- where we learn to be a better painter!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: Massive Voodoo Workshop with Roman Lappat

German translation follows shortly

(me) "Hi! My name is Michael. And I am a miniature painting workshop junkie!"
(all) "Hi, Michael!"

Jérémie Bonamant Teboul, 2006
This might very well be a scene from my life. In the last 6 years I have visited some 15 or so workshops with some of the best miniature painters of our time. 

It all started back in 2006 when I visited a workshop by Jeremie Bonamant Teboul (Jeremie Bonamant Teboul, CMON), the well known French artist who spent the last two years riding his bike through Africa. Followed by (multiple) workshops with Christian "Bestienmeister" Reckert (Blog, CMON), Georg "GeOrc" Damm (CMON), Sascha "Goatman" Buczek, Ben "White Rabbit" Komets (CMON), Matt Cexwish (CMON), Stephan "Derwish" Rath (website/blog, CMON), Raffa "Picster" Pica (blog, CMON). Some of the workshops I did up to three times... Crazy me... On top of all that I went to dozens of painter meetings and other events throughout the years. 

And I know that it is not going to stop there... Next Workshop in November (GeOrc again) ;) 

Sascha "Goatman" Buczek,

Georg "GeOrc" Damm, 2007

Chris "Bestienmeister"
Reckerth, 2007

When it comes to learning how to paint miniatures, I think there are "best practices" of learning. In my experience, these are (best way on top): 
Ben "White Rabbit"
Komets, 2008
  1. Paint A LOT. Every day. Practice makes perfect (almost free!)
  2. 1-on-1 workshop with a top class painter (typically 300-750€ for three days )
  3. having a small group workshop with a top class painter (max 6 people, ~150€-200€ / 3 days)
  4. large group workshop (~20 people, ~80-120€ / 3 days)
  5. A good DVD/video training (unfortunately, there are VERY VERY few good ones out there, 15-60€ - there will be a ton of reviews coming up in the weeks to come.)
  6. A good training book (25-60€). 
  7. step-by-step tutorials on websites, forums etc (free)
When going to workshops, often time travel and accommodation will add to the bill - for me that would generally come to roughly 200€ extra per workshop. 

Matt Cexwish, 2008
Ad you can see, visiting workshops is expensive. But it is also really good when it comes to learning how to paint. And a LOT of FUN :) 

Raffaele "Picster" Pica, 2012
One of the most popular workshops here in Germany is by Massive Voodoo's own Roman "Jarhead" Lappat (CMON). It is an entry level workshop that introduces the participants to Roman's own way of seeing, thinking and painting miniatures.

So after all these top-nodge workshops I finally and for the first time visit an "entry level workshop". And as you will see, I had a lot of fun there, too! 

Have you ever visited a workshop? What was your experience like? Please leave a comment below!

So here is my report: 

Massive Voodoo Workshop with Roman Lappat, Hamburg 2012

Roman "Jarhead" Lappat's entry level workshop at the Wu Dao in Hamburg, 2012
For those of you, who have never participated in a workshop, let me tell you how they typically run. Usually, workshops last three days, starting on a friday evening. A full day Saturday (and I mean FULL day) is usually topped off with a half-day Sunday. 

Roman "Jarhead" Lappat,
Two of my biggest challenges when it comes to painting are: Finding the right color combination and building bases. I know a lot of techniques from all the workshops so far, but due to lack of practice (see #1, above... bad me), I have a hard time, "putting it all together" on one paintjob. 

After a short time of preparing the miniature (cleaning it up) - much to my surprise - Roman started with building the base - my Achilles heel. And all of Friday night was dedicated to just that. 

I picked up one piece of wood from Roman's vast supply of basing material - and all of a sudden I had the whole scene right in front of my eyes... It was quite a fascinating experience.

Last Man stan... uhm, sitting

As a matter of fact, it was so fascinating that I worked on my base until the early morning - last man standing (sitting), if you want... 

I did not particularly follow Roman's request to "keep it small" and went a little over the top - but looking at the result I am more than happy. It is by far the best base that I have ever built. 

During the night, strange dancing demons kept me from sleeping...

