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Wren last won the day on December 15 2016

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    Knoxville, TN (formerly Toronto, Canada)

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  1. I do not think there will be lights other than the overheads provided in the class areas. This was done in the past when there were 4-5 classrooms of 6 or fewer people, but I think it is cost prohibitive for Reaper to do it now. The facility is in a strip mall, in a former department store type of place. So ceiling mounted fluorescents. The lighting isn't terrible, but it's also not terrific. If you feel you are someone who needs more light than that situation would provide, you will want to consider bringing your own light. As stated by others, something battery operated is your best bet. There will likely be electrical hookup in some of the classes (some use AV equipment or airbrushes), but I don't know that it's slated for all the classroom areas. I do know that access to electrical outlets in the open painting table areas will be limited. So again battery operated options are going to be your best bet to guarantee lighting. For myself as an instructor, I'm used to working in non-optimal convention style lighting for classes. 80% of people have no major issues with it. It's not ideal, there are some subtleties in paint jobs that can get lost. Most topics that get taught aren't purely about such subtle kinds of effects. I also try to take the lighting situation into account when giving people feedback on their work in the class. My goal is always to aim for getting the concept down as much as possible for future refined use rather than expecting someone to try to execute something perfect in less than optimal conditions. I have also taken to bringing a small battery operated light to classes to use to pass around figures for people to look at and I think that helps, but I don't know how many other instructors do that. (The light I use is one of those little Otts, and I agree it's not great for painting with. This is not only because of the power of the light, but because it's pretty short. It works a bit better if you can put it on a stack of something to raise the height.)
  2. I've reshaped painted Bones, though generally this was during the painting process while the paint was still fairly fresh. I suspect the temperature per se wouldn't be an issue as much as how much bending would temperature changes subject the paint to. If you have it in a hot car and then bring it inside and it didn't bend much, it probably wouldn't make much difference to the paint. If you get a sword or other thinner part bending back and forth, whether from drooping/being reset by temperature fluctuations or after being manipulated by hand, that would be pretty likely to cause chipping. The other potential issue I could see is if the figures are all tossed together in a bag, when parts droop and reset they could scrape against other parts. Though this will happen anyway with figures all tossed together in a bag. You don't have to use a lot of fancy cases or whatever, but it helps preserve the paint a lot to just keep Bones from rubbing together during transport. Now, much of what I've said is theoretical because I haven't actually left Bones out in a hot car, but I don't see anything about the composition of Bones or cured acrylic paint that would make the paint blister up off the surface or whatever just because of heat exposure. (The thing about paint scraping off if Bones are thrown in a bag is not theoretical. A friend did that, and had some paint damage. She had several crypts with square corners in the bag that I think were the biggest cause of it.)
  3. I used to prefer Wilton, like to the point of special ordering it, but the last package I got of it was utter crap. It was so unfit for purpose that I questioned whether it was accidentally mislabeled wax paper or something. I'm debating whether it's worth giving it one more try, but have been using Reynolds with no complaint. (The original Wilton was a bit thicker and sturdier.)
  4. Live

    I would find it very helpful if they would indicate which ones are new, or at least new to the smaller purple format.
  5. I change out the paper towel between my sponge and parchment now and again. I also have a couple of older pennies under my sponge for the antimicrobial properties of copper. If I leave it closed with water in for a period of a week or more I'll get some minor issues (and need to toss the paper towel), but if I clean things up after use and let them dry out now and again, it all seems to work fine. If anything, when I do get some slime it's on the paper towel and hopefully my sponge will last a little longer, but it's early days in the lifespan of this sponge, so hard to tell. The paper towel can also help cover up the yellow of the Masterson's sponge, though I had gotten annoyed enough by that to order some white compressed sponge off eBay before learning Corporea's tip.
  6. Corporea showed me a cool tip - fold a couple of pieces of paper towel and put that in between the paper and the sponge. (I cut mine to fit so there's no bumps or lumps.) Seems to keep the towel more evenly moist. Even in the humid south, I have to add water to my wet palette during a long painting session. A wet palette needs to be wet, there should be a quarter inch or more of water sloshing around the edges of your sponge.
  7. I may be on the other side of the table now, but my first ReaperCon was pretty much like what Doc said - too in awe of anyone to actually try to talk to them. I think I talked to Bryan and my husband, and took a lot of pictures of the 'famous' minis in the cases. (There used to be cases for the figures from the learn to paint kits and the colour painted section in Casketworks and stuff like that hanging in the factory foyer.) Then over the next couple of RCs I realized that people were people and our shared interest was a good starting point for conversation and I loosened up. So don't be me or Doc. ;-> Also: I very much enjoyed the Reaper panels I've been able to attend, but Bryan's right that they didn't draw much of a crowd.
