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Reapercon 2019 Class Reviews

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I took 3 classes at ReaperCon, and thought all 3 were fantastic, even though all 3 were very different from one another.

 

Reaper U: Beginner Freehand (Cocanour) - Of all my classes, this was probably the most helpful for me. I've attempted freehand before, semi-successfully, but getting a hands on practice, with instruction, and getting to see not only my own efforts, but my fellow classmates really helped to gel the ideas. I could see what I was doing wrong, what they were doing wrong, and the instructor showed us how to correct it. One thing I'd have wanted from the class was help in figuring out WHAT to paint, but the HOW to paint it is super helpful by itself. 

 

Reaper U: Painting Expressive Faces and Eyes (Schubert) - I've taken this class before, and I think it's changed a little since I did, but much of it was very familiar. Why did I take a demonstration class again? Not for the handout, which is great by itself, but because getting to see Derek work his magic, getting to hover over his shoulder and see him apply the paint, watch as he tests the color and see him make the choices he makes... worth it. 

 

Reaper U: Introduction to Painting Translucent Miniatures (Sundeth) - I wasn't signed up for this class, but a fellow classmate from my previous class handed me his ticket since he was off to dinner. The fool. There aren't a whole lot of people working with painting translucents in interesting ways. It's hard, really a radically different mindset than painting regular minis. Doug showed us a bunch of different tools and techniques, and then let us go wild experimenting on our figures. My results were... interesting, but I'm now much more likely to try to do something with my translucent minis. There's something to be said for bring given permission to just... try things. I hope that this class continues to evolve as more people develop new techniques and styles. 

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1 hour ago, Crowley said:

Reaper U: Introduction to Painting Translucent Miniatures (Sundeth) - I wasn't signed up for this class, but a fellow classmate from my previous class handed me his ticket since he was off to dinner. The fool. There aren't a whole lot of people working with painting translucents in interesting ways. It's hard, really a radically different mindset than painting regular minis. Doug showed us a bunch of different tools and techniques, and then let us go wild experimenting on our figures. My results were... interesting, but I'm now much more likely to try to do something with my translucent minis. There's something to be said for bring given permission to just... try things. I hope that this class continues to evolve as more people develop new techniques and styles. 

 

Thank you for the review and I'm glad the class was useful. But I wasn't as happy with that one as I wanted to be, so I modified it a bit for the second edition on Saturday to have more hands-on stuff and more actual experimenting. I think the changes helped (and some of the comments after the first class led directly to the changes I made, so thanks to those who did comment). I'm expecting to run this one again next Reapercon, hopefully with a clear translucent figure for more playing.

 

Also, the Badger guy gave me the sample set of Ghost Tints from his booth, so I'll bring those along and we'll have more choices than just mixing the Reaper Clears.

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I really wanted to take the Painting Translucents class. I'm glad it seems to be a success. I'd love a chance to take it next year. 

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On 9/6/2019 at 10:36 AM, Guindyloo said:

I only took one class this year and I wish I'd been able to schedule more when tickets went on sale, but it just didn't work out that way. However, it did end up working out for me in the end as I wasn't feeling well through the whole con (nothing even remotely contagious, so don't try to label me patient zero if you caught the con crud, you didn't get it from me ::P:) so really one class was all I could handle.

 

Sweet Sweet Candy OSL - Vibrant Lighting Effects for Miniatures - Benjamin Kantor - Friday at 3pm - I LOVED this class. I'm a really big fan of his work and I thought that it was well worth the time and cost to sit and listen to his thoughts on OSL and lighting in general. If you are not aware, Benjamin Kantor is not just an amazing Crystal Brush winning painter, he's also a professional Film Colorist that works on movies. Lighting and colour is what he does. So I was super interested in this class to begin with and I wasn't disappointed. 

 

I think the class, however, would've benefited from some better clarification in the class description - first of all, it was listed as an Intermediate class and I disagree, I think this was an Advanced class. It also was called a hands-on class, and yet it was a theory class and it was made very clear that technique was not being taught. I didn't have a problem with that at all, but I could see other people not having realized when they signed up that they wouldn't be receiving direct instruction, considering there were multiple people in the class that indicated that they had no prior knowledge of who Benjamin Kantor was and just signed up for an OSL class. I know that this was a much longer course that was condensed down as much as possible, but condensed as it was I think it would've been much better as a demo class rather than anything hands-on. I would've preferred to watch Benjamin paint for 10 minutes over throwing my own paint around, but that's me and I'm a very slow painter and found that stressful whereas I know for a lot of people, they're more interested in being able to put paint on a miniature in a class and I have heard that lecture/demo classes are a harder sell than hands-on classes.

