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.
Builder Josh Parkinson has become quite the LEGO master of juxtaposing the near and far. I was wowed by his technique in the Doctor Strange vignette he made last year. And his powers of forced perspective have only grown since then, as is evident in this beautiful North Pole scene. Josh continues to astound with his ability to make minifigure habitats, six of them in total making up the two interiors seen here. But I’m also quite impressed with his snow layering on the roofs, trees, and distant hills. When combined with the backlighting at the build’s horizon, the whole scene pops, giving “the luster of midday to objects below.”
We get through all sorts of superlatives to describe LEGO builds here at The Brothers Brick, but there’s surely only one way to describe MySnailEatsPizza‘s Children of the Mountain: majestic. Isn’t it just? It’s reminiscent of the way monarchs were painted in the middle ages. The framing coupled with the forced perspective mountains make this look truly epic. We don’t know who this character is, or what their purpose is, or where they’re going; but that’s not necessary. All we know is that they’re doing it in style.
The LEGO castle building contest, Summer Joust, got underway recently. And one of my favourite categories this year is that of Silhouettes. The brief is simple: make whatever you want, but at no more than 6 studs depth. Considering LEGO’s inherently three-dimensional nature, it’s quite the challenge – but one that’s no match for Ids de Jong. He’s built this atmospheric castle scene that really leans into the theme of the contest. The mostly monochrome scenery is offset by the sunset in the distance, which emphasises the forced perspective at work. You could also see a deeper meaning here. The dark colours and creepy-crawlies in the foreground, coupled with the knight walking away from them towards the sunset and brighter pastures, indicate to me this soldier has overcome a great challenge. Perhaps that’s how Ids feels about this build!
After over 30 years of building with LEGO, I can’t tell you how many rubber tires I’ve amassed in my collection. And as someone who never designs anything automotive (primarily due to lack of skill), they have sat collecting dust for far too long. But Tom Studs gives me hope for their eventual use with this brilliantly floored scene. Utilizing forced perspective, Tom gives us a view out the building’s main portal into a green wilderness, complete with a perfectly positioned minifig to convey all those feelings of wanderlust. The interior of the door is beautifully designed, with plenty of intricate brown designs that stand in stark contrast to the verdant outdoors and its winding stone path. But, again, the real star of the show is the cobbled black floor, comprised of a multitude of brick “nuggets” each wrapped in an appropriately-sized tire.
So often in LEGO castle creations, the focus is on the large keep in the middle. But in a refreshing change of pace, Oshi has–literally, as well as figuratively–shifted the focus away from the big structures and to an often overlooked one by centering their build on the gate, with the rest of the castle in the background. It’s not immediately obvious, but Oshi has also employed forced perspective, as the back buildings are not quite minifigure scale.
The city of Minas Tirith in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (especially as depicted in Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations) is a fairly popular subject for LEGO microscale builders. But Joe (jnj_bricks) takes his LEGO build to the next level — or seven levels, if you count all the rings in the city — by creating a multilayered scene that places Gandalf astride Shadowfax in the foreground, the Tower of Guard in the middle distance, and the White Mountains against grim clouds in the distance. It’s often tempting to photograph your LEGO models from a high three-quarters view to show off all its details. While Joe has certainly built plenty of detail into his White City, he avoids that temptation by placing the viewer at Gandalf’s level in the foreground, looking up toward the city, with the Citadel of Gondor and Tower of Ecthelion reaching toward the lowering sky. The overall effect is magical.
If you’ve enjoyed Joe’s forced perspective LEGO version of Minas Tirith, be sure to check out an even more detailed microscale LEGO Minas Tirith by Koen that we featured nearly 5 years ago.
It’s always fun to see LEGO builds explore art history, such as this medieval scene from Joe (jnj_bricks). This build explores those fun and strange perspectives found in Europe’s medieval artwork. If you look up some of the art, you’ll find paintings and drawings where the foreground and background scenes are sort of pushed together with perspectives not achievable in reality.
This build of a monk busy with penning a manuscript shows off such angles between the front and back scenes. This allows for great detailing in both the foreground and background. The monk and his surroundings are chock full of incredible details, like the billowy robes and the tapestry behind the scribe. The castle through the door stands out with the texturing of its walls. This is an incredible idea, and a further example of LEGO as an artful medium.
At first glance, I was thinking these dishes are piling up and someone ought to do something about that. But then upon closer inspection of this LEGO creation by Filbrick, I realized someone has brought that beautiful outdoor view into the kitchen sink. The stack of plates makes pretty good towers, and the inverted red cups replicate the tower toppers nicely. The cutting board even makes an excellent drawbridge and the sink itself acts as the moat. I’m also fond of the stove burners to the right and the use of forced perspective is pretty ingenious. If my kitchen window above the sink had a better view than a little ramshackle house of a guy who died last February, I might consider stacking my dishes in such a way. But for now, check out the filbrick archives to see other clever and imaginative LEGO creations.
Confession time: while I’ve always secretly wanted to, I’ve never played a game of Dungeons and Dragons (or other games of its ilk). Seeing all the great D&D builds popping up lately is doing nothing to scratch that itch. There have been some incredibly creative entries as well, such as this one by Ralf Langer. I love the inclusion of the pencil and notepad – crucial for remembering just what it is your character is up to. While they’re great in their own right, it’s hard not to focus on the amazing playing field curving up next to them. Ralf has somehow managed to make forced perspective work in an arc – te further up the cylinder you go, the more the landscape disappears into the distance. It’s a quite remarkable bit of workmanship.
The insect-themed Captain Flywing tries to evade the terrifying tongue of Mr. Tad the Toad in a comic cover-worthy LEGO build by Nikita Nikolsky. The dramatic perspective achieved in this shot is due not just to the angle of the photograph, but the size certain elements were built at. Captain Flywing’s head and left hand are built to a larger scale than his right hand or his legs. But when viewed from the proper angle, it creates the illusion of a perfectly proportioned crime fighter in a dynamic action shot.
Forced perspective is always the way to go when you want to get noticed by TBB. Using niche LEGO parts in a clever way is another way to get blogged. John Snyder did both so I have no choice but to write an article about this amazing build. The forced perspective is created by building something that is further away on a much smaller scale than the things in the foreground. The background is too blurry for me to identify cleverly used parts, but the objects in the foreground are a lot easier to identify. The path is made of 1×2 round plates mixed with plates in dark tan. This makes the path look like it is made of cobblestones. A simple technique with a great effect. The tree is made using several limbs of Chewbacca. The print on this piece works perfectly for tree bark. When it comes to foliage John got really creative. The autumn leaves are made with toy winder keys. The fallen leaves are made using star stud holders. For the grass John used minifigure claws