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10K CLUB INTERVIEW: Hyrule Castle, Baba Yaga, A Map of Middle-Earth by Artem Bizyaev

Please welcome Artem Biziaev a comics artist from Russia and his creations. The game series Hyrule Castle (The Legend of Zelda). The most famous, most charismatic, most adored character of Slavic fairy tales - Baba Yaga and A Map of Middle-Earth from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Help us congratulate him and learn more about his creations.

 

ABOUT YOURSELF

  1. Who are you?
    Hello. My name is Artem Pavlovich Bizyaev, but by international standards it will be just Artem Bizyaev.


     
  2. Where are you from?
    I'm from Russia.
     
  3. How old are you?
    32
     
  4. What do you study or do for a living?
    I have an animation director education. But I work in the comic industry as an artist and scriptwriter.



    Also, sometimes I make cartoons.
     
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    LEGO is my main hobby.

    If you work in the entertainment industry, watching movies, reading books and comics don't gives you fun. Now it's just part of the job. And only LEGO modeling can relax me.
     
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    This year I created an Instagram account for my MOCs about the culture of Russia. 
    https://www.instagram.com/oleg.legov/
    I have built many sets based on Russian folk tales. I also really like to design boxes, imagining that sets inspired by Russian culture could really exist.
     
  7. Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud it and do you have a photo of it?
    All of my MOCs are digitally constructed. Does it count?

    Of course, it is much more pleasant to piece together LEGO bricks with your own hands, not with a cursor. But designing on a computer is much faster.

    My favourite MOC illustrates a scene from the poem “Ruslan and Lyudmila” by Russian writer Alexander Pushkin. In this scene, the hero meets the giant head of the Bogatyr.

    For my digital MOCs, I model custom parts in Blender. Like this Russian-style helmet.


     
  8. How and when did your interest in LEGO come about?
    I was a kid when the Iron Curtain was removed in the 90s. At that time really good toys from other countries appeared in my country. Toys made in the USSR were boring. They have not changed since the 50's. Imagine what effect the sudden appearance of LEGO had on children who played only with wooden cubes.

    Since childhood, LEGO has been the best toy that can exist in the whole world for me.
     
  9. What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play games, or 'just' watch cartoons.
    LEGO allows me to distract myself from work and daily problems. Construction of MOCs has replaced video games sometimes. Also regularly I discuss various LEGO news with my friends: new sets, rumors, and sales.
     
  10. What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
    I've always liked the Pirates sets. And the monkey is my favorite minifigure of all time.

    I appreciate the opportunity to dive into another world. This is a very pleasant escapism. And the Pirates theme is one of the simplest and most understandable for this purpose. The quintessence of adventure.

    I also really appreciate the classic themes because they do not have a strictly written canon. It's impossible to say who is the villain and who is the hero there. It really encourages me to fantasize.
     
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
    Previously, I thought the best set was Royal Knight Castle (6090), but now the first place in my personal top is taken by Pirates Of Barracuda Bay (21322). Everything in this set is great: it is interesting for children to play, it looks good on the shelf due to its expressive silhouette, it is interesting to look at it due to the huge number of exterior details. The only thing missing is the monkey.
     
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    Since childhood, I have always dreamed of a raised baseplate. My parents could not afford to buy a LEGO set large enough to have this part. So, I have a special relationship with plates.

    If we are talking about modern bricks, I am always happy to use Modified Plate 1 x 3 with 2 Studs (Double Jumper) (34103). I don't know why I like this detail so much.
     
  13. Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
    Most often I use the database on the Russian site www.bricker.ru. I can spend hours looking at 90s sets on this site.
    But I look for information on individual bricks at www.bricklink.com.

 

ABOUT YOUR PROJECT

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?

    Hyrule Castle:
    If you ask me about my favorite videogame, I will immediately answer: “Legend of Zelda series”. Mix it with my old dream to get a LEGO castle, then the idea of making Hyrule Castle from LEGO bricks suggests itself.

