This 3D concept shows the layout of the core. I did
this together with Adam Alaleh from Advance and it
holds the ignition spot in the center. The columns around the center bare a
striking resemblance to the stone temples that were build on Mata Nui. The Toa
would probably have a strange feeling that they had been here before and they
would be right. If you look closely there are 6 columns and 6 holes behind
them. This is where the 6 original Toa were launched in their canisters when
the heart exploded. They flew out of the heart, through the chest and landed in
the water where they would later, much later! Return to follow their destiny.
The light that hits the columns draws the mask of each of the original Toa on
their individual sphere. The sphere holds their Battle vehicles. The vehicles
could have been used by the original Toa if disaster had struck in a different
way but now luckily they were left behind for later use. Thanks to Adam Alaleh from Advance for the 3D work
When the Toa insert the keystone the Codrex will spring
into life and the multiple layers of solid protodermis perfectly held in place
by magnetism will glide into position creating a perfect tunnel to the core.
This is where the Toa get their power boost: the battle vehicles and this is
where Matoro later on will impact with the core and ignite Mata Nui.
This is a guidance illustration I made for Ghost to
look at when they were creating the 3D swamp scene where the battle vehicles race through
the swamp. You can glimpse the Codrex in the back and the Axalara T9
speeding around the enormous roots.
I designed the different parts of the keystone so
they formed the shape of the iconic Ignika character also referencing the old
Vitruvian robot. This was the key to the ignition. An early idea was that the
different keys should have been found in the part of the body they resembled.
Thanks to Adam Alaleh from
Advance it was put into 3D and later used in the animation sequence.
I drew this color sketch in 2007 to cross section the swamp of Karda Nui.
The core of the Bionicle universe is inside this massive sphere of
protodermis. When the heart is running this sphere is hanging in cero gravity
in the centre of the heart firing ignition energy in all direction like a
sparkplug in an engine. Now it is stuck in the swamp. But when ignited all
matter around it in the heart will vaporise into pure energy. Matoro wearing
the Ignika finally did the ultimate heroic deed and restarted the heart in 2008
sacrificing himself in the process.
The saltwater that comes into the heart creates a giant waterfall
dropping out of the dome and as it hits the surface of silver protodermis
strong light is emitted creating an inner sun. This is the light source of
On this early concept drawing you can see the big fall, the inner sun
and the fires of the Av-Matoran trying to survive on the ledges of the stalactites
that are impaled in the swamp.
The Ignition trilogy that started out in 2006 on Voya Nui and continued
in 2007 in Mahri Nui was ending up with the grand finale in 2008 at the heart
of the legend inside the heart of Mata Nui. This is an early sketch of the
concept for 2008. The heart had been blown open eons ago when the giant
collapsed and had slowly been filled with saltwater. The incoming water had
mixed with protodermis and in 2008 the fluid level had reached half full. This
placed the ignition core (the Codrex) right at the centre where it had to be to
restart the giant. The missing part of the heart that was blown out and became
the island Voya Nui now returned and sealed the heart for the restart. With the
heroes inside the stage was set for the final battle between Makuta and the Toa.
The story about the 3-finger island and the big quake that made it rise to the surface was suggested late 2000 but never used as direction. The Toa had completed the first part of their quest on Mata Nui. The Toa were going underground and found the giant “start engine” for Mata Nui. A giant schematic layout of Mata Nui carved in stone. When the Makoki stone was inserted by Gali the robot would come to life. Sadly the system had been breached and the virus was too strong so it was only the hand that moved and 3 fingers of Mata Nui’s hand were lifted to appear as a strange island on the horizon. The idea also included how a swarm of creatures (later known as the Bohrok) would be released by the quake and how they would attack the island to start the clean off.
The hibernating Bohrok in the caves that gets awaken by the Toa was chosen as the direction to take, first of all because it was much easier to communicate and held the face to face encounter between Toa and Bohrok.
The song "Creeping in my soul" from 2007 really set the direction for the band. It has a
spooky fragile tone and the lyric will creep into your ear. The video was shot
on a scary mansion south of Copenhagen on a cold foggy day. I art directed the video and shot a lot of
still pictures on set and some of these pictures became the cover of the EP and
One of my other passions is music and I love finding rare vinyl records in strange stores or
crates in basements and I love doing music quizzes with friends. So what do you
do when all the music suddenly becomes digital. Well I did my very first app all
self-designed and self financed. It is putting the ultimate music quiz right in
your hand. It needs a good wifi connection and it is only on itunes until now
but who knows. Try it out, it’s free www.revinylapp.com
In 2003 the Rahkshi were unleashed by Makuta and they had to have the
creepiest logo. I tried to capture their alien design with this icon. It looks
like something bad is unfolding hanging from the ceiling in a cave somewhere.
“Brighter light” refers to the Toa of light and the Rahkshi are the
This post shows redrawn concept art from 2000 A lot of elements went into forming the idea of Bionicle but one of the most
important one was the canister the heroes came in. The design of the packaging had to be changed from a
seed to a canister to make it feasible to produce but the whole idea that
became Bionicle had a lot to do with a thing as simple as the packaging. Based
on the previous launches of Slizer/Throwbots and Roboriders it was natural to
put these products in some kind of canister. I was determined that the canister
should play a role in the story so it was not only a plastic tube you threw
away after purchase because this was the ancient pod that delivered the parts of the hero. That
sparked the idea that the un-build hero was going to arrive floating in a
canister. This led straight into the idea that he had been in the canister for
a long time and that he had a very important purpose. The seed/canister resembled
a big pill or ampoule so that led to the thought that maybe this was the
“medicine” that had to cure a very big patient. When pouring the parts out of the
canister you were actually already playing out the story and bringing a hero to
life, the legend had begun ...the rest is history.
