A guest article gladly recieved from Lilly.
I have always had an admiration for Pixel Art ever since I was little. I used to make pictures with sprites from my favourite video games; Pokemon, Mario and Sonic The Hedgehog to name a few. Later, around 2015 I became interested in Hama Beads (known as Perler Beads in the US) and it became my hobby to make images with them. I mostly made Pokemon, and would stick them to my wall like a collage.
Time passed and I began making less and less until eventually I stopped completely and moved onto other things. Then in August 2016 I found BABYMETAL. I remember watching the music video to ‘Karate’ with my mouth wide open thinking “Ok, this is the best thing I’ve ever seen”. The following day after work I went to HMV and bought both of their albums and listened to them constantly for the next few days, as well as watching videos on YouTube and researching everything I could about this band. Thus, I fell deep into this ‘Fox Hole’ and I could not get enough!
During my many hours learning all I could about BABYMETAL I came across a post on Reddit about their appearance in Super Mario Maker. More specifically I noticed their sprite and immediately thought! I need to make that! So I dug out my beads and made a keyring, which I still have now.
Seeing the little sprite made me wonder if there was any other BABYMETAL pixel art out there, so I hopped on google, and found a large Reddit pixel project( R/Place I believe it was called) . I noticed there was a little BABYMETAL piece included which I thought was adorable, so I recreated it with my beads. I then thought I’d have a go at making different versions with different BABYMETAL costumes.
While I enjoyed tweaking this design, it wasn’t mine. So it didn’t feel right for me to keep altering someone else’s work, so I decided I’d have a go at making my own. Freshly motivated, I downloaded a pixel art program on my phone and began designing my own sprites, and thanks to a new batch of BABYMETAL concerts that had just happened called ‘The Five Fox Festival’ I had new inspiration!
I made sprites for each of the 5 Fox Masks featured for these shows, and used the beads to make little key rings with the sprites and uploaded a photo of them onto twitter. The post received lots of amazing feedback, and I began to get messages requesting to buy the key rings.
Shortly after I began taking commissions for key rings, and the idea of making a little shop began in the back of my mind. I was only working part-time, and the extra pennies were a great help. More importantly, I enjoyed making these little trinkets and seeing my new friends happy reactions when receiving their items.
In June 2018 I attended my first headline BABYMETAL concert in Utrecht NL, I was so excited and the whole experience was incredible. I spoke to a few fans about my pixel art, showed them the kind of things I made and a fellow fan suggested maybe making metal pin badges- and I thought, y’know what thats a good idea! Once home, I got straight to work and designed a small enamel pin based on Su-Metal in her Megitsune kimono. I released the pin alongside the opening of my Etsy shop, later adding Moametal and Yuimetal’s pins to the set. They were greatly received by fans all over the world, and I was humbled by the amazing feedback and support.
I began adding more and more Items whenever I could afford it and Little Mistune started to bloom into something substantial, we’re still small but I like it that way to be honest- it feels like my own little community. I have regulars of whom purchase almost every new item I produce and it’s those individuals that encourage me to keep going. When they post photos of their collections and the joy they feel when they receive their goodies it makes me so incredibly happy!
The BABYMETAL community has done so much for me in my 4 years being a fan. Last October my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer. I had to close my Etsy shop and move back home to take care of him. My employer allowed me an extended period of time off on the condition it was unpaid. With bills and rent to pay, filled great shame I felt no choice but to reach out and ask for financial help, to which I was absolutely shocked to be met with nothing but endless support and encouragement- the sheer volume still amazes me today.
The kindness and compassion of the BABYMETAL community was something I had never witnessed before, these individuals, many of whom were complete strangers to me had come to my aid without even a second guess, I couldn’t believe it.
Growing up in a sheltered environment, having little to no friends this was the first time in my life I felt like I was a part of something meaningful, a family.
My dad passed away peacefully in late November, and in his final moments my sister and I sat at his bedside telling him what he meant to us, and how we would stay strong, be brave and continue to do the things we loved in life. Dad knew how much BABYMETAL meant to me, he would encourage me to travel to see them, I would show him my art and the items I made, of which he was always proud and supportive. My BABYMETAL family got me through those hard times, and still do. I know they are there for me when I need them, as I will be for there for them.
Life is short, that is the one thing I took away from losing my dad. I vowed to myself that I would live my life with no regrets, I would do the things that meant the most to me; and that is making people happy and with Little Kitsune I have managed to do that, and I will keep doing so for as long as I can.
2020 has been a tough year, with COVID-19 causing disruptions and times of uncertainty. I have used this time to work on Little Kitsune, and improving my pixel art and hopefully, with the continued support of the BABYMETAL community and my recent work through Kickstarter my little pixels will keep bringing smiles to fans for many years to come.
Beyond Senpai would like to thank Lilly for her contribution to the Babymetal community. 🤘🦊
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