Show Off! Have Fun! Win Prizes!

(Hello! I just started a Patreon to support the blog and expand my teaching options! Right now it’s in ‘early access mode’, but I’ll be focusing on it a lot more after ReaperCon.) 

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Pirate Parade with this important message from our sponsor, ReaperCon 2020

Would you like to show off some miniatures that you’ve painted? Would you like to try your hand at an interesting colour challenge? This is a great opportunity to do one or both of those things AND win prizes!

To join in the ReaperCon Showcase, post your work to any or all of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the ReaperCon Discord using the appropriate hashtag. You can find the complete instructions here. Note that you can post work by any manufacturer. We want to enjoy all your cool figures and scenes! A number of Reaper reviewers will be picking their favourites as Reaper Choice selections. The painter of every piece selected as a Reaper Choice will receive a $20 US gift certificate to be used on the Reaper store. Entries must be posted by Sunday, September 6, 2020 at noon Central time to be considered.

Pg gob bottles 1000

The other painting event is the Quad Color Clash. For this one you must use Reaper paints and Reaper miniatures to be considered for prizes. There are also some steps to follow with the photographs, so please read the complete instructions here. (Note there is a typo in the hashtag on the page currently, use #quadcolorclash.)  You can post entries on any or all of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the ReaperCon Discord. And as with the showcase, Reaper reviewers will be selecting QCC Favorites that will win $20 US gift certificates to the Reaper Store. The deadline for this is also Sunday, September 6, 2020 by noon Central time.

Pg gob front 300

Even if you don’t care at all about gift certificates or ReaperCon, I hope you’ll consider trying out the idea of selecting four paint colours and painting a figure using only those. Art challenges and exercises that limit our options can spur new creativity. You might find this helps you learn a lot about how to use your colours for more than you imagined. Or some elements you absolutely need to include to successfully paint a miniature, and others that might be less necessary than you thought. 

Pg gob back 300

As soon as I finished this I thought had some thoughts about slightly different colours I could have used that might have given a bit of a different effect. Not to mention some other ideas entirely. I’m itching to try this some more. I’m hoping I’ll get to try a few more schemes in the next week or two so I can write a blog post and we can have a discussion about this exercise and why it’s worth doing. I encourage you to mess around with it over the next week or two so I can hear your thoughts as well!

Pg gob face 300

This figure is one of three sculpts in a Goblin Skirmishers pack. There’s a pack of similarly sculpted Goblin Warriors, as well. Bobby Jackson sculpted these, and I think he packed quite a lot of personality in these small packages. I’ve been planning to get back to doing some speed paint practice, and I think these will be great vict… subjects for that exercise. I painted this guy in about 65 minutes while I was trying to practice working with my new video set up. And they won’t be too tough to fight the next time we get together for in-person role-playing. Whenever that might be…

I think I might try something a little larger for future quad colour attempts, if only so it’s easier to see on video and in photographs. 

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

Pirate Parade: A Motley Crew

ReaperCon 2020 has begun! You can sign up for classes, enjoy the Twitch streams, come hang out and chat in the Discord, or start painting things to enter in the Showcase or Quad Color Clash to try to win some gift certificates.

I am getting into the pirate theme spirit by sharing some of the pirate figures I’ve painted over the years. There ended up being more than I thought!

Mousling pirate front 400

This adorable rascal is out to steal your heart and your gold!

Mousling pirate back 400

The base was made by layering a sandy texture paste over the integral base he comes on.

Dwarf pirate front 400

Some years ago I was asked to participate in the Ace of Aces charity event. Prominent painters come together for a frantic hour of speed painting, and the collection of figures is auctioned off to support the Gen Con charity of the year. The only trouble was… I hardly ever speed paint. I am a sllloooowwwwww painter. Even more so back then. Since this was for charity, I didn’t want to make too poor a showing. So I started to practice speed painting. Took me a while to get something decent in less than an hour, but I finally managed it. This dwarven pirate was one of my practice pieces. And then did double duty in our role-playing game sessions.

