Mar 112012

This is a subject I’ve been needing to blog about for a long time, because this thing on the internet called Tzigla really needs to be flaunted. Tzigla (I like to say it like ZIG-LUH or TUH-ZIG-UH-LUH when I’m not in a mood to slur) is place for artists of all skill levels to join up to create tiny pictures to be juxtaposed next to other tiny pictures to create one big picture. A large-scale Exquisite Corpse. There are sections just for pixel artists, sections just for people more casual about drawing, places for the big dog advanced artists, and even sandbox boards meant just for you to play and see how it feels to work off another person’s tiles without regard to quality. And excuse its funny name, in Romanian “tzigla” literally translates into “roof tile” (the developers, who are altogether a great pair of people, are Romanian). So really, it’s fitting!

The best way to describe what happens on Tzigla is to just show a picture that was created from start to finish on the board. It was made by 23 artists with a total of 48 individual 100×100 pixel squares, and nobody saw each other’s pictures, only a tiny revealed glimpse of the borders that had to be blended from. Take a look!

Duckies BoardView the finished board on Tzigla!

That’s a lot of duckies. The middle-bottom part gets kind of frightening, to be honest.

Boards provide a hinted theme you can stick with but you are ultimately free to draw whatever you like. Most pixel art boards enjoy using a limited color palette which result in a more unified and cohesive end result. Some boards have very large, 150×150 pixel tiles (seems small, but when you’re drawing in the space it feels pretty big!) while some boards have smaller, 50×50 pixel tiles.

It even has its own, hand-made pixel art drawing tool that you can use to draw your tile on the pixel boards as well as output as a PNG file to save to your computer.

There are three types of ways, for the time being, for drawings to evolve on Tzigla. But the developers are very on-the-ball and they’re adding new things all the time.

The first method is where all drawings are covered up with mask so that only the ambiguous edges of what lies at the heart of the tile are showing, and it is up to the artist that expands upon it to interpret what it will be expanded into from there. Nobody gets to see the revealed board at all until it’s completely finished. Such as with this nearly-finished pixel art board that is using the Commodore 64 palette.

Checker Collab C64View the finished board on Tzigla!


The second type of board is much like the first one, except as chunks of the board get finished, any tile that has no neighboring squares that need to be finished will be revealed so that the monstrosity…err masterpiece that everyone is working can entice everybody into trying to out-weird what has already been done. Here’s another WIP board for newbies that showcases this method:

Newbies: Playgrounds & ToysView the finished board on Tzigla!


Lastly, there are completely open boards that just show everything straight up as it gets finished. Here’s Easy Street (a board that is surely putting Sim City to shame):

Easy StreetView the finished board on Tzigla!


About time Waldo started making a comeback.

Having drawn tiles for each type of board, I can’t decide which type I like the most, because they’re all rewarding in their own ways.  The revealing of the collabs that don’t show until the end will kill you with anticipation but they’re such epic reveals that people talk about them for ages.  Meanwhile, the instantly-revealed tile boards are great for some instant gratification.

And there’s no worries about giving out information or having to remember any sort of username or password, because Tzigla allows you to just let your facebook, google, or twitter account handle the validation.  There are also private boards for forums and art communities that can be set up that let you log in with just that user info so that you can easily be recognized with the group of people that you know from those places. Pretty neat! They even generate a personal profile page to outline the drawing activity you have done in the past for whatever place you choose to log in with.  Here’s my page, for example.

Plenty could be said about Tzigla but there really is no way to explain how fun it is once you start participating and growing a little comradery with the other artists, or seeing what somebody decides to turn what you drew into when their tile blends with yours. Even if you aren’t an artist, it’s interesting just to watch the boards evolve.

As it is still new, the place only suffers from not enough people knowing about it so some boards take a while to finish as a result. So spread the word so that another artist can take a look and have a chance to fall in love with it.

About the Author

Carl Douglas is a graphic artist and animator of all things drawn, tweened, puppeted, and exploded. You can learn more About Him or enjoy a glimpse at how his brain chooses which 160 character combinations are worth sharing by following him on Twitter.
 March 11, 2012  Posted by at 1:15 am Articles, Artwork, Digipaint, Inspiration, Personal, Pixel Art Tagged with: , , ,  Add comments

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