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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Become frustrated with the acrylic paint, get some Behr wall paint samples and try adding some color to mix things up.
Paint blue edges around everything to make rolling the background color on a little easier.
Last step: Paint in the clouds to hide the grid lines…
Other angles, and close-ups: