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ABaHB--The only blog dedicated to all things LEGO mosaics.--JumboBricks

A Blog by Casey M. and Katie W. | Guest writing by Dave W. and Sean & Steph M.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

'Tis the Season to visit Dentist!

Put on your Halloween costume and head out to collect succulent amounts of dentist drawing delights! It's that time of year for carving pumpkins and watching the Charlie Brown Halloween special! A time of Lego mosaics!

I've collected five great Halloween mosaics from across the web and assembled them for a very special MosaicBricks Halloween post.

First up, we have a double feature from eilonwy77 (Katie Walker). Two cheese slope mosaics, one a neat little spider on top, and a cool jack-o-lantern on the bottom.



Second, we have a scary face with a ton of different colors by DJ Baggadonuts.




Third, we have another mosaic by DJ Baggadonuts that will forever haunt me. ;-D



Fourth, we have a very creepy mosaic from the "Phantom Zone from the Superman I/Superman II films". Regardless, it's an awesome zombie looking mosaic built by Reasonably Clever Chris (Doyle)




Lastly we have our fifth, and final mosaic of the post. Frankenstein's monster, forever haunted by fire, is built beautifully in a cool technique in which you built SNOT vertically and horizontally at the same time. It looks awesome! Built by Legohaulic.



Happy Halloween! Have fun everyone! Try and beat my record of 30 lbs. worth of candy (2005)! :-)

~Casey~

Friday, October 29, 2010

Interview: Albert (au_riverhorse)

Au_Riverhorse is a somewhat little known AFOL with some very awesome mosaics! He's been previously blogged here on MB, for his cool green army man mosaic. For my fourth interview I was able to talk to him about himself, his mosaics, and his experience at Brickworld 2010.

Who are you?

"Hi, I'm Albert. Yep. Oh, and Canadian, Greater Toronto Area. The interesting parts of the 'who am I' question are really in my other answers."

How long have you been in to/playing with Lego? Have you ever had a dark age?

"I have happy memories of shuffling DUPLO boats and trains, my dad assembling an airport set with me around my third birthday, so I guess it's been a while! The blocks were put aside during high school, roughly corresponding to the end of the Royal Knights line, the introduction of Starcraft, and a move. They found the light of day for a university project, but it wasn't until Battlestar Galactica (and after university) that I tried my hand at making something of my own again. So, thank you, BSG."

How and when did you find the online Lego community?

"I had heard about Brickshelf in 2007, but wasn't aware of the existence of LEGO conventions until 2008, when I found out about BrickCon through The Brothers Brick. I browsed their links, went to the convention (air miles!), found Flickr, and have been easing my way in since.
"

What themes do you like to build in? (if any?)

"I got back into LEGO thinking that I would do a lot of space (because of BSG) or castle (because those were my favourite sets), but it hasn't worked out that way. It looks like I build to purpose, to express an idea, or to try one out. So, you've got a couple of contest entries, an amateurish response to a bathroom renovation headache, and tinkering with CubeDudes. Lately, I'm comfortably bouncing between mosaics and miniland figures, but if I mix the two categories then I would get sculptures..."

Now, let's move on to mosaics...

Why do you enjoy making mosaics? Has it been something from your childhood, or something that has recently developed?

"Mosaics are relatively new to me. I tried one of Taylor Swift in mid-2009, and after struggling to get a computer-generated template it was really relaxing to just let my mind coast a little and pop in all of the pieces. It being my first mosaic (and Taylor Swift), I also took the time to align all the 'LEGO' etchings on the top of the bricks!

A lack of pieces and the confusion about making templates kept me from exploring this further, but driving out to Brickworld 2010 meant that I could attend two mosaic workshops, and fill my car up with little plastic bricks. After that, it was off to the races!"

Do you have a favorite mosaic you've made (so far)?

"Besides Taylor Swift? I wouldn't say so, although a few are still up in my LEGO room. What I enjoy is that, so far, there's been something new to discover or try out from doing each mosaic - insights into borders, cramming detail into small spaces, freehand adjustments to initial templates, use of colour..."