  8. I understand the desire for it to happen, but classes at ReaperCon are not recorded, for a variety of reasons. (Not least of which is most of the instructors are nervous introverts. ;->) For recorded material, I recommend the Dark Sword Miniatures painting DVDs (also available as digital files), Hot Lead, and Miniature Mentor Patreon subscription among other things.
  9. I stipple with a mixed range of highlight and shadow colours. (How many depends on the material, more mixes going to the extremes of white and black for shiny stuff, fewer and not as bright or dark for more matte materials) One thing to note is that unlike smooth layering, you have to stipple over the basecoat colour, then come back in with the basecoat colour and stipple it back in. Otherwise you end up with a flat basecoat colour strip in between your highlights and shadows. (If you can make it to ReaperCon, I'm teaching a class on this and I think there are still tickets available.)
  10. Flats are on my to-do list for sure. I have positioned one at eye level in my painting area to remind me I want to work on it soonish! Playing around with colour in the shadows of skin can be super fun and really add a lot of depth and interest.
  11. Looks like you're having a lot of fun with busts! Don't be afraid to use all that extra space and experiment. Or grab some Bones to do quick experiments on before applying paint to a bust. It's definitely great to learn techniques and see how other people do things, but it's not the only answer. If you have a core set of skills, you can experiment and figure out your own way to get to a similar end result. In fact, I would say one of the things that most differentiates the 'top tier' level painters from the intermediate is that willingness to take risks and do some experimentation, and accept that sometimes it takes some effort and time to figure something out. Good painters don't necessarily just 'know' what colour to shade something with or how you would mimic a texture on a material. They are willing to grab some paint and sit down and figure it out. As part of that, referencing real world photos/items as well as things you've seen painted by others that you like is invaluable. Our little area of art is a bit weird for not emphasizing use of reference material more. One of the things Kirill made very plain in his workshop was just how much he uses reference - worn leather, the subtle textures of hand crafted metals, just what wool or tartan or whatever looks like - he puts a lot of thought and effort into finding good reference and trying to paint to recreate those textures as much as possible. He does very little smooth painting (on that larger scale at least), and a lot more stippling and tiny dashes to bring texture into play. In the workshop he had a bunch of pictures of male celebrities and we each chose one and aimed to match both the colours of the skin and the direction of the lighting in the photo to the best of our ability, and he had reference for the various other surface areas of the bust we worked on, too. So a couple of examples of what I mean about figuring stuff out on your own being another way to approach it. One from early in my painting career. I was unhappy with how I painted hair. There was a very good teacher of hair painting, but she happened not to teach that class for a year or so. So I had to look at what I was doing and look at stuff I liked and try to figure out what was different, what I wasn't doing. Eventually I figured out that I was concentrating on the vertical strands via drybrushing, where if you look at real people's hair, the highlights and shadows appear in more horizontal bands. After a time I was painting hair pretty well. I eventually was able to take Sue's hair class. We get to a similar end point, but we do it in slightly different ways, and both of those ways work. A lot of other ways work, too. The second example is more recent. After taking Kirill's workshop, I wanted to try to paint the texture of crushed velvet. We'd done wool and linen, but neither seemed readily adapatable to look like velvet. So I dug around in Google image search for both close-up pictures of the texture, and pictures of a full length dress similar to what I was painting. To me it was patches of dark and light that made the texture. Overall the shapes were still brighter in highlight areas and darker in shadow areas, but there were bits of dark in the light and vice versa. I grabbed a figure and mixed up paints I thought would work and did a quick test on a few folds of cloth on a test figure. It seemed okay, so I proceeded to the main figure. After painting for a few hours it looked okay, but not quite there. So I had to sleep on it, go back and study the reference, and have a think and try to figure out what was off, and eventually I did. (In case you're curious, the figure is here - https://www.facebook.com/pg/wrenthebard/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1006533136139870) I didn't need any different skills than what I had at either of those points. I needed to get better at really _looking_ at something for reference, and I needed to get better at looking what I painted and playing spot the difference between my work and the reference. Learning to draw, even a little, can help a lot with both of those things. The book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is all about tricks to help you get better at really seeing something. (It sounds like it should be obvious and easy to do, but our big bossy left brains get in the way a lot on this.) Bones have been invaluable to that kind of experimentation for me since it's often possible for me to find a Bones that has something in common with the figure I'm working on (cloth folds of a certain type, shape of weapon, whatever.) and get straight to the testing without having to do any priming or prep. They're not going to be quite as useful to experimenting for a bust, though you may have some with areas of fur texture or whatnot. Maybe you could find dollar store toys or ceramic figures to use for similar experimentation.
