Book Review: The Art of LEGO Design: Creative Ways to Build Amazing Models

the art of lego designAuthor: Jordan Schwartz

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: No Starch Press

ISBN-10: 1593275536
ISBN-13: 978-1593275532

The most impressive LEGO models often take careful planning (and lots of pieces), but with some inspiration, a little imagination, and a number of tried-and-true techniques, you too can turn bricks into a masterpiece.

In The Art of LEGO® Design, author Jordan Schwartz explores LEGO as an artistic medium. This wide-ranging collection of creative techniques will help you craft your own amazing models as you learn to see the world through the eyes of some of the greatest LEGO builders. Each concept is presented with a collection of impressive models to spark your imagination, like fantastic dragons, futuristic spaceships, expressive characters, and elaborate dioramas.

Within these pages, you’ll find practical information and analyses of the featured models, which you can apply to nearly any model you build. For example, where should you start when you’re building an automobile? What’s the best way to build a chassis? Builders ask these questions when they design a model, and this book will help you address them when you build your own models. But even if you’re not at that point yet, this book has a second purpose. It is also meant to inspire, serving as both a guidebook and a look book. The models in it are among the best pieces from some of the most creative builders in the LEGO community.

Interviews with the talented builders behind many of the book’s models reveal their thoughts on the design process and what inspires them most. Even if you’ve been building with LEGO since you could crawl, you’ll find new inspiration in The Art of LEGO Design.

Award-winning LEGO builder Jordan Schwartz has put together this fascinating book, The Art of LEGO Design: Creative Ways to Build Amazing Models, which takes a look at the world of LEGO design. It’s a great book if you’d like a better idea of how to accomplish design features with out-of-the-ordinary parts or if you’d like insight as to why creators of kits do things a certain way.

A word of caution. If you’re looking for step by step instructions on how to build some of the amazing models in this book you will be disappointed. This book is meant to be more of an educational theory book on how to create various stylized looks like mosaics with “cheese slopes” or how to re-purpose mini figure hands and guns into clips and angled joints.

The designs that are featured in this book are really amazing from dioramas with mountains and waterfalls to pop culture icons like Adventure Time characters or Freddie Mercury from Queen. It’s also got planes and ships and an homage to the Ghostbusters car.

Though not a LEGO builder myself, I felt that this book was easily appreciated from an art perspective, recognizing that LEGOs are just another medium for expression, and a lot of the designs are really amazing.

My only disappointments in this book are in the layout. The commentary is written out in columns which are situated obnoxiously close together and have varying and inconsistent levels on how the lines of text are lined up from one column to the next. It’s just not aesthetically pleasing for an art book.

Secondly, my most favorite model, Maleficent‘s dragon, done with a beautifully integrated cloth torso was not only cut in half – splitting the picture of the model in two – but it was separated on to pages that were front and back. So to view the top of the dragon I had to glance at one picture and then flip the page to view the bottom. Bizarre.

Despite those aesthetic issues, the models and the commentary is great and I’m looking forward to passing The Art of LEGO Design: Creative Ways to Build Amazing Models on to a budding LEGO designer I know.

I give The Art of LEGO Design: Creative Ways to Build Amazing Models Four Out of Five Stars.




The Art of LEGO Design: Creative Ways to Build Amazing Models is available from Amazon! Here’s a link!


Jess Orso
Written by Jess Orso

Jess is the Managing Editor and Southern Correspondent for