Tristram

"Open Training" at ReaperCon

46 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

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<<That doesn't address all the points of the proposal, and I'm not trying to. But the point that introverted attendees are reluctant to talk to artists on artist's row when that's what the artists are there for is an issue that may need to be addressed on the attendee level more than the event/artist level. ;-> >>


 

 

Wren: No doubt - I wouldn't think too many people would choose to sit in an "Artists' Row" if they weren't willing to give time to curious fans! And, as you said, the issue of "Con-attendee introversion" is one that cannot be resolved by any one proposal.

 

I see Artists' Row as a place for artists to spend some time on their work, and some time (possibly a good amount...) meeting and greeting attendees. A session like the one I'm proposing, by contrast, would be dedicated entirely to the attendees. I think that shift in focus could make all the difference for some people.

 

As such, I would expect these sessions to be very popular, but, again - this is just brainstorming, throwing an idea out there. I appreciate all the feedback and discussion, folks.

 

-Darren

Edited by Tristram

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Subject Matter Experts (SME, pronounced "Smeeeeee!" in a gleeful voice) is an appropriate term that makes me twitch. I currently have two SMEs on board, with five more starting on Monday. *twitch*

 

The guide idea is a good one. Knowing who The Knowledgeable Ones are depending on subject is good, but it should be up to the artist to determine what they feel comfortable with. I know almost all the artists who are instructing, and I also know there are forum members (and others) who will be attending who are extremely knowledgeable as well. Sometimes it's fun to sit with a new group and learn new stuff while making new friends.

 

In knowing so many people there, I also know they are some of the nicest people ever and more than willing to sit and chat about what you can do better, or how a technique works. Part of that is why there are classes. Does it suck that some of them get filled up within minutes of posting? Sure.

 

I'd like to also point out several other things: Facebook groups such as Reaper's, The Hobby Hangout, and Heavier Metal also have a lot of the instructors as members, plus many more. The Hobby Hangout runs frequent Google Hangouts with top notch artists who love to chat. Reaper also has a Google Hangout (link in Off Topic Rampancy) run by the forumites. You can usually find someone on it (not all the time) and those forumites also give feedback.

 

I'd also note that by being active in the forums and Facebook, you get to know the artists and realize how awesome they are (like @Wren and @TaleSpinner). Also note that just like us they, too, have some problems like social anxiety that may make walking around and randomly approaching people *>Really Hard <*. In a scheduled class they've had time to psych themselves up and prepare what they're going to say. Random encounters instigated by them can be near impossible. Approach them yourself, and they might initially be nervous, it won't be as bad.

 

Your idea isn't terrible, but Reaper's approach to having an Artist's Row does several things:

 

1) Indicates who is who. Not everyone will recognize Rhonda Bender or James Wappel on sight. The nameplates help.

 

2) Keeps the artists consolidated so people know where to find them. If they're walking around and you have a quick question, running around searching for a particular artist might be easy for you, but not for the mobility impaired folks like me.

 

3) It gives the artists a breathing space where they can set up and work on things while chatting with others. It's easier for them to demonstrate on something they have on hand, sculptors can show what tools they have and explain easier how they made something, rather than carrying stuff around.

 

These are my thoughts and opinions, anyway. I like the idea of "go here and find Jason Wiebe" for the simple reason of it hurts to walk, and knowing I don't have to wait for them to randomly pass me by to ask a question.

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51 minutes ago, Aryanun said:
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Knowing who The Knowledgeable Ones are depending on subject is good, but it should be up to the artist to determine what they feel comfortable with.

 

Aryanun: Absolutely! If implemented in any way, this should be artist-driven and -chosen, not imposed by anyone upon the artists. These would all be optional sessions that artists could choose to teach, alongside the existing sessions and Artists' Row and all the other ReaperCon elements. I would imagine that only those artists comfortable with the format and topic of the Open Trainings would choose to get involved.

 

I also think circulation around the training space would be an optional element. It just occurred to me that some artists would prefer to get up and observe the work of the students up-close rather than sitting back. That would be an option in this format.

 

And I appreciate the concern about the challenge of having an artist approach random attendees to offer advice. I don't envision these sessions in that format. Unless the artist chose to engage a student to offer advice, that would not be an expectation. Rather, I see the implied session summary as:

 

"I'm Artist X, this is Artist Y. Today's topic is ABC. We're here to help you if you need it. We'll be over here, maybe working on our own stuff, maybe walking around, maybe having lunch, but we're here with you for the next 2 hours. This is your time, so work at your own pace, and come ask us any questions as you go along."

