LEGO Mosaics

The Life and Death of a Logo (LEGO, or otherwise)

The HTML 5 Logo (Grayscale) built with LEGO bricks
The HTML 5 Logo (Grayscale) built with LEGO bricks

The specification for HTML is one of those rare things that is the successful result of being run by committee. Or two. Considering the tens of thousands (if not millions) of HTML coders worldwide, we accept that a committee (or two) is superior than a democracy.

But, as something being run by a committee (or two), we still get iffy things like the occurrence this week of the announcement of a logo for the up and coming HTML 5 standard as well as another announcement that HTML 5 will not be known as such, but as simply HTML, which completely obliterates the logo.

But, since the whole thing is still run by a committee (or two), it is not clear at this time with the life and/or death of the HTML 5 logo will be.

In the meantime, fresh after the first announcement, I commenced upon my own personal interpretation of the logo in LEGO bricks. And post it here for posterity, regardless of the outcome. 🙂

The HTML 5 Logo (Grayscale) built with LEGO bricks with Builder and Builder Jr.
The HTML 5 Logo (Grayscale) built with LEGO bricks with Builder and Builder Jr.
LEGO Sculptures (3-d artwork)

LEGO Dog Sculptures: Basset Hounds

LEGO Dog Sculptures: Basset Hounds
LEGO Dog Sculptures: Basset Hounds

These LEGO Basset Hounds were a recent commission I did for someone who really likes Basset Hounds and was looking for a unique gift for his wife (who also really likes Bassets). He was looking for something similar to the Basset out in front of the LEGO Store in Orlando, but not as costly to build. They are one-quarter the size of a real full-grown Basset.

I’ve seen the display at the LEGO store; I’ve also seen the miniature version Dan Steininger made of those dogs (since he had several on display at the LEGO R2-D2 Store Event in Lawrenceville a couple years ago). Dan had a miniature Basset there, and I had taken 1 or 2 not very good pictures.

After spending a great deal of time poring over those pictures and comparing to pictures of the larger model (I don’t have any Bassets I know personally that I can work from  ) I was able to build something similar.

I was a little short on plates up front, esp. in brown, since most of my work to date has been exclusively with bricks, so I built my prototype in blue with old brick. Once I was satisfied with a solid design, I ordered the remaining parts I needed to finish a brown Basset, then took pictures of the new one, with the original prototype. Well, the client loved both of them, so I had to scramble to put a new blue one together. 🙂 The images here are of the finalized bassets made of new brick, glued, and ready to ship.

LEGO Portraits

I Want a New Duck

LEGO Duckingham Logo (a LEGO portrait)
The Duckingham Logo, a LEGO portrait

Okay, so I’ve built the Duckingham Logo out of LEGO before. But that one only fit on one large grey baseplate — measured at 15″x15″. I wanted something bigger for BrickMagic.

So I went a size up—used 4 green baseplates, so I’m measuring 20″x20″ for this one. I was very satisfied at the improved resolution.

Would you believe I spent Thursday evening before BrickMagic putting this one together? That would explain why I was so tired that morning…;)

LEGO Sculptures (3-d artwork)

LEGO Cookies & Milk (life-size sculpture)

LEGO Chocolate Chip Cookies & Milk
LEGO Chocolate Chip Cookies & Milk

I’ve made LEGO Chocolate Chip Cookies before, but this task was a bit different: build life-size cookies and a corresponding glass of LEGO milk.

It was a pretty straightforward matter to draw a cookie shape on a piece of LEGO graph paper, and generally determine color and where chocolate chips could go. I also attempted to design the cookies  in such a way as to be simple and cost-effective for school-kids to build. Not that they ended up being as cost-effective as I’d have liked — and the build took longer than I thought when tested on family members. Hmm. So I ended up just showing them  to school kids. And they liked ’em.

LEGO Events

LEGO Event: Show’n’tell at 2nd Grade

This past Friday I had the privilege of going to show-n-tell with my son. What does this have to do with a LEGO art website? Glad you asked!

