Hey folks! I had the opportunity to send my questions to multi-Golden Demon winner, Christoph Eichhorn, or as he's known in the hobby-sphere: Trovarion!
I first came across Trovarion's work via a YouTube video How to Edge Highlight Like a Pro. His in-depth study and explanations were paramount in helping me understand how light interacts with different volumes. I was hooked! I smashed that Subscribe button and haven't looked back since! As a fan for nearly two years, I've noticed one recurring "complaint" about some of his videos, and I want to address this right at the beginning. The most common negative comment is that his videos are "too long"or that "it would take forever to paint my army like this". I think this is a major flaw in the mindset of the viewer. When a viewer watches someone's video for the sake of being solely entertained, they are quick to lose interest if the video isn't flashy, super short, or all-revealing within the first 5 minutes. However, if the viewer shifts their expectation from that of instant gratification to being able to learn an actual skill, they understand that 30-90 minutes is nothing compared to the countless hours of experience and trial and error they have ahead of them. I asked myself a question I feel most of these nay-sayers never have: Do I want to be shown what to do, or learn the theory? Being shown what to do is nice when you're looking for a quick fix. However, it's only really viable for that exact model, when replicating the exact style. But, if you learn the theory, you can change any factor in the "equation" (model, light, angle, color) and it will come out looking good anyway.
I absolutely love his walkthroughs. They are given at a pace where it's almost possible to follow along as he goes. This way, you get the head knowledge and at the same time, you can build up muscle memory and brush repetition. I think the thing people need to remind themselves of before they post a comment about how long a process takes, or complain about the length of a video is this: If someone has THAT MANY GOLDEN DEMONS ON THEIR SHELF, he must be doing something right!
Anyway, aside from giving me an opportunity to rile up a few impatient boobs in the comments, I have another reason why Trovarion is potentially one of my favorite painters: His character. I don't mean he plays a part, or pretends to be someone he isn't. It's actually the opposite. He remains true to himself, his style and his purpose. Even in the interview, you'll see what I'm talking about. He would rather pursue the absolute freedom to be able to do what he wants to do than subject himself to the strictures of endorsements, sponsorships, or even commissions! I feel, of all the mini-painters I watch consistently, he is the most traditional and professional. He holds himself to a high standard, and, to his credit, he teaches to the same standard. I believe he tells me the same things in his free YouTube videos as he would in a paid training session. It's for that reason alone I get excited when another of Trovarion's videos drop. In my mind, the longer the better! I have more time to glean pearls from a master, and I love it!
Settle in folks, and get ready to meet one of the best: Trovarion!
1. How long have you been involved in the hobby in general?
"I started to paint miniatures roughly around 2002. I don't remember exactly unfortunately. I started painting MageKnight miniatures. They came pre-painted, but I thought, this could be better, so I was researching how they could be made better and the rest is history. I actually made a video about this 2 weeks ago on my youtube channel".
2. How long have you been actively promoting your content on social media?
"I made a Facebook account in 2016, after I came back to sculpting and painting after not doing much of either for a few years. I made an Instagram account in 2017. I also started streaming and uploading to YouTube in 2016".
3. What initially drew you to the miniature model hobby realm?
"I played MageKnight for a short while, but quickly gave up gaming for painting and never came back for long".
4. What tabletop game would you say is your favorite? What particular faction within that game is your favorite and why?
"I don't play at all. The last tabletop game I played was Confrontation. My favourite faction was Dirz, because they had an interesting backstory - where experiments and slaves rebelled against their masters and built their own tribe".
5. What is more enjoyable for you personally: painting or playing the game?
"Painting. With 18-ish years in the hobby I think I actively played for a total of18 months".
6. If money or time weren’t a consideration, what single purchase/upgrade/expansion would you make to further your hobby enjoyment?
"I am actually quite happy with my hobby equipment. I have a lot of colors to begin with and I like to mix, so I am all set in that department for a while. I have an airbrush, a nice painting and recording space set up. I really can't complain. Any upgrades to my setup I am looking for are filming related. A better microphone setup and a second, better camera, and other various stuff to do better cinematography".
