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maxstyles

Paint and Take anyone?

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Hi everyone,

This may not be the best place to post this question, but it is a request for advice. :;):   There is a local game convention getting started in the area (its in its second year – hey you have to start somewhere).  I am helping out by running a few miniature games and I would love to run a paint and take type of thing.  I have lots of miniatures from the first bones kickstarter, lots of paint, and a few old brushes but what I don’t have is any experience running one of these.  I want to expose new people to our hobby by putting the “miniature monkey†on their backs – er ah I mean joys of painting.  Does anyone know if Reaper still supports this type of thing?  Does anyone have any advice on making this type of event enjoyable for new painters?

Any help is appreciated,

Max

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I don't have any experience of running one but as a recent newbie painter, I can tell you what I would be looking for from such a session.  Bear in mind, the advice below only applies to people completely new to painting - you would obv take a completely different approach if you had different levels of painters.

 

Firstly, you need to be able to run a quick demo of what newbie painters should do and also what they shouldn't do.  Print up a short (make sure its short - don't include everything here) list of do's and don'ts and make sure you go over them quickly (don't take too long as I will be very eager to get started) at the start.  It's important to go over some basics so I have some guidance but, at the same time, you don't want to get in my way for too long before I start putting paint to mini.

 

Have a model or two painted up using the techniques that you are going to be demoing at the session so I can see what I will be painting towards.  I assume you will be demoing how to actually paint on a "new" model so I can actually see how to do it but having a completed model to look at will let me know what I am aiming for.  This is especially useful so I can see how good the mini will look with even just a few simple techniques.

 

Don't use advanced techniques if there are new painters.  Let them know that you are just teaching them some of the basics and that there are other techniques etc but for the purpose of the paint and take - keep it simple.  Basecoat, Wash and Highlight/Drybrush would be my suggestions.

 

I'm in two minds about how much you should thin your paint.  Clearly, you should thin your paint but at the same time, if I have to layer on more than 2 layers, I may get bored (bearing in mind its my first painting session).  This might mean that you only thin your paints a little for the purpose of the paint and take.  With that said, make sure you tell me that the top painters thin even more and use multiple layers but then highlight that I don't need to do that if I am just aiming for tabletop quality.  On the other hand, as a newbie painter, knowing how much to thin the paint was a major challenge and having someone show that to me would have been massively beneficial.  Not sure what the best answer here is - maybe waste a drop of paint just to show how thin they can make the paint?  Also, make sure you show them and highlight to them that the first layer will look horrible.  I remember painting my first layer of thinned paint and thinking I had made a terrible mistake!

 

I haven't attended any painting courses so no idea if my next suggestion would actually work.  In any event, I would suggest you don't complete painting your model and then get them to work on theirs.  Instead, start with the first layer of basecoat and then get them to do theirs.  At this point, you can wander round and make sure everyone is okay.  Once things are going smoothly, then you can finish the second layer of your basecoat.  The reason I say this is that as soon as they see you paint, they are going to be itching to get started themselves.  Watching you paint two layers on your model may be agonizing for them.  As I said though, I have no experience of actually attending a painting course so no idea what the best way of instruction is.

 

Lastly, make sure you have some samples of better painted work so that I can see how amazing a mini can look once they move beyond the basics.

 

That's all I can think of for now - I'm sure others will have more guidance.

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Anytime.  I know there are several people on this forum who have run painting classes before.  Hopefully, they chime in soon with some thoughts around how to run a painting class.

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What Jokemeister is describing is great, but it sounds is a little more like a painting class than a classic paint and take at a convention. The big issue with doing some of what he describes at a P&T is that usually it's asynchronous - one or two people will wander over and want to paint, then 15 minutes another person or so, and on like that through the day. It doesn't mean you can't show people stuff, just that you're going to need to do it on more of a case by case basis, and be prepared to stop and welcome another person and get them settled, go run and get some fresh water, and so on.

 

I've run some P&Ts at small local cons like you describe. Generally since it's just me on the organizing side of things, I make use of a couple of signs. One is near the spot where people are first likely to come up to the area. It's an overview of how it works. Then I'll have another sign that I tape to the tables or put up in a sign holder where people are painting with an overview of how it works. I'll try to attach my signs in a separate reply, you're welcome to crib from them. But people don't read, and people who haven't attended local conventions aren't familiar with how P&Ts work, so I'm prepared to explain it face to face and encourage people to come over and sit down and paint a figure. People will often expect that it has a charge and just sort of hover until you make it clear that it doesn't. 