  12. You wouldn't want to paint the face with basecoats in distinct zones like in the photo. That's more a guide to the concept. You'd bring the colour in through shading choices and glazes. The idea is that in general, there is a colour cast of that colour in that zone of the face. That photo is from a post by traditional artist James Gurney (his blog is wonderfully informative). If you look at the post it's from, you'll see some 2D paintings that use the effect and demonstrate how it's subtle but present. http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/05/color-zones-of-face.html The upper third of the head doesn't have a lot of blood vessels close to the surface of the skin, so it has a bit of a yellow cast. Using some yellow in your highlight mixes will help convey that. In contrast, the cheeks and sides of the nose have a lot of blood vessels, so the middle third of the face has a red undertone. Glazes in the appropriate area are a good way to bring that out. The lower third of the face often has a dull blue or green cast to it. This is partly due to reflection of clothing, and in male characters much more prominent due to beards or stubble lying just under the surface of the skin. For a clean shaven character a bit of blue or green mixed into shadows would do the trick, for actual stubble you'd use more stippling and a mix of a blue black and flesh colours. This effect is more subtle on female characters. Stippling is also useful for highlighting faces the size of a bust to give the impression of pores or add a bit of texture in the ways ub3r described. It can also be used to create texture for clothing. Lines can also be used in that fashion. Do a Google image search for Kirill Kanaev and you should see some examples by a master of bust painting and using texture. Most of what I'm telling you I learned at a bust painting workshop I was able to take with him. I've been implementing that advice on some gaming scale figures. Here are some examples of what I've done for textured cloth and leather. This kind of thing is pretty important to do on something larger scale to give interest and variety to various surfaces and textures. http://www.reapermini.com/Miniatures/Special Edition Figures/latest/01605 http://www.reapermini.com/Miniatures/Special Edition Figures/latest/01602 http://www.reapermini.com/Miniatures/Special Edition Figures/latest/01604
  13. I like using a fun foam background. It's very matte and has no texture. You can get sheets in the craft store. (This is the same stuff you can buy cut-outs of animals and stuff, then kids use the flat sheets as a background to make little scenes. I think, I don't have kids.) Grey is harder to find, I've only gotten it from Hobby Lobby. I also have black. Any pic on a grey or black background that you've seen from me has been a fun foam sheet.
  14. If HD Solid Black is one of the ones you're having problems with, something may be up with your paint. It covers well in a couple of coats at most. Try popping the dropper tips off a few of the poor coverage bottles and stirring (I use long plastic toothpicks). You'll likely be able to feel if there's a thicker portion at the bottom that is not mixing in with brief hand shaking. (It's good to do this with paints you own once or twice a year, too, especially colours you don't use often. And also take the opportunity to add a bit of water to any that are thickening up.) Paint doesn't have to be old to get gummy. Reaper's paint sales are such that I doubt few Amazon sellers have old paints, though brick and mortar locations might. Miniature paints can also be damaged by cold weather. More than once I've had or heard issues with paint purchased in stores or from Amazon that likely was exposed to cold for an extended period of time in transit or storage from a distributor or seller. At this point I prefer to buy paints directly from Reaper to ensure that they're fresh and have been stored properly.
