LEGO Brick Sketches: From fan builds to official sets

LEGO Model Designer Chris McVeigh reveals how the Brick Sketches that fans knew him for became his first product as a professional designer

For years, Chris McVeigh has inspired his fellow AFOLs with his Brick Sketches. The LEGO builds he shared online followed the same template each time but brought different characters and pop culture personalities to life. Within a year of getting a dream job at the LEGO Group, he has pitched the concept and is seeing it releases as an official product theme.

To find out how Brick Sketches became a LEGO theme, Brick Fanatics caught up with the fan-turned-professional builder.

Congratulations, it must be really gratifying to have your Brick Sketches launching as an actual product line.

Honestly I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet, I am sure the interviews today are going to help. I guess it’s one of these things you do, then you put it away for a while, then suddenly it’s happening because the product’s being released. This is my first product release and obviously I am really excited about it .

When you started working for the LEGO Group, was it as a regular product designer or specifically to do these sets?

I was just hired as a regular Model Designer. When I put together my portfolio I put together all the pictures you saw on Flickr into my portfolio and I submitted that, so I guess you could say they had an awareness of that and other stuff I had designed before I arrived, but it wasn’t part of the pitch, no.

How did getting your Brick Sketches to become actual products come about?

If we go back to how this started, I got here March 1, 2019. It takes a little while to learn how to do stuff and every day was a new experience. Every day there was something new, something I was learning about the company, something fun and interesting.

Then people started talking about the creative boost. The creative boost is a time period when we can propose new and fun ideas and see if the leadership team thinks that they have any merit to proceed to products. I was actually really busy the week of creative boost and I didn’t think I was going to do anything, but I really wanted to contribute so towards the end of the week I thought, ‘know maybe I should just pitch Brick Sketches.’

Over the course of two days I built some up, I don’t have anything here with me, I came over here from Canada without any of my LEGO at all, so I built some up and presented them… it wasn’t long after that that I found out that we were going to proceed with them. That was a really exciting thing to happen to me, I was blown away by it because when you are fresh you kind of get this impression that things like this are not something that happen every day, things like this are long shots, so I feel incredibly fortunate that we decided to move forward with these products.

LEGO Fan Media Days 2020

How did you pitch them to your colleagues?

I think the nuances of how the creative boost work are still something that are a little bit nebulous to me, these sort of things happen beyond the designer level. In a very basic sense it was just like any science fair – I had my brick sketches and I had a placard saying what they were, that was it.

How did you come up with this first wave?

Well that was a team effort like many things are here. The Brick Sketches are something we do in conjunction with LEL, the area of the company that does a lot of seasonal sets and fun stuff. I worked with Mel Caddick initially and Kayleigh Kirby to narrow down exactly what we were going to do with Brick Sketches.

The character selection had to do with what the people in the team felt were strong and also what worked for licensing because that’s naturally an issue. Also what fit into the broader assortment, so not just LEL but across the entire company. All those considerations were taken in when deciding which four ones to go with.

Read more from Brick Fanatics at Fan Media Days 2020

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Graham

Graham is the Editor of BrickFanatics.com, with plenty of experience working on LEGO related projects. He has contributed to various websites and publications on topics including niche hobbies, the toy industry and education. If you would like to get involved with Brick Fanatics, as a builder, writer or photographer – then please contact Graham at [email protected]

Graham

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