Minifigure design sketches

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Today is the minifigure's 40th birthday. We've already published a couple of articles about their evolution and manufacture, now we turn our attention to their design.

Among the material LEGO sent us to help celebrate the occasion are some fantastic pictures from minifig designer's sketchbooks, which is where their life begins, of course.

Take a look at the treasure trove below: be in awe at the designers' sketching skills and have fun identifying those that made it to manufacture.


If you're viewing on a PC, once you've enlarged one you can use the left/right arrows to quickly browse through them all.

Alexandre Boudon

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr


Austin Carlson

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Chris Bonven

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Matthew Ashton

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View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr


View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr


I wish I could draw like that!

37 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Wow! That is a very neat insight to the CMF design process! I wish that leaf cape had made it onto the Rogue. Kinda cool that his hood is based on Assassin's Creed.

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By in United Kingdom,

I also wish that the leaf cape had made it. That hood is one of the coolest pieces I own. Man, those guys can draw WAY better that me.

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By in United States,

OH this is too cool! I love this!

There was originally a boy scout in Series 13?

All the artists are pretty good!

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By in United Kingdom,

They should have made Pigeon Man, I know loads of people who'd have loved that fig.

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By in France,

Very interesting to have a look behind the scenes again. I wish I had such a talent at drawing! It must be delightful to know that if your ideas are good, they will turn into a genuine and real toy, enjoyed by so many... Sometimes not as expected maybe, but one cannot reach perfection with each try. This 40th anniversary gives us good opportunities to have a different look on our beloved minifigs and sets. Thank you for all this.

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By in United States,

Very insightful. LEGO should come out with a book specifically with all this stuff like video games that have their art and creative process books.

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By in United States,

I don't see a pigeon? it also looks like they were thinking of doing an islander in series 12. lots of cool drawings and ideas!

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By in United Kingdom,

Curious that they design the figures in poses that an actual minifigure could never attain. I would have expected that artistic licence to come in more when it got as far as the marketing people. Interesting article!

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By in United Kingdom,

@ Jrsmiley Pigeon guy is on the same Matthew Ashton sketch as Banana guy.

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By in United Kingdom,

Looks like a penguin to me :)

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By in United Kingdom,

I love this kind of stuff! It's great seeing concept to product! :)

@Bricklunch

The posing will actually help somewhat with the design process. Sometimes you can get stuck with a certain part of it and the pose will help tell part of the characters story. You can then use that to add small details or even a stronger expression! ^^

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By in Norway,

I guess they dropped the wings on the Alien trooper so it wouldn't be so Lovecraftian

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By in United Kingdom,

@Catanas: That seems like a good explanation. Seems the bending of reality isn't just a marketing tool after all but more a sensible element of the design process.

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By in United Kingdom,

It is interesting how they refer to licensed properties that they do not have in the sketches:

Assassins Creed

The Ring / Emily Strange / Wednesday Ad(d)ams NOT Monster High

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By in United States,

Matthew Ashton, first image, bottom right corner.
IS THAT A ZUCKUSS!?

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By in Puerto Rico,

I'd love to see older minifigure design sketches. There's some wonderful concept art for the LEGO Studios monsters out there and I have to assume more stuff like that exist somewhere within their archives.

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By in United States,

Interesting that the Chicken Suit Guy and the Cat Suit Girl were originally going to be children, and that they were on the same design sheet. I bet that a lot of time Minifig designs are rejected for their proposed project but are recycled for a future one.

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By in United States,

Most of these made it to a CMF line albeit with a few changes (size and accessory inclusion).

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By in United States,

I started drawing recently and this article is inspiring! Thanks!

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By in Canada,

@CCC It only makes sense to refer to other works as when say modeling the rogues headpiece looking at Assassins Creed gives them more of an idea of what it is like as there's a ton more reference material there to work with.

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By in United Kingdom,

Shame we didn't get that custom jester rattle piece

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By in Taiwan,

Glad to know which designs are from Bourdon, I always love his designs... But ultimately really eager to see the next regular CMF series (yes not counting series 18).

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By in United States,

The pigeon is on Austin Carlson’s sketches.

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By in United Kingdom,

You can see quite a few of Alexandre Boudon's designs from the workshop before he got the LEGO job at

http://alexandreboudonbillund2010.blogspot.com/

I guess after he got the job, his designs are only released by the company.

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By in United Kingdom,

@ericjohn The pigeon is on Austin Carlson’s sketches

It could be any bird. Colour it brown and give a orange chest, it is a robin.

I'm glad they didn't do it. We've already had the chicken (twice) and the penguin.

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By in Netherlands,

This looks very cool, I need to pick up my drawing skills again.

By the way "If you're viewing on a PC, once you've enlarged one you can use the left/right arrows to quickly browse through them all." doesn't work for me, don't see any arrows.

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By in United Kingdom,

@CreativeTim.
He meant the arrows on your keyboard. Just click on the first image and then press the right arrow on your keyboard to scroll.
Works on mac too btw :-)

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks brisket. A wonderful set of articles to celebrate the anniversary of the minifig.

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By in Canada,

Interesting how the unused Elf hood was eventually repurposed for Ninjago.

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By in United States,

@Ender37: That's not unused, that's the Rogue from Series 16. The Ninjago hood pieces are different.

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By in Australia,

I suspect that "islander" character from the sketches might well be what became the Island Warrior from Series 11 (or maybe it was intended to be a followup matching character)

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By in United States,

@CCC:
I'm pretty sure that's the Chicken, with its head tilted back so the comb isn't quite as visible. It just _looks_ pigeonish because the dark lines showing the texture on the wings evoke the stripes on a pigeon's wings.

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By in Canada,

Love seeing the creative process when it come to these designs, esp. Alexandre Boudon's work/s. Heck, it's fun just to play 'Boudon Bingo' when new minifigs come out; and it's just plain fun that he realized the potentials of both 'Ghost Busters' and 'Scooby Doo' in Lego before TLG did. Although called 'Ghost Hunters'...Hmmm, did that become 'Monster Fighters'? Oh, and...well..."Scooby" was a monkey:
http://lego-minifigures.tumblr.com/post/61418539301/alexandre-boudon-when-alexandre-boudon-applied-as

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By in United States,

WOW!!!!

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