After discovering that the one and only Roman Lappat offers painting workshops only 30 minutes away from my home I had no excuse not to sign up! So this last weekend I finally attended a 3 day Beginner’s Workshop in Augsburg, Germany. Over the course of the workshop I learned an incredible amount about base building, composition, mixing colors, light, saturation and much more. The class is absolutely fantastic, and I highly recommend it if you are even remotely considering such a workshop.
This was my result, which I am incredibly proud of. Even though there are plenty of little things I would want to refine if this was a competition mini or similar, I think the miniature ‘works’ exactly as I intended and that is super special to me. I rarely succeed in pulling off the look & feeling I’m imagining, but this course helped me figure out what the technical things I need to do are in order to make those visions a reality.
So the question is, how did I apply all of his teachings in the model I painted during the class?
The first decisions I made were the composition. I accidentally glued the head in at a slight angle so she’s looking downward, which meant I needed to have her up high somewhere. Then when I was building the base, I tried to include lots of little lines directed at her to draw attention. For example, I cut the support beams at an angle which pointed at her, and made sure the big crack in the slab did too. The base is also wider at the bottom than the top, so she’s kind of the tip of a pyramid. I didn’t want my fairly large and cluttered base to draw too much attention away from her, hopefully that helped.
I imagined this scene to be an old ruined building being reclaimed by nature, so I wanted a more natural light with lots of cool green and blue tones. None of the pictures I looked at for inspiration had many saturated colors so I went the de-saturated route as well, I think it makes it feel a little bit more realistic. But, in order to make her more interesting I needed to have contrasts. The easy choice was to give her glowing orange eyes to stand out as much as possible from the skin tone and make you notice her gaze (my mistake in assembly became the most interesting aspect of the model – no mistakes just happy accidents!). That alone wasn’t really enough though, I spent the most time on her face after all so I needed it to be the clear center of attention. By using a warm tone for her claws and hair I could make those areas contrast with their surroundings and frame the face, and I chose a fairly dark and de-saturated red color so that they didn’t stand out too much. This also made another triangle of focus with the head at the peak, hopefully directing your gaze right to her eyes. The little tiny mouse in the sink is also painted in de-saturated warm tones so that he gets a little bit of attention once your eye wanders around the base.
Since the area getting the most attention should be her head, the upper body got way more highlights than the lower body, exaggerating the zenithal lighting effect I had going on. I’m a big fan of the way this looks, and I love that it lets me spend less time of unimportant stuff like her toes. I mean these toes are just a single coat of black with a slight blueish tint, and I think that it works great. Thanks Roman, I won’t be spending my time painting toes all perfectly again!
One last thing I really want to be sure I do in the future is to go wild and free when sketching in colors on my bases. Wet blending shadows and highlights with a big brush and then going really heavy on washes was so much fun, and it really did turn out great! Overall this workshop made me feel a lot more comfortable about making color choices and with giving up control sometimes.