In addition to paints, figures, and brushes, you'll need a few other things. Plastic tablecloths. Some venues will also ask you to put plastic on the floor, but that's not super common. Foam plates are good disposable palettes. Cutting up sheets of parchment paper can also work, though it has more potential for mess if people mix washes. I bought some squat plastic cups to use for water cups. I reuse these for the benefit of my wallet and the environment, but some P&Ts dispose of them. Also a couple of juice or tea containers with lids to fetch clean water and dispose of dirty water, and paper towel. Bringing some brush-on primer in case someone has a character figure of their own they want to paint doesn't hurt, and superglue in case a part falls off of a figure. Also bring a few paperclips/T-pins or whatever you use to unclog dropper bottles.

I try to get at least two tables and set those up in an L shape, or three tables in a U. I position myself and the extra supplies on the inside, so I'm facing all the people painting and where people will pass by the area. I set up all the stations with clean plate and water and try to clean up each one as people leave to have them ready for people to sit down at. I have a couple of sets of basic paint colours and set those up on each table. I have extra paint colours, but generally only fetch those as people need them. I set up an area near the sign with the figures people can choose from to paint. (I wash the Bones I provide with soap and water prior to the convention so they're quicker and easier to paint for people, but Bones can be painted straight from the package.)

I let people know that I'm happy to show them techniques and what to do, but you'll be surprised at how many people are happy to be off and running once you let them know the first step is just to paint colour on the figure and you give them a bit of a guideline for to how to decide which areas to paint first. Some people are curious and want to see techniques like washing and drybrushing, but lots of people are happy to just sit and paint and enjoy transforming a figure from white to colourful, and you'll get people who have some experience who want to sit down and paint, too. People who aren't sitting with friends often enjoy general chatting as well as tips and trick demos.

Another option you could consider is to have an open P&T at certain times, and a beginning painting class at a scheduled time. If it's your first time out, you might want to just go P&T to gauge interest and get the flow of the convention. For my local conventions, I've found that interest revolves pretty strongly around the role-playing time table - I get tons of people in between sessions, and many fewer during the game sessions. But every area and convention is going to be a little different. If you can, advertise in advance in any local gaming venues you can think of - post flyers in stores, post about the event in D&D, Pathfinder, general gaming Facebook groups and forums for your area, etc. (Board gamers can be interested in painting figures, too, since so many board games these days come with figures.) If your convention has a Facebook group or webpage, post there, and work with the convention organizers to provide info so they can publicize your event.

Things that surprised me a little when I started to run P&Ts:

People can be a little picky about the mini they want to paint, and they will try to push you to find something that is their character or what they want to paint. If you're hoping that people will grab up the sci-fi or whichever figures you have from your Bones that you aren't personally interested in, they won't necessarily be excited about those because they're free. ;->

That goes double for kids, they're much pickier than I expected in that way. Many kids will also slap some paint on a figure for 15-20 minutes, call it good and want another to paint, and another, and another. I have a one per person per day rule at P&Ts. (Most of the local conventions I do this at are charities, so I will accept donations of $1 or more for another figure.)

I have a rule at my P&Ts that anyone 12 or younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Most parents are pretty good and enjoy sharing the activity with their kids, but there are those who are eager to find a place to park their kids so they can go have fun, and an activity that looks like a craft will strike some as that place. I also keep an extra eye on kids to explain they do not need a giant pool of paint or to not leave the brushes standing in water, etc, because their accompanying adult might not realize that.

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I'm not sure I can attach documents, so I'm going to copy and paste the text. I try to do the title as big as I can and text on the larger size as long as I can keep it down to a sheet.

How P&T works sign:

 

Paint and Take Table

Instructions

 

NOTE: Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult while using the paint table.

 

1. Choose a Miniature

One free miniature per person per day. (Or 2-3 small figures.)

 

2. Choose a Chair

Sit down at an empty space. You should see all the supplies you need, but if something is missing, just ask for help!

 

3. Paint!

And have fun! Please follow the posted guidelines.

 

4. Tidy

Please rinse out your brush, throw away your old plate and paper towel, and tidy up the space for the next person. Thank you!

 

5. Take

The miniature you painted is yours to keep, enjoy!

 

If you have any problems or can’t find the supplies you need, please look for the person in a red and black bowling shirt and ask her for help.

Instructions sign:

 

Paint and Take Table Guidelines

 

 

1.      Don’t squeeze harder if the paint isn’t coming out – use a T-pin to unclog the bottle or ask for help.

 

2.      Don’t leave brushes in the water, it ruins the bristles

 

3.      Don’t let paint dry on the brushes. Rinse them out as you paint and when you’re done.

 

4.      Don’t be afraid to ask others at the table for help or tips!

 

5.      Do use only a few drops of paint. You can get more later if needed.

 

6.      Do put the cap back on the paint bottle after you take what you need.

 

NOTE: Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult while using the paint table.

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first of all. Good on ya for helping out, and choosing to do this. I really can't offer anything in the way of advice, but definatley kudos to you.

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Honestly....your gonna need helpers. I doubt that the entire time you will be there you won't need to use the bathroom or go get food. Having overlapping shifts with ppl you trust will make it easier.

