Beautiful LEGO by author Mike Doyle
Review by: Christopher Bolton
Date: October 11, 2013
As an AFOL (adult fan of LEGO) I often get side-long looks
from my other adult friends who aren’t involved with the hobby. When I explain
that LEGO is much more than just a child-centric hobby they often think back to
the traditional brick on brick, blocky style of building that they were
familiar with as children. Recently one of my oldest and closest friends asked
me to pull out the LEGO so we could build something together and it was
interesting to see how he built mostly with traditional 2 x 4 bricks in a very
limited and simplistic way. I on the other hand used many different and unique
parts and assembled them at all sorts of odd angles to create much more organic
models. The reason I bring up this little anecdote is to explain how great Mike
Doyle’s new book “Beautiful LEGO” from No Starch Press is at illustrating how
complex, sophisticated and creative LEGO can actually be.
My first impression
of Mike’s new book is that it should be on the coffee tables of every AFOL as
it has incredible images of some of the most interesting LEGO models of the
past few years. On the cover is an illustration of Mike’s most recent design
which was featured on Kickstarter (Project Odan). As Mike started his career
not as an AFOL but rather as an artist and photographer, Mike has a unique eye
for good subject matter and “Beautiful LEGO” is a showcase of some of the best.
The photography in this book is incredible with full pages dedicated to some of
the most impressive models. Sprinkled throughout are interviews with some of
the very creative an innovative builders such as Ramon and Amador Alfaro
Marcilla, Jordan Schwartz, Nathan Sawaya and a personal favorite Lino Martins
(creator of Hidden Treasure – 1949 Buick Fastback).
With over 260 pages
of photos and commentary, Mike explores so many different styles of building
from pure art, to architecture and vehicles to comical cube-dudes and
incredible science fiction so there is a section that is sure to please anyone.
This is the sort of book you can look at with the kids (and they will enjoy it)
but more significantly it is the sort of book an AFOL can hand to an
uninitiated to help them understand the hobby better. Other books such as “Cult
of LEGO” (also from No Starch Press) are good to share the hobby but I think
“Beautiful LEGO” will help people to understand the real intrigue of the LEGO
hobby and what draws us in and turns a child’s plaything into an amazingly
sophisticated creative outlet.
Doyle, M. (2013). Beautiful LEGO. San Francisco:
No Starch Press.
Retrieved from http://nostarch.com/beautifullego