    Map of the Middle-Earth:
    When you launch Bricklink Studio, it shows an image of a LEGO micro-world map in the welcome menu. This gave me the idea to create LEGO map. As a fan of the Lord of the Rings books and movie trilogy, I immediately start to build a map of Middle-earth.

    Baba Yaga:
    Slavic culture is completely unrepresented in LEGO sets. Therefore, I wanted to do something related to my culture. The main quest was to choose a character who would be understandable to the whole world, and at the same time who would cause delight and surprise. I chose Baba Yaga and her Hut on chicken legs. She is already quite famous in the world thanks to the many films, comics, and cartoons that she took part in.

    I think she deserves to be a part of the LEGO universe.
     
  2. How long was the process of making the project did, and what did you have to research as well. What kind of prep, research, and design phases did you go through to produce your creation?

    Hyrule Castle:
    This is my first project for Ideas. Therefore it took a lot of time.
    First, I made a lot of sketches, where I outlined all the interesting details. My goal was to fit as many elements from the video game into one set as possible. And turn it into an interactive quest. 

    Map of the Middle-Earth:
    The process was very enjoyable. I learned a lot about Tolkien's world while building the map because I spent most of my time on the wiki. I even started reading The Silmarillion, even though it's not about the lands of Middle-earth.

    Baba Yaga:
    To be honest, this was my fastest project. I didn't even search for information on the Internet, because everything was already in my head since childhood. In addition, I knew the structure and interior of the village house from my own experience. When I was a child I spent every summer in the village, living in a wooden house with a brick oven.
     
  3. What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?

    Hyrule Castle:
    The main concept of my model is the ability to interactively transform the good castle of Hyrule into the evil castle of Ganondorf. I decided to implement this by a synchronous rotation of the castle towers, which are painted in evil colors on the backside. When you turn the main tower, the other two also unfold. Flags turn too, showing us the symbol of Ganondorf I had designed myself.

    I made a gear mechanism into the walls of the castle. And it was a real test for me.

    Map of the Middle-Earth:
    It was hard to choose and maintain the scale of the map.  I wanted to place on the map micro-buildings of key locations. But there was a risk that the map would become too huge. I visually enlarged some elements of the map, and reduced others. But at the same time, it was necessary to preserve their position relative to each other.

    Baba Yaga:
    Chicken legs are the hardest and most interesting part of this project. Many peoples have expressed doubts about the stability of the model. I'm not sure either, because I have not tested the structure on real bricks. I decided to give preference to visual expressiveness and make it beautiful. After all, if the project wins, experienced LEGO designers make it sustainable.
     
  4. If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him/her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

    Hyrule Castle:
    Now I have learned how to render the constructed models beautifully. I've spent a lot of time in the past trying to create attractive images.

    Map of the Middle-Earth:
    I would add a glowing cube underneath Orodruin in Mordor.

    Baba Yaga:
    Now I know that the fence made of bones and skulls from the folk tale about Baba Yaga is too scary for the LEGO company.
     
  5. How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time? And how did the build time compare to the time you spent promoting your Product Idea to reach 10,000 supporters?

    Hyrule Castle:
    The construction and design of the project took at least a month. I even took a vacation so as not to be distracted by work.

    I was also very passionate about the promotion of the project and made many additional illustrations with mini-sets on the theme of the game to achieve each voting checkpoint. 

    This was my first project and I was very excited and passionate about it.

    Map of the Middle-Earth:
    I think I spent more time decorating this project than building it. The project took about 3 weeks, I think.

    I was not successful in promoting this idea. As it turns out, Tolkien's fans are pretty snobbish, and almost all blogs and sites refused to post "promoting me" content.  And if I managed to tell somewhere about my project, then in response I got a lot of answers about book canon.

    Baba Yaga:
    I spent a lot of time editing the set. According to the rules of the competition, the idea should not be too scary. Therefore, I made the hut more friendly.

    But my favorite part of the project, which I didn’t spare the time for, is the design of the presentation slides. I recreated the decorative frames from Ivan Bilibin's illustrations for Russian folk tales from LEGO details. I think it worked out well.
     
  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?