Dwarf pirate back 400

I’ve been working on getting more conversant with making videos to prepare for ReaperCon classes, and I was thinking that it might be interesting if I do a few videos where I take speed painted figures or older figures that I have lying around and demonstrate how I would touch them up to improve them and address issues with the paint jobs. Let me know if you think that sounds interesting!

Skeleton pirate face 600

Last up is the skeleton pirate manning a cannon. Those of you conversant with cannons probably noticed that something is a little off here…

Skeleton pirate left 600

Yep, the cannon is assembled backwards. I’d like to blame it on his being a literally brainless skeleton, but it’s the painter who is brainless. :-> This was painted for an old contest that used to run in the Wyrd Games forums, Iron Painter. 

Skeleton pirate right 600

This figure looks like another candidate for some repainting to me. The painting on the cannon is solid (it’s based on pictures of real cannons that I found), but surely there’s a way to add some interest to this super boring base, and make the skeleton look more weathered and worn. And maybe spruce up the light from the flame a little bit! (That cannon is pinned and glued, so that mistake I have to live with. :->)

ReaperCon Badge

If you have questions about any of my ReaperCon events, feel free to contact me here, or through my artist chat channel on Discord. I hope you have a great weekend!

Figures in this Post

The Mousling pirate is available as part of a three pack of metal figures.
Gruff Grimcleaver is available with a pistol in plastic, or as a pirate cook in metal
The Soulcannon is available in metal.

Pirate Parade: A Tale of Two Kits and Two Pirates

The theme for ReaperCon Online 2020 is pirates. As we start running up to the date of the festivities, I thought it might be fun if I shared pictures of the pirate figures I’ve painted over the years. There turned out to be more than I remember, so I’m breaking it up into a few different posts. Pirates ahoy, matey!

The ReaperCon Discord is already open and many of the artists are wandering by and available to answer questions in their chat channels. There’s a page with information on how to find and use the Discord.

Layer Up Pirates Front ViewWait, why two pirates? Why do they have different colour skin tones? Keep reading…

With this first post I’m starting with the pirate from the Layer Up learn to paint kit that I designed for Reaper Miniatures. This kit introduces painters to the techniques of layer and glazing, which tend to look better on smoother surfaces like cloth and skin. (The techniques covered in the Core Skills kit look great on textured surfaces like fur, chainmail, and many others.) I’m doing paint along classes for each of the Learn to Paint kits at ReaperCon 2020 online.

When I designed the learn to paint kits for Reaper, I was given some general guidelines for the quantity of products in the kits and the general approach, but I had pretty free reign. I chose to pick a set of paint colours that would work well to introduce and practice the techniques introduced in each kit, and then three figures to practice on. I painted each figure at least twice, and most of them at least three times. 

The first set of figures I painted for each kit was to test out my proposed colour schemes. I also made notes of colour mixes, water dilution, and painting tips so I could create the instructions for painting the figures in the kit. The two figures pictured in this post are some of my paint scheme test figures. Next I painted the ones for the kit itself, taking step by step pictures as appropriate. Those miniatures are in the Reaper collection. Finally I painted (or at least partially painted) each of the figures once more, this time following the instructions I wrote to test if they worked as I expected or if I’d made a miscalculation or a typo. (The instructions were also tested by several novice painters and non-painting friends of my acquaintance.)

The Core Skills paint kit did not include any red or normal human skin tone paints, so I wanted to be sure to include some of those in the Layer Up kit. The layering paint technique is well suited to painting flesh. Each of the paint kits stands alone, and you aren’t expected to use them in any particular order. But they also work together. The two kits are designed to pair together to make one mega kit with a selection of different brushes, paint colours, and techniques you can use to paint a wide array of figures after you finish the ones in the kit. 

