Duncan Titmarsh – The UK’s only certified LEGO professional shares his six tips to becoming a LEGO Master Builder

Let your imagination run wild

“At the #BuildToGive event at Milton Keynes last week, it was great to see families get together and use their imaginations – no two decorations were the same, we had totally unique snowflakes, Christmas crackers and even a three-legged rooster Santa!


Sometimes you can go really wild. A lot of people want animals at the moment. We built a warthog, which was put near the real warthogs at the zoo, but then a cheetah came up to the fence thinking it was a real warthog that it could eat. You couldn’t put one of our LEGO lions in with the real zebras or they’d go mad.”


Be patient and persistent

“The 1.7m tall Santa we had built and currently on display on the #BuildToGive stand took 258 hours in total for 4 people, and is made of 46,000 bricks! These big structures aren’t quick, and if you rush it you miss the details. Don’t give up on it. Yes, you can put it down if you’re just doing it for fun. But come back to it and finish it off.”


Don’t always build what you want to build

“If it’s just a big wall of LEGO, sometimes that’s a bit boring, but it still has to done because that’s what the brief was. At home, you can build whatever you want and take as long as you want. Sometimes you get more complex ones which are really fun like an aircraft engine for Rolls Royce, which is complex and it turns. Start practising stuff you think is too difficult to build.”


Learn the SNOT (studs not on top) technique

“Every child will build a house studs up [the little ridges at the top of the brick that slot together]. But then if you want to progress from a house you will start building the studs going in all different directions and you can get more sculpted models. Then you can start doing lettering on the side that slots in because you figure out the ratios of the lego bricks. Use the 5:6 ratio [how high the bricks should be compared to width], so it will slot in exactly.”


18th November 2017 LEGO #BuildToGive, Centre MK, Milton Keynes Shopping Centre © Tom Horton


Don’t just build the sets

“Some children like building the sets that you get in the shops and that’s what they enjoy. They build the set and then they keep it on the shelf. If you’re going to make the most of the set, you’ve got to be in the mind-set of ripping it all apart again and seeing what else you can build.”


Get a qualification in 3D design

“Qualifications in graphic design or 3D art and modelling are useful. The majority of our animal and people models are designed using 3D before we build. You need to understand the 3D world and know how to bring the 2D into life. But if you don’t have qualifications in that don’t worry. I never had that background!”


Duncan joins the Pretty Green #BuildToGive team at Glasgow’s Buchannan Galleries shopping centre from 11am-3pm this coming weekend.


18th November 2017 LEGO #BuildToGive, Centre MK, Milton Keynes Shopping Centre © Tom Horton