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I've done most of the small convention paint and takes I've done on my own. That's one reason I try to set up a U formation, so stuff not in use is tucked away and not easy to see/grab. If you have a couple of people painting at the table, ask them to watch stuff, and they kind of also keep an eye on each other (particularly if they don't know each other.) When I am on my own like that, I run the area to my preferred hours (sorry morning people ;->), and generally only run 6 or so hours a day. 

It's definitely helpful to have someone helping, if you have a friend/relation who'd come with you. They don't need to know much about painting, just how you're working things at the P&T and how to set up the stations and answer basic questions. You could also talk to the convention organizers about volunteer help - whether you can call on them to have someone sit with the table for an hour while you get a meal, or even a few minutes while you switch out water and visit the restroom. Hopefully by the time you've finished one event, you'll get to know some people in your area who are interested in painting who can be your helpers for the next one.

You can also consider continuing it on after the convention, or as an alternative to the convention if you think that's too much to jump into, by looking at running a local painting club/meet-up. You need an interested game store or similar location to provide space and tables, and some patience as it can take a little while to get the ball rolling, but it's fun and a bit less stressful than a convention. I run my local paint meetups a lot like P&T - I bring most of the supplies. I don't hand out minis to everyone who shows up, but I let people know I have a few on hand so if they are novices just looking to try out the hobby before they commit, I'm happy to give 'em that first taste for free. ;-> 

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@Wren -  Thanks for the almost overwhelming amount of information :)  It took a bit to digest it but its all really good advice and now I feel like I have some real world experience running one of these.  Pretty cool.  

 

One of the sponsors is a local game store and I bet they will have some merchandise for sale there.  It might be a good idea to have them purchase a mini from them so they can get to know our local game store.  Of course I could have some extras on hand if they cant do that for some reason.  I contact them and ask.

 

Does anyone have any ideas for a way to describe this in the convention schedule? (you can probably guess that writing is not really my strong suit :) ) 

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That's so cool that you're willing to help more people get into painting! ::D: It sounds like an amazing, hands-on way to introduce people to the hobby.

 

(Reading this thread, especially Wren's descriptions, is making me really hopeful for Reaper (or anyone!) to have a Paint and Take at PAX South again. I was too chicken last time  :zombie:  )

Edited by Morihalda

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(Reading this thread, especially Wren's descriptions, is making me really hopeful for Reaper (or anyone!) to have a Paint and Take at PAX South again. I was too chicken last time  :zombie:  )

 

Not an official confirmation, but based on a conversation that I had with Ladystorm at RAC, Reaper will have a booth and Paint and take at PAX South again.

 

Ron

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Apologies for the overwhelming part, I have trouble being brief. ;->

 

I'd probably consider giving them at least one miniature for free. Morihalda's not the only person who gets put off from trying something new for various reasons, so you'll likely get a few more people if you don't add having to purchase something to the reasons. The first taste is free thing really works. ;-> However, if you know the sponsor store is going to have figures on hand, you can let people know that if they aren't happy with the free selection, they can purchase something at the store and still use your paint and supplies, and remind those who try it and seem excited that they can go pick up some supplies at the store booth.

As part of that, you should probably let the store know that you're doing the paint and take, and recommend they bring basic mini painting supplies like paint and brushes (if they stock those), as well as some figures. It's pretty common for at least a few people to try it and want to buy stuff right then and there, so that could work out well for the store. (At least it works that way at larger conventions, and I've generated sales for the store we paint at on regular paint days, but we don't have a store selling at the local conventions I attend, so I do not have direct small convention experience to draw on.)

For a blurb, feel free to fiddle with this until it meets your needs:

Have you ever wanted to paint a miniature figure for a game you play, or even just for fun? Come on out and give it a try at Convention X's Paint and Take event! We supply the paints, brushes, figures, and everything else you need. You come sit down sometime between the hours of Y to Z, paint a figure, and take it home with you - for free!  You are also welcome to purchase additional figures to paint from the Store Name Here booth. An experienced miniature painter will be available to answer your questions and demonstrate techniques, so there's no need to be nervous if you've never painted before. Children under 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian while using the paint and take area.

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@Wren -- No Apologies necessary.  All that info was great and there were many parts of it that I would have never thought of.  You even supplied me with all the text and signage I need for the project.  You are my hero!

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Here is the verbiage that I use for our local gaming convention (OwlCon):

Description: Come and pick out a free primed Reaper miniature, paint it, and

then take your masterpiece home with you. All brushes, miniatures and Reaper

paints will be provided, though you are welcome to bring your own. While

preregistering guarantees a spot at the start of each time slot, this event

is a walk up and participate event: there may be a wait until one of the 6

painting stations is free. Some basic instruction/guidance will also be

available.

 

I run my event similar to Wren, and I only have a relatively small number of painters at a time (compared to how Reaper runs PnT events with many people possible at a time).

 

Ron

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