This week we’re proud to shine our BB spotlight on London based pixel art designer, illustrator, and animator Daniel Diggle. With over 14 years of experience in design, he’s created many successful apps, games, sites, products, and more. Daniel is also the co-founder of Broxcorp Games and the Trackd Music app, which allows users to record, share, and collaborate with other musicians around the world. He most recently created the artwork for his upcoming game, Skies of Chaos. Also, he helped designed the assets for our Brooklyn Brawler 2D Asset Pack that’s currently available for free with any upgrade or purchase of Buildbox Pro.
— Daniel J Diggle (@DanielDiggle) May 9, 2020
We were honored to have the opportunity to chat with Daniel Diggle about his creative process, making 2D pixel art for games, design tips, and upcoming projects.
Buildbox.com: Can you share a little bit about your background and how you became an illustrator and game designer?
Daniel Diggle: I’ve been working as a designer, illustrator, and animator in London for about 14 years. I made my start at a digital advertising agency back in 2006 and I hustled for that job. I only had a two-year college course behind me and quite a few half-truths about my skills and experience, but luckily I was a fast learner. I worked for some great companies over the years and produced innovative work for brands such as Adidas, Google, Ray-Ban, and Coca-Cola, but it wasn’t until 2017 that I finally made the long-awaited move into games.
Buildbox.com: As an artist, what inspires you?
Daniel Diggle: I have a huge love of nature, so a lot of my early inspiration came from walking in parks and forests, or from the vast number of nature books I’ve collected over the years. But, as pixel art has become my focus, most of my inspiration comes from the hundreds of amazing fellow pixel artists and game devs on Twitter.
Buildbox.com: How did Broxcorp come about and the creation of Skies of Chaos?
Daniel Diggle: I co-founded Broxcorp with James Eaton, a school friend of 22 years. We’d worked together on several projects over the years, including Trackd, a music collaboration app, and a platform that did fairly well on the App Store.
Being both long-term gamers; from the Commodore 64, Amiga, Snes, Psx, and onwards, we had a passion for games and decided to put that passion to use finally. Long story short, we both tried the same game dev tutorial online. I focused on art, while James honed his skills on code. Skies of Chaos is a very literal continuation of that first development tutorial we started. Some of the sprites I created for that tutorial are still in the game today!
Buildbox.com: What’s your creative process for coming up with unique art concepts and design ideas for games?
Daniel Diggle: The Pub! So many great ideas have come from us relaxing in the local spot with a few beers and our trusty notebooks. It can sometimes be a challenge to decipher the scribbled notes the following day, but it’s always worth it.
Buildbox.com: When you’re making pixel game art, what are your favorite go-to graphic design tools to use, and why?
Daniel Diggle: Aseprite is the king when it comes to pure sprites and pixel animation. It’s focused and powerful. Though some can bounce off its pixel interface (there are some great hi-res plug-in themes available too). I still use Photoshop when composing larger, multi-layered scenes, and After Effects can be a great tool for mocking up complex animations, especially in regard to how UI elements should be built-in.
Buildbox.com: In your vast portfolio of work, which of the characters that you’ve created is your favorite?
Daniel Diggle: In our game Skies of Chaos, we featured our dogs Tulip O’Hare and Campbell as playable characters – so they have to be our fave creations!
Buildbox.com: What do you know now from your 14+ years of experience designing game art that you wish you knew when you were first starting out?
Daniel Diggle: That the act of doing is the greatest route to success, the mantra of fail early and fail often holds true. Make games, make art, make music, and write stories. Share it, and don’t sit on it – you can always create more. Don’t hide your work from the world.
Buildbox.com: Your pixel art is incredible! We love what you created for Brooklyn Brawler. Do you have any tips for other pixel art creators and enthusiasts on making eye-popping pixel art? Any common mistakes to avoid?
Daniel Diggle: Don’t be afraid to copy. That’s not an invitation to plagiarize, of course (never present someone else’s work as your own), but looking at your fave artists’ work and reviewing sprite sheets from classic games can be good ways to improve your skills. In your earliest art lessons, you’re usually copying the masters, painting Van Gogh’s sunflowers, and the like, so learning by doing is a great way to develop your skills.
Buildbox.com: What’s your most recent creation we should check out?
Buildbox.com: As a freelance artist and game designer, if an indie developer or studio wanted to work with you on a project, how can they contact you?
Daniel Diggle: I’m always active on Twitter, so shooting me a DM via @danieldiggle will get a quick response. Otherwise, a visit to my site www.danieldiggle.com and an email to firstname.lastname@example.org will be great.
Buildbox.com: That’s awesome! We’ll definitely be on the lookout for Skies of Chaos!
You can learn more about Daniel on his website. Plus see some of his pixel 2D game art in action with our Brooklyn Brawler 2D Asset Pack below: