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Wren last won the day on December 15 2016

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About Wren

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  • Birthday 07/13/1967

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    Knoxville, TN (formerly Toronto, Canada)

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  1. Wren

    ReaperCon 2019 -- Classes I Would Take

    This has also been my experience running paint & takes for the past several years at a local convention. I'm not sure anyone who attends thinks of me as 'Wren a studio painter who teaches classes at big conventions', or even 'Rhonda Bender who wrote a learn to paint kit'. They think of me as the lady who brings the paints and minis to this section of the con where you can sit down and paint. In the years I've been doing it (or the years I did a local monthly paint meet up), it is beyond rare for me to get asked a question for much tutoring at all. Some occasional washing and drybrushing, but a lot of people just as happy to sit and do their own thing with the mini. I'm more often asked how to assemble a multi-part miniature (or to repair one) than I am asked painting questions beyond super basics. I do get people who ask me to paint the eyes for them sometimes. Questions about getting started (what order to paint the figure in, sometimes more foundational stuff of how to dispense and apply the paint) are by far the most common. My attempts to offer additional info to show people drybrushing and washing are as often rebuffed as they are accepted. What people do seem to enjoy is having someone there to sit and chat with and to show off their mini to. I think it's reasonable to not try to throw too much at people straight away. If they're happy slapping some colours on a mini, let them enjoy it! There's no rush to get to a next stage if people are having fun with the one they're at. (This is not to say that I don't think that there is interest for basics classes or guided painting, I think there is. But those of us who hang out on the forums are the most avid type of mini painters who want to learn all kinds of things. I'm not sure we represent the entire audience of newbies to ReaperCon or the hobby in general. Some people just want to get some colour on their figures to enjoy their games more, and that is cool, too.)
  2. This is also a reply to Paradoxical Mouse's glazing dilemma. So I'll start there. At its heart the one thing that is consistent about the term glazing is that it's super thinned down paint which is applied in a control manner. (As opposed to the thin paint of a wash applied with the intention of it pooling in crevices.) So both Corporea and Proctor used the term that way. And control was key to both. If you were ending up with too much paint on your brush to control, then suggesting a smaller brush was a way to try to help you get more control. I suspect Corporea talked about what I have come to call an all-over glaze, and Proctor was using what I think of as 'spot glazes'. Which is a pretty good example of how terminology gets made up in our hobby! My attempt to clarify things for people when I talk about glazes might end up just muddying the idea in some forum thread four years from now. ;-> That's also another example of what Al Capwn is talking about. It would be good if people teaching any skill could be as specific as possible. Unfortunately, teaching itself is also a skill. It can be really difficult to teach someone something you know very thoroughly. For example, I would challenge each of you to try to give a lecture or write a short hand out on how to walk. It sounds like something you should be able to explain, you do it every day, but if you sit down and try to do it, you'll soon realize how hard it is to explain! Teaching something like painting isn't quite as hard because we're more likely to remember the learning process. But lots of elements of it can be internalized to a degree that you don't think to explain. When you said that using colours with a lot of white in them worked poorly for glazing, I realized that I almost always choose paints that are quite intense in colour and more likely than not somewhat transparent out of the bottle, but I don't know if I have ever explicitly mentioned that in all of the many times I've taught glazing. (Now you're also talking about layering to get highlights, which will require lighter value and more opaque paints, and that's a bit of a different story. There I do mention you need intermediary steps between your blue and your white steps and a bunch of other things that help deal with the nature of light colour paints.) Your examples also point out another truth that may be unwelcome. Even with the best and most thorough explanation of another painter's process, there's no way you're going to be able to pick up a brush and paint like they do on the first go. At the very least you'll have to practice, and usually you need to experiment to figure out how to adapt what they do to how you work and your own processes. There's just no way around spending some time getting frustrated and working things out on your own. It's an essential part of the learning process. It can also be the case that you can 'get' how someone does it and end up feeling like that process doesn't work for you. I studied two brush blending and loaded brush for a while. I can make them work as intended, but I don't think I can make them work for me in a way I enjoy. But as the opposite of what I just said - come back and try wet blending again in a few years. (Or wet palettes, or X brushes, or whatever other thing you hear people rave about, try, and don't like.) I have found through my painting career that techniques and tools I initially strongly disliked have turned into things I happily embrace a few years later. Like you, I did not enjoy wet blending at first. Recently it's become a foundation step of my process. One of the reasons I recommend layering to people starting out is that it's not time sensitive, so it's a lot less pressure. That also gives you a bit of breathing room to focus on the key point we often forget when blending - where those shadows and highights go is more important than making pretty blends with them!
  3. Wren