    Hyrule Castle:
    That was incredible! I'm glad my project gathered votes pretty quickly. Thanks a lot to everyone who supported my project!

    And of course, I noticed how much people want to get a LEGO set based on The Legend of Zelda. There are a lot of projects on this topic on the Ideas website, and I tried to stand out with interesting concepts.

    Map of the Middle-Earth:
    This project took 10k longer than the rest of my projects, but it was still fast enough. It's a very popular franchise after all.

    Baba Yaga:
    Oh, that's a big story. This project made a splash!

    To be honest, I didn't expect it to turn out like that. It seemed to me that it would be my most unpopular project because this is not a hyped franchise. But success came unexpectedly.

    I made a post on the Russian analog of Reddit and already prepared that I would be ignored. But in just a matter of hours, this post became super-popular (25,000 likes). The same thing happened on Twitter, where very popular bloggers began to repost my tweet, and it got 20,000 likes.

    It turned out that there are a lot of LEGO fans in Russia who dream of LEGO based on their native culture. And my project got 10,000 votes in just one day. Wow! Almost all Russian news sites, television channels, and radio stations told about my project.

    Now literally the whole country is waiting for the decisions of the LEGO company.
     
  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?

    Hyrule Castle:
    There are just over 2,600 parts in this project. 

    In terms of size and scale, I was guided by my favorite Pirates Of Barracuda Bay.
    I love that this pirate set looks solid, but it also has a lot of individual mise-en-scenes. When I developed Hyrule, I decided to add an interesting environment to the castle: the Temple of Time, Market, Garden, Cemetery. It turned out quite old-fashioned, because I had to save pieces for each of the objects, and therefore they look ascetic.

    Map of the Middle-Earth:
    More than I would like. With a stand - it's about 2500. There are many small 1x1 parts. But I suppose it is comparable to LEGO Art sets.

    Baba Yaga:
    1100. Honestly, I would like to make this set more affordable, but imitation of logs required a lot of bricks.
     
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?

    Hyrule Castle:
    The old school raised baseplate. I am convinced that this is the best LEGO piece for the game. It stimulate the imagination and allows you to build constructions of the interesting silhouette. 

    Map of the Middle-Earth:
    I was very happy when I attached the Ninjago piece of the dragon-headed sword hilt to Mount Erebor. So that it turned out to the protruding dragon muzzle.

    Baba Yaga:
    I like how I use a classic bush to mimic the feathers on chicken legs. It is a pity this part has not been produced for 20 years.
    I also really like using the round details 1x1 65092 and 15470. They help me to decorate a classic Slavic decorative window.
     
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    I have used Bricklink Studio. This is a very handy program.
    I also made custom parts in Blender. But as it turned out, - custom parts are not allowed in the competition. 
     
  10. If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
    You can download the add-on program PartDesigner for Studio, which allows you to add stickers. 

     

ABOUT LEGO IDEAS

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
    You have to start a project out of your personal passion, and then edit it with the customer in mind.
    I think the phrase attributed to Hemingway "Write drunk, edit sober" is about that.
     
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea? 
    Twitter helped me a lot.
     
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    I really like Castle of Lord AFOL and the Black Knights. It seems that this is the best version of the LEGO castle: a complex structure, a beautiful silhouette, interesting design solutions. I see only one drawback in it: it needs to be looked at from all sides, and therefore you cannot put it on a shelf against the wall - too many interesting details will be lost from sight.

    If this idea wins, I will definitely buy such a set.
     
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea? 

    The coolest thing is that LEGO Ideas gives to any person a chance to become a part of something big and loved.

    Top tip: don't be like me - read the rules carefully!

  5. Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint of what that might be?
    I have one crazy idea which unlikely to ever win, but I still want to do it. This is a kind of board game that I want to make versatile and replayable.
  • 10k club
  • 10k club interview
  • hyrule
  • the legend of zelda
  • baba yaga
  • slavic
  • fairy tales
  • fantasy
  • ganondorf
  • zelda
  • the lord of the rings
Published
47 comments
47 comments