Draw Me In

BB-8, by Chris McVeigh, on Flickr Kylo Ren, by Chris McVeigh, on Flickr


I’ve always loved to draw. So much so that the amount of paper I could use in a day was rationed in day care. It died down in the last couple of years though, until I felt a sudden urge to pick up the pencil once again this summer. Drawing proved to be just as fun as it had always been, it felt good and familiar, but something new dawned on me. I began thinking about the difference between drawing a picture and building with bricks. I’ve learned a lot in drawing class, but what I remember most is that you have to start with a rough outline of what you want to capture. You start by thinking about an interesting pose, angle or composition, you see if the proportions feel right, and then you begin to work on the details. Otherwise proportions will be off, you’ll hit the edge of the page sooner than expected and something you can’t put your finger on might not look right. I know this and my drawings are better for it, yet I approach MOCs in a completely different manner. I often start with the most iconic part of what I want to capture, and just work from there on, introducing big structures and details along the way. The result? Sometimes the thousand-piece end result looks decidedly off… From what I see and read, it seems a lot of builders share my technique, especially for creations that aren’t humongous.

You could say that’s only logical, since the freedom of drawing can’t be compared to all of the constraints you face with bricks. But than there’s Chris McVeigh to prove that building can be like drawing and produce awesome results because of it. His depiction of BB-8 and Kylo Ren from his signature collection of brick sketches above are the perfect illustration. The way they are built forces him to think about the general outline first, and add the details only at the very last stage. It makes sure you get the big picture from the very first few pieces, and everything you add is there to refine that picture. That’s why you can equally enjoy these creations with squinted eyes or without glasses if you’re like me. If you look closer you get to marvel at the clever placement of grills in Kylo’s helmet or the fine grey line on BB-8’s head. But that isn’t what makes these sketches feel right and captures your imagination. Chris McVeigh shows us that it’s possible to capture something just as well with bricks as with a fine drawing if you put your mind to it, and he does it in a most enjoyable way. It’s high time we all take a drawing class by looking into the photostream of the incredibly talented and innovative Chris McVeigh.


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