    Reaper Con 2018 photo thread

    Thank you everyone for posting photos! I always enjoy the opportunity to see events through other people's eyes. I finally got my photos posted! They're on my artist account on Facebook, so public to anyone with a Facebook account. My apologies to anyone who does not use Facebook, but I'm old and I can only manage so many social media thingies. :-< This first gallery is the pictures I took of contest entries (sadly not all of them by far, I ran out of time). There are also pictures of people receiving their medals and awards. https://www.facebook.com/pg/wrenthebard/photos/?tab=album&amp;album_id=1711412208985289 My second gallery contains pictures of people, places, and activities: https://www.facebook.com/pg/wrenthebard/photos/?tab=album&amp;album_id=1711390415654135 I managed a few live on site blog posts before I got too exhausted, so these are some additional photos. Wednesday night: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/08/30/reapercon-almost/ Day One, vendors and activities: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/08/31/reapercon-2018-day-one/ Day two, vendors: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/09/01/reapercon-2018-day-two-vendors/
  4. Did you ask the instructors the why question? That's a perfectly reasonable question to ask and to expect the instructor to be able to answer. And it's likely that both instructors had sensible reasons for the suggestions that might have helped you get a lightbulb ding on glazing. Partly I ask because sometimes people are so familiar with their process they don't always remember to break out all the steps and explain the hows and whys. My usual example of this is wicking the brush. When we're telling people to work with thinned paint for layers and glazes, it's very easy to forget to also tell them that when they dip their brush into that thinned paint, the capillary action will suck up tons of paint into the brush. So it can look like it doesn't have much paint on it, cause it won't have that big gloop of paint you get on the end with paint from the bottle, but then you touch it to the mini and whoosh, paint goes everywhere and you wonder why everyone is telling you to thin your paint so much. The step we forget to mention is that after dipping the brush into the paint, we touch it against a paper towel, and/or swipe it on the side of our handle or thumb a few times, and only once we know the paint load is controllable do we apply the brush to the mini. We don't fail to mention that because we want you to fail, but because it's become that automatic a part of our process. It's subconscious. Go down the artist row and watch people paint, and I'd lay odds 75% of them do something with the brush in between when it dips into a thinned pool of paint and when it touches the mini. The whole terminology thing in general... the thing is, we've made it all up in our hobby, and we have not made it up universally. A lot of people if you say 'blending', they think the technique of wet blending specifically. I generally mean it to refer to the end result - a smooth transition from dark to light or one colour to another. A lot of people seem to use the term glazing to mean pretty thin layers for layer painting. But probably not as diluted as what I would do for a glaze. And even if as diluted, there are also six other ways you could use a glaze, and one person might refer to a few of those things as glazing but not others. Feathering is another term like that. Some people mean making little tiny strokes like tiny feathers. Others mean applying wet paint and then pulling out the edge (which other people refer to as two brush blending or spit blending, or feathering the edge.) Referencing some things others have said, each of the instructors might draw the lines of beginner, intermediate, and advanced in different places, too. For example OSL. I don't consider that an advanced class when I do it. You could do it using drybrushing, and if you had the right kind of surface, like a textured wall with a light on it, it could look great. Drybrushing isn't going to look so great in terms of smooth finish on something like a cloak, but you could still get an effect of it's light here and dark there with it. To do OSL well requires understanding some theory and working on applying that theory to actual painting in a way that might be counter-intuitive. I usually set it as an intermediate class cause it's probably easier to deal with all that theory if you don't feel you're having to think about every step of the painting process at the same time, but I don't consider it to require advanced techniques at all. Other instructors might differ in that opinion. So that is an issue with trying to standardize too much. Another is that instructors come and go each year, and those who attend switch up their classes, so that makes setting up prereqs a lot trickier. Especially now that there are so many of us we don't discuss as a group or have Anne juggling the schedule and trying to ensure topics are represented. That's just not feasible to do with the current size of the class slate. (And she did it well past the point where my feeble brain would have been able to cope!) I'm not saying none of these ideas are feasible, just that some of them are a lot less cut and dried than they may seem for a variety of reasons. (Also an explanation of glazing as I teach it in case it helps. As Corporea said, glazes are pretty similar to washes. They're a little bit of paint and a lot of dilutant. You can mix a glaze with Reaper paints with just water. If you want it to feel less watery on your brush, use half water and half Wash Medium or well-shaken Brush-on Sealer. Or even all Wash Medium. Always test a glaze before application. Acyrlic paint dries fast, and if your glaze was less transparent than you wanted, you'll obscure previous work you've done. I test by painting a stripe on a piece of paper with text written on it. I'm looking for it to tint the paper but be super transparent. You should be able to clearly see every letter of the text under the paint. Think of it more as coloured water than thinned paint. It's always better to mix it too thin and have to do multiple coats or add a little more paint than to mix it not transparently enough. The second step is to load your brush correctly. Dip it in the paint, and then do the wicking thing I mention in the first paragraph. Paint a test stripe on the base of the mini or something to make sure there's not too much paint to control coming off the end of the brush. Then put the paint on the mini. I'm one of the ones who recommends a large brush if you're doing a glaze that's all over an area. You want to put an even coat of glaze over the entire surface as fast as possible. I like to break the figure into sections with natural breaks (the arm from hands to armband, then rinse and reload and do the arm from armband to shoulder, etc.) Start on one side or corner and paint to the opposite, and then lift the brush. If you brush over drying glaze you can lift some of it and get a patchy look. If I'm doing a glaze that's only over portions of an area, like just in the shadows under the chin and cheekbones of a face, say, I'll use a smaller brush if that's appropriate.)
  5. Wren

    Black and white

    I've commented on this topic a few times already, so I'm going to link to threads with my comments rather than type it all up again. :-> I also recommend going back to the beginning of those threads and reading them through as I'm not the only person who said interesting things in the threads by any means! Info on the process and theory behind how I painted the Deadlands Noir figures: http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/55541-blackwhitegrey-spectrum/&amp;tab=comments#comment-911287 General thoughts on a monochromatic colour scheme (in this case I think the person was talking about a red scheme specifically, but I also talked about B&W): http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/59587-monochrome-and-osl-help/&amp;page=2&amp;tab=comments#comment-1074433 Another thread on the topic that has great advice from several people: http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/79768-monochrome-painting/&amp;tab=comments#comment-1694709
  6. You are correct Highlander. I've been trying to teach more intermediate and advanced courses these past few years. People at ReaperCon are actually pretty good about it compared to a much broader interest convention like Gen Con, but I've still had it happen that people who are beginners end up in intermediate or advanced classes. I think part of the problem may be that definitions of those things differ between people. For some people beginner might just be basecoats, so if you take any second step like washing and/or drybrushing, you're intermediate. For others, they may think of it if I've been painting X years then I'm not a beginner, while the teacher is thinking of it more in terms of types of techniques people know. So I'm not sure coding the classes 100, 200, etc. will solve the problem. I've had people contact me privately to check if a class was right for them, and I wish more people would do that. Or even if people came here on the forums to get advice about classes if they can't get ahold of the instructor, since we're not all active on the forums. But I suspect many of the people who have the mistaken definitions are the newer people or folks who aren't on the forums. I don't want every class I teach to turn into blending 101. I teach that class, and my general skin class is blending 101 dressed up as a skin class. I try to be very explicit in my descriptions, but that doesn't always help either. And I know there are people who are frustrated that there aren't enough more advanced classes. The best I've figured out how to do is explicitly say that the class requires some kind of blending knowledge like layering or two brush blending and hope that helps people understand what I mean by intermediate. If I end up with one or two people who aren't at the right level for the class I try to work with them on the basics while others are painting or offer to help them get a refund, but my first concentration is on the dozen other people who are there for the core topic. I feel bad about it, but it seems a 'needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few' situation. I had far more problems at Gen Con where you're drawing from a very wide pool of people and much more likely to get people who didn't read the descriptions or had no real measure of the various levels of painting. I just gave up on teaching more advanced stuff in the environment.
  7. Wren


    My attitude is that just about anything that I can easily buy another of is fair game to practice, experiment, and mess up on. So everything Reaper or other stable companies make that isn't a special edition. If you can buy another if you need to, why sweat the question of 'good enough', you can always paint a second one in a few years. (And that is, in fact, an interesting exercise.)
  8. Wren


    Pretty sure Laszlo Jakusovsky won a gold medal with a repainted one of those LotR busts in at ReaperCon 2011. :-> (He said something about the Gandalf bust he entered being from a gumball machine.)
  9. Wren

    ReaperCon 2018 Sophie

    I see CorallineAlgae beat me to it. I'm very bad at social media I guess! I'm going to include a few pictures here, but there are additional pictures and more text explanation of my painting process for Sophie on my blog. And if you scroll back through older posts there are some on the scenes blog posts from the convention itself: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/09/06/reapercon-2018-sophie-painting-process/
  10. I always feel like I need to rain on this parade, sorry. :-< I do it because I think putting too much confidence into buying from online swatches alone can lead to disappointment. Online colour swatches from any company are AT BEST a rough approximation of hue and value (what colour, and how dark/light). And I do mean rough. It's using light to mimic a physical substance, and the two methods of colour are completely different. That's not even considering the factor that everyone's monitor, from the person who made the swatches, to the web page maker, to you on your viewing device, displays colour slightly differently. (Colour corrected monitors are a thing, I believe, but not one anyone in that chain of events likely used.) In Reaper's case I believe the swatch colours were created to match when printed into flyers and so on more than to look correct on screen, but I'm not 100% certain of that. A few years back someone had created a program to compare swatches from various companies to find colours that matched between brands. I don't have a ton of different brands, but I did a couple of tests of the best matches between Reaper paints and P3 paints. The two columns on the left are colours his program said matched. Any columns to the right of that are my doing my best to eyeball a better match. Though again, in terms of you looking at these and deciding to buy paint, the colour cast is going to be affected by the lighting I used, camera I used, any editing I might have done, my monitor, and your view screen. But in general decent photographs of physical paint swatches are going to be a much more reliable guide than digital swatches.
  11. Wren