 

Overall I was happy, I feel like I got out of it what I was hoping to get out of it, and I would definitely take future classes with Benjamin Kantor.

 

I took Ben Kantor's "Bangin' Reflections" class, and it sounds like it was similar. He started off with a ton of theory on how to approach things, and then gave some lecture on his technique. We didn't get to any hands-on painting until the last 30-40 minutes of the class. If anything, I think the class might have benefited from being adjusted to a longer 3 hour format to allow for more discussion and practice, although I don't know that I was prepared to absorb much more by Saturday afternoon. This class felt like it was aimed towards a more advanced level than advertised, which was OK for me, but left some students a little bit lost by the end. On the whole, I think it was an excellent class, and I would love to take more Kantor classes in the future, but the description will need some adjustment.

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I arrived home from ReaperCon and left the very next day for another event (Western music jamboree ... it was spectacular).  So, I'm home and have been thinking about the whole Reaper U 2019 experience.  I emphasize that my take is personal and from a limited point of view ... it may or it may not resonate with others and may not be strictly accurate.  I come to ReaperCon for the classes and the contest -- that's my focus.  I'm only gonna make some general comments; I have to ponder whether I later want to get specific about specific instructors.  Here's my read for 2019. 

 

First, the number of offerings and the breadth of the content has improved markedly over the last five ReaperCons.  I've taken enough classes with enough instructors now to have a feel for the quality of the classes ... instruction, organization, instructor preparedness, the appropriateness of the materials provided (handouts, minis, paints, glues, etc.) for the stated intention of the class, and the content of the class relative to advertised level of the content (beginner, intermediate, advanced).  The offering of classes gets better and better and the average attendee has more access to classes than in the past.  The trend is positive. 

 

Second, I was offput by repeatedly having more students in a class than it was designed for.  In past ReaperCons I'd seen an occasional unexpected extra student; it seemed to get out of hand in 2019.  We had one class where 12 students turned into 14 and then 1 more (I recall) showed up.  We literally did not have seating for all ... even after pillaging the hall and other classes for seats.  Several other classes had 1-3 more students than the class had been organized for.    This overbooking led to instructors having to deal with more students than they had prepared for; several made pointed comments and made apologies about having to adjust on the fly to accommodate.  A couple indicated that they had used all of their backup minis and supplies because of the unexpected student load.  I think, in these cases, the instructors, students, and the quality of the class suffered due to lost time and administrative overhead caused by "extra" students.

 

With one exception, all students, not matter how many in the class, had tickets.  Although most instructors collected tickets, we had at least one who did not.  In one class, a student, when asked for his ticket, stated that he did not know he needed one.  He apparently attempted to get into the class (I was unable to gather the details) but, the registration line being so long, he just came to the class and figured he'd work it out later.   The instructor went off with them and, 10 precious class minutes later, returned with him and his ticket.    

 

Third, the quality of instruction continues to be uneven.  It is not surprising -- a normal curve tells us that we will have a few excellent instructors, a few poor ones, and the majority will be in between.  Sorta like a painting contest.  And, of course, the personality of an instructor and the personality of a student, combined with the instructor's teaching style and student's learning style have to be compatible enough so that both can benefit.  I like a very structured learning environment with very specific tasks and objectives; I don't do well in a loose, fly-by-our-pants class.  HST, I think that several of my instructors could have been more prepared in terms of time control (both over and, in one case, very  under), developing specific objectives within the available time, keeping focus on the advertised content of the class without either adding or dropping content, and being able to manage a range of students who, at one end, are raw beginners who demand a private tutorial, or, at the other, accomplished painters who have decided to run the class themselves.  In short, I suggest that focusing on a few clear objectives and teaching them in depth, with as much personal criticism of the students work as feasible, might resonate with students

 

Fourth, what happened with the paints?  I had several classes where the instructors commented that they did not have the paints they had planned to have to teach their technique.  I had instructors bargaining with their neighboring instructor for paints.  We had no such issues in prior ReaperCons.  