In one such mosaic of yours (my favorite), "Bandit", the mosaic is built sideways, which had me scratching my head for quite a while. What's the story behind this mosaic?

"Well, this one started from Brickworld, packing Pick-A-Brick cups with pink 1x1 bricks without a clue as to why. After coming back home, I had about one thousand pink bricks, an itch to make a mosaic, and still no ideas. Mixing 'pink' and 'picture' led to my photogenic friend, who graciously allowed me to use a picture of her playing with a scarf. I also had grays and green, so it was an easy decision to go for grayscale with pink accents."

Was it (The Bandit Mosaic) particularly hard to make being sideways?

"There were a number of challenges - the first was cleaning up the original image, then getting a good template. I had tried tilting the image while working on it, but wound up tilting my head too and getting neck cramps. Repeatedly rotating the image kept blurring and moving the colour edges, so eventually I had to restart from earlier saved files and get something that was usable enough to be adjusted freehand. The diamond portrait managed to capture the face, scarf, and hands while keeping the pink and background brick count down, so I guess it worked out!"

On the topic of Brickworld 2010, despite it being three months ago, what was your experience at the convention like?

"Wow, I have to think back a little, now. I remember that it was a huge operation. After registering, it took me half a day of seminars and browsing the main room before realizing that there were more rooms to see! I chose to take in many of the seminars, including the mosaic classes, and the movie theater. Those were probably the more relaxing activities, since focusing on a single topic kept me from getting overwhelmed with everything on display!"

Were there a large presence of mosaics there, or any you found particularly interesting?


"Yeah, mosaics were well represented there, mostly off in one room. Of note: it was fun seeing "The Portrait of Dorian Bley" in person, and the transparent pieces used for "The Great Wave of Kanagawa" gave it a whole other dimension."

Did you attend or help out with any of the mosaic workshops?

"Actually, since Brickworld is around Father's Day, our family made it a big road trip, and I got my parents signed up for the basic mosaic class. That worked out great, since they got to make something to take back as a souvenir. I picked up their notes and attended the advanced class, where we explored ways of jamming the 1x1 stud area with more detail and color. These two classes gave me the kick I needed to get started with my own stuff, so I'm glad I went!"

Do you plan on going again next year?

"That's the plan, for sure. And since Brickworld 2011 will feature 'the world of light and sound', I've been kicking around ideas on how to incorporate that into a mosaic..."

What does the future hold for au_riverhorse?

"Well, on the mosaics skills side I'd like to explore different techniques - studs up, mixing studs up/out, transparent pieces, layers and relief, color schemes, dithering vs. blocks of color...I'd also like to do more freehand pieces and try to develop a more intuitive feel for how things fit, as inspired by the amazing play (I know it's 'work' and it's work, but it looks so fun!) of Katie Walker. Beyond techniques, I've just finished making a wedding mosaic with a few friends, and I think I like that sort of thing, doing pieces for people. Who knows where that could lead?"

A big thanks to Albert for doing the interview! To check out Albert's creations, view his Flickr stream here
.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Coolest MMORPG on the Web!

Since early 2010 (somewhere around March), I had the privilege of being a beta-tester for LEGO Universe. Not one of those people who's the very first person to try out the game, but I was still a tester very early on. I must say, watching the game develop from then, to now, has been a lot of fun. Seeing what I thought the game was going to be, to seeing it now is unreal. The minifigs for this game are insane! I thought you could had cool armor, but not awesome armor! Anyway, as the summer wrapped up and I got busy, I no longer could play the beta. I just didn't have any time, and then in late September, the beta finally closed. I'm not a full blown player, but I've seen some pretty sweet screenshots.

Anyway, in LEGOLAND California (I've been there once!), now has a brand new "Club House" that features LEGO Universe. Inside the club house, there's an awesome mosaic for the four main characters that represent the four different factions. Sentinel, Adventure, Assembly, and Paradox.