 

Something like that.

 

-Darren

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12 hours ago, Aryanun said:

 

3) It gives the artists a breathing space where they can set up and work on things while chatting with others. It's easier for them to demonstrate on something they have on hand, sculptors can show what tools they have and explain easier how they made something, rather than carrying stuff around.

 

 

 

Funny story....  I was needing help sculpting flaming hair on a figure conversion. So I approached Jullie Guthrie to ask for pointers and she offered to demonstrate on the figure in question.  She said to me, "Are you sure it's okay? I don't want to ruin your figure." I was floored. As if that was even possible....  So I've seen first hand where a pro is hesitant to demonstrate on an attendees figure. An artist having a setup at the artists tables makes a lot of sense. 

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On 6/17/2017 at 10:21 PM, DixonGrfx said:

Funny story....  I was needing help sculpting flaming hair on a figure conversion. So I approached Jullie Guthrie to ask for pointers and she offered to demonstrate on the figure in question.  She said to me, "Are you sure it's okay? I don't want to ruin your figure." I was floored. As if that was even possible....  So I've seen first hand where a pro is hesitant to demonstrate on an attendees figure. An artist having a setup at the artists tables makes a lot of sense.

 

I love stories like this. These validate the Artists' Row as a rare and wonderful resource. Virtually every story I've heard about the artists, whether at these tables, or elsewhere in or out of the Con venue, has echoed some aspect of these sentiments.

 

-Darren

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Posted (edited)

I should give some background before I jump in. I've been to ReaperCon twice, and have taken almost my max number of allotted courses each year. I've attended numerous weekend workshops, too, and I'd like to think I know how much a class can get done in 1-2 hours, 4-8 hours, and a whole weekend.

From an attendee's perspective, I see a few problems with an "open training session".

 

  • There is limited space at any venue, and limited time in artists' schedules, so from a convention management perspective, attendees would need to purchase 1-2 hours for each classroom. Obviously, I'd be spamming reload at work the day classes opened, so I could purchase a block for every session, so I'd never have to pick up my stuff. ;)
  • The time limit for sessions would have to take into account 10-15 minutes in each session for setup/takedown for attendees, because even traveling light, we'd still have to safely pack up our projects.
  • Each session would have a wide range of attendees working on a wide range of projects, all working at a wide range of skill levels, with instructors all focusing on a wide range of talents, and you might not get exactly what you want. What if you wanted feedback on sculpting, but only painters were available for your session?
  • I already feel a level of awkwardness at sitting at a table, waiting for Kev White to come tell me to start something over, looking at my watch, waiting, him getting stuck giving someone else feedback, and only coming by in the last 30 seconds of the session to say, "I haven't seen yours yet, but start over!" ;)

That being said...

 

To compensate for the wide range of projects/talents, "open" training could become more focused:

 

  • Object Source Lightning Q and A
  • Non-Metallic Metal Q and A
  • Sculpting Butts Q and A

 

Tristram, the main theme I'm picking up is that I think you're really just looking for dedicated Q and A time. This is fine -- it's great. Feedback helps us get better, and the more feedback we get, the faster we're able to improve. The problem that I see with focused sessions is that you'd probably only have 1 artist available, and even with 3 people in the session, you'd still be fighting for attention, depending on how fast everyone works. Or, like most Q and A sessions, you'd only have one or two questions, and the rest of the class would be silent, and nose down on projects.

 

There's a limit to how fast we can all work, though. This is how I see the vast majority of interactions going:

 

Me: Sooo..this sword.
Painter: The NMM is...a good start. Do a little here, and a little there.
*10 minutes later*
Me: Eh?
Painter: Better, but...see, your reflection should be a little more over here.
Me: Ahhhhh, right.
*20 minutes later, because re-dos*
*Painter is busy with someone else, so I wait another 10 minutes, because the only other available person is a sculptor, and they don't paint much*
Me: Eh?
Painter: Better. You just need to blend in a little more, put a sharper contrast here, and...oh, we've got 10 minutes until the next session, so everyone needs to start packing up.

 

However...