 

As I re-read this, it seems to have a negative tone.  I would mitigate that by pointing out that I had the best organized and presented class ever, on the most ambitious topic, ever.  I had a class with an instructor whose personality and style was gratingly opposite mine, but her presentation and grasp of the topic was compelling.  I had a class that was about as loosey, goosey as they come and I had the best time of any class I've every taken.  I had a class I'd taken twice before and it finally clicked -- the instructor was very direct in her criticism and finally pulled me past my lack of comprehension and added a tool to my technique toolbox.

Edited by Highlander
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TL;DR: I enjoyed all my classes and learned something in all of them. First ReaperCon, so I took the maximum (recommended) 8 classes. I didn’t feel overwhelmed with that many classes, but it does cut down on socializing/gaming/painting time. I agree with others on the class description comments. Descriptions could benefit from tabletop/competition notations, and a more elaborate explanation of what beginner/intermediate means. I consider myself an intermediate painter overall, but a beginner to some techniques, like OSL and NMM.

 

Reaper U: This Class Is About Contrast (Thursday) (Greenwald)

Lecture with handout. Jen stated at the start of class that there may not be time to paint. A miniature was given to everyone in case there was time available. Jen is a good instructor; lecture was at a good pace and kept everyone’s interest. I learned several new ideas, some related to color theory, some technique, and some miscellaneous tricks I would not have thought of on my own. I would recommend this class. Mostly geared toward painters who want to get those “darker shadows, brighter highlights”.   

 

Reaper U: The Dragon’s in the Details (horns, teeth, claws, eyes, scales) (Thursday) (Cecil)

Hands on demonstration and student painting with feedback. David is a very charismatic and enthusiastic teacher. He explained techniques, then demonstrated on a miniature and waked around the room with the example. He did this for horns, scales, teeth, eyes, and wings on the Temple Dragon miniature, which was provided to everyone. I really enjoyed this class. I liked how David provided feedback to everyone individually. I also enjoyed looking at other student’s techniques, which was also encouraged by David. I would recommend this class. Mostly geared toward beginners or anyone who has never painted a dragon. 

 

Reaper U Night Owl: Realistic Skintones with Shoshie! (Thursday) (Bauer)

Hands on demonstration and painting with feedback. Shoshie was a very engaging instructor. She demonstrated a technique, allowed the class time to paint, and then provided feedback individually. A miniature was provided. She kept the class moving at a good pace. I learned several new techniques. I would recommend this class. Mostly geared toward painters who struggle with basic skin painting.

 

Reaper U: Sculpting Details in Putty (Guthrie, Ridolfi) (Friday)

Hands on demonstration, class participation, sculpting, and individual feedback. GreenStuff, miniature, and other miscellaneous tools were provided. Julie and Bob are amazing and keep it interesting by presenting two different takes on how to execute various sculpting techniques. We were shown how to sculpt belts, buckles, pouches, cloaks, swords, and feathers. We practiced the techniques and were given individual feedback. I would recommend this class. For anyone who is interested in sculpting.

 

Reaper U: Level Up (Farnsworth) (Friday)  

Demonstration and class participation with feedback. A printed paper with various designs was provided for use in the class. Michelle used an open format where a technique was explained, she demonstrated to the class, and then we were free to practice the technique. Discussion with Michelle and other students was encouraged. The technique taught was beneficial, but I struggled to grasp the concept since we were painting on paper and not a miniature. This is not an instruction problem, but I mention it in case others are like me and need to see the technique on the medium that they will be using it on. I know others in the class mentioned it as well. Mostly for painters new to adding highlights and shadows.

 

Reaper U: Object Source Lighting (Saturday) (Diamondstone)

Demonstration, class practice with individual feedback. This is the second class I have taken from David, the other one was at another Con. I enjoy his teaching style, he is engaging and walks around the room to give detailed, individual feedback. His feedback is often not limited to what the class is covering, so this is a bonus as well. We were provided a miniature holding a torch and were given instructions on how to paint OSL on the goblin holding the torch. Instruction included color selection through execution. I would recommend this class. For painters who are new to OSL.

 

Reaper U: Painting Eyes (Schultz) (Saturday)   

Handout with demonstration, class practice and individual feedback. A miniature was provided. Technique was discussed with reference to handout. Each step of the technique was practiced, and Michael walked around the room and provided individual feedback and suggestions to the class based on how everyone was progressing. Michael is a very energetic instructor. I enjoyed this class and will use this method for painting eyes on my miniatures. I would recommend this class. For anyone who struggles with painting eyes.