Check out more about the Clubhouse in Legoland here: LINK. And you can watch the brand new trailer for Lego Universe here: LINK

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Van Gogh's Starry Night

Ed Hall or "Buxley" (unconfirmed, but I'm pretty sure it's him), recreated (back in 2001) Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night painting in Lego mosaic form. It's entirely built with 1x1s.



You can read more on this awesome mosaic: here

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Who lives under a pineapple under the sea?"

Flickr user, lights (and his wife), built the famous sea-sponge that swept the deep blue sea. (err...bikini bottom...err...world...or USA...)



"Absorbent and yellow and porous is he!"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"The White Lotus Tile is much more than just a game of Pai Sho!"

Flickr user, Crimson Wolf, creates a very intricate and unique mosaic of a white lotus flower breaking through the pavement (or at least that's what I thought it was. ;-D )



(If anyone knows what TV show the quote for this post's title is from, leave a comment saying what TV show it's from, and I'll give you a virtual cookie!)
- Casey

Monday, October 18, 2010

"We are looking for Blue's clues! We are looking for Blue's clues!"

Flickr user, Brickfrenzy, creates the logo from the extremely popular kids' show, Blue's Clues.


"Maybe we should play Blue's Clues to figure out what she wants to do today!" - Steve

Sunday, October 17, 2010

MosaicBricks' New Header!

After recently interviewing her, Katie Walker built two awesome mosaics that said "mosaic bricks". One of them is now the brand new header for the blog!



Thanks Katie! *Links to her stuff above*

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Go Fish!"

Lugnet user, Robert Enloe, creates a great joker card. The size of the mosaic is huge compared to the table it's sitting on. I also think that it's SNOT (Studs not on top), as well.



Very cool, and possibly a little creepy??? Check out the gallery: here

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Interview: Katie Walker (eilonwy77)

Katie Walker is a FFOL pioneering the niche of patterns, designs, and stained glass cheese slope windows, developing new and creative designs. Over the course of a few days, I was able to talk with her about herself, her building, and her experience at Brickcon 2010.

Who are you?

"My name is Katie Walker, and I’m 32 years old. I’m married and am currently staying home to deal with the shenanigans of my 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son."


How long have you been in to/playing with Lego?, and have you ever had a dark age?

"I remember playing with DUPLO when I was young. I loved to connect a bunch of the train cars together, and then build houses on top of them, so that my DUPLO people could live entirely on a train. Sometime around my 12th birthday I decided that I really loved Legos (yes! We called them “Legos”! Heresy!) and told everyone to get me Castle and Pirate sets for my birthday and Christmas presents. I spent many a happy afternoon during my early teens building away in my room.

I did have a dark age which essentially started when I left for college. I did bring my LEGO collection with me, and a few times dumped it out on my dorm floor so my friends and I could fiddle around with it. After college, my friends and I re-enacted the song “Space Oddity” with LEGO, including dangling rocket ships over the edge of the loft where my bedroom was. But I think you could say those were just dim points of light in a dark age that lasted till we bought the first DUPLO bricks for my daughter."


How and when did you find the online Lego community?

"In 2008 my husband and I bought our daughter a 33-piece DUPLO set. It became quickly apparent that I couldn’t build anything cool with just 33 pieces. I did some investigating and discovered e-bay, and then BrickLink. It wasn’t long before we’d built up a fairly impressive DUPLO collection. At some point during my attempts to find cheap bricks I became exposed to some of the other LEGO activity on the web. I discovered the existence of LEGO blogs in 2009 and suddenly became aware of how cool LEGO creations could be. I also realized that lots of people posted their pictures on flickr, and I had an account there already. So I started posting our DUPLO pictures, and shortly thereafter created the LEGO DUPLO flickr group.

In the fall of 2009 I got out my “little Legos” (as we call them) to show my daughter. I fiddled with them a bit then, but mostly just came to the sad realization that my “immense” collection was actually teeny-tiny by AFOL standards. It wasn’t till 2010 that I finally bought some more of the smaller bricks and got around to really using them. I feel like that really marked my entrance into the online LEGO community. People started leaving positive comments on my photos, which gave me the confidence to start participating in groups and forums."


