Just as The Lego Movie taught us, creativity with the colored plastic blocks shouldn’t be limited to following set instructions to build preconceived scenes. The proof of the medium’s endless possibilities is in the work of Lego designers around the world, which curator Mike Doyle, a Lego artist himself, is collecting in the book series Beautiful Lego from San Francisco’s No Starch Press.
The third installment, Beautiful Lego: Wild!, is due September 25 and delves pretty astoundingly into the natural world, progressing from plant life through the animal kingdom. Some works are incredibly detailed and lifelike, such as Sachiko Akinaga’s 3,500-piece Sea Otter Mum & Pup, or Doyle’s own 10,000-piece Appalachian Mountaintop Removal. Others are more fantastical or whimsical, like Mike Nieves’s Rapidash (a fire horse Pokemon), Pietro Lamonaca’s Ent, or Vlad Lisin’s mediating Rafiki, the mandrill from The Lion King. There’s even a very accurate Grumpy Cat by Iain Heath.
“The aspect that drew me to Lego as a medium is its accessibility,” writes artist Pascal Schmidt alongside his renditions of an erupting volcano, the Fukushima disaster, a fiddler crab, an autumn tree, a DNA double helix, and a bacterium. “It’s easy to get your hands on some bricks, and you need only basic motor skills to work with them. While there are techniques and even tricks to learn, of course, you don’t need to know them to get started.”
The only problem with the book is that there are no instructions included. But it’s good inspiration until you figure out how to make your own Lego Galapagos turtle.