Batman Dark Knight Returns LEGOIZED Time lapse – Would Frank Miller Approve?

In this time lapse video, we take Frank Miller’s iconic Dark Knight Returns Batman image and LEGOize it into a LEGO Batman. We talk about the process to do so and offer a commentary on the timelapse.

G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks and in todays video we are going to have a look at how I created this LEGOized Dark Knight Returns Batman. It is based upon this classic image by Frank Miller in the seminal work, The Dark Knight Returns.

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This was the first time I’d really tried to take an iconic image and LEGOize it. So it is always going to be an interative process of working things out as you go along. So I had to initially figure out how much it would stay like the original Dark Knight Returns image, and how much it leaned towards LEGO constraints.

The biggest challenge was just getting proportions right. Usually when drawing superheroes, they are a heroic 7 heads high. LEGO figures are usually broken into rough 3rds, 1/3 legs, 1/3 torso, and a small 1/3 for the head. The Batman LEGO minifugre has an extra complication of the cowl piece being quite tall compared with normal heads.

So the first part of the video I’m really wrestling around with the proportions – the head starting off way too small and the body feeling too lanky and too lean. Then I’m bouncing between how the Frank Miller image looks, and how that translates into Batman LEGO – it is always much simplified. This then restricts movement but don’t want to lose that pose.

I have a Batman minifigure as reference but it isn’t the Dark Knight version so also having some artistic license in the interpretation. I’m also trying to keep the cape feel from the original Miller image but then wanting it to still have a feeling of LEGO cloth.

I’m bouncing backwards and forwards between grey and blue pencils, with the original rough in done in Prismacolor markers – it does make it all a bit of a mess and need to simplify this in the future. Once I’m happy with the general layout, I start tightening the linework and making it crisper with a standard felt tip. I’m continuing to refine as still not 100% happy with everything.

So once get the linework done, break out some watercolours to add some colour. I’m trying to keep it very much in the same realm as the original colorist Lynn Varley did, but lightening it a little as it is a LEGO mini-figure. The base colours are Batman’s blue and grey outfit. Then just add in some darker shadow colors.

I’ve always had a nostalgic connection with this image as when we were in junior high, the school let students paint a life size version of this on the hallway wall. Wasn’t til years later realized it was actually from The Dark Knight Returns. I believe it is were Batman is jumping out of the tank – my copy of the book is in storage so don’t have it to hand.

Then just constantly refining, noodling and tweaking detail colours. And of course adding in a signature in the bottom right. A few more tweaks and think we’ll call it done.

And there you have it. We’ll go in for some close up detail. As an artist, always see how it could have been improved but for a first attempt, think it is reasonably successful.

Just another look at the source image it was based off.

And back again one last time. If you’d like your own original LEGO artwork, or an artwork of your sig-fig, drop me a line at

This is a Family Bricks video. Be sure to hit that like button, share or if you want to be super awesome, subscribe! Click the bell and select “All”, to be notified of new videos as they are uploaded.

If for some crazy reason you’d like to see the real time version of this, it was done as a 3 hour livestream here. Otherwise here are some other videos you might be interested it. Until next time when we talk about all things LEGO.

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