Some Answers to some questions ...

by Roman aka jar

posted by roman, jarhead, kong


Alex did ask me to answer some questions for ... let him explain with a quote:

My name is Alex, and I have been a hobbyist just like you for quite a few years.

I’ve been following your blog for almost a year now, and every time I seem to learn something new and exciting. Thus, I am writing to you, wondering if you could assist me in presenting the hobby in a new way. In general, I wonder how different people look at their work with miniatures (sculpting, converting, painting, etc.). As part of a small study I am doing (for a graded academic paper), I now have a chance to satisfy my curiosity. And since you dedicate so much time to the hobby, I hope you can provide some of your own personal insight by answering a number of questions. Thanks to you I might be able to talk about the hobby in a university setting.

I am sending this email to all of you who write on Massive Voodoo, since all of you contribute so much to it. The list of questions follows bellow, and shouldn't take too long to finish. Please try to answer as many of the questions as possible and expand where you feel comfortable doing so. I highly appreciate you giving some of your time to help me out. Also - please try not to involve other Massive Voodoo members in your own personal answer, as I would like to know what you personally think."


Hi Alex,

thank you for your nice words about the jungle blog. Sure I will answer your questions. If you allow I would also like to post them and my answer in the jungle. Just let me know if this is ok with you :)

Here we go ... The questions and answers:

1. Do you paint or sculpt miniatures (or both)? Do you do only this? 

I for my part do only painting at the moment. I did some sculpt test runs and was pretty happy with the results. I have the plan to learn it someday but therefore I need more time and more space :) On some projects I do minor sculpting conversions, but that's it for the moment.

2. Do you compete (or want to compete) with your work? Why (if relevant)? 

Sure I enter a competition once a while but I am not after the prizes or the fame. Fame is just a big air bubble in this miniature scene. I am happy if I win something, but not unhappy if I don't. When I paint I don't think about competition or compete with other painters.

3. What led you to the hobby? 

My grandpa - may he rest in peace - did build a lot of plane military models and when I was a little boy I was totally fascinated by this time consuming but very satisfying use of time. Someday I gave him a birthday gift. A german Tornado in 1:35 and he was like, yes, that is now better than mine :D Some time spent without modelling and later on I walked in a local store that sold Warhammer Figures. That's the story.

4. What do you like about working on miniatures? 

My inner Freedom and my inner joy and my inner satisfaction when working with colours. I like to tell stories with figures sometimes. Some personal straight from my soul and some very clear like a duel from ancient greek heros. For me painting on miniatures is like painting on canvas, nothing more, nothing less.

5. Can you please describe your usual work process from beginning to end? If relevant, please mention 

a. Which tools you would consider necessary and why? 

Basicly you need a stone, a brush and some dirt to paint something. It is the same with miniatures. In the end you need a figure, colours and a brush. But honestly you can also paint with your fingers instead of a brush if the figure is large enough. Additional you have a lot of tools for cleaning, preparing and basing but truely necessary are those mentioned above.

b. What your work environment is like. 

Well, that depends on how busy I am and how the muse is active. Sometimes I work on a pretty tidy place, sometimes when I am away in my own fantasy worlds I forget about everything and work in a deep jungle of myself. I used to work at home in a extra room but soon I am moving into a bigger studio away from home, where I finally have to use the bycicle again to get there.

 c. How you choose what to work on and what you do with it. 

I think I choose from two totally different points of view. First one is comissioned work that you not always can choose. Second is choosing from the heart and the inspiration you get when you see a figure. Ideas rolling in and change during the progress and so on ...

d. How often and for how long you work on a piece. 

Depends. Bigger projects take more time, small projects are fast, epic projects need their time, no specification here. I think the biggest time amount spent by me on one single figure was ~200 h so far and I really was mad with the project. I do paint everyday on different pieces.

 e. What you do with a piece, once it is finished. 