  15. Hiya, I'm the author of the learn to paint kit guide. Apologies that it's taken me a while to see this query, I was out of town for a fair while on a trip and am only now catching up on forum convos and such. Brushes: Reaper occasionally has to substitute brushes or figures due to stock levels. Both of those things are produced out of the Reaper factory, so they can't just make more on demand as with the paint. I painted and tested the kit with the stated size synthetic brushes that Reaper normally stocks, but unfortunately there can be some variance in the brushes. Colour matching: I try to take and edit my photos to depict colours as accurately as possible, but I'm not a professional photographer, and despite years of attempts and regularly updating my camera, that's an on-going project. In the case of the kits, there's an added layer of the printing process potentially altering some colours. What I would look for more is trying to matching the value (how dark/light) and level of contrast in the examples. I wouldn't call the mixes of Brilliant Red and Marigold peach, but then I've been trying in vain to figure out how to mix peaches I like for years. ;-> It's definitely is not a super vivid orange. I'm looking at one of my test figures against the pictures in the guide, and the guide pics are showing a little more orange than my test figure, but roughly the same value differences. A lot of times people find that highlighting red looks too orange or too pink, so I was aiming for something that was a bit of a middle ground - brighter, but not a big shift in the colour itself. Your pictures look a little less orange and less contrasted than my test figure, but reds are notoriously difficult to photograph, and I'm looking at your photo as translated by my monitor, so there are more layers of translation errors between what's in your hand and what I'm seeing. Number of Coats: Red paints tend to be at least somewhat transparent, so will often need less thinning and/or more coats than many other colours. (This same property can make them a little easier to get a nicely blended result on, so that's one reason I picked red for the starting figure.) 12 coats is too many, though, that's definitely not the expected result! What I suspect is happening is that you're not matching the size of water droplets to the size of paint droplets, so you're ending up with a much higher ratio of water than what I painted with. Paint is more viscous, so it'll dispense from the dropper bottles in smaller drops than water will. You might try putting the drop of water down first and then squeezing out paint drops to try to match it in size. (As you become more comfortable with layering and use the guide under tips and tricks, you'll find it easier and easier to judge whether your paint is the correct dilution by how it behaves on your palette and in test strokes rather than using ratios.) Number of Layers: I generally paint 3-4 shadow layers, and 4-5 highlight layers. Novice painters often find those numbers alarming. ;-> Novice painters also often find high levels of contrast on a figure a little unnatural looking. So when I developed this kit, I worked to find a way to get the idea of layering across in the fewest possible steps on the first figure. You probably noticed that Hajad used more steps for several of his colours. There are also notes under the intro to Hajad and the Tips and Tricks section that you'll often need more layers or more water to make things look smoother, or more steps to create a higher level of contrast. Had the text of the guide not been aimed to be accessible to complete novices to the hobby, I would likely have added an additional final highlight step of straight Marigold to Anirion. (And in fact I did do that in the step by steps for the red areas on Hajad. ;->) Ebony Flesh: It is a potent colour and can be overpowering in mixes. :-< This is another one where matching the size of drops as closely as possible is likely the difference between results. Wash Rings: I did all my painting with straight tap water, and had everyone who tested the instructions for me use straight tap water. None of us had noticeable problems with the washes. :-< However, it may be important to note that the majority of those people tested in my same physical location. So it's possible that differences in local water could be a reason why some people suffer so much more with rings when they do washes than other people do? You came up with a great solution, though. Adding brush-on sealer, flow improver, or Reaper's new Wash Medium will generally solve the problem. (50/50 with water is a good guideline, but sometimes even less than that will help.) Dilution Differences: Maybe it would be helpful for me to outline my process for the kits. After picking figures, my first step is to pick 11 colours I think would work and fit various parameters. Then I take those colours and paint the three figures, making notes of my paint steps and water mixes as I go. I write those up into the step-by-step instructions. Then I reverse the process. I take the step-by-step instructions and paint the three figures again, following the instructions as I've written them, and correcting if something does not seem to work as intended. This is to ensure that I paint through at least once using the dilutions and mixes that I've written out, not my usual painting methods. So as much as I possibly can, I aim to paint the way someone using the kit will. I use the same brushes, and I use a foam plate for a palette instead of my usual porcelain or wet palettes. Once I've got the step-by-steps finished, the next stage is testing. I give my testers the supplies they would get in the kit, a holder for the mini, a water cup, and some paper towels, and load my instructions on an iPad for them to reference. I sit with them while they paint, but I do not talk to them about the instructions, and refuse to answer any questions about the painting process. My goal is to see whether they feel like they understand the instructions and if their results end up looking in the ballpark of mine. For this kit I had a few testers who had some painting experience, and a few who were complete novices. Some had figures that looked a little rougher, but overall they were indeed in the ballpark. Once they've finished painting, they also give me any feedback on areas they felt were confusing or badly worded or whatever and I consider that when making my final edits to the text of the kit instructions. Your Figures: I think your paint jobs look great! The placement of highlights and shadows on the various areas is really well done, and you've clearly got a handle on the concept. Now it's just the on-going challenge of balancing smoothness and contrast, and fine-tuning the technique to what works for you. Some people prefer fewer layer steps and more manipulation with the brush (feathering out the edges, kind of like two brush blending but with one brush), some prefer more steps, people differ on preferences for levels of dilution, etc. Hopefully I've addressed your questions and concerns. If I missed something, just let me know.