What themes do you like to build in?

"The majority of my building thus far has just been about me trying to teach myself how the bricks go together. During this process I’ve come to realize that I’m rather obsessed with patterns and geometric designs. Occasionally I pause from those investigations and make a more official MOC. Those have all fallen in the Castle theme, partly because I really like castles, but also because there are lots of opportunities to display the patterns I discover in a fancy palace."

Now, lets talk about your designs and patterns...

When did the "obsession" with patterns and geometric designs start? Have you always enjoyed them since you were young (or younger), or is this a new thing?

"I’ve been interested in geometric designs off and on since the elementary school art class where I learned that you could make an apparent curve out of straight lines. Over the years I would draw geometric designs, such as the ones seen here. I didn’t really set out to do geometric designs in LEGO, but once I started doing them I found them very compelling."

Did making the designs and patterns come easy to you? Or was there a there a learning curve you had to overcome? Or...has it always been a uphill battle the whole time?

"Making designs and patterns is very easy for me. Often I will be trying to make something non-geometric, but a pattern just somehow comes out instead. It feels a lot like plugging numbers into a formula and having it spit out results. My struggles have been in making something that isn’t obsessively symmetrical; photography has been another challenge for me."


Recently, you've made a "switch" to doing stained glass windows that are made out "cheese slope" pieces, maybe a little more "mosaic" side of your building. What brought these about?


"I was trying to design an intricate floor for a MOC. While working on that design, I came up with the need to somehow fill an empty square which had sides 2.4 studs long. The solution to the problem came through using “cheese slope cubes”, which is just two cheese slopes placed together to form a cube shape. I had to add in some 1x1 plates to make it work, which then sparked some ideas for other cheese slope cube patterns. Then once I had done a few, it seemed like a great idea to try to do them in transparent colors and make them into windows. After a little bit of experimenting, more ornate designs started to develop.

Were these especially challenging, as well?

"Yes! The cheese slopes do not attach to each other; they are all held together by compression and friction. They are rather small to work with, and I often have to use a toothpick to try to finesse them into the right spot. They have a tendency to tip over, and it is a true pain to try to frame them securely enough to stand completed patterns up as windows. Another problem is that cheese slopes are shaped like triangles with one of their points cut off, so a lot of patterns end up with disfiguring gaps where the missing points ought to be. I truly get pains in my neck from working with them! But the results were so lovely that I wanted to keep at it. Besides, challenges can be lots of fun. I do get the urge to scream a little, though, when I have an unprotected window that dislodges and “shatters” to pieces. I didn’t have enough transparent bricks to hold the upper windows of the atrium in place, and one of them did come apart when I was moving it around trying to photograph it. That night I had all sorts of bad dreams about my stained glass windows falling apart and raining down cheese slopes on me."

(Link to the completed atrium: LINK | Link to the back side: LINK )

Do you have a favorite (or especially rewarding) cheese slope stain glass window, or pattern/design of yours?


"I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I haven’t been able to pick out a favorite. What I really like is the sense of discovery, of figuring out how different elements can fit together. I think that’s part of what makes LEGO fun for lots of people: you get the chance to put the bricks together in different ways and see what happens. There are literally an infinite amount of possibilities. At times I feel a bit like a scientist, trying out a certain idea and seeing what happens. Sometimes a particular pattern is especially difficult to figure out, and then I tell myself “I will make this happen!” Then I do feel a bit more rewarded when I finally get it to work."

Over the course of the summer and up 'til now, you've been gaining a lot more notoriety, and I'd say becoming a pioneer in patterns and designs. You've been blogged here, and posted there. What has that experience been like?

"Honestly, the best word that I can think of to describe it is “bizarre”. After the first time I was blogged at The Brothers Brick, I got a ton of views and comments on my flickr account. It was hard to believe that that many people were interested in something I had made. Then I got excited, thinking to myself, “Wow, maybe I’m not that bad at this.” That brief moment of optimism was quickly followed by getting really nervous. I felt like I could never build anything else that would live up to that again. Anything else I made was bound to be a disappointment.