Christopher’s teacher had asked for parents to volunteer to come in and tell about their jobs. While my LEGO freelance artist thing is nothing like a full-time job right now, I thought it would be something that the kids could relate to.

When I asked the kids if any of them had ever built anything with LEGO I was practically knocked over by the verberations in the air from 20+ hands shooting straight into the air. Okay, so I wasn’t really knocked over, but I don’t think I’d ever seen that many hands go up that fast. And you want to talk about an engaged audience? I was blown away (again, not literally) by how into it these kids were.

Christopher was my helper and we showed his classmates LEGO Green Eggs and Ham, a life-size batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies and Milk — something my wife and both boys had fun helping me put together. Then we showed them the giant LEGO chocolate chip cookie. And finally the jigsaw portrait puzzle I had built of Christopher’s face. That one I pulled out in the six individual pieces first and let the kids guess what it was. Several of them could see his face in it before I had the last two pieces on, so that was really neat.

So that was my ten minutes of Friday fame. Lots of fun. For a sneak peak into the future, here’s a picture of a new LEGO portrait I’m working on of our second-born, Patrick. Stay tuned for updates!
LEGO Portrait Mosaic work-in-progress of Patrick

LEGO Mosaics

LEGO Mosaic: Flickr Logo

I enjoy using Flickr for a number of things. Recently I found the “Flickr fan art” group and couldn’t find any logos built with LEGO. So I built one.

There are 731 LEGO bricks in the mosaic: 46 pink, 303 blue, and 382 white.

LEGO Mosaic of the Flickr logo by Duckingham Design

I discovered that having all that white in there makes it really tricky to get a decent photo. So I had to add some props into the background. 🙂 Here are a couple more shots. Tried to give a close up perspective in the first one, and then an angled shot in the next.

LEGO Mosaic Close-up of the Flickr logo by Duckingham Design LEGO Mosaic of the Flickr logo by Duckingham Design

LEGO Sculptures (3-d artwork)

LEGO Sculpture: A LEGO Puzzle Portrait

I displayed this LEGO sculpture at BrickWorld this past summer, and it was a big hit with guests—adults and kids alike.

Why a Puzzle?

One day it dawned on me that I’d never seen a jigsaw puzzle made out of LEGO bricks. At that point it became a simple matter of determining what image to use on top and then to design the puzzle pieces.

For the image I used an existing LEGO portrait I’d built of my son, Christopher.

Building Objectives

Some of the key points I wanted to achieve were:

  • since this was my first puzzle, it should be simple, only a few pieces, but enough to get a good variety of pieces
  • the thickness of the pieces should be relatively scale to a real jigsaw puzzle
  • the pieces should resemble the shapes of real jigsaw puzzle pieces
  • and the pieces should be sturdy enough to not need glue to hold them together.

Display at BrickWorld

When I was displaying the puzzle on Saturday, I first kept it mostly together with just one piece removed. The initial reaction I got from a lot of people (especially kids) was, “It’s broken!”

Later I discovered that if I started with the six pieces separated, I drew crowds of a dozen people at a time standing there saying, “ooh, a jigsaw puzzle made of LEGO!” And they were equally amazed that all six pieces fit together. 🙂

Joe Meno, editor of BrickJournal magazine, posted a short video on Facebook with me demonstrating how the puzzle pieces fit together.

The Reverse Side

I intentionally designed the reverse side to aid in building, so the colors alternate. It also gives you a good visual at how the pieces are separate, yet all fit together.

LEGO Events

BrickWorld 2009 — Thursday Afternoon

For the afternoon event, Maria and I went to a workshop given by David Gregory on how to use PicToBrick to create mosaics out of LEGO bricks. We got there early to avoid having to sit clear in the back like we’d ended up having to do for the morning session with Arthur Gugick. 🙁


PicToBrick is one of several programs available to aid a user in converting a picture into a size and color system that works with LEGO bricks. I’ve tried the program, but haven’t cared for it too much, so I thought that a workshop with a live person showing the program would be helpful.