 

The Artists' Row already supplies this, supplies it for free, and you have access to almost every artist. It might not be exactly at 2:47pm when you decide you want feedback, but you'd still have that problem during an "open training session", too. There's a limited number of artists, and you'd still need to wait if someone else was talking to them. You don't need to worry about interrupting most artists, as they're almost always happy to pause from whatever project they brought to pass the time, and critique work. That's what the Artists' Row is for.

Edited by Xumenicus
Fixed some formatting issues...
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Xumenicus: Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed response.

 

As you mentioned, as with nearly all events offered at any convention, there would be a numbers crunch because of the factors you listed. That's simply a reality of having finite resources.

 

Numerically, I wouldn't expect there to be more than one or two of these sessions offered per day. Ideally, maybe each session would have 2-3 instructors, and the session size could, therefore, open up larger than a typical class. I don't know what the standard teacher-to-student ratio is for ReaperCon hands-on classes; my recollection puts it at about 1 teacher for 6-8 students? Therefore, these Open Trainings could allow for 12-18 students, or, perhaps, 15-20.

 

I agree that, in terms of topics, "Wide-Open Training" would probably leave many attendees underwhelmed. Each session would need thematic focus. I like the topics you propose (particularly the last one :poke:), though I think wider topics might serve the larger classes more successfully.

 

The "waiting at a table to get your answer" issue is certainly relevant, but that sort of "do nothing until the teacher gets back" approach would go against the concept of Open Training, as I envision it. The idea is to be working on your project continuously, and calling for help now and then as necessary. The attendees would need to share the working space and time, as well as the instructors' energies and attentions. Of course, that may be idealistic, but from what I've seen, I believe the majority of ReaperCon attendees wouldn't abuse such a system.

 

Having one or two questions, then working "nose down on projects" sounds about right, to me. Maybe it would be 3 or 4 questions, but the point is that having that dedicated time and professional attention through my workflow, in my workspace, would be exceptional.

 

Working X minutes on your project, then waiting Y minutes to get "the okay" or "the answer" before proceeding is not the kind of session I'm thinking of. I definitely understand your concern in this direction, but that attendee in your NMM example would probably be better-served by the Artists' Row.

 

The more I think about the concept of an Open Training session in light of the observations that have been generously offered in this message thread, it seems that Open Training would simply be an extension of Artists' Row. It would be "Artists' Row comes to you as you're working, in a themed, dedicated format." It's a small difference, but one that could be profound for some.

 

-Darren

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17 hours ago, Tristram said:

having that dedicated time and professional attention through my workflow, in my workspace

 

Workflows and workspaces are more of an individual thing, and while people can offer suggestions, it really comes down more to what works best to you. What's helped me the most is watching other people paint, and seeing their workflows and workspaces. I've tried so many times to lick my brushes on a regular basis because that's what all the cool kids do, but I can't get into the habit at all. I fear I may never lick my brushes to the extent where I will transcend these mortal coils, and become a Professional Licker of Brushes.

 

What area are you in? Do you have a local game shop close by? Many of the larger cities have small painting groups that meet maybe once a month, and they do exactly what you're looking for, but they do it regularly, and probably more efficiently than what you'd experience after traveling to ReaperCon with all of your gear. There's also this forum, and a multitude of Facebook groups and forums for feedback on such things. Videos, too. And if you want truly personal feedback from a professional, there are even other online methods for that, too. If you think you're having problems with your general workflow/workspace, why wait until October?

 

Post some pics. Let's see what you think you might be having issues with. As far as I know, you've already got the attention of 3 professionals in this thread.

 

 

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22 hours ago, Xumenicus said:

 

To compensate for the wide range of projects/talents, "open" training could become more focused:

 

  • Object Source Lightning Q and A
  • Non-Metallic Metal Q and A
  • Sculpting Butts Q and A

 

 

And then you might as well just call it a class. Then the instructor can focus on the 6-8 people interested in that particular aspect of the craft, without being distracted. Because what inevitably happens in an "open" event where the tutor walks around talking to different people is that he/she gets stuck in conversation someplace, or someone wanders in and hijacks them during the middle of class. 

 

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21 hours ago, Tristram said:

Of course, that may be idealistic, but from what I've seen, I believe the majority of ReaperCon attendees wouldn't abuse such a system.