But then after a few days things settled down and my fingers wanted to start moving bricks round into crazy patterns again. (It does seem like my fingers are the parts of me that figure things out; I think my brain is only an assistant in the process.) I still like to say that my reservoir of ideas is going to run dry in the near future; how many patterns can there possibly be to discover? But thus far my fingers always manage to figure out something else, and I remember that there are an infinite number of possibilities. Then the cycle tends to start over: I make something, and if it turns out well, I get excited, quickly followed by becoming a bit anxious about it. The public attention, to whatever extent I get it, is both exciting and nerve-wracking."


What was your experience at Brickcon like?

"I went to BrickCon with my mother for the day on Saturday. I was a bit frazzled when I got there, because Snoqualmie Pass had been closed for rock blasting, and we had to sit on the freeway for quite awhile. I thought I’d be too late to register, but thankfully they let me in. I took the atrium with the fountain and stained glass windows, and then threw in a spider mosaic I had been trying to design for a friend to use. I was so nervous and shaky when I got there that I could hardly set up my MOCs. The stained glass windows got most of the attention, but the spider was the MOC that won an award, for best small mosaic. That was exciting.

Overall, the experience was a lot of fun. I was a nervous wreck much of the time, because I tend to be shy and have a hard time talking to new people. But the LEGO creations there were really fantastic, and once I started talking to people, I found that they were all really nice. Now I keep thinking about the different things I saw and did at BrickCon, and look forward to being able to attend again in the future, hopefully for more than just one day."



Was there a large presence of mosaics there?


"There were some. Someone mentioned to me that there weren’t as many as in past years, but the large ones that were there caught the eye. Truthfully, I didn’t see many small mosaics. I think that the favored technique of making mosaics using 1x1 bricks works best on a larger scale, so most mosaics tend to be larger. I’ve been working on using cheese slopes to create more angles and details in a mosaic on a smaller scale, but I have only seen a few other people do this. (Building a Battle Bug is a much more popular endeavor!) My goal is to be able to incorporate small mosaics into larger MOCs as window, wall, or floor decorations."

What does the future hold for Katie Walker?


"The future will mostly hold more of the same. I don’t have any big projects planned, being short of both bricks, time, and space. I’ll probably just keep experimenting and getting new ideas, and then occasionally will try to incorporate them into a more official MOC, though I imagine they’ll remain on a fairly small scale for quite awhile. I hope to visit BrickCon for a day next week. I’d like to go for longer, but can’t really be away from my kids for that long yet."

NOTE: Many thanks to Katie Walker for the interview and the long delay of its posting. Thank you for your patience. ;-) For her links look below:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

DK Attempts to break Guinness World Record of Largest Lego Mosaic

Special Announcement:


Saturday 23rd, Sunday 24th and Monday 25th October. 10am - 5pm Saturday & Sunday and 10am, LEGO & Dorling Kindersley have got together to promote the launch of the LEGO Star Wars Brickmaster book. It will be a free event at Shoreditch Town Hall, London and an attempt to break the Guinness World Record of the largest LEGO mosaic ever assembled. Pictured above, the dimensions of the mosaic will be 16 meters x 7 meters comprised of 1,500 baseplates and 384,000 LEGO bricks. You can attend this free event by registering on the DK site. Registered attendees will also be included in a drawing for a 4 tickets to LEGOLand Windsor. You can read all the details and register at the DK website.

Sounds pretty exciting! I wish I could be there! From what I know though, that will break the record of the largest mosaic which is currently in the Unofficial Lego Museum in Ohio, USA.

Sources:
- Brickset
- FBTB (From Bricks to Bothans)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Update: I'm not Dead!!

Hey everyone,

Just to let you know, I'm still alive. Apologies for not getting the blog running in stuff. School is intense this year. Stinkin' freshman year...

Anyway, I was just saying that I think about this everyday and stuff.

I have a lot of things planned for the blog, though! Coverage of Brickcon, three interviews, and an announcement about a world record breaker!

Stay Tuned!
Casey