Layer Up Test Pirates Back

So why are there two of this pirate and his booty? You can probably tell that the only significant difference between them is their skin colour. When I did the initial colour scheme test painting, I painted all three of the characters with variations on caucasian skin tones. Happily it soon occurred to me that I should include information for painting a wider range of natural human skin tones in the kit. The Bones HD paint line released around the same time as I was finishing up working on the Layer Up kit, and I was asked to include some of those paint colours in the kit. The Ebony Skin paint was close in value to the dark brown I originally tested and worked just as well in mixing, and even better for the pirate’s skin.

This incident is a pretty good example of unconscious racism. I try hard not to do or say racist things, but as a white person, and as a member of the majority group where I live, if I think of a generic person, by default I tend to them of them as being white, unless something prompts me to do otherwise. I’m not trying to exclude anyone, but if I don’t make some effort, I can end up excluding people by failing to ever include them. I don’t think that makes me a bad person, but it is something I need to work to be aware of so I can try to make better choices.

Pirates pair front bw 600

From a visual arts point of view, paint schemes like this are an interesting way to see how a colour can affect and be affected by your perception of the surrounding colours. There isn’t a huge difference between these figures since their skin tones are different values of a similar colour rather than being very different colours, but the different values in the skin colours still have some influence on how the rest of the colours appear and how the piece comes together as a whole. I think the vest and the clothing items stand out more on the figure with the darker skin. There is a greater range of values (how light or dark a colour is) in adjacent areas, which makes a figure easier to read and more visually effective. 

I previously wrote a post with a bit more detail about the importance of using different values across your figure, and it includes a few comparison examples. I’ve converted the pirate pictures to black and white so you can more easily see the value differences between the two paint schemes.

Pirates pair back bw 600

Figures Shown in this Post

Hajad the Pirate is available in plastic, and also in metal.
He is also included in the Layer Up learn to paint kit.

Bones FAQs Live Video Classes and Other Events

ReaperCon 2020 is fast approaching! Two of my classes are live paint alongs for the learn to paint kits. I am also hosting two seminars about working with Bones miniatures, as well as participating in some other fun events, and I wanted to let you know a bit more about those. Or you can just hop over to the schedule and browse through all the fun ReaperCon 2020 events  and find something to your taste.

Bones FAQs Live Video Classes

When Bones miniatures first released, there were a lot of questions about how to work with them. What glue to use? How to get rid of the mould lines? If they didn’t need primer, why did the paint sometimes bead up and fail to cover areas when painting directly on the material? I decided to do some testing and find out what might work well or not with this flexible plastic material. After conducting my tests and studying the results, I wrote a series of unofficial FAQ documents for the Reaper forums.

Short FAQs – no pictures or testing information

Preparation: Glues, Putties, Mould Lines – includes photos and summaries of all relevant tests

The First Coat is the Difference – Primer or not, doing washes directly on Bones, paint durability tests

Bones painted 1000Some of the Bones I’ve painted for gaming and to practice speed painting and airbrushing.

The Reaper forums are no longer the only gathering place for Reaper fans, and there are a lot of people who prefer information via video format. So I’m going to run two online seminars for the Bones FAQs. I’ll demonstrate the products and methods I find most effective for working with the Bones material, including a few tools that I’ve added to my arsenal since writing the original FAQs.

Zoom: Thursday, September 3, 2020 from 19:00 to 21:00 Central time
Twitch: Sunday, September 6, 202 from 14:00 to 1600 Central time

The Twitch stream will appear on the Reaper channel, so I’m pretty sure they will record and archive it on both their Twitch channel and YouTube channel. It will also likely be a little shorter since I’ll have to finish up a little early so that the Reaper stream team and the next instructor can get set up and running.

You can register for classes (and will need to for the Zoom one to receive the link information).

Bones demo 1000I love Bones to test colours and for lightweight and sturdy demo pieces to hand around at convention classes.

Reaper Errant D&D Game Presented by Knightheart Gaming

I get together with several of the Reaper artists to play in a Dungeons and Dragons game on Twitch every other Friday. The game is hosted by Frank and Ann at Knightheart Gaming. The game plays out on an epic tabletop display of terrain and painted miniatures, with camera angles that reveal what’s going on only as our party discovers it.  We had just stepped into hell in the last episode, so it should be pretty interesting!

