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Tired of everyone using World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. for sweaters, murals, quilts, etc.? Me too. I understand it’s a very recognizable game.  It is arguably the most recognizable game ever created except for maybe Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Space Invaders (maybe), and perhaps a few other classics.  But it is also ugly, the color palette is not pleasant, Super Mario Bros. 3 was a much more aesthetically appealing game and also much more fun in my opinion.  I wanted to do a mural for my son’s room and I wanted it to reflect happy memories from my childhood that I could hopefully pass on to him.  My childhood is filled with great memories of video games and Super Mario Bros. 3 represents a nice chunk of those.

A little bit of background story: just found out my wife is pregnant with our second kid (we were trying) and our two and a half year old son will soon need to be transitioned from the nursery to a big-boy room.  I wanted to make his big-boy room special for him, make it a fun place in which he looks forward to spending lots of time.  I started this process about 2 years ago, got about half-way through the process and then stalled for a year and a half or so.  Once I found out our second kid was on the way, I wanted to get the mural done as soon as possible so that our son could get used to spending more time in his new room and be comfortable in there when we finally moved him out of the nursery.

Anyway, here is my process:

Step 1:

Design the mural.  Because I had a limited frame to work with: 12 feet by 8 feet where 1 pixel is roughly equal to 1 square inch, the resolution of this wall comes down to 131 x 82 pixels.

In Super Mario Bros. 3 you can’t see much in such a small window, so I had to move elements around to make it look more appealing.  All of these elements did come from World 1-1, just moved around slightly.

The design.


Step 2:

Prime the wall.  Using yard stick and #2 pencil, draw a humongous grid.

Continue drawing lots of lines.   Fill in the black outlines as a guide.

Step 3:

Once your pencil outlines are done.  Procrastinate for about a year – year and a half dreading the thought of having to paint in all those tiny, tiny corners.

Step 4:

Using black acrylic paint, start painting in the black outlines.


Mixing water with the acrylic paint as described on the tube was a mistake.  The question mark block lines bled all over the place.

Step 5:

Become frustrated with the acrylic paint, get some Behr wall paint samples and try adding some color to mix things up.

Behr fiery red looked orange when I was applying it, but it dried nicely.

Mario in full color! I won't notice a slight error on the question mark block until much later.

A splash of green...

A hint of blue...

Bushes are done.

Paint blue edges around everything to make rolling the background color on a little easier.

Ta da! Looks like I'm almost done, right?

The hills are located in a bad place for someone who is right-handed.

Ground: Done. Question mark block: Corrected.

Last step:  Paint in the clouds to hide the grid lines…

WooHoo!

Other angles, and close-ups:




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75 Comments

  1. My roommate and I did something similar for her son. You can check it out here:
    http://therealsurge.deviantart.com/#/d2pts27

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  2. Ivan Ivan says:

    i like Mario! ;)

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  3. MiDiknutz MiDiknutz says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 61

  4. Really great, practicly explained and useful tips.

    Like? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  5. Blimey – there has to be an easier way. Me, I’d have printed it, even thought I can paint. Drawing all those lines would have driven me batty!

    Like? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  6. great Mural, how long did it take to finish

    Like? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  7. admin Wes says:

    @James:

    Excluding the long period of time when I didn’t do any work on it, probably a couple weeks. I only got to work on it in 1 or 2 hour blocks so it took longer for me to complete than I would have liked.

    Like? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  8. Very nice!!! congratulations!! :)

    Like? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  9. Mike Ward Mike Ward says:

    What exactly was the mistake with the “?” block?

    Like? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  10. admin Wes says:

    @Mike Ward

    The top-right-most pixel on the question mark was the wrong color.

    Wrong: http://gamedrunk.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/15.jpg

    Fixed: http://gamedrunk.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/16.jpg

    Like? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  11. Jeff Jeff says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  12. MsDesignDiva MsDesignDiva says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  13. Stephen Stephen says:

    Nice work just stumbled into this. Looks like it took a great deal of effore *thumbs up*

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  14. sennik sennik says:

    Words cannot describe how good this article is. It is by far some of the best content on the Internet today. You are extremely talented.

    Like? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. Regan Regan says:

    My son loved this room so much I had to paint his room exactly like it. Thank you so much for the step-by-step instructions! You’re awesome!

    Check it out from start to finish: http://youtu.be/Wfs1PzsIGak

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  16. 3D DS 3D DS says:

    Hi there very nice site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also?I’m satisfied to seek out numerous useful information right here within the post, we need develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

    Like? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  17. john john says:

    just wondering. in inches how tall (from foot to ear) and wide ( foot to tail) did you make mario and the clouds also. how tall and wide are they?

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  18. admin Wes says:

    @john

    He’s 30 inches tall, and 26 inches wide.

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  19. [...] Check out the whole project here! Share this:TwitterFacebookTumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. By thewoodenarcade 0 [...]

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  20. Hey, you used to write great, but the last few posts have been kinda boringˇK I miss your super writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

    Like? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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    Like? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

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    Like? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Yana Yana says:

    Love this! Have posted on my blog, I think you’re the best dad ever.

    Like? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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