 

Reaper U: Color Theory Completely and Totally Demystified (Sunday) (Kantor) 

Lecture, presentation format. I have no training in art whatsoever, so this class was very beneficial to me. I would say it is probably beneficial to anyone considering there were class instructors in this class with me. I learned a lot about color theory, including some “garbage” terms that people use that have no application or meaning when describing color. Half the class was color theory presentation, the other half was tips and tricks to achieve the look that you want on your miniature. I would recommend this class. For anyone interested in color theory.

 

EvilCleric-Wendy

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I've been sick so getting these other 3 entered was taking a bit..

 

Reaper U: The Dragon’s in the Details (horns, teeth, claws, eyes, scales)  - @LordDave is a great teacher and he is super enthusiastic about this topic.  Aimed more towards tabletop display, I didn't get as much out of this class as I had hoped, but I did pick up a couple new things I hadn't thought of for improving my dragon quality.   

 

Reaper U: Dot Textures (Proctor) - I get a lot more out of @Clever Crow classes, because I tend to paint the same way he does.  This new technique he is working with is great, and the number of examples he had really gave a good demonstration of the possibilities this style has.  This class could be useful to beginner and intermediate painters.

 

Reaper U: Multicultural Skintones (Schultz) - added this one at the last minute because skin tones are what I am working on currently.  Mocha is always a great and enthusiastic teacher.. It's more towards Intermediate, but if you understand how glazes and shading work this class is not hard to follow.

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4 hours ago, SamuraiJack said:

I've been sick so getting these other 3 entered was taking a bit..

 

Reaper U: The Dragon’s in the Details (horns, teeth, claws, eyes, scales)  - @LordDave is a great teacher and he is super enthusiastic about this topic.  Aimed more towards tabletop display, I didn't get as much out of this class as I had hoped, but I did pick up a couple new things I hadn't thought of for improving my dragon quality.   

Thanks for the feedback.  I hope you feel better soon.

 

 

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On 9/7/2019 at 7:00 PM, Highlander said:

Fourth, what happened with the paints?  I had several classes where the instructors commented that they did not have the paints they had planned to have to teach their technique.  I had instructors bargaining with their neighboring instructor for paints.  We had no such issues in prior ReaperCons.  

 

 

There was a miscommunication/mixup this year. Instructors were told there would be a set of Bones paints in each class, which in years past has meant one of the clear plastic cases with all 56 paints in it. When the first class session started, it was discovered that the classes were stocked with the cases of the new Bones set #1 and #2. These sets do not compromise the complete Bones set, and do not include skin tones or metallics, which as you can imagine might present an issue in certain class topics. I think whoever made the decision to stock with the new cases didn't realize that there are only 16 paints to each case, so two are not a complete set.

I did not have a class that first session, so I ran to each room to tell the instructors they'd need to go grab paints off the instructor rack if they needed those types of colours. Reaper staff arranged to have the missing colours brought over, which I believe happened within a few hours on Thursday, as supplemental colours were present by my first class at 1pm.


What we may not have done very well was notify everyone of what to look for in regards to those supplemental colours. They were brought over in small cardboard boxes, six paints to a box, and some of the instructors might not have realized what they were. I integrated the ones in my classroom into the paint cases for the ease of subsequent instructors, but I didn't think to check the other rooms or ask the classroom staff to check whether this was done. :-<

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On ‎9‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 7:56 AM, LordDave said:

Thanks!  Feel free to ask me any questions about the stuff we covered in my weathering class.  Well you can ask about blending or shiny things too, but my answer to those won't be as good as Kuro's or Oneboot's.  lol.

 

 

Thanks I really appreciate that. One thing I really love about this con and the forums is how accessible people are, and how much they are willing to share what they know with others. I am a very "hands on" person and learn best by doing. So I feel like I got more out of the classes where we did a lot painting compared to watching and trying to keep notes. But I take my hat off to all the instructors who donated their time over the weekend to help us. Thank you all

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OK, I finally have the time, at a devce with a keyboard and able to access the forums.  So I suppose a review of my two classes is due:

 

