Whether you’re a younger fan of LEGO who just got your very first set or an AFOL who has so many sets that you don’t know what to do with them, you’ve probably had thoughts on building something on your own using parts that you already own. If you’re like me and you have builder’s block, you look online for some inspiration from sites like on Flickr or MOCpages. You’ve probably seen some things that make you wonder how the builders created them. This is where a book by No Starch Press called The Art of LEGO Design: Creative Ways to Build Amazing Models by Jordan Scwartz comes in.
Jordan, aka Sir Nadroj, was a LEGO Product Designer in Billund who was on the LEGO Creator/Creator Expert team and has worked on sets like the Palace Cinema. He has since moved on pursue his studies but LEGO is still a big part in his life and he has won numerous awards for his creations.
The preface goes through the history of LEGO as many book tend to do to an extent. The introduction section gives you an insight on how this book can be of value to you. If you’re looking for step-by-step instructions on how to build things, then this book may not be for you. This book is geared more towards giving advice and ideas on how to build your own creations.
The first chapter goes over the basic things like colors, shapes, and sizes of your desired creation. It also talks about your working environment and different tools you can use to make your building experience an easier one. Finally, the chapter shows some essential elements that could be useful for your creations.
The next chapter talks about the LEGO minifigures and how they can add more life to your builds. There’s also a neat little tip that I didn’t know about until I saw it in the book. If you use a Technic ball to replace a minifigure head, you can get a more dynamic head posing.
After that, the book goes into a number of chapters that shows off different building techniques that can be used in LEGO building. This is where the book gets a lot more interesting. The next few chapters goes into some details on specific building techniques with various artists and what they’re know for in the LEGO community such as Katie Walker’s mosaics, Iain Heath’s famous characters, Adam Grabowski’s cars, and Peter Morris’ starfighters.
Although the The Art of LEGO Design does not give you instructions for any builds, minus the Lowell Sphere, it does give you a ton of ideas and tips to get you visualizing creatively such as using the Technic ball as a minifigure head. Another very interesting tip is flipping balloon tires inside out to get an textured element, which in this case, creates an octopus body.
Like I mentioned before, the images are top notch and the book itself is very well written in this 270 page paperback. Whether you’re new to LEGO or been in the hobby for a while, you’ll probably learn some things that you may not have known before. The book is now available for purchase on Amazon or at No Starch Press.