On the one hand, I was encouraged that a lot of the problems I’ve encountered with PicToBrick are things that David mentioned as shortcomings of the program. So, while I’m a little less worried that I’m “missing out” by not using the program exclusively, I am willing to give it some further use. Either way, I still think that Sean Kenney’s typical approach to building portraits out of LEGO (by hand, without the use of PicToBrick) is superior to any effort relying solely on software, and I’d like to continue that discipline as well.

Hands-on Mosaic


For the hands on part we built a 3×4 baseplate version  of Bart Simpson. We split into 12 groups and David gave each group a diagram. We worked with 2×2 bricks, so it was much easier than starting with 1×1’s. David said that this is a project that is great for school kids. They can each work on their part of the mosaic, and then put the whole thing together at the end.

All in all it was a great session and it gave me a lot of great ideas. Thanks David!

LEGO Events

Nathan Sawaya at BrickWorld 2009

Okay, I know this one is out of sequence, but it was way too totally awesome to not post as soon as possible.

Nathan Sawaya does the sort of thing that I want to do when I grow up. Er…okay maybe that’s not accurate, because he hasn’t grown up either. Nathan is one of only a handful of LEGO Certified Professional builders — i.e., he doesn’t work directly for LEGO, but his day job is building art using LEGO as a medium — the sort of thing I do here on Duckingham, just on a much smaller scale than he does. You can check out his work at

Nathan was great to talk to; he didn’t bring any of his own work (most of it is too big to fit in his carry on bag ;D), but said several nice things about what I had there.

Anyhow, here we are:



Nathan has also made a chocolate chip cookie; his used a lot more bricks than I own, but this is the one I built, and I might add, I had mine posted on the web sooner, so I could claim he stole my idea. 🙂 Nah.


LEGO Events

BrickWorld 2009 workshop with Arthur Gugick

BrickWorld Thursday Morning Workshops

Registered attendees were able to sign up (in advance) for workshops on Thursday. The morning’s sessions were Art & Architecture by Arthur Gugick, and MLCAD 101 by Jeremy Spurgeon. As much as  I really want to learn more about MLCAD and the LDRAW group of programs, I’ve admired Arthur Gugick’s ingenuity for building for a while.


Arthur Gugick

Arthur is a highschool math teacher, and apparently is accustomed to speaking to groups of people and connecting with an audience. His presentation was tremendous.

One of the first things Arthur did that was veeeery helpful was pronounce his last name. 🙂 The first “g” is hard, the second one soft, so more like goo’ – jick.

For those not familiar with Arthur Gugick’s work, check out his stuff on MOCPages.

Arthur told us a bit about how he went through a more of a Dim Age than a Dark Age (Dark Age is typically what’s referred to as the period of time when you stopped building LEGO as a kid until the time you picked it up again as an adult). And that when he started getting into building, before he discovered BrickLink, he would take pocket fulls of LEGO when he took his kids over to other kids houses to swap out for pieces he needed for his collection.

The “Taj” Movie

Arthur’s biggest current claim to fame is that one of his versions of the Taj Mahal plays a key role in an upcoming film called “Taj.” When Arthur was first contacted by the director he thought he was being “punk’d” by one of his old college buddies. But after money started showing up in his paypal account he became more convinced. He ended up building two versions, and was flown to Australia to get everything set up.

Spencer Rezkalla

Spencer also spoke for a few minutes. He is a builder I wasn’t previously familiar with, though he’s done some pretty awesome stuff, too, though I’ll be quick to admit I’m more interested in Arthur’s work.

U.S. Capitol Building Model Build

Much to my surprise and delight, Arthur gave us the pieces for a recent model he’d constructed and walked us through how to build it. Much to my chagrin, despite the fact that there was a limited sign-up for the workshop, at least twice as many people were there than were supposed to be. So Arthur had a box with red and blue 1×1’s in it and we passed the box around and everyone picked a color. After we all picked, he told us the correct color was blue, so everyone with blue got to do the set. And we got one — which was fortunate b/c when it got down to Maria and I there were only 2 blues left (no reds). We took one and passed the last one on to the next person in line. There were still about 8 more people (over the 50 who got to pick) who didn’t get a chance to pick.

But here is the completed build: