Review: Five years of painting with Massive Voodoo

by Roman aka jar

Hey Jungle Painters,
recently we told you about a private coaching Roman had with Thorsten.
Roman talked about it while he presented his result of the coaching: the Random Encounter.

Thorsten made a review of this coaching session on his blog, but also wrote a cool story for our MV blog: Five years of painting Miniatures with Massive Voodoo. Let's hear what he got to say!


Thorsten says:

"Hey Jungle Readers,

today it is time for me to draw a conclusion of my private practice with Roman at the beginning of June. To make it short: It was just awesome! As always. I had my fun and I learned a lot! End of story…. ;)

As I´m a so called repeater, it was my second private practice with Roman, I decided to not go for a classic review in the style of what we did first and next and on the next morning and day and so on. This I did on my own blog and if you are interested in an in depth article about the painting process and the pieces we worked on feel free to use the link to go over and have a look.

Instead I want to tell you why I keep coming back to Massive Voodoo and the fine people there and why I think that it is one of the most valuable experiences to bring you one step further in your painting! It is a summary of roughly ~5 years of painting alongside Massive Voodoo and the progress that came with it. Roman and Massive Voodoo became an integral part of my painting hobby and the following lines are my experiences and feelings I connect with them.

Let´s start this with the result of nearly 6,5 years of fighting alone with my brushes teaching myself on how to paint miniatures before I got to knew Massive Voodoo.

6,5 years of trying my best on my own.

Maybe it is not too bad for tabletop miniatures but far away from something one can call display quality. I always tried to get better and better and I saw all these fantastically painted miniatures in the deep dark of the internet. I always tried to reach the next level but… it was damn hard! I was fighting alone and there was no one who showed me how to proceed.

In the meanwhile I started to read this new blog of the Massive Voodoo guy on a regular basis (ehm… I mean daily…) and I recognized that Roman is coming to Wuppertal for one of his beginners classes not far away from the town I lived in at this time. So, why not go over and have a look on how a professional paints and learn something. This was my first contact with Massive Voodoo and Roman. This class changed a lot for me. Roman opened my eyes on how to see colours and work with them. He just changed it. I watched Roman doing his magic (this it was for me back in 2010) and tried my best to do it on my own. I struggled but it was Roman who encouraged me to go on. I struggled to get the paint (in fact the lights and shadows) where I did want to have them and Roman showed me how to do it. He just took the brush and said: Put it where you want it! And he did so in front of my eyes and I somehow understood. “Man, you are joking”, I thought! I tried this in years without succeeding and you show it to me in a few seconds and it somehow works and it is fun.

I was sitting in this class and had three days of intense painting, teaching and a whole lot of fun. I was sitting there still struggling with my brush and paint but in a completely different manner. It was the first time I heard of zenithal light, colour contrast and wet in wet painting to get a fast sketch. Well, not the first time at all, but the first time I understood really what was meant! Roman is definitely the Bob Ross of miniature painting. Not as hairy but quite as charismatic…

Workshop Mini from the Wuppertal Beginners Class

Don´t get me wrong here. I didn´t left this class being able to paint like I would like to do. No, not rudimentary, but it was different. I started to paint in a complete different way as I did before. For sure I had to practice this new way of painting and the technique and it took me very long to reach a certain control over the brush and paint. My brain was adapting slow but steadily and I had my fun.

Again I painted 1,5 – 2 years on my own but was able to improve my paintings. After some time I reached a point without any further progress.. When you try to learn something at one point or the other you reach a plateau without making any progress at all. You can keep going on and on. Sometimes you maybe get better but without any stimulation from the outside it is hard to reach the next level or at least it will take you ages… and there was no stimulation from the outside but I still wanted to get better…. My 30th birthday arrived and with it a voucher from my beloved ones for a 2 day intense private practice coaching with Roman from Massive Voodoo in May 2012…eh, what… I was stunned as Roman did not give any private practice courses till then!

Upfront Roman gave me some homework to do to see what my level is at the moment so he can adjust the course topics to it.

Homework miniature prior the private coaching 1.0

What shall I say… this course was again breathtaking. During these two day coaching I learned so much! To make it short: I made a huge step forward, probably the biggest during my miniature painting career so far. We intensified all the topic of the Beginners Class and went far beyond…

Private Coaching 1.0  result

It took me some time to digest all the wisdom Roman threw at me within these two days. The first Bananalicious contest announcement in October 2012 came right in time to push my motivation and to improve my new skills.

Bananalicious 1 Contest entry for the diorama category

I always knew that I would love to do a second private practice and that it would be the perfect possibility to improve again (and to make it easier for me). Early June the time had come to do so. This time I chose a topic for the coaching. When I talked about the class with Roman previously, I just threw atmosphere as a keyword and the miniature I want to paint at Roman. I was very well aware that it was just a single word and that it can mean nearly anything. However from my previous experiences with Roman I was very confident that he knows what to do and how to do it. He didn´t disappoint me. In fact he surpassed my expectations! I had a lot in my mind on what to do and how it maybe would look like but I also decided for myself from the very beginning that I would give myself completely in Big Kong´s hands and would let me guide through the painting process. I´m convinced that one can learn the most from such a course if one is willing to follow the teacher as much as possible! In my opinion I outperformed my current painting skills by doing so.

Private Coaching 2.0 working result

Now it is time to do my homework again which means: adopt the new painting approach, get the chaos in my brain sorted and practice it to find my own way. This will take me some time and the best way to do so is to paint and have fun!

What is the essential one can draw from my blabla? That Roman and for sure Raffa (I didn´mention him in the previous text as he had other duties to fulfill and therefore Roman and me where alone) are a very experienced team when it comes to giving painting classes (I think we don´t have to talk about their painting skills here… they are not questionable…). From all my experiences with Roman I can tell you that he is a teacher with his whole soul and he knows how to guide someone without overstraining him. I think this is a very important capability when it comes down to teaching. He always knows at what point he has to lift you up and at what point he has to pester and push you to develop your skills.

So, all in all I just can say one thing: If you have the possibility to join one of Roman´s classes do so! You will not be disappointed!

At the end I just have to say thank you:
Thank you Roman for 5 years of developing my painting skills! For being patient and pushing me in the right direction! Somehow a good part of my painting hobby is related to Massive Voodoo. Be it on how to do this and that or be it on getting painting inspiration or be it on getting motivation.

Therefore let´s put it simple: Thank you Roman! Thank you for this unique platform in the internet called Massive Voodoo. Thank you for all the tons of articles and inspiration and painting motivation you bring out to the painting community with it.
I think (hope) we will see again with brushes in hand in the future…

What do you other readers think? Did Massive Voodoo improve or change your way of painting?

All the best to all of you,


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