Review: One week Private Coaching with Mike

by Massive Voodoo

Hey Jungle Painters!

A while ago we had a really good time when Mike aka Shades visited us in the studio for one week of private coaching with Raffa.

Raffa & Mike

Usually we no let our visitors tell how they found the experience in the studio.
In this case, Mike already wrote a fantastic wrap-up on his blog.

So this time Raffa will talk a bit about his experience:

Written by Raffaele "Picster" Picca:

When Mike and I planned the one week Private Coaching and his visit to Germany I already met and knew him. Knowing he is a great and kind person made the whole contact much easier.

But even then, planning one week of Private Coaching is not easily done.

We talked a lot about topics for this week via mail. His wishes about things he wanted to learn and topics to cover.

We agreed on the following plan for the week:
  • observe me painting one of my projects
  • observe me preparing a model and construct a base
  • paint an identical pair of miniatures side-by-side
  • have a focus session on non-metallic metals
  • be coached on a project
  • have both of us batch-paint a skirmish-size set of gaming miniatures and play a game!

Sounded good but also it would be a tight schedule, even for a week.

When Mike and I were finally in the studio I reconsidered our plan and talked with Mike about making some adjustments. We dropped some parts of it to concentrate on one main project that Mike painted, the "Random Encounter" by FeR Miniatures.

We still wanted to paint the skirmish team and play the game, but we dropped the part where Mike was just watching me paint as I was sure it would benefit him more spending more time painting!

 Our projects, mine were the little girl "Rose" and the guy with the stone axe

While we worked on the projects, we talked a lot.
I am a strong believer that it is better to teach a man to fish instead of giving him a fish for a day ;)

A lot of principles when painting miniatures or art in general are theoretical things and while technique is not unimportant, it is also something that is in my opinion easily learned. Technique can also be improved and learned while being at home after the Private Coaching. Theory and Art principles are great if you can talk about it and question certain things.

In the zone...

We actually spent a lot of time on the couch with a coffee and talked about theory and miniature projects. I quickly noticed that Mike is a curious and mindful person that really wanted to get behind a lot of principles.

"Most of what I learned was actually accomplished by talking through art principles, while relaxing over coffee or lunch.  These lessons were actually my fondest and most enlightening moments.  Raffa has enormous patience and deep knowledge for fielding questions about making choices based on a variety of criteria, be they physics-oriented or aesthetic-oriented.  He also has a great talent for communicating very clearly and precisely, especially considering he was instructing me in a language that is not his native tongue.  At one point he even helped me find the right English word for something I was trying to say!" - Mike Schaefer

I was very happy that we changed the original plan and that Mike was a fantastic student trusting me a lot for decisions like this  :)

"I'm glad we were both flexible to deviate from our original plan.  Doing so enabled me to learn things that I didn't expect to learn.  For example, I learned why building saturation on top of a desaturated ground can be more favorable than going the opposite direction.  Raffa demonstrated that concept on the back of a blister pack -- a valuable lesson that I might have missed, had we had adhered too strictly to our initial plan."  - Mike Schaefer

In the end, Mike really did a fantastic job with his project and I think it was a huge step for him.
Check out the final result and see for yourself:

After the dwarf we started with our two Guild Ball skirmish teams.
Mike was kind enough to supply me with the Butcher Team that perfectly fits my approach in most games!
He started to paint his Mason Guild team so we could play a round with the two painted teams.

The two teams, work in progress

We gave our best and painted like two crazy persons, but in the end we didn't manage to completely paint the teams.

Mike's Masons

I was happy to learn about Guild Ball from Mike who is a fantastic teacher when it comes to game rules. In my opinion he should be host to a TV show where he can explain game rules for board games!

When we played, my inner role-play character quickly got hold of me and my butcherous blood lust took over. I tried to beat up the Masons as good as I could, in the middle of the game it wasn't looking good for my Butchers... but in the end I got hold of the guys and scored the final goal: Victory for the Butchers!!!

Muhahaha, Blooooood!

Although I am absolutely sure that Mike, who is a much more experienced gamer that I am, let me win to not spoil my fun too much :)

By the time this review gets published I finished my Butcher Team!

Overall, it was a fantastic week as a teacher and I would be happy to have Mike in the studio again!
So at this point I want to thank Mike for the great opportunity of spending time with him and the great week we had together!

And a warning to everyone else out there: Don't mess with these guys!


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