Brothers Brick Contributor Chris Doyle is back with more mosaic madness! This time he reworked the LEGO Art 31203 world map into a vibrant octopus. It also shares the instructions for building this version of the world map yourself. You know. If you want.
For me, the octopus and LEGO Art combo has a bit of history. In 2009, I built a “stained glass” style octopus from transparent elements with a solid back “top” handle. It was a fun challenge and one of my first big LEGO projects. (Also, I believe, the first time I was featured on The Brothers Brick.)
The source image is from a Google Image search for “octopus clipart.” (Unfortunately, I was never able to identify the original artist.) These days, the base image is even more common on the web, with many examples of artists who colored the original drawing. in black and white, then published their creations in nature.
When I had the opportunity to review the world map art set, I was not 100% convinced by the picture. It was certainly an artistic approach to cartography, but it didn’t speak to me personally. But the sheer volume of parts in this kit (the largest set LEGO has ever produced) made me curious as to what other options were lurking in the parts. In the end, I decided that a revisit of the octopus theme would be quite fun – and probably result in a mosaic that my partner wouldn’t mind if I kept it for display in the living room. So I went back to the original line art, scaled it down to a 1 pixel to 1 stud ratio, and started playing around with the colors available throughout the world map. My goal was to find a combo that would allow me to use ONLY the pieces from the Art set.
Once I had a few sample images, I went to my usual mosaic toolbox and browsed through them on the LEGO Art Remix website. Due to my self-imposed part limitations, I wasn’t looking for a set of final instructions, but rather some guidelines that would allow me to sketch the background and shapes and then build the octopus by hand. better than I could. (If you’ve seen some of my other mosaic work, you’ll recognize this strategy as fairly common to me.)
And, ultimately, everything came together! As you can see, solid colors weren’t really an option for the octopus due to the large number of studs to cover. But I think the final gradient-based approach worked well. I also kept the “dark blue as edge indicator” theme of the world map to better define the tentacles.
If you want to build your own LEGO Art Octopus, I’ve scanned each of the 40 panels and put them together in a Google docs. They’re not as glorious as the custom instructions Nicolas Vás created for his alternate Bionicle-themed version, but I think they should be clear enough.
Finally, and something was not reflected in the instructions, I decided to “sign” the work. My first attempt used the 1 × 1 cones from the world map kit, but it didn’t “read” properly and looked a bit too eye-catching. For a more subtle approach, I opted for 1 × 1 glow-in-the-dark DOTs from the 5 series. The extra layer of tile is almost invisible and in normal lighting you are unlikely to notice it. But I know it’s there. (And now I guess you will too.)
Hope you enjoyed this alternative building experience. If you’re planning on giving it a try yourself, or working on your own alternative image, leave a comment below!