Make the Most of ‘Beautiful LEGO’ Series From Mike Doyle

Image: No Starch Press
Image: No Starch Press

I spend entirely too much time using LEGO bricks to funnel my creative energy. Recently, I started to feel like I’d reached the limits of my pieces. Of course, this made me want to go on a shopping spree. What can be better than buying a few thousand bricks? Luckily, a copy of Beautiful LEGO Wild! found its way onto my desk.

Image: No Starch Press
Image: No Starch Press

The Beautiful LEGO series is made up of compilations of the best of the LEGO artist community. At first, I was disappointed. There were no directions! What kind of LEGO book has no directions? So I set myself a challenge: find a photo of a piece of art I can replicate with my (comparatively) small collection. I scoured the collection, and didn’t find much that I could replicate. I did surprise myself, though.

I started seeing the pieces in new ways. While trying to sort out the pieces I’d need to make sculptures from the book, I was picking apart the designs in my head. I discovered that many of them are made with simple enough pieces, and that just a piece or two used in unorthodox ways can make all the difference. In everything from a carrot made from a brick separator (Nightsmoke) to a Pokemecha Venusaur with helmets for flower petals (Taylor Baggs), I saw new ways to put pieces in my collection together.

Image: No Starch Press
Image: No Starch Press

Some of the pieces, of course, were entirely out of my league. Mike Doyle’s MTR: Appalachian Mountaintop Removal 2015 has an astounding 10,000 pieces! I’m not going to be replicating that one any time soon, I can tell you that. As a picture, it grabbed my attention, with a forest of trees made from inverted flower stems, and a barren mountain top. The piece was built as a peaceful objection to the Appalachian Mountain range being levelled, and is a wonderful addition to a work like Beautiful LEGO Wild!, with dozens of other amazing photographs.

After careful perusal of the entire book, I laid out some pieces, and decided to build myself a bird. I couldn’t build the 68,000 piece Peacock, but I could have some fun designing a colorful avian creation anyhow.

Image: Rory Bristol
Image: Rory Bristol

I started with the feet. I had a great piece for turning the pips to horizontal for the toes.

Image: Rory Bristol
Image: Rory Bristol

I took my various brown pieces, and used every shape I could to give the branches an organic look, and then found some finishing pieces and flowers to add color to the branches.

Image: Rory Bristol
Image: Rory Bristol

For the wings, I used a couple of converters to give the wings a place to pivot, so the wings could be adjusted at will.

Image: Rory Bristol
Image: Rory Bristol

For the tail, I just picked a couple of pieces I liked, and pined them on the backside, with some colorful finishing pieces to add visual complexity.

Image: Rory Bristol
Image: Rory Bristol

I didn’t have to buy anything new for this parrot, and I enjoyed building it immensely. Inspiration I found in Beautiful LEGO Wild! helped me find great alternatives, and unlocked a whole slew of new creations. These are the only “special” pieces I needed, and I had them all waiting for me when I opened my brick box.

Image: Rory Bristol
Image: Rory Bristol

Now, the book is great, but a lot of that inspiration can be found online. I could shortcut it and hit Pinterest, but I found that having the book in front of me to be a great help. It wasn’t just things I’d gathered on my own. I tend to be “realistic” with those. I seek out things I already know I can do. The book, though. collected dozens of styles, complexities, and pieces in one place for me to discover.

If you’d like to buy Beautiful LEGO Wild!, you can find it on Amazon for pre-order. The release date is Sept. 25th 2015, meaning you’d have a wait of only a couple of weeks. The MSRP is $25, but you can get it for $18.46 with the pre-order.

Disclaimer: No Starch Press provided a pre-release copy of this product for review purposes.

 

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