Most of the time I see my work as boring after it is done. As I am a freelance artist making a living from miniature painting I have to sell mostly all of my stuff. Some, I want to keep but I am always bored from my own finished stuff in my cabinet so I give them away as gifts to very good friends. I enjoy the figure the most during the painting process.

 6. What would, in your opinion, be considered a good miniature? 

Mmh ... from my point of view I would say a good miniature is a miniature where you can see that the painter had fun and enjoyed his painting very much. Also I like to see that the painter improved from his last miniature, that is progress and there can be progress already if you look in just one figure. For me a good miniature does not directly work hand in hand with techniqual perfection. Technichal perfection comes from years and years of training. So if you would say so, a newbie painter never paints a good figure and that is wrong from my point of view.

7. What qualities would an individual need, to be able to make such a miniature? 

His heart and brain, Joy - no matter the project looks in the end in techniqual aspects, the will to train and paint, paint, paint, paint and paint to learn from painting and the way of the colour.

8. Do you think anyone can reach a high standard? Explain your opinion. 

Sure. A high standard can be reached by everyone due hard trainging. In the end talent and ideas makes the difference between a hard trained figure painter and the ones who stand out even more.

9. Do you think money is important for the hobby? Please explain your opinion. 

For me as this is my daily job and my hobby - a dangerous mix, believe me - money is important to stay alive, yes.. On the other hand when doing the hobby just for the fun  money is also relevant for example when you buy your equipment, from tools to miniatures, you will fast see it won't be the cheapest hobby.

10. Why work with miniatures? Do you prefer them over other artistic forms such as canvas painting or photography?

I did a lot of canvas painting when I was younger. I now find myself enjoying the same spirit and mood when painting a figure. Just a canvas switch, but I will head for some bigger canvas in the future again when we arrived in our new studio.

11. If you were to compare the painting (or sculpting) miniatures with other art forms, where would you say it’s similar and where does it stand apart? 

It similar in mostly everything in my eyes. Sure you have to split up in "Only painting display pieces" and "Painting Miniatures for Wargaming-Tables". The display thing has a high artistical potential when the figure(s) are use to transport a message or a feeling. Miniature Painting in all his aspects can be a complete study, a way of life where you learn to live in peace and harmony with your sorroundings if you have enough time to really study it.

12. How do you deal with the fact that when painting, you are working on someone else’s sculpt? How does this influence your work process? 

I got no problem with that. For me it is more like an honor to be able to do so. No Influances beside the Honor-thing.

13. Is there a community of hobbyists where you live? 

Yes. A really nice one. We have a couple of true artists around here and many miniature mad people. We don't meet that often anymore as time for life - jobs and family grows bigger for each one of us but yes there is a community. Not only in our hometown, it feels that there is a big community in Europe if you would say so :D

14. Are you involved with such a community (and if there is none, would you like there to be one)?  

Not really. We have a couple of friends we meet from time to time for painting but not special community plans. Sometimes we help to organize a painters meeting in our city or drive ourselves to another painter's meeting somewhere in Germany.

15. If you post pictures of your work on CMON, why do you do so? 

Yes I do. I do post my work there because I want to say thanks for all the inspiration I did recieve and still get from other painters. Also I sometimes post them there for linking them up to ebay. But in the end I really enjoy seeing my gallery grow up to 500 uploads, that is the main motivation at the moment. CMON is a great thing, but you got to take care of your emotions. I learned that over the years. If you are new to CMON all that matters is that kind of rating system and comments and so on. You soon can get dissapointed when you expect too much. Happened to me in the past too but I am cured of the dark side in my brain. Also you should think about the weight of the ratings. CMON offers the option to rate photos from miniatures. That's not miniature looking for me. I have learned over the years that nothing can compare to a miniature that you hold in your hands to look at it.

16. How do outsiders react to your work? Describe an event if you can. 

Often they think that little tiny soldiers are terrible nerdy kids stuff but in the end when they see the stuff in real they are mostly: ooooooOOOOOOOOOO!!! No particular event saved in my brain at the moment.


I hope that is fine with you?
Straight from the heart :)

Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes


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