Along with the very classic Bionicle logo I wanted to create a logo
version that had the biomechanical style as its inspiration so with that in
mind and the early “B4” logo I drew a yin yang like symbol and an almost
symmetrical lettering for the name. The rounded metallic 3D feel makes it
resemble protodermis or “living metal” that was the secret and magic substance
running through the whole Bionicle legend.
The lettering of this logo was never used but the BB icon became the
iconic symbol of the whole legend.
Back in 1999 a lot of different name suggestions were on my table but there was
something special about the combination of biological chronicle, Bio-nicle.
The acceptance and approval of the name went incredible fast and then it
was just the matte of giving it a graphic form. It had to look epic and timeless
so I chose the classic typography Trajan that originates from the Trajan column
in Rome and reworked it a bit and gave it a 3D stone carved effect in Photoshop.
Back in 2004 I worked on a concept that would eventually become ….?
(lets see if you can guess) It had the worktitle “Battlepeak” and the idea was
a mountain split by an ancient conflict between man and machine. It included
humans in battle suits and ancient fighting techniques mixed with modern
This was another highpoint in the Bionicle legend. Everything seemed to
come together. Great mystery, great danger, great characters, great location
and great music. As said earlier underwater is magic to me and probably the
closest we will get to visiting an alien world in our lifetime. So getting to
direct a legend in this location was epic. And thanks to Cryoshell for
putting unforgettable music to this fantastic year.
This is another teaser poster for the 2007 storyline where the Mask of
life sinks to the bottom and ends up in Mahri Nui. All the strangest creatures of the deep are drawn towards it and its life giving power
When light clashed with darkness in 2003 in the
caves beneath Mata Nui it was marked by these logos and nametags. They had a
hint to the bigger story. The fact that they fit together is very in line with Bionicle
mythology like the jing-jang logo. Takanuva had to merge with Makuta to defeat
him. Light and darkness are connected and Makuta actually did god by securing
that only the right heroes reentered the giant robot to restart it. Just like
the body actually grows stronger and more immune after a virus.
Maybe some of you are wondering if I only have 10
years old visuals to post on this blog and I must admit I have a lot of old
stuff but now I want to show you an early teaser for one of my future projects.
Apart from working full time on LEGO projects for
the last 12 years I have been writing and making concepts in my spare time
(what little there was left). Hopefully one of these concepts will soon become reality and I’m quite sure all Bionicle fans will find it intriguing.
The story has been 7 years in the making and will
hopefully soon be visible as a full-blown epic universe and personal adventure
of a new kind of hero. This is the essence of all I have learned and
experienced the last 12 years. It is idealistic, different and epic but still
very close to our time and reality. Please stay tuned. You won't regret it
I could fill a whole blog alone with Cryoshell and
all the great times I have had with the band and the music that was a big part
of the Bionicle package. I have always been mad about music and the way it can
tell stories and convey emotions without words so it was natural to try to incorporate
music into Bionicle. So a big thanks to Eddie Simonsen from Mainstream and
Mikkel Maltha, Kasper Søderlund and Christine Lorentzen from Cryoshell for
making the music of Bionicle a legend on its own.
In this post you see the sketch of the Cryoshell
logo and the final version.
This is probably the most important sketch I did in those nine years of development. This one sketch was actually enough to convince LEGO that the secret was a good idea. It is a very quick side view sketch of a giant robot (at that point called “Core 2”) lying underneath an island with the mouth under a volcano and a canyon called “Brain Canyon” above its forehead. For many years this was the only visual showing the secret and it was kept in a deep drawer at my desk. We in the team figured that if we were to keep the secret it was a good idea not to make to many pictures of this. We knew that just one “leakage” would ruin many years of good story. We used the phrase “The big story engine” as a code when mentioning the dormant robot.
Since the first concept idea about the giant robot was presented back in
1999 I had been trying to visualize what Mata Nui would look like if we were
ever going to see him awaken. There were many ideas about size and design and
in this sketch you see the final Mata Nui and his size relation to the Bara
Magna robot. There are 2 suggestions with 2 different story directions.
2008 was in many ways the highpoint of the Bionicle legend. This was
when the big secret was disclosed and when the destiny of the Toa was finally
fulfilled. They restarted Mata Nui but Makuta had been ahead all the time and
turned their victory into defeat by taking over Mata Nui right at the reboot.
Making a film that depicted this was one of the biggest challenges in creating
Bionicle. For many years I doubted that we would ever get to make this
sequence. One task was to design the giant Mata Nui himself. Another challenge
was to make the whole sequence epic enough to contain 8 years of legend. As
always the crew at Ghost VFX http://ghost.dk/ and
sound designers at Mainstream http://www.mainstream.dk/
did a great job and made the vision come to life.
When we decided to go back in time to tell the story of the Toa Metru in Metru Nui we had to create an urban version of the Bionicle universe. These 3 early sketches were done to determine how the city should look. We had to test how the kids saw urban environments and it quickly became evident that it was much more difficult to create an exciting urban environment than a natural environment such as a forest. A city was simply seen as more boring and restricted. I tried out different themes such as “Geo” “Bio” and “Tech”
Taking Bionicle underwater in 2007 was a treat. I simply love the
environments and variety of life forms and mystery sub surface. So this teaser
was a little taste of what was to come in 2007. It was the intention that the
tagline “Creeps from the deep” would give a 50ies horror movie feel.