Blending--Layering and Feathering (Thursday 1000am) @Kuro Cleanbrush as advertized Ian showed us how he blends using a layering technique.  He started with how he lays out the paint on his pallett; pools of the shade, mid and highlight colors with the mixes of each below/between.  Repeat as necessary.  I have taken multiple classes where blending has been taught, so I know the theory behind it, my problem is in the application.  I always end up covering too much of the midtone and undoing all of the work.  Unfortunately, this time proved to be more of the same.  No through anyone fault but my own.  I just have a problem determining how wide to make the shades and the highlights.  @Kuro Cleanbrush di provide me with some new tools in my quest for blending.  The paint layout; it's going to help me be more consistant with keeping all of the layer colors straight (some of the inbetween shades look awfully close  to each other on the palte and I have more than once used the wrong one when trying fix a bad transition.  And his "squiggle" technique for trying to smooth bad transition.  I've always had smooth long stroke demonstrated and for me at least, squiggling the brush down the transition line works better.  So thanks for that.  I recommend this class for anyone trying to learn blending.

 

My second class was:

Level Up (Farnsworth) ( @EvilCleric reviewed the class above).  Tehis class ended up being primarily a blending class.  Michelle did something delightfully different.  We didn't touch a mini all class.  She had a bunch of outlines (dragon, rose, tortise shell, ANGRY BEAVER!, and pineapples) printed up on some sort of mixed media paper (so the paint wouldn't bleed through).  We were then told to grab our largest brushes and then then paired up.  Each group then picked colors and practiced blending; by the layering method.  Oh and no wet palletes allowed.  Crazy thing is, this worked for me!  The subject matter was different enough, large enough and the situation so low stakes (I had many more sections to blend on, so if I messed something up, I just started on another rose petal) that I was able to do a half decent even if the area was as big as some whole mini cloaks.  It just clicked for me.   So just on that alone, it was probably the best class of the con (and possibly some of the previous cons) for me, due to breaking through my personal blending block.  There were some other topics covered as well, color choices, tools, and something that we were told not to talk about for fear of drawing the wrath of traditionally trained artists.  I highly recommend this class for anyone who is struggling with figuring out their blending.  

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24 minutes ago, Dilvish the Deliverer said:

Oh and no wet palletes allowed.

 

When you say no wet pallets, what was the alternative?  Paint straight from the bottle, or a paint mixed in a well pallet?

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21 minutes ago, Clearman said:

 

When you say no wet pallets, what was the alternative?  Paint straight from the bottle, or a paint mixed in a well pallet?

Straight from the bottle to the foam plate pallette.  She didn't want us wet blending as she was trying to demonstrate how layering works and how the colors beneath the layer affect the layers over them.  Wet pallets slow the drying time enough that you either waste too much time waiting for each coat to dry, or you inadvertantly end up wet blending.

 

The sheer number of changes; big brush, no wet pallete, 2D surface, big area, helped me break through my block and finally get the process of layering.

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10 hours ago, Wren said:

What we may not have done very well was notify everyone of what to look for in regards to those supplemental colours. They were brought over in small cardboard boxes, six paints to a box, and some of the instructors might not have realized what they were. I integrated the ones in my classroom into the paint cases for the ease of subsequent instructors, but I didn't think to check the other rooms or ask the classroom staff to check whether this was done. :-<

 

Never saw them, no one mentioned them. Same with pre-cut parchment sheets.

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11 hours ago, Wren said:

 

There was a miscommunication/mixup this year. Instructors were told there would be a set of Bones paints in each class, which in years past has meant one of the clear plastic cases with all 56 paints in it. When the first class session started, it was discovered that the classes were stocked with the cases of the new Bones set #1 and #2. These sets do not compromise the complete Bones set, and do not include skin tones or metallics, which as you can imagine might present an issue in certain class topics. I think whoever made the decision to stock with the new cases didn't realize that there are only 16 paints to each case, so two are not a complete set.

I did not have a class that first session, so I ran to each room to tell the instructors they'd need to go grab paints off the instructor rack if they needed those types of colours. Reaper staff arranged to have the missing colours brought over, which I believe happened within a few hours on Thursday, as supplemental colours were present by my first class at 1pm.


What we may not have done very well was notify everyone of what to look for in regards to those supplemental colours. They were brought over in small cardboard boxes, six paints to a box, and some of the instructors might not have realized what they were. I integrated the ones in my classroom into the paint cases for the ease of subsequent instructors, but I didn't think to check the other rooms or ask the classroom staff to check whether this was done. :-<

It wasn't a huge issue in any of my classes.  Luckily, in my first class, I had brought a few extra paints with me and as it was water basing, we didnt need a lot.  By the second class, my room had paints in it that I needed for the class.  

 

I did like the little parchment squares.  those were very handy

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