There are few artists within the miniature painting world as accomplished nor as acclaimed as Roman Lappat. Roman is also known for his words of hobbying wisdom. As 2022 starts, many people are thinking about hobby resolutions for the year ahead. Redgrass was lucky enough to have an interview with Roman Lappat.
1. Interview with Roman Lappat – first question! Why did you start miniature painting? How did you discover this world?
“As a kid I fell in love with Star- and Heroquest for the first time at a friend‘s. Also my granddad got me into scale modelling as he built model planes with me when I was young. The fascination for this was born earlier, but faded due life, other fascinations, sports, girls, partying and the typical youth behaviour. When I was nineteen I encountered a local hobby store, memories came back, made friends there and started becoming a part of this community. I quickly realised I enjoy the collecting part and painting part more than gaming as I never had any luck with dice. This lead to some commission works for local gamers, and I was able to call it my work while studying. I studied to become a teacher for wood working, technical drawing, art and art history. But after my first state exam I decided to give my passion of commission painting a try of a full year. Now I am a self-employed artist, who teaches miniature painting with his own curriculum and still loves the world of miniatures and modelling.”
2. Which artists do you get inspiration from, if any? Either miniature painters and/or non-miniature artists.
“This changes often as inspiration and the muse is like the tide. So I can say I am amazed by classic masters in painting, for example Caravaggio and Rubens. I was happy to study some originals in museums and I am big fan of their impact. And right now I am really fascinated by Mark Maggiori’s atmospheric wild west paintings, James Gourney is a wonderful teacher and artist too that keeps inspiring me, I love Frank Frazetta’s work – I do follow several artists that I learn from. But a lot of my inspiration comes from nature and traditional art. And there are some miniature painters that inspire me a lot, but I can not name them all here. The miniature world is a circle of inspiration and if someone invents something new it is often already just a concept from other art forms. And that is a reason why I look outside the circle.”
3. Interview with Roman Lappat : What 5 words would you use to describe your painting?
“Bold, Powerful, Focus, Accidents, Happy.”
4. What discourages you from miniature painting, and how do you overcome it?
“As it is my daily job I sometimes burn-out on inspiration or I am getting over-saturated. Over the many years I learned to understand these patterns of my creativity and if I am feeling that I need a break from miniatures, I calm my social media down to consume less, spend more time in nature and recharge creative batteries. I might paint on canvas and other things, draw, photography, bladesmithing is a new hobby at the moment with my girlfriend. Another important part I learned is to accept that my own, individual way as a painter is unique. Social media forces me and also a lot of others to constant comparison, even unconditionally. I meditate on this, when I feel it coming.
For example, this year, 2021 was a wild year in private and I had two flat moves and two studio moves. My energies for painting laid low and I had to accept it. In the meantime social media was flushing me with great stuff by other painters and I thought: “Am I still good enough? Will the world enjoy my creations?” … But I am on my own path, find my own style, renew my own things, learn new things for me, implement them in my style and the meditation about these things does help to recover and to follow your own path. Everyone is different, everybody is on a different level, everybody learns differently and everyone is unique and important.”
5. Is there a model you have already painted you would love to paint again now you are further along your painting journey?
I enjoy a painting process once and put my vision on it. This is the best version of my individual vision for this model. I am exploring its volumes, character and material once and intense. Doing it a second time would just bore me. I rather spent the time creating a new vision for something fresh.”
6. Interview with Roman Lappat : What makes a good ‘grimdark’ piece?
“A bold and strong painting approach that is not clean. Shows powerful brushstrokes, bravery to keep it dark and grim, a connection from miniature to environment, the right color choices and always a feeling for a “desperate last stand”. This is what I pack in a bag and throw it on a model when it should be grimdark.”
7. Do you think there is a piece of hobbying advice more people need to remind themselves of frequently?
“Do not compare yourself. It will distract you from the joy. Without joy you learn slower or nothing at all. Learning with joy will go by itself and you will learn at your personal, unique pace, in the right moments for you. Consume less information (like one youtube video after the other) and paint more, knowledge will only manifest with painting, not with knowing everything in theory.”
8. Does Roman Lappat have any new or exciting painting goals to share for 2022?
“Well, as the pandemic stopped me kind of from what I like the most I am focusing on it in 2022: teaching. I love to help others on their path, pick them up where they are and throw them as far as I can without making them cry, but only with their very own learning goal. This is what I focus on and while I teach I will create pieces born from explanation, I learn myself. I do have some goals, mainly finishing some comission pieces that my clients are waiting for. I just aim to have fun in 2022 when it comes to my own painting as I was missing my painting fun withouth teaching in the last two years. But I will also have two more new workshop topics for my curriculum that I am working on at the moment, writing a second book and see how this all plays out in the end. If you make your hobby and passion to your daily work “hobby goals” might differ from the regular hobby person. Summed up you can say I plan to be in full swing of joyful happy painting. At least the way I found for myself.”
9. Interview with Roman Lappat : Do you have any funny painting stories you could be willing to share?
“Yes, it is about the word “blending”. This word makes all people go nuts in the miniature world, but you just have to think differently on it. It is not a milestone for quality. It is just a color transition from A to B, from dark to bright tones, from green to orange. Many people get painting blocks from the word “blending” and the importance they put in its meaning. I differ from soft and rough blendings and “blending” will always be a result of a technique, not the technique itself. There are a million ways to create a blending: Layering, glazing, feathering, two brush blending, loaded brush and so many more that it confuses me already.
What is important is the result, but with the result you plan to see you can go different paths. If I paint an old Ogre’s butt, I like to add texture to the skin and make it look old: rough blending. If I paint a female naked elf princess I want to create soft blendings. I choose what I want to see in the end and use the technique I think works best for me in this case. So, some years back in Italy on a miniature show I did some painting demos and started to paint a blending with my fingers to a huge bust as this was the right tool for me in this moment. Some people instantly left the room. Heretic! Me! If I ever find the time to jump into the youtube bubble of miniature explanation videos I will add one on how to paint a blending with my nose, but I am still training.”
10. Do you have any other ‘creative’ hobbies you do? Do you feel they benefit one another in any way?
The more I teach the more I see the benefits. All melts together and benefits the other. Photography, Observing nature, Drawing, Painting on Canvas they all grow to a pool of knowledge that can be used also in miniature painting.
You learn about light, ambience, material, texture, volume and so much more. It is an endless story.”
Thanks, Roman Lappat!
What a wonderful interview with Roman Lappat! Thank you so much to Roman for his time and effort in answering my interview questions with such thoughtfulness. Be sure to check out his website here and his gallery of works on Instagram. Here’s to a wonderful 2022 full of hobbying!