Peter´s Development in Painting over the Years

by Massive Voodoo

Hey jungle,

as you all know, MassiveVoodoo is a community of painters who share - together with our common hobby - a close friendship. Over the years all of us have evolved in their skills, thanks to the great chance of exchanging experiences and knowledge during long painting nights. We want to encourage all of you, to keep on happy painting and to stay hungry for new knowledge. Improving in your painting is not a question of talent, it´s more about regular practice and patience. None of us was born a good painter, we just evolved over the years.

So, Peter thought, it might be interesting for you to see, from which level he came, when he started painting display miniatures and how his experiences have affected his models over the years.


As I have written in my self-description, I started painting display miniatures back in 2007/08. Before, I was a tabletop gamer and did some commissions while doing my studies. It feels like a lifetime ago, but thanks to my hard drive and the internet, I have found some old goodies. Let´s do a little journey through my gallery which developed very much in the last years. As you will see, I started like all of you: simple paintjobs, but enjoying the hobby very much.

The oldest picture I could find: my Grey Knights. Up to 2006 I was a regular gamer, but already cared very much about the look of my army. After my first armies (Warhammer Fantasy & 40k) where painted very quickly and efficient, I wanted my "Grey" Knights to appear more outstanding. I already had some years of painting experience and while working in the local GW-store in Augsburg and with the help of some gamer friends, I improved my techniques a lot. As you can see on the pictures, I was trying to make the armour look like made of cold lava, with some still hot, molten spots.

And here another goody: an old Vostroyan soldier which was a test miniature for a commission. I think you can call this the maximum of my skills in these times. Pretty good, I guess :-) sorry for the scary collage, I just used the original file I published in those days...

These miniatures where all done, when I met Roman for the first time, back in spring 2006. In the following years we had painting nights on a regular basis and he shared his knowledge about miniatures with me.

Now we have to skip some years. Sadly, I was not able to recover any pictures from my paintings in 2007 and 2008. As it seems, the internet is really "forgetting" things, at least my hard drive did so :-(

As you can see, my skills were developing a bit. In 2009 I had already stopped any tabletop gaming and was full into miniature painting. I lived very close to Roman´s place and we were painting very often. To be honest, it was quite a hard time for him. He wanted to teach me a lot of things, but I was a stubborn student with a lot of impatience. I recall when we were painting our projects for a competition in the local GW store. I had one of the "new" Juggernauts on my table and Roman gave me a lot of input about painting metallics and eye catching effects. I would say, he did at least 50% of the miniature. Funfact: In the end I made 1st place with the Juggernaut, he placed 3rd with his own project ;-) 

This is the only miniature I painted in 2010 due to my final exams and my 3-month-internship in Egypt. As you can see, I did not make any big progress in my skills. Time was short and sadly I had a big lack of motivation. If I recall right, I was thinking about quitting the whole hobby. 

Things changed in 2011. In this year, I made the biggest developments so far, which supports the theory of a high always following upon a down. I was painting a lot with Raffa and Roman, which were supporting me with advice and sharing their own experiences. As you can see in the following picture, I took my first attempts in painting zenithal light.

This was one of my first historical miniatures. I had already painted a Gladiator back in 2009, but as I stripped it off paint, I call this here my first "finished" 54mm miniature. I like the leather-effect and the unwittingly slight attempts to atmosphere-painting.

Many of you will know the "situation" when I painted this demonette. It was one of Roman´s early painting classes and the first class I have ever joined. It had the same effect on me like on so many other students. It was some kind of eye-opening event. I learnt a lot about color theory and was now able to further improve my skills.

Then, my first big diorama: The Rising. At the beginning I wanted to do a complete different project, but struggled very hard with it. In April we were doing some kind of painting bootcamp with 8 painters at Raffa´s place to prepare our projects for Duke of Bavaria. All of them invested their knowledge and gave me input for the project, Raffa even sculpted the necromancer. I call The Rising a project of friendship and it´s still one of my favourite pieces in my cabinet.

In this year, I also had one of my most known "happy little accidents": I melted a Pegaso Gladiator. What happened? Back then, I was starting to use oil colors and in order to fasten the drying process, I put the miniature regularly into my old gas oven. Everything worked fine and I was very proud about the new level I took when it comes to painting skin. But the gods of painting where having their funny day, and during the last drying process, the white metal was too weakend and broke right above the ankles. The miniature fell down onto the heat plate and melted. Everything happens for a reason....



