The work of Stephan Rath (Derwish) has always amazed me. I love to look at the pictures in his CMON gallery and on his website. After seeing his famous Khemri battle standard bearer I knew that this was the level of painting I desperately would like to achieve. So when I heard about his workshops I had no second thoughts and decided to join.
This 2,5 day workshop, officially named “Figurenmalerei – workshop mit Stephan Rath”, took place in the lovely place Eschweiler, close to Aachen in Germany.
As posted on Das Bemalforum (translated from German):
The workshop is a colourful mix of little theory, much practice, showpainting, individual support. We paint a delicious figurine together and we paint beautiful freehands.
Sounds great to me!
So on Friday it was time to head over to Aachen, which was a journey of almost 6 hours. I was picked up from the train station by Stephan and Roman (one of the organisors), and after getting acquainted with the other participants it was time to start the workshop. I was placed next to Kyle (Mr. Lee), who has been great company during the workshop 🙂
Friday evening started with Stephan handing us little presents that contained the workshop miniature – Marauder Warlord from Avatars of War, his special miniature holder, a banner (to be later used for freehand) and some assembly material.
We started assembling and prepping our miniature and then mounted it to the miniature holder.
Stephan then treated us to some theory about contrast. Wow! And I thought I had heard all of it at Roman’s workshop. As it turns out, there are even more. In fact, there are probably countless ways of contrast still a mystery to me, but Stephan explained eight of them very clearly using his own work as reference pictures.
During this lesson, Stephan explained the technique he uses for blending, called “Pinselkonditionierung”, with using the properties of our beloved acrylic paints.
After this it was time for bed, while the greenstuff in our miniature hardened overnight.
Amazingly enough, Stephan starts his miniatures by painting the eyes. So therefore, after a short demonstration, we all started the day by painting the tiny eyes of our miniatures. As it is much easier to start with the eyes, so you will not mess up the face you painted earlier, I will now use this on all my miniatures 😉
This was a very technical day, in which we learned to apply the Konditionierung technique. It is basically layering with diluted colours, using as little paint as possible. I had no idea how little paint to use, and when Stephan showed me I dubbed it “controlled dry-brushing with glazes”. It’s difficult to explain, and you should just see it done to realize the desired paint consistency and quantity on the brush. Turns out it works extremely well, and my surfaces no longer have a glossy finish which made me really happy. So in the morning we worked on painting the skin and the cloth.
In the afternoon, after a short presentation, we started to paint the NMM parts of the miniature. Using the Konditionierung really makes it a lot easier to paint NMM and to place the highlights and shadows exactly where you want them to be.
The day flew by way too fast. We had a great dinner with all the participants somewhere near the “Marktplatz” of Eschweiler, and painted some more until late in the evening.
Stephan is famous for his freehand painting. Just look at the pictures on his website!
So obviously, the whole Sunday was devoted to painting freehands (yeahh!!). We all chose (or in my case I was forced by my Canadian neighbour) our favourite freehand design to paint, and Stephan gave us a printed version of that design. We used a transfer grid to try to copy the design onto the plastic banner.
Stephan explained the steps quickly, but mainly we just painted and painted to try to achieve the desired freehand. I must say, I have seen some very nice results all around 🙂 Using this transfer grid makes it a lot easier and it also feels much less daunting to actually start on it.
Before long, it was the end of the workshop and time to go home again….
I had an absolutely lovely time at the workshop. There were many new things to learn and it was great to see some of the techniques in action. Although Stephan is not used to teaching in front of a big group, he was able to convey his techniques in a clear way. For me, it was helpful that he spoke slowly, as I was able to follow much more even though my German is still not good at all.
Apart from being an amazing painter, Stephan is a really great guy! After contacting him, he has been really helpful to get me registered for the workshop and he arranged a place to sleep for me (Thanks Roman!). During the workshop he was really patient with me (and Mr Lee), and willing to explain things again in English.
It was also really nice to meet the other participants who have also made sure it was a great weekend!
All in all, I think this workshop is perfect for the more advanced painters that are willing to aim a bit higher with their painting. Although some clear theory is given, I think the highlight of this workshop is the hands on experience you get by just doing it, and seeing other peoples paint. It is really great, technical workshop that will help you push your game. I enjoyed every minute of it, and it was absolutely worth to travel all the way to Aachen!
Thanks to Stephan for hosting a wonderful workshop, to Roman for letting me stay over at his place and help with the organization, to Uli for a neat organization and his wonderful contagious laugh, to Mr Lee who has been an awesome painting buddy (and full of random nonsense :P), and of course to all the other participants who have made this a weekend to remember!
My results from the workshop: