My professor asked us to imagine objects that make up a place and display them in a 16 x 16 pixel representation. This was an exercise in showing enough to capture the essence of the object with as minimal information as possible. I picked an underwater scene as these creatures are typically very round and complex, which presents exciting challenges for this process.
These are the first draft mockups of my pixel images. After viewing them at a small scale, I realized I needed to increase the contrast between the sea and creature, and add more color variation. I also added a gradient to make the image more interesting.