Before settling in to begin your LEGO Art construction, you have to choose which image you want to appear on your finished art piece. Each set comes with enough dots to complete at least three different images, but obviously only one can be on the canvas at a time. In the case of this Warhol set, there are four image options, each a different color variation of the iconic Marilyn Monroe print. The instruction book comes with a key that tells you which page to turn to for your desired image, and then the building can get started!
When I started building this set, I immediately remembered a LEGO set I built with my mother about two decades ago. We sent my kindergarten school photo to LEGO, then received a LEGO kit in the mail with the materials to create a greyscale version of my face out of square LEGO studs. It was called “LEGO Mosaic,” and I bring it up now not only as a fun anecdote, but also to commend LEGO for how much LEGO Art improves upon this already-interesting concept.
First off, using dots instead of square pieces to create the image provided — at least in my opinion— a cleaner and clearer image. But the true winning aspect of LEGO Art is the process for building the canvas itself. In my LEGO Mosaic set, we received one large, thin LEGO sheet that served as the canvas/backdrop for the image. In the LEGO Art set, the canvas is broken down into nine thick, smaller squares that you later assemble to create the full image. I believe this is preferable in many ways, most notably because the project is much easier to manage —and to pause — when it’s in these smaller chunks. I found myself sitting down to complete one or two squares of the image each night, which made the building experience last much longer.
When actually putting together each section of the LEGO Art image, you get a corresponding image of that section in the instruction book, drawn to scale. In the instructions, the correct color for each dot is indicated by its printed color and by a number in the circle that corresponds to the color.
Even with the image broken down into these smaller sections (16 dots by 16 dots), it can still feel a bit daunting to get the right pieces in the right place. I recommend figuring out a system that works best for you, whether that is laying out the dots on top of the instruction book image before transferring them to the LEGO canvas, checking off each dot in the instruction book as you place its counterpart, or truly just eyeballing it.
Once you finish your nine squares, the instructions show you how to combine them into one cohesive image, using additional pieces to connect the nine panels and create a frame.
Overall, unlike traditional LEGO builds that feature dozens of different steps and require at least some attention, putting together this LEGO Art set becomes a mostly mindless activity — but in a good way, like an easy knitting project or an adult coloring book!
Thankfully, the LEGO team knew exactly what they were doing and created podcast-style audio content to go along with each set. The audio track — which you access by scanning a QR code in the instruction book, is long enough that it should last for most of the build. The audio focuses on the topic of the LEGO Art set that you’re building, which in my case was Andy Warhol. Admittedly, I don’t have a strong interest in Warhol, so I didn’t start listening to the companion audio until near the end of my build. However, I did enjoy the part I sampled, which featured an interview with the author of a recent book about the artist. It paired incredibly well with the activity.
I do think that anyone can enjoy a LEGO Art build, but it’s sure to be a hit with those who know they enjoy this type of repetitive, calming activity. Also, especially considering the companion audio — and the fact that you are theoretically hanging this art in your home — it helps to have at least some interest in the character, movie, or property featured in the set. However, as the LEGO Art lineup continues to grow, with Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter joining on Jan. 1, there’s something for nearly every fan to enjoy.
Whether you’re looking for a way to keep yourself (or your teens!) busy during the winter months, or if you’re seeking a last-minute gift for a pop culture fan in your life, a LEGO Art set is a great option. Plus, if you get tired of the image that you choose — or if you just want a way to kill a few hours again — you can always remove the dots and start again!