You know about Bob Ross, right? If not, the short version is that he was an amazing painter, best known for his peaceful and calm teaching method. Quite often, he would fill his canvasses with “happy little trees,” conjuring entire forests with just a few elegant brush-strokes. Builder Emil Lidé (Full Plate) has a similar talent, creating trees with a flair and minimalist style that evokes nature with just a tiny selection of LEGO elements.
Not satisfied with just one tree, Emil has created seven distinct varieties for us to enjoy.
All seven are great, but there are a couple of standouts that I wanted to take a closer look at. (All seven are detailed in the builder’s Tree Techniques album on Flickr.)
Across the world’s oceans, tiny changes in the water temperature have massive effects on the organisms living there, especially the tiniest. Coral reefs, in particular, show in spectacularly tragic fashion the impact of rising ocean temperatures. When the water gets too warm, the algae that live symbiotically within the cells of coral polyps get expelled violently from the little animals. Though the coral polyps are still alive, they are no longer colorful and bright; they are left a cold, dull white, deprived of the photosynthesis-derived energy from the algae and fully dependent on catching little bits of passing debris in their tentacles. Slowly but surely, the vibrant and rich ecosystem that once thrived around the rocky haven of the coral reef dies away, leaving nothing but coral skeletons. Builder Emil Lidé brings this oceanic phenomenon to life in LEGO form beautifully yet tragically.
Emil presents to us the reef on the one hand in full splendor, with diverse forms of coral and plant life along with little fish hiding in the crevices, wandering crustaceans, and starfish; and on the other hand, the reef bleached white, with skeleton arms appropriately front and center, with no animals or plants still living there. This build will be spending the next year at the LEGO House in Billund, if you can make the trip.
See more of this beautiful creation
We love progress. Our cities, our monuments, even our parking lots are all built for the betterment of mankind. But no matter how far we progress, how tall we make our buildings or how shiny a monument may be, one fact will always remain true. Someday Mother Nature will reclaim what was once hers. Builder Emil Lidé illustrates this notion with this creation he calls “Breaking Through”. No stranger to building beautiful flora and fauna, he clearly has a deep respect for nature. We’ve highlighted his Yin and Yang Panda House before and while this piece is less extravagant, its message conveys strength and endurance. It is important to remember that the balance between mankind and nature is precarious. Every skyscraper began with a plan and every mighty oak began as a humble acorn. I have never rooted for a plant to win more than this little guy here.
When it comes to fun landscape techniques, Emil Lidé has you covered. This tree made out of slopes is whimsical and creative. For me, it’s a little mesmerizing. It almost looks like it has been turned into 3D fractals!
But this is just a small sample of Emil’s handiwork. He’s not only an expert at building unique flora, he is gracious enough to create instructions on how to build them. His free instructions for both the trunk and canopy of this tree are on his personal website fullplatebuilds.com. You can also check out our article about one of his part experimentations, or another featuring multiple techniques in a single build.
One of the joys of writing for the Brothers Brick is seeing how LEGO builders make clever use of the parts in their collection. Emil Lidé has been experimenting with parts in unconventional ways, including using dark green minifig plumes for grass. The plumes are affixed to the 1×1 round tile with bar and pin holder, which allows them to be tilted in multiple directions. This in turn gives the grass a random but natural-looking pattern. As someone who loves LEGO landscaping, it would be exciting to see this technique used on a larger scale!
This microscale LEGO landscape by Emil Lidé offers a picturesque insight into the expansion of the LEGO colour palette — particularly in green. The model’s colour scheme effortlessly recreates a realistic forest feel, and the variety of colours is supported by the variety of construction techniques used amongst the trees. Beyond the forestry, there are some lovely touches — don’t miss the tan Technic pins used to create the wheat field, and the fence built from brown minifigure hands. The only thing I’m unconvinced by is the elaborate border on the diorama’s base — I think it distracts from the central build and would have been better as a plain construction. However, that’s a minor quibble with an otherwise excellent creation.