ReaperCon 2018 Winning Entries

Gold in Painters & First Place in Bombshell Manufacturer Awards

Huzzah! I finally have pictures of my winning entries from ReaperCon. First up is my Dark Sword “Hunting in Mosswood” entry. You may have recognized her as the featured mini from the Miniature Monthly contest they had not too long ago. While I didn’t finish her before the end of the contest, I finally finished her for ReaperCon.

Her outfit was loosely-inspired by Rey’s outfit from The Force Awakens. I liked the idea of a beige tunic with brown leathers for her belts straps, boots, and arm braces. I entered her in the Reaper MSP Open “Painters” division and she won gold :)

I do regret that I didn’t paint the vegetation with more interesting colors. I’d also like to add some ferns and/or resin water effects, though I didn’t want to risk a brand new technique that could compromise the base.

“Hunting in Mosswood” - Dark Sword Miniatures

I’m pleased that she won a Gold in the Painter’s Division. Unfortunately, this one didn’t win one of the Dark Sword manufacturer award, though the winning entries for those who did win were spectacular!

Darksword Freehand MochaMinis

Cloak Freehand

This was one of my first attempts at freehand on a cloak. While the scale of the pattern is still quite large, it allowed me to practice painting gold embroidery out the outside of her cloak. I imagined gold threads that would reflect differently as the cloak folds billowed behind her.

I used Reaper’s Gold NMM Triad to paint this, along with some extra-bright titanium white to really make it pop.

In addition to the freehand pattern, I took the liberty of giving her a bowstring (one of my personal pet peeves since wooden bows look incomplete without them) I shredded some dental floss until the proportion looked right.

In the final pictures on the right, her bow has been accidentally bent a bit and the bowstring is touching her arm. It shouldn’t be like that— the string should be pulled away from her arm brace just a bit to look more natural. I’m only noticing it now that I’m writing this blog post :)

I have to say, the freehand took FOREVER. Ugh.

“Blending In” · Bombshell Miniatures
First Place Golden Maelee Manufacturer Awards

Bombshell Mini Freehand Mocha Minis

Graffiti Freