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Wren last won the day on December 15 2016

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About Wren

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  • Birthday 07/13/67

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    Knoxville, TN (formerly Toronto, Canada)

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  1. ReaperCon 2017 pictures

    The Rolling Stones pinball machine was less geeky, but amused me greatly because it was a game play element to aim the ball at Mick Jagger. Seems like that's not something that I would have approved in my merchandising...
  2. NMM with Reaper Paints

    The Twilight Blue triad (Midnight, Twilight, Snow Shadow I think) are nice for steel NMM. Straight if you want a very blue steel, or mixed in or glazed over neutral grays if you want more of a faint touch of blue look. For warm gold I often use Chestnut Gold shaded with Chestnut Brown and a touch of Blackened Brown, and highlighted with Palomino Gold and Buckskin.
  3. Keeping a mixing tray clean

    Note that anything plastic will stain with certain colours. You can get every drop of paint off but still have a tinge of colour soaked into the plastic. It's the nature of certain pigments. I have heard that you can get at least one of those pigments out by wiping down with cooking oil, but since the stain doesn't affect later paint or cause any other issues, I've never bothered to test that. This is the same reason that light coloured synthetic brush bristles will start to look stained or dirty even if you've been very good about rinsing out the paint.
  4. DVD Question

    The Anne and Jen one is fairly unique amongst video instruction by virtue of having two painters. There are parts where they're at a desk together talking about topics so you get two points of view and more of an interplay/exchange feel than with a lot of instruction. Then there are areas where each demos their method individually, still with some discussion with the other. So for several topics, you see two ways of approaching how to paint it. The Jess DVD is also very good, and covers a lot of area. In that one, Jim of Dark Sword is off screen talking with Jess and asking questions, so you still get some interplay. Marike's DVD is good, though I don't think Marike is as natural a teacher, and a lot of what she is showing is more advanced level stuff that requires a lot of brush control to even attempt, so I tend to recommend that for more experienced painters. Laszlo's Hot Lead is a great set, too, though it is a little older so the picture quality isn't quite as great. I am to this day blown away by his segment on drybrushing that looks nothing like drybrushing. He covers a wide array of topics. The Jen & Anne and Hot Lead DVDs are my top recommendation for those newer to the hobby or just starting on skills beyond the basics. Note that they all also have info of interest to intermediate and above painters.
  5. What would YOU like to see taught next year

    That is a more complex solution than I am set up for, but would work for some folks, I'm sure!
  6. ReaperCon 2017 pictures

    My husband had his mind blown by the fact that Taco Bell in Canada serves fries. (At least they did 15 years ago when he visited me in Toronto, I'd be surprised if they still didn't.) El Fenix chips are crack level awesome. I don't even really like corn chips that much, but I'll eat theirs whenever given the opportunity. That texture is just what I love.
  7. ReaperCon 2017 pictures

    I did not take photos of the entries this year, but I did manage to remember to occasionally take general pictures, which I have shared here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/wrenthebard/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1332918530167994 Oh, and I'm pretty sure the OSL piece that people were admiring is by GreyHorde.
  8. ReaperCon 2017 pictures

    Oh hey that's me behind the kitten I didn't even realize until I saw the watchband. And here is my artist's rendition of the kitten He's really good! He was at the end of Kickstarter party and I kind of stalked him a bit. I learned that there are balloon artist conventions, because of course there are. I kinda kept my distance this time is how much I'm worried I bugged the poor guy at the last event.
  9. What would YOU like to see taught next year

    These are random musings on some of what people are discussing, I have no involvement in selecting or scheduling classes apart from my own. (Though I am always looking for new topic ideas that I'm suited to teach!) On the ergonomic class - one of the current instructors is a highly trained physical therapist as well as a great painter. A few years back he did a seminar with tips for good posture and seating set up, and addressing specific concerns/needs that members of the audience had in the Q&A period following his lecture and demonstration. (A lot of what GHarris mentioned.) I thought it was a wonderful idea and had suggested he do it for years, and I really enjoyed it and found it informative. There were others in attendance who also seemed to find it helpful, but it did not by any means sell out, so the belief that interest was too limited is probably why it has not been offered again. I will try to point that instructor at this thread to see if it gives him ideas for whether he'd like to consider a second try of it in a future year. The textures class I do is textures you can make with dashes and dots (stippling and short strokes). The focus is on using that to simulate fabrics, but I mention other applications. I show/discuss linen, felted wool, crushed velvet, sequins, and soft fur. I think Jess' is similar in focus, not 100% sure. Creating differentiated smooth textures (silk vs. fine wool vs. satin etc.) requires excellent blending skills and ability to place paint precisely, since the difference between those materials is range of value (how light/dark you go) and exactly where those lights and darks are placed with the brush, and in what proximity to one another. I discuss it in a couple of my classes and show some photos, but as much time as I've spent teaching and working out how to teach miniature painting related things, I am not sure how I would approach that as a class subject, and I'm not sure I'm confident that only people with the appropriate level of skills to make use of the material would sign up. I'm not even sure how well I'm doing this kind of thing myself yet, to be honest! I recommend reading over class descriptions carefully and not just scrolling past titles. I say this as I'm seeing suggestions for topics I know we already have classes on. There have been and I'm sure will continue to be classes offered on speed/tabletop painting, for example. It is far from the case that every class is intended or only of interest to the people who paint for display! Anything that references fast is likely to appeal to tabletop gamers. James Wappel paints to play and to be fast. His classes and style are great for tabletop folks. Matt DiPietro's sketch style also fits, Derek Schubert often does one called Good, Fast Painting or something like that, and I have a memory of Tish Wolter doing one like that, too, though could be mistaken. Aaron Lovejoy has done quick painting in the past, not sure if he has been doing that one lately. There are probably other instructors with courses on the topic as well. I'm a slow painter, so I've taken most of the ones I mentioned myself in hopes of picking up tips. :-> I'd been pondering how to get a bigger face for a class on faces. Not busts exactly, but something in that family. Cheapest idea I've had so far is PEZ heads. There are occasional ones based on human characters (and their actors) or historical figures. But those tend to be packaged in collector sets, so then it's not cheap at all. The current Superman and Wonder Woman ones would work, but there doesn't seem to be a practical way to just buy 15 or whatever of just one character. For those looking for advanced classes - one thing to note is that a lot of the advanced stuff is not going to be hands on. What starts shifting something towards advanced is not a particular technique/colour/brush use, but HOW those are applied. It's knowing principles of colour theory, composition, pushing to simulate light, etc. Honestly what I teach in my Level Up class is probably at least four classes worth of stuff, but I consider myself lucky to get people out to one talky class. I know others of the instructors have classes on some of these topics. I am currently considering whether to break out issues of contrast into a separate class, and possibly improving your artist's eye as a separate class, but then I'm not sure what to do with the rest of the material. I know people love the hands-on stuff and I aim for it as much as possible, but if you have a solid handle on blending and decent brush control, you may be at the point where you'll get more out classes that talk about theory and how thinking about what you're painting. (And books, and YouTube videos, and just go ahead and start studying traditional art cause here's where we really start stealing. Or merging into. I've been doing that the past two years and it's helping my understanding of what I'm trying to do and how to explain it better to others tremendously, even if I won't have work hanging in any galleries any time soon. ;->)
  10. ReaperCon 2017 Sophie and Friend

    I painted this for Reaper, but Reaper painters are able to enter things painted for Reaper into the contest. The contest is not judged by Reaper or its employees. I am one of the judges, but I would not judge any of my own work if I happen to be assigned to judge an area where it is placed, we have alternates to step in for that purpose. (Or if we're too good of friends with an entrant or other things like that.) As an MSP Medallist, I am no longer eligible to win Sophie trophies, so if I do enter this piece, I wouldn't be interfering with anyone else's chance to win fabulous prizes. :->
  11. Here are some pictures of my painted version of ReaperCon 2017 Sophie. Talin came up with a wonderful swamp witch concept that Bobby Jackson did a terrific job bringing to miniature life. Sophie is separate from the base, so you can use the swamp wyrm in a game or for a different character if you wish. (His head is a different piece, and look at the two connector bits for a fun Easter egg if you get one of these.) Those not going to ReaperCon need not despair! You can order her from the Reaper site from Thursday, October 19 through Sunday, October 22. I believe the cost is $17.99, but that's not my department, so don't quote me. ;-> This is a hunk of metal, so that's a fair price.
  12. [SPLIT] Discussion of dark paints

    Egg tempera takes _years_ to dry!? If you're coming to Adepticon this year I hope I'll have time to just sit and listen to you tell me cool paint and art facts.
  13. [SPLIT] Discussion of dark paints

    A gloss finish does make things look darker and richer. Oil paints tend to be glossy, but not uniformly, and many painters will use a gloss finish on the painting after it cures to bring back that depth and richness that the paint had when it was still fresher and more oily. The problem with it on a 3D thing like miniatures is that you will also get a lot of uncontrolled reflections, and reflections are bright, so then you have brightness or shine in crevices that are supposed to be shadowed. The increasing use of photography in our hobby also added to the demand for matte paints, I suspect. (I occasionally get unwanted reflections showing up in pictures from a small section on a figure I might have rubbed with a tool to get a stray hair off of. It'll be super obvious in a picture and barely detectable in the hand. So matte paints make my life a lot easier since my job is as much about ending up with a nice looking picture as it is ending up with a nice looking figure.) There are mini painters, especially some of the Europeans, who use paints with different finishes to help create the effect of various textures. Like they might use a semi-gloss colour to paint something leather. It's also possible to use matte paints during the painting process (makes it much easier to see depth of highlights and shadows) and customize the finish of sections after painting. Like adding gloss sealer over eyes or gems.
  14. Anne has a firm policy that she won't duplicate a previous/existing colour under a different name. So when Volcano Brown (as an example) came back, it was the same as the previous Volcano Brown. If a paint has a different name, it's in some way different than others of that colour. (Differences can include base the pigment is mixed into, pigment mixes, and/or finish, and probably other stuff I don't know enough to know about.) Since Heavy Gear was a license I suspect that the previous names can't be used, so I don't know if that could create a situation where that policy might get reconsidered. More likely she'd aim to mix a new paint that serves a similar function but isn't identical. I seem to recall her saying that the new NMM gold was a good alternative for Terra Nova Tundra and possibly a few other substitutions, but that's alternative in use, not alternative as in if you used this colour on your army you wouldn't notice any difference in colour if you started using that colour. Most of the studio artists were pretty sad about the demise of Heavy Gear. It never really caught on sales-wise I don't think, but almost all of us had one or four colours from the line we found very useful for one thing or another. Red Dust is my secret weapon for highlighting reds, I'll have to mix up a substitute for myself once my stash runs out. (Which is not impossible, basically my secret weapon for highlighting reds is to use an orange + white mix so you're not going too orange or too pink, it's just nice to have something ready to go in a bottle for colours that get used often.)
  15. Brush-On Primer and Sealer

    It's been mentioned, but I'm going to reiterate. Shake these products a lot, more than you need to with paint. Smack the bottom of the bottle to make sure the agitator bead is loose and then shake some more. Undiluted rush on primer shouldn't be thin to the point of runny. With the sealer it's important to shake because the matting agent is heavier and concentrates at the bottom. So you need to shake the bottle consistently throughout its lifespan or you risk getting frosting effects on your figures when you get to the last third or so of the bottle.