense of texture and shine that he is known for in the comics.
  2. I also gave him a pointy ear, or tried to. I’m not sure how successful this is, but I left it in.
  3. His bifurcated toes are also drawn in, a bit abstractly since they are pointing straight down. Those pixels are more a symbol of his toes than they are representations of them.

Pixel Art: Dr. Manhattan

pixel art "Dr. Manhattan" by Chris Sanyk 256x256px


  1. He needed eyes. A couple pixels at 64×64 did the job. For the ultra-fine detail on the forehead atom symbol, I had to go all the way down to 256×256 resolution. I could have done it at 512×512, also.
  2. I need to think about away to do a glow effect. Maybe just a gaussian blur, but I don’t know if that is right for pixel art. For now, this works.