Pixel Portraits

The basic idea of pixel portraits is to create an image made up using lots of squares. Like a paint by numbers but with a grid of squares to paint - or in this case stickers.


Nella Last was a housewife from Barrow who wrote a diary through the Second World War for the Mass Observation Archive . As the archive was anonymous she was referred to as Housewife 49. Her diary was published as "Nella Last's War: The Second World War Diaries of Housewife 49". As the BBC put it : "Her record of events offers a unique insight into one woman's war - on the Home Front."

Project outline

After our first community pixel portraits in Kendal Library we wanted to take things up a notch. So we went bigger, used a lot more colours and created custom ration token sticker designs.

The set up:

The event:

It turned out brilliantly:

Project Notes:

  • Created a program to split the image into coloured blocks. [I'm going to write up creating the program as a separate project - sometime!]
  • We decided to go for 11x11 A5 (actually slightly smaller than A5 to keep the block square.
  • We went for the smallest stickers our local printer (Fingerprints (https://fingerprints.co.uk/)) could do 12mm x 12mm.
  • We used 30 different colours each with a different ration token name (e.g. EGGS, HAM, LARD etc) although we ran out of small words so had to use 2X as a prefix to finish the list (e.g. 2X HAM).
  • Each person was given a card to fill in with token names marked where they needed to put stickers.
  • Once they completed a card they went to stick it on a giant board we'd set up with the card numbers written on.

You know it's all over when the victorian lady jumps the stool.

Me on Mastodon
© 2022 ArtFly