Raffa "Picster" Pica was there, too
After a night of literally no sleep, the next day proved to be very challenging for me. Sooo tired :D

Roman introduced us to his way of "seeing". With a series of powerpoint slides we discussed the effect of all kinds of contrast (light/dark, complementary colors, cold/warm etc.).

Then, Roman introduced us to his way of 'sketching' a color scheme on a miniature. Basically, he is using a wet-in-wet technique to put the first colors down. This way, he can see how the colors look on the mini without investing too much time into it. Equipped with this knowledge, we started practicing this wet-in-wet-technique on the base, first. 

Throughout the rest of the workshop we then covered different aspects of miniature painting. Leather, face, eyes, ... Working in small increments like this ensured that at no point did the workshop become boring. Roman has run this workshop many times... I am not sure, but it has to be more than 20 times over the years. As a result, his time management was close to perfect. And after having seen hundreds of demonettes (all "noobs" have to paint it) - I think he has seen all imaginable questions before...

Totally realistic piece of pizza.
As always, the end of the workshop came faster than we all wanted. 

With regards to painting, I was able to finish around 20% of my base and 60% of my miniature in the available time - I think a very good result. It is not my best paintjob - but I find it turned out really well...

I just forgot to take a picture of the miniature :D As soon as it is finished (likely tomorrow), I will add it to this blog entry. 


Of course, having seen so many workshops before, the theory portions of the presentation where not really "news" to me. But they were covered and explained very well. The style of painting is similar to what I learned from Sascha Buczek, Ben Komets or Matt Cexwish - a wet-in-wet style, combined with a glazing/layering technique for the details. I personally prefer the straight up glazing/layering approach (so far), but that is mostly because I do have some issues with wet-in-wet - especially on smaller surfaces. The benefits of this technique with regards of painting speed cannot be denied.

The basebuilding part was my personal highlight of the workshop - mostly because I really cant remember having done this before. Usually, workshops are all about painting to a competition level and less about designing a cool base. 

What was really nice about the workshop was that the group of people was an absolute pleasure to work with. Everyone was really motivated and focused on learning. 

Overall, Roman's workshop is definitely a workshop that I can recommend especially to the beginning painter. Roman and Raffa also run more "advanced" classes - check out their blog for information on future events. 

I gotta run right now, so the German translation will likely follow after my visit of the Hussar 2012 in Poland, maaaaybe I can squeeze it in tomorrow - sorry about that :) 

Have you ever visited a workshop? What was your experience like? Please leave a comment below!
See you at the next workshop!

Die Deutsche Übersetzung kommt frühestens morgen, ggf. auch erst nach dem Hussar 2012 in Polen (also nächste Woche). Sorry :) 


  1. I would sign off on what you wrote about Romans workshop, I had the great opportunity to participate in one of his workshops - the main lesson I took from there was: stop thinking too much, just do something and have fun doing it, there is no right or wrong way , there is only your way ( still seeking for my way,really - but having a splendid time during my journey!)

  2. Great review here! And glad to be seeing more of these popping up as I attempt to attend one myself now!

    But I have a very important question... Why Broccoli on the pizza? Seriously... :S

    1. What's even worse, is that it's contagious :)
      tried once, and nowdays one of my favorites when I order a pizza (I'm not from germany, but live here right now)

      as For Roman's workshops: I attended only one so far, it was really fun and a great weekend to spend with other painters talking and improving. Given the chance(near me + work allows) I'll do everything to attend again.


  3. Great review,

    I haven't been able to visit a painting class yet.
    However, I've been discussing organising a Massive voodoo class in the Netherlands. Sadly enough, life passed by and I didn't find the time yet to further look into it.
    But I'm chomping at the bit for 10/11 November as I'll be attending a masterclass from Mathieu Fontaine....good times, good times :-D

    1. Painting classes and workshops are a lot of fun - and other than having a one-on-one training one of the best ways of learning how to paint. :)

  4. Well I hope I am not a thread necro, but YOU are late with your translation.

    I did a lot workshops, and in the end I am not a very good painter, but I would go on the next workshop as far as I could, because of the nice "nerd" time.
    I paint and finish a mini, wich I always like.

    Roman is very diffrent to the others. When you say geOrc: You learn how to drive. It is an driving class. Roman shows you the way to cruise on a highway(autobahn) or drive a road through the hills.

    Always alot of fun!!!


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