Yes.....each year (with increasing numbers of attendees) there will be more and more and more people that will abuse it.  There have already been an increasing number of these already.  A person can be reasonable and logical....people are not.

 

21 hours ago, Tristram said:

The more I think about the concept of an Open Training session in light of the observations that have been generously offered in this message thread, it seems that Open Training would simply be an extension of Artists' Row. It would be "Artists' Row comes to you as you're working, in a themed, dedicated format." It's a small difference, but one that could be profound for some. <----keyword

It's a nice idea, but in the end would it truly be that impactful? Because, in the end as Inarah said....

 

49 minutes ago, Inarah said:

 

And then you might as well just call it a class....

 

Or Artist Row. 

 

It kinda seems like you want the best of both worlds but when you have access to both already.  Why not just go for the more specialized smaller courses and then practice it on your own, then get feedback.  It just seems a bit unnecessary to me, but that's just my opinion.

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Fair enough. When I first thought of this format, I thought it was the best of both worlds - a semi-structured, paid class with the personalized professional attention of some

members of Artists' Row. However, maybe the logistics are more daunting than I anticipated, and/or the attendees at ReaperCon wouldn't get as much out of it as I would.

 

Speaking for myself (and not portraying myself as typical), I know that, despite having collected minis for the last few decades, gathering videos, keeping up on YouTube resources and so forth, I realistically only paint over the 3-4 days of ReaperCon. That's a reality I need to address for myself. In the meantime, I thought this format could provide a different kind of attention for some attendees - again, a best of both worlds situation.

 

-Darren

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And what would they charge for a VIP paint area? It's basically a class at that point so depending on who is teaching and what they want to make per hour. 

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Oh, absolutely… This was always intended as a regular class, albeit with a new format. Same pricing, new parameters.

 

-Darren

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I know last year I sat down with Andy's son at his workspace and talked him through glowing eyes for a few hours.  I sat down with Siri at artists row and helped her with some colors for a project and we painted a bit.  I helped one of my students fix some parts of his entry for the contest.  I try to move around a lot and the only time I beg some free time is when I'm eating!  I'm one of those that gets "hangry" when I'm not fed regularly!

 

I always am willing to schedule some sit-down time here or there to help.  So if you know you'll have a free hour find one of us at artist's row and ask for help.  That's what we're there for.  Truly.  We wouldn't be there is we didn't want to help and teach.  Just because it isn't structured doesn't mean we don't try just as hard!

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2 hours ago, Corporea said:

I know last year I sat down with Andy's son at his workspace and talked him through glowing eyes for a few hours.  I sat down with Siri at artists row and helped her with some colors for a project and we painted a bit.  I helped one of my students fix some parts of his entry for the contest

 

Corporea: So cool! Again, this sort of story just reinforces what we all know about Artists' Row, and, I'm sure, brings a smile to the face of anyone who values this sort of generosity of attention and time.

 

I definitely hope to utilize Artists' Row in this way, come October. I've spoken with Artists' Row professionals many times over the last three years, including some Z-Brush people last year, and various painters and sculptors all along. I've never brought my work to them, mostly because I haven't done work in the new general painting area. I'll see if there can be some new workflow that would work in the ReaperCon context, allowing me to break away and bring my stuff over to an artist.

 

I also need to revamp my class strategy, because I seem to always end up with a few second-, third- and fourth-choice sessions and handfuls of notes, but few actionable enhancements, skills or insights. And that's not a vilification of the instructors; they're awesome. It's just that, with lower-tier sessions (for me), I just don't get much that is directly-applicable to the hurdles I encounter when I finally grab a brush and give it a whirl, usually late-night, back at the hotel! I usually get a lot of information on topics that are, at best, tangentially-related to the things I work on when I finally work on minis.

 

-Darren

2 hours ago, Corporea said:

I always am willing to schedule some sit-down time here or there to help.  So if you know you'll have a free hour find one of us at artist's row and ask for help.  That's what we're there for.  Truly.  We wouldn't be there is we didn't want to help and teach.  Just because it isn't structured doesn't mean we don't try just as hard!

 

Corporea: One more thing - your graciousness and generosity are evident, and so much appreciated. And this is reflective of the attitude I've always found when I've talked with the professionals.

 

Thank you, all, for the help you provide, and the spirit in which you provide it!

 

-Darren

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