I finally painted my character, Fathom, and shipped her off to Frank. Hopefully arrive in time to make her debut at the ReaperCon session. We’ve had hints we should expect to see a pretty special table for this game, so I thought I’d better get off my butt and get my character mini painted finally! I will have a blog up about that after ReaperCon with some tips on choosing colours.

We normally play from 7pm to 10pm or so Central time, but our time slot for the ReaperCon session is a little different to accommodate special convention events. Frank does a great job of making each episode work both as a stand-alone story and as part of a larger campaign, so don’t feel you need to watch any of the previous episodes to be able to hop in and laugh at my bad dice rolling in this one. You can also read a very fun summary of the past few episodes from the perspective of the character Kay Nimblewit (played by Jen Greenwald.)

Twitch: Friday September 4 2020, from 17:30 to 20:00 Central time

The other Reaper artists who play in this game are:

Bobby Jackson: Pujol, the fortunate gnome bard with the unfortunate name
Gene Van Horne: Gooseneck, the barbarian lizard-man who bites back
Jason Wiebe: Corncob Thunderbludgeon, the cleric trying to keep us all alive
Jen Greenwald: Kay Nimblewit the rogue –  “It beats being a door”
Michael Proctor: Abran, the elf rager/ranger and keeper of the abs
Rhonda Bender: Fathom, the tiefling “magic user” whose patron just told us all to go to hell

Screen Shot 2020 08 26 at 5 01 50 PMScreenshot from the inside a witch’s hut, featured in last month’s Better Lairs and Dungeons.

You can also watch a stream of Reaper peeps playing in a special convention game set in the pirate city of Brinewind. The dungeon master is Joseph Wolf, and scheduled players include Ed and Dave Pugh (Reaper founders and owners), Ron Hawkins (art director), Jon Overton (social media relations, casting, and more), Michael Collins (man about Reaper). It will stream on Twitch Saturday, September 5 starting at 5pm Central.

If you’d rather play than watch, check out the Games page on the ReaperCon 2020 site.

Crow’s Nest Panel and Sculptors’ Panel

People have requested panels for years at previous ReaperCons. They’re difficult to manage in that environment because the demand for classes is so high that the schedules of painters and sculptors are already pretty demanding, and space is an issue as well. While we’re losing some of what we love in this online no contact ReaperCon, we are also gaining new opportunities, like being able to have some panels!

I will be participating in the Crow’s Nest panel hosted by Michael Proctor. The other scheduled guests are Jen Greenwald and Derek Schubert. We’re going to talk about what makes a quality paint job.

Crow’s Nest is a show that Michael hosts on Twitch. Each week he paints, but he also talks to a guest in the miniatures industry. He’s interviewed painters, sculptors, art directors, and Frank from Knightheart Gaming so far. I can say from experience that listening to his show is a little snippet of what it’s like to sit around and paint/sculpt in a room with these fine folks. A lot of us lurk in the audience when it isn’t our turn in the hotseat. You can catch Crow’s Nest on Twitch Tuesdays at 4pm Central, and an archive of the previous streams is available on YouTube.

Painters’ Panel
Twitch: Saturday, September 5, 2020 from 10:00 to 11:30 Central time

The sculptors also have a panel, hosted by Reaper’s art director, Ron Hawkins. 

Sculptors’ Panel
Twitch: Sunday, September 6, 2020 from 18:30 to 20:30 Central time

As these are twitch events I imagine they will be archived on to Reaper’s YouTube channel.