In this year, I had to leave Augsburg and started my new job in Reutlingen. I still kept contact with Roman and Raffa and visited them as often as possible. But I would say it was an important step in my development as a painter. I had to use my knowledge I accumulated without having somebody in the back in case something went wrong. I also made my first attempts on busts, a Norman Knight (Young Miniatures).

Another bust quickly followed: a Ghoul... and here we have another happy accident. The bust was a present for Roman. He took the bust home, bust sadly one of his cats found big interest in it: it gnawed on the bust. Roman took the chance and improved the bust by painting all the gnaw marks as bloody scars. Everything happens... 

I joined Roman on a lot of his classes and supported him as some kind of "sidekick". It was a new experience for me. By helping his students, I was able to fix my own knowledge even when I was not painting so regularly anymore. But the classes gave me the chance to start new, simple projects and to finish them in three days. The Predator was started and finished during the Beginner Class in Schöppenstedt.
More pictures!

The lessons learnt were already influencing my other stuff. In this time my painting style was quite dark and grim. I tried to tell my stories on more and more detailed bases.
I was also able to get new input. I took part in Karol Rudyk´s class in Berlin. It was an interesting experience to meet a painter with so many skills and a complete different approach towards his miniatures. If you have the chance, take part in one of his classes and enjoy the flying (word!) brushes full of colors. The most important lesson learnt: maximize contrast!

In 2014 I had some of the famous "click"-moments. While painting my miniatures, somehow the experiences which I made over the last years came together, somehow making sense and pushing me foreward.

Theseus´ Destiny was born out of a simple idea I developed with some friends during a painting bootcamp in my flat. I wanted to do something complete new and do "two" scenes, which are connected to each other, in a single project. My most favourite piece until today!

Sha´Un was basically a study about rust. I likr beastmen very much and in my imagination these human/animals don´t care a lot about their armour. The special effects from ModelMates helped here, but I used different other materials to get as close as possible to natural rust.

I also joined a class with Fernado Ruiz to get more technical input. Same as with Karol´s class in 2014, it helped me push my understanding of painting further. This times, it was more about volumes and different materials.

The year started with another class. Alfonso Giraldes visited Augsburg and held a three day class with a big group of well-experienced painters. It was a fascinating weekend and my brain was full with his approach towards color and painting. I began to get rid of the ideas about the "perfect blending" and to find my fun in painting again. Just happy painting with powerful colors, not forcing yourself towards perfection.

Sadly, I was pretty stressed during the rest of the year. My job was annoying and I was preparing to change it, which included moving to Stuttgart. I started some projects, but none of them got finished. I even started a small 40k-army project, but it never made it over the first concept miniature.

This year turned out to be one of my best years in painting so far. After I moved to Stuttgart and was able to visit Augsburg more often, my mood calmed and I was more motivated into painting again. Two events were very important for this: first, Roman gave me a Privat Coaching at the beginning of the year. Second, I took part in Roman´s Advanced Class. Both were mainly about painting atmosphere, but also helped me improve my techniques.

Abalam was painted during the Privat Coaching:

Hayden was painted during the Advanced Class:

I would say that because of both events, I had another, very intense "click"-moment. The two projects, I finished afterwards were much more detailed and more intense in regard to color intensity.

The Roman Centurion was started in early 2015 and remained as a WiP in the cabinet for a long time. When looking at it, I can see some elements from my old way of painting, but also some first attempts in using an atmospheric painting.

The Mountain Ogre was more a personal study in regards to painting details and volumes in a short time.

Today, when I look at my painting table I can already see further developments. I paint more freely and without any force. I enjoy my hobby, even if it sometimes causes trouble and heavy thoughts. I have learnt, that there are always ups and downs. There is no way in changing this and no sense in even trying to force you to anything. But by ending this (quite long) article, I´m proud about the development of my painting skills over the last ten years.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and it helps you understand two important things:
  • Development needs time, but with additional/new input, patience and practice you will go forward.
  • Paint with friends and discuss your projects. By giving detailed feedback and sharing your knowledge you will become more sure of it and others will also have the chance to develop.



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