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The Brick Testament - David vs His Own People


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#26 Jones

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 03:52 AM

Hi Brendan, an honor to have you here!  I am a big fan of your work, I think the detail and the subtle humor is fantastic.  Not to mention the mazing photography!

I've always wondered:  where do you get all your bricks?  Do you just buy tons of new sets for parts, or a mix of sets and yard sale used pieces like many of us, or do you get "artist brick stock" or whatever from Lego?  

And how has TLC responded to you and/or your creations?  Are they supportive/positive?  

Thanks and welcome!

#27 Brendan Powell Smith

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 03:53 AM

View PostSlyOwl, on Mar 25 2008, 06:50 AM, said:

Hey! *sweet*
Firstly, you're famous! As far as I know, many people, even non-Lego/Christian, are aware of your project. *y*
It is very nice to have a LEGO project that has garnered appeal beyond just fans of LEGO, but "famous" may be overstating the case.  I'm still at the point where I continually need to remind strangers that I am a minor internet celebrity. :-)

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Thirdly, a small criticism - I don't like your over-customization; for example, in this scene:
Posted Image
I see little reason to modify the crown and the dragon helmet :-/ But that's just my opinion...

I guess LEGO builders fall on different points of the spectrum from "Complete and Utter LEGO Purist" to "I'll use Scotch Tape and Megabloks in my MOCs if it suits me".  I am certainly not immaculate in my purity, but I've maintained certain standards for myself that I'm comfortable with.  In the first Brick Testament story I ever illustrated back in 2001, I realized that for God to have white hair, I would have to resort to modifying a white space helmet with a hobby knife.  Since then I have generally modified LEGO pieces only as a last resort, and always only by removing material from LEGO elements, never by adding non-LEGO elements.  But I certainly understand how other builders wish to hold themselves to higher purity standards.

For the specific cases above, I was illustrating a story in which David's army kills the king of the Ammonites who is said to have a crown with a precious stone set in it.  The crown is then set on David's head.  The Bible doesn't actually say whether or not David continued to wear it as his "main crown", so that's artistic license on my part.  Anyhow, I thought and thought about how I could create such a crown without modifying any parts, but in the end, I went with what you see.

I felt the need to modify the dragon helmets simply because the chin-protectors covered up the minifigs' faces too much, and characters became difficult to recognize in photos.  Joab's sharpened longsword is the most gratuitous modification here in that I did it simply because I wanted a "hero sword" that stood out from the others.

The place where I do the most modifications is to minifig faces.  Early on in working on The Brick Testament, I decided that for illustrating so many Bible stories, I needed a greater variety of faces than LEGO had made officially available at the time.  And in some cases it was very frustrating to have a minifig face that could pass for an ancient Bible character except for one little detail, like a microphone headset painted to their face.  So I have taken a fairly free hand in removing bits of official LEGO minifig faces in order to get a wider variety of faces to choose from when "casting" characters.

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Fourthly, have you any other non-Biblical MOCs?

I do have some non-Biblical MOCs, mostly from before I started work on The Brick Testament, so they're pretty old by now.  The one type of non-Biblical MOC I'm most proud of is the "headlight brick" mosaics I've done based on this technique I stumbled upon while making God in cloud form for The Brick Testament's depiction of Exodus.

Thanks for the comments!

-Brendan

#28 Darth_Legois

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 08:40 AM

Looks SWEET!!!  

Hmm i never knew Jesus looked like obi-wan................(IN LEGO FORM THAT IS! X-D  )

Being a Christian myself i didnt think there were so many other Christian Lego fans  8-�

anyway i like your work looks great  *wub*


#29 SlyOwl

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 09:37 AM

View PostDarth_Legois_619, on Mar 26 2008, 08:40 AM, said:

Being a Christian myself i didnt think there were so many other Christian Lego fans  8-�
You'd be surprised. Over on Classic-Castle, they put <>< in the signatures... ;-)

To the barricades!
Posted Image


#30 Darth_Legois

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 10:06 AM

View PostSlyOwl, on Mar 26 2008, 07:37 PM, said:

You'd be surprised. Over on Classic-Castle, they put <>< in the signatures... ;-)
Wow i knew FBTB had some with <>< in  their sigs but didnt think there were many here........i just checked out some more of the Brick Testament i realy like it :-)

#31 Brendan Powell Smith

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 10:47 AM

View PostJones, on Mar 25 2008, 07:52 PM, said:

I've always wondered:  where do you get all your bricks?  Do you just buy tons of new sets for parts, or a mix of sets and yard sale used pieces like many of us, or do you get "artist brick stock" or whatever from Lego?
Well, my LEGO collection is pretty big by this point, but I think a lot of people assume that it's much larger than it really is.  The key thing to know is that I am constantly deconstructing things I built just days or weeks before so that I have enough raw materials to recycle into new illustrated stories.  There is really almost nothing from The Brick Testament that sits around intact.  The few times I've tried to keep something intact and on display, I quickly find that I can't resist pulling off parts that I need for a new story until eventually what's left on display no longer looks so good.

I don't have any particularly unusual way of acquiring bricks, and definitely no special relationship with the LEGO company.  About 4-5% of the bricks are still around from my childhood collection.  When I first started adding to my collection as an adult, it was back when eBay was just starting up, and there were some pretty good deals to be had, and that helped me get a lot of the sets and parts from the late 80s and the 90s that I'd missed out on.  In the early 2000s I did buy a fair amount of retail sets, on sale whenever possible.  But at some point a few years ago I decided I pretty much had enough basic brick parts to work with, so I've now switched to mostly buying very specific parts on Bricklink.com, or buying from the Pick-a-Brick wall at the local LEGO store (or the online version at LEGO.com).

Supplementing all that, there's also been a goodly amount of LEGO gifts from family and friends who are fans of The Brick Testament.

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And how has TLC responded to you and/or your creations?  Are they supportive/positive?
As I mentioned, there's no special relationship betwene TLC and me or The Brick Testament.  I don't think they've ever expressed any official company position on The Brick Testament.  The closest I remember was when at a LEGO convention, former Senior Vice President of LEGO Direct Brad Justus was giving the keynote address and told the audience of AFOLs "we trust you with the brick" and then after a pause "even you, Brendan".  While it was nice (and funny) to be singled out for attention like that, I think the point was more that I'm equally trusted as everyone else, not that any special seal of approval was being given to me in particular.  I have talked to individual LEGO company employees and a few former employees who have let me know they are fans of The Brick Testament, and that's an honor, but again, I don't take such things as speaking for the company as whole at all.

Thanks for the kind welcome!

-Brendan



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