Let’s Get Together… Separately

I’m a little later than I planned making my next blog post. I’ve got a few topics that I’m working on, but I keep having to put them aside to work on projects for ReaperCon, which is fast approaching! But wait, I hear you think, ReaperCon was cancelled. Gen Con was cancelled. This is 2020, everything is cancelled.*

They were, and it sucks that we can’t get together in person. But the people who work so hard to bring us that in-person fun have switched gears to working on ways for use to get together via technology so we can still game, shop, and share cool hobby tips and tricks.**

Here are some great upcoming events that I’m aware of to help you get back to having some good geek fun, and some of them are happening right now or in the next few months.

Cyberwarsgraphic croppedTechnology gives me ulcers too, sometimes, but Napolean and I still both recommend it over the alternatives. 

You can enjoy a virtual convention this weekend (July 25 to July 26) even! HMGS, which puts on the conventions Cold Wars, Historicon, and Fall In, had to cancel their July in person gathering, but instead offers us the fun of CYBËR WÅRS! It features panel discussions, virtual gaming, and paint class videos. And a paint contest!

Main information page:
Links to the round table panels and the virtual gaming events are near the top of that page.

But also check out the Virtual Hobby Room on Facebook! Already posted are links to videos on weathering, painting black, and painting white. 

Or enter something you’ve painted in the Virtual Painting Competition. (Click the discussion tab and look for the pinned post for rules. There are SF/Fantasy categories, never fear!)

Aces 2020Atomic Mass Games has generous donated the figure for the Aces contest.

No need to be sad once Monday rolls around. You can start planning for Gen Con Online, occurring from July 30 to August 2. There are all kinds of events, including games, and even miniature painting, sculpting, and terrain classes!

And put a note on your calendar for July 31 to attend the Ace of Aces Painting event. This event pits a number of pro painters head to head in a speed painting competition. Once the winners are declared, the complete set of figures will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to charity. (Usually Gen Con’s chosen charity of the year, and I assume that will still be the case this year.) There is a lot of heckling and joking between the competitors and from the emcee and audience. I suspect this will be a very unique version of this event since the fact that the painters will be painting individually via camera streams likely means you’ll get a much better view of how they work their magic than if you were viewing in person at Gen Con. I have enjoyed this event tremendously as both an audience member and a competitor, I highly recommend it.

RC2020Events will occur on Twitch, Zoom, and Discord, and probably other online places too!

The virtual fun doesn’t end there. ReaperCon Online takes place September 3 to September 7. Classes, games, and other activities are not yet open for registration, but expect that soon. 

Preorder for a selection of swag boxes is up already. These boxes and the individual contents will also go up for sale on the main Reaper store during ReaperCon. Some items are pre-printed by third party vendors so are only available while supplies last. (So pre-order folks guarantee getting all contents of the box they order and will receive them sooner in the mail.) Note that you do not need any of the contents of the swag boxes to participate in and enjoy activities at ReaperCon live. Any classes with required materials will note that in their descriptions or via another avenue.

I can tell you that the 36 page guide to the pirate city of Brinewind is pretty darn cool, because one of the things that’s been keeping me too busy for blog posts has been working as the editor for that. So I’ve read it and I know. I’ve read it over and over and over again, and I still think it’s pretty darn cool! (Unrelated side note: it was pretty weird to actually use my college degree and do some editing! ;->)

Brinewind bookCover art by the immensely talented Izzy “Talin” Collier, written by the imaginative Joseph Wolf.

*If you are reading this some years from now – Hello visitor from the future! I hope we have once again returned to a life where people safely mix and mingle and attend fun activities like conventions again and this all seems like a bad dream we barely remember. 

**I know people interested in ReaperCon online are frustrated about how long it’s taking for event information to go up, and I’d guess that there are hitches and glitches with all the other online events, too. Please be kind and have some patience with the people working on these. Even the most experienced coordinator of an in-person convention is having to put aside years and decades of established procedure and systems to figure out how to do something new and create an online event instead. There’s no precedent for these things and a lot to figure out. My husband and I run sections of a local convention and our own tiny private convention, and none of us had clue one for how to replace planned in person events with virtual ones, so we just had to cancel those. 

Title image by Lucrezia Carnelos from Unsplash.