If you’ve been following the series of posts where we’re analyzing LEGO models as communication, chances are you’ve not quite agreed with me – perhaps you don’t recognize your own building style in what I write. That’s to be expected. But today I’m going to show you that regardless if you follow the model I’ve been building up or not (which you most likely don’t), your MOCs can be analyzed with it, which is what the model is meant to do.
Interesting. I’ve been following these posts for a few weeks now and have thought about a few things. I’m not sure how much of this is applicable to the way I go about building.
I don’t fiddle around with pieces not knowing what to make with them in advance. I may look at a particular new piece and recognise it as something that I can use for one of the many projects that I always have in mind.
I don’t know what message I try to convey with my MOCs. I don’t think I am normally addressing anybody in particular with any of them, except when I build something with a public display in mind or for a competition. I’m mainly enjoying myself. I’ve been building with LEGO since the time I first could put two bricks together and I don’t go about building any differently now that I happen to share pictures of my models with the rest of the world, although I of course do enjoy it when people like my models and incorporate people’s suggestions.
I’m not sure whether it was Peter Gabriel who said that he makes the music that he likes and if other people happen to like it too, that’s a bonus.
Based on this comment, what I know of you and your models and through your interview on Gizmodo, I’d like to try to place your building in the model I’ve been describing. You actually follow it quite clearly – and even pointed it out in your interview quite well. I hope you don’t mind, Ralph. I greatly admire you as a builder.
To refresh our memories: Ralph is most known as a master at building real-world aircraft with great detail. Here’s part of his collection:
Here’s what I’ve been saying we all do:
- We work in a context. That means we send out a message to an audience. This is the most important thing we can know about our work, as it dictates…
- Our design. I argued that shape and colour was two of our most important factors, and that they must correlate to the contextual information we have. All of this tells us…
- Which techniques we use.
And that’s the story so far – at least until next week when we’ll look at presentation. More on that on Monday.
- Ralph, your message is the easiest thing to decipher. You don’t build vague images from your imagination – you try to create a scale model of an aircraft. This gives you a very clear set of rules to obey. When you say that you don’t build for an audience, I’d disagree. It may feel odd to consider it, but you can be your own audience. That might make the building easier or harder depending on what standards you hold yourself to. A two-year old who builds for himself might be happy to slap two 2×6 plates on the side of a 2×8 brick and call that an airplane, but you obviously wouldn’t settle for that.
- Based on this information you create your design. In order to get the shapes proportioned correctly – which is an important requirement to convey your message, and I suspect, to satisfy yourself – you put it on paper. Deciding on shapes and colours is pretty easy since you’re trying to re-visualize something that already exists.
- This decides what techniques you use. I know you’ve gotten comments by some that think your models have too many studs showing. Indeed, the prevalent design tendencies in the LEGO community goes towards making LEGO models not look like made by LEGO, however ironic. But you don’t do that because a) you can capture your intended shape and proportions better with a studs-up construction, and b) you, as your primary audience, don’t mind the studs.
By using the model we can get a basic picture of why you built your crafts the way you did. And by using this analysis on one’s own model we can see flaws with a build-in-progress. We all do this. The thing is that most of us do it without knowing so. Our mind is beautiful in the sense that once you put words on an abstract concept it’s easier to think about that concept.