7. What tips or advice would you give someone just starting out in the hobby?
"There is more to the hobby than Games Workshop. They have great stuff and I love it! I even use their colors, but they want to sell you things, not make you a better painter - have no illusions about it. You don't need layer, shade, highlight, drybrush colors, you can do all of that with any regular color. Open your mind to other things (companies, colors, other scales and so on.)"
8. What was the moment you realized commission painting was something you wanted to pursue as more than a hobby?
"Up to 2019 I have not painted a single commission in my painting career. I accepted a commission for a Primarch by someone who asked me repeatedly for two years. I kinda regret it, because I barely have time besides creating Patreon and youtube videos and I feel bad that he has to wait so long for it to be finished".
9. What was the most difficult obstacle you had to overcome on your path to becoming a YouTube painting Content Creator?
"Creating videos is not that hard. Sure, you need to work on your quality and my first videos were of abysmal quality - I shot the first few on the wrong resolution, like 900x600 instead of fullHD, because I didn't know much about cameras. Quality is important, but you can increase that gradually and relatively easy. It's like mini painting, you try new things, learn and improve gradually. The hardest thing on youtube is realising what works and what doesn't. I wish people would watch the videos I like to create, but whenever I talk on screen about my experiences with painting, people don't care. They only watch my quick painting videos, as long as they are short and on point. What I am trying to say is - you can read a lot of things about how to paint, implement these things, work on your technique and compositions and you will improve. Your video quality will improve if you learn about your cameras, audio compression, and so on - but you can watch 100 videos about how to make great youtube videos and nothing is guaranteed. People might not like your accent, you could be too much of an introvert to emotionally reach people and 1000 other things you can't quite control and it could be one thing that holds you back that you will never find out".
10. What was the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a painter?
"I don't remember one singular thing. I also don't think it's healthy to chase the highs of competitions and so on and connect your reward system to events like these. For me, the whole experience of growing as a painter, learning new things, meeting new people and finding new aspects within painting and sculpting. Looking back at all these years and having found a hobby and nowadays work that fulfills me is the most wholesome aspect of it all.
11. If you could do anything to expand your company/studio/hobby footprint, what would it be?
"Like I said, I would like to upgrade my filming equipment for youtube videos. I'd like to reach the cinematic quality of other youtube creators, that have more subscribers. but there is not one singular thing that will improve this, but a lot of little things and a few big things and I don't have the income yet as a content creator to justify these expenses.
I'd like to create more sculpts and have a bigger range of miniatures that is available through my website. It's a fun part of my company to be able to sculpt and release miniatures completely on my own, but I can't invest as much time as I want".
12. What product line do you endorse and what about their products do you feel sets them above their competitors?
"That's a very limiting mindset. I made the experience that no one single product will give you everything you need in any given situation. Sometimes you want a matte finish, sometimes a gloss finish. sometimes you want high pigmentation, sometimes you want less opaqueness. You only get tools more or less suitable for a particular job".
13. If you could earn a sponsorship or endorsement from your dream company, who would it be and why?
"Since 2019 I have a cooperation with Games Workshop and they send me stuff occasionally for review. I am very happy about this, as it gives me the opportunity to have videos up in time for releases. This helps a lot with views and I am very grateful for that. Of course they don't send me every new release and that wouldn't even make sense, because there would be no time to make proper videos for the amount of releases they have. I know some content creators have been unhappy with this arrangement, but it is perfect for me. A company like GW will never "endorse" you in the way that your question suggests, so this is already the maximum we can ask for. Apart from GW, the good thing with having a certain amount of subs is that you become a micro-influencer and will almost surely get to cooperate with any company you ask in our niche. I am also happy about that and plan to use that more in the future, but I don't have a dream company to work with".
Trovarion, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I think it speaks volumes about who you are and why you do what you do. It's plain to see in your videos you want to teach, to help your viewer's understand the concepts that have proven successful for you. I think it also shows that it's more important they're taught the theory, not just shown the process. As I've said on several of your videos in the comment section, I love your masterclass style videos and I, along with all of the other true fans of you and your work, would be sad to see them go. You work hard, and it shows. Hopefully soon you'll see an opportunity to invest more time in your sculpting, but I already can't wait for the next video!