LEGO Brick Sketches are a new collectible series of brick-built portraits of popular characters. A departure from the standard “building toy” concept, but in many respects similar to the collectibility angle of LEGO BrickHeadz, these are small pieces of art meant to be hung on the wall or displayed on a shelf. Slated to be available July 15, they will retail for US $19.99 | EU €19.99 each. The first four sets in the series are split between DC and Star Wars characters, and this time we’ll take a close look at the two comic book offerings, 40386 Brick Sketches: Batman and 40428 Brick Sketches: The Joker.
Last week, we had a chance to talk to Chris McVeigh, the designer of the new Brick Sketches series. Chris developed the concept of Brick Sketches long before joining the LEGO Group last year. Now he tells us more about his first major release as a LEGO designer.
LEGO has revealed a brand new product line called Brick Sketches featuring brick-built portraits of popular characters. The first four sets revealed include BB-8, a First Order Stormtrooper, Batman and The Joker. The Brick Sketches sets will be available July 15, and will retail for US $19.99 | EU €19.99.
Initially shared by our friends at Brickset, the 2D portraits are similar in packaging to the BrickHeadz product line and will likely become a new collectible series. Brick Sketches are no doubt the work of recently-hired LEGO designer Chris McVeigh who created the Brick Sketch concept several years ago (and has been featured on TBB many times).
What’s retro, red, super spiffy, and something that you can build with conveniently downloadable PDF instructions? Chris McVeigh‘s latest LEGO range and refrigerator models, of course! Chris is well-known for his LEGO renditions of real world things. Like his lineup of retro technology building kits, for instance. His rendition of a retro range and refrigerator lives up to his reputation for clean, sleek lines and wonderful parts usage.
The Star Wars saga is all about two things – machines and locations. Of course, some may say it’s also about the Force, family relationship and friendship, but none of this would work without iconic spacecrafts and mesmerizing sceneries. Chris McVeigh reveals a very special collection of three vignettes featuring our favourite pieces of machinery. But what is absolutely cool about these builds is that each of them has a motion feature, which brings an AT-ST, the Millenium Falcon and an AT-AT to life with a simple turn of the crank.
Even if you’ve not heard of Chris McVeigh, you’ve probably seen his builds in one way or another, especially his iconic Classic Mac that’s been featured quite a bit across the media. As a brick artist, Chris specializes in capturing fragments of details in tiny builds that give maximum impact. The other great part about Chris’s builds is that all of his build guides are available free for download and all you need to do to enjoy his wonderful creations are to source the bricks from sites like Bricklink or gather what you have from your very own stash. Of course, there are those that may not have the time or knowledge of the secondary LEGO market to gather all those parts, which makes purchasing a custom kit directly from the artist becomes a great option. For those that do, there’s no detail spared in the experience. Trust me on this, I’m going to bet that you’ll be impressed by the level of care and detail that Chris puts into this.
We’re huge fans of Chris McVeigh here at The Brothers Brick, and I’ve enjoyed each of the custom LEGO kits I’ve bought from his online store — custom kits that I can only describe as artisanal LEGO kits, with beautifully printed packaging lovingly arranged in the shipping box with tissue paper. We featured Chris’s LEGO Macintosh desktop last year (which I bought for myself last Christmas and love, love, love!) and his LEGO Amiga 500 last month, and now Chris has posted the final design for his DOS desk kit, which will be available on his website soon.
The desk drawers are fully functional, with a bunch of accessories to make you more productive — or keep you distracted during the workday.
One of the things that makes us love Chris and his designs all the more is that he puts his detailed instructions online for free. Yes, you can buy his kits — complete with custom-printed floppy disks and retro calculator — but you can also download his instructions and build his designs with your own bricks if you want. Be sure to check out our interview with Chris McVeigh as well.
Canadian brick artist Chris McVeigh is one of our favorite builders, and No Starch Press is one of our favorite LEGO-friendly book publishers, so their new book The LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book: 15 Designs to Spread Holiday Cheer is a match made in holiday heaven.
No Starch released the book back in September, but between a lengthy overseas trip for work followed by BrickCon, I simply dropped the ball — my sincerest apologies to Chris and our friends at No Starch for the delay. But the good news is that it’s now officially the Christmas season, so I guess this is even more timely? Enough excuses. On to the interview!
The Brothers Brick: We first featured you here on The Brothers Brick way back in 2008, when you were taking pictures of chipmunks with action figures. When did you start focusing more exclusively on LEGO?
Chris McVeigh: It happened rather quickly! Pairing Star Wars action figures and chipmunks was a fun challenge, and it motivated me to do more photography of action figures and other toys. Unfortunately, Hasbro wasn’t producing any play sets (aside from large ships), so it fell to me to create my own sets and backdrops for action figure photos. This was a rather time-consuming task that ultimately prevented me from getting on with toy photography.
We’re big fans of Chris McVeigh (powerpig on Flickr) here at The Brothers Brick, and we’ve been enjoying his brick sketches for a couple of years. But Chris hadn’t tackled a self-portrait until now. Chris’s signature mustache and resplendent beard come through wonderfully with just a few plates and tiles.