Forced perspective is one of those artist’s buzzwords (or phrases) that means to achieve the illusion of a vast depth of field within a very narrow space. LEGO artist Jaap Bijl understands forced perspective quite well. The central road bisecting the composition down the middle appears to trail off into the long distance, but from the sky to the foreground, the composition is no more than twenty studs deep.
The builder tells us the width is more than a meter across, which certainly helps create the illusion of depth. The other trick Jaap clearly understands is the use of color. This is a world bursting with color for sure but the brightest of which is relegated only to objects in the extreme foreground. Midground is awash in a bit more subdued pastels, clueing us in that, even that far down the road, this is a colorful world but dialing back the intensity and details helps create the illusion of depth. The sky shifts the color palette and dials back the amount of detail, giving us a suitable background. This builder is a true artist indeed, but check out our Jaap Bijl archives to see what I mean.
I have to say, as a writer for TBB, I’ve seen A LOT of custom builds. I spend far too much of my time scanning Flickr and Instagram for the next awesome piece of art to share with you all. Maybe it’s the fantasy nerd in me, but this… is exceptional. This dragon, built by talented LEGO designer, Wes Talbott, is all sorts of awesome. The ombre, rainbow-esque coloring is so perfectly executed! Making it for The LEGO House collection, he fittingly calls it, “Chromalagous” but the beauty goes beyond the color palette.
The placement of the scales is so organic and detailed, it truly looks like the skin of a giant reptile. It certainly doesn’t look like LEGO at first glance. And I don’t know about you, but I find myself with my mouth agape, muttering “how?” questions. Those horns?! I’d love to get a look at the internal structure, but this has to take a great deal of sculpting talent. What techniques does he use to make all those odd angles? Your guess is as good as mine.
Wes is a prolific artist, both in LEGO and graphically. Check out some of his official work in our archives, including reviews of the new 21327 Typewriter and 21325 Blacksmith Shop.
If there’s one thing that sets today’s LEGO elements apart from those of the past, it’s the wide range of bright colors found in modern sets; they expand upon the original LEGO primary color palette with stunning diversity. Many of these colors are only available for a limited assortment of parts. This digital model by Pau Padrós uses some great new parts like this brick with a half arch first released in 71043 Hogwarts Castle, and this rounded brick in colors LEGO has not released yet, but we can hope that maybe someday, they will. The model features an angled facade and plenty of unconventional construction that orients the LEGO stud in several directions within a single structure.
Throwing traditional building caution to the solar wind, Alex “Orion Pax” Jones’s insanely colourful ship is certainly one of the more unusual models to come out of this year’s SHIPtember challenge. Alex notes that he tried to use all of the colours in the LEGO palette, making his build not only a SHIP (a seriously huge investment in parts), but also a SHIC (a seriously huge investment in colours).
After its namesake, the side of the vessel operates as an interstellar PAX or peace sign. Borrowing heavily from the graphic flourishes of graffiti aesthetic, the spacecraft shrugs off the utilitarian norms of spacecraft design in favour of a brash, exuberant look. Alex explains his ethos best when he says: “If you ride, ride in style!”
Can you count all the different LEGO colors used in this psychedelic sea serpent by Simon NH? We counted at least 20, but we may have missed some. What’s incredible about this creation is that it uses so many different colors, but still manages to feel coherent and striking. That’s because sets of related colors are grouped strategically: greens are used for the underbelly; lavenders and purples are used for the sides; and reds and pinks are on the top.
There’s a lot to love in terms of parts usage too. The use of spring legs on the nose singlehandedly justifies the existence of the oft-maligned LEGO NBA sets for me. Using flags for the spines accentuates the sinuous nature of the whole build. I would love to see an Ultimate Collector’s Series-style set with this level of detail in the LEGO Elves theme.
The recent BrickCon 2017, which took place in Seattle just a month ago, gathered the best Back to Old School creations — some of the most awesome remakes and remixes of old LEGO themes and sets. Galaktek‘s color refinery is an adorable reflection upon old concepts when designs were simple and the color palette is limited by several basic colors. That’s why you’ll never find here pieces in dark purple of Maersk blue; it was a beautiful time of yellow castles and blue and grey spaceships!
Li Li (lisqr) has been exploring building with angles on his own blog and he utilises one technique in this latest build, Spectrum. By off-setting the far end of each level of brick, Li Li has created an ingenious twisting sculpture that displays the visual spectrum in LEGO colours.
This is a lovely work of art and crosses the line between LEGO creation, art and science in a beautiful fashion. The birds eye view show the spectrum of colours in all their splendour.
Dave E. over on the Brickset forums has compiled a fascinating summary of the evolution of the LEGO palette over the past 40 years. Dave wrote an program to analyze the Brickset database, pulling part inventories for the last 40 years’ worth of sets. He says he ignored a few special themes known for their rampant use of unusual colors, such as Duplo and Fabuland.
This chart compiles the colors as a percentage of the total parts produced each year, so while a color’s percentage may decrease from one year to the next, its actual quantity produced may increase if LEGO manufactures more total pieces the next year. This chart also only accounts for a set’s release year, and not the subsequent years in which that set may have been produced, nor the quantities LEGO produces, so it only approximates what a collector would have if they were able to buy one copy of each set in its release year.