    ReaperCon 2018 Sophie

    Derek - I know the look of the material I was aiming for (because I felt Izzy painted that in her colour art), but not the name! Sheer with lots of little vertical folds. Maybe Izzy will be able to educate me about it at ReaperCon. Thank you for the kind words, I look forward to hearing what you think of her in person. Thank you everyone so much for your kind words. And I agree with all of you saying this is one cool Sophie. Definitely want to grab more of these to paint up myself. Talin and Bob did a bang-up job! Also if anyone's interested, I've started a blog, and I recently put up a post talking about some of the fun and challenges of painting to match 2D artwork, with the example of this figure. Other topics so far include ReaperCon (and conventions generally) and painting fur patterns. https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/08/22/painting-figures-to-match-art-reapercon-2018-sophie/
  12. Wren

    ReaperCon 2018 Sophie

    If you order on September 1, it's not this month! Yay, problem solved! ;-> I will also be snagging another one or few of these, I'd enjoy being able to paint her up again some time.
  13. Wren

    ReaperCon Sophie Model

    I have posted some additional views of the figure here: http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/82193-reapercon-2018-sophie/
  14. Wren

    ReaperCon 2018 Sophie

    I had the privilege of painting this year's ReaperCon Sophie, and I thought people might enjoy it if I shared a few views. She's a fun mini to paint. Everything's clearly laid out and apparent, and Bob did such a wonderful job sculpting her face. I think he really captured the pose and spirit of Talin's artwork well. If you aren't into the wings, it shouldn't be too difficult to fill in the plug on the back where they slot in. If you are into wings, the extra attachment point of a small hole on the skirt makes them nice and easy to glue on, and they seem pretty secure to me. (I"m kind of cursed in the area of gluing/assembly.) This is a special edition figure that will only be sold by Reaper during ReaperCon (maybe a little after, but I'd go get one from August 29 - September 2 just to be sure. Actually I will be grabbing more than one, because I would happily paint this again, but however many you want, that's your window. Maybe put it on your calendar to remember if you really want one of these lovely figures. If you aren't able to attend ReaperCon in person, she'll also be sold on the Reaper web store. Here is the wonderful art that Izzy did for the character concept. Here's a picture of Bob Ridolfi's terrific sculpt bringing that artwork to life. And this is a colour version of a seated Sophie that I used to reference to try to capture Talin's vision for the colours.
  15. I use them interchangeably. To my mind the core differences are: * The majority of MSP Core paints are formulated in triads so you have a shadow, midtone, and highlight colour ready to go. You are in no way constrained to use them that way, of course. And you can mix both darker and lighter than a triad to get a broader range of contrast. * The Bones and HD paint colours each stand alone, so you'll need to custom mix your shadows and highlights. So those lines are good fits for people who want a smaller set of paints and are willing to do more mixing. * The Bones and HD paints as a group are overall more opaque. (There are great opaque colours in the Core, and there are colour issues like yellow is yellow, it's never going to be a one coat colour, but as a general rule, they're more opaque.) I disagree with that graphic in that I find the Bones and HD lines work just fine for layering, washes, and glazes. Due to their higher opacity you may need to add more dilutant than with a Core colour, but Reaper paints overall dilute very well. And how much you need to dilute a colour has a lot to do with which colour/pigment it is. Yellows and reds from any of the lines don't take much thinning to become transparent enough for washes and glazes. Colours with a lot of white, certain browns, and other pigments may need a LOT of thinning for that purpose. Rather than a drop ratio, I like to use a test method to check my consistency. For a wash or glaze, you want to paint a stripe on a piece of paper with text on it and be able to see all of the text clearly. For very thin glaze effects, you pretty much want tinted water. For washes and glazes it's a good idea to use the Wash Medium (or well-shaken Reaper Brush-On Sealer) straight or half and half with water to make sure you have a stable paint film, but I've thinned down to super transparent glaze consistency with paints from all Reaper lines without any issue that I noticed.