Michael B. Myers Jr. On Puffin Pixels

Michael B. Myers Jr. is a designer living in Iowa. He developed covers for the Puffin Pixels Series of Penguin Random House. Here he details his origins as a designer, and how the Puffin Pixels Series came about.

What is your background in graphic design?

I am a self-taught graphic designer, as I have spent most of my life illustrating. Any formal graphic design training I received came from required classes in college—I honestly tried to avoid them like the plague, looking back though, I wish I would have taken it more seriously—I think a lot of what I’ve learned through illustration has made its way into my approach on design.

How did the puffin pixels series come about?

It came out of thin air! I was contacted by an art director who works for the Puffin line of books over at Penguin Random House who said they had seen my pixel art work online and they thought I would be a good fit for the series. I was pretty ecstatic and had a great time working on the covers.

Where did you get the inspiration for each scene depicted?

The art director I was working with gave me some initial ideas, and I just ran with that. The great thing about this series is that they are classic stories so the concept and content is there, I just had to illustrate it. The cool twist is that each cover somewhat mimics a classic video game, with items scattered about as well as some character stats and inventory displayed on the back covers.

How do you create your pixel artwork?

I work in Photoshop for the majority of the pixel art I create. Working on a small canvas (I believe the native dimensions of the Puffin Pixel artwork was somewhere around 100 pixels tall by 200 pixels wide), I use the pencil tool and just start placing pixels. The real joy of pixel art is that it feels like you’re putting together a puzzle, all you have to do is put the right pixel in the right place.

You’re also quite skilled in traditional illustration. Are there any books that includes your hand drawn work?

I have had some work published in a book called Torso which included some illustration I have done for screen prints, but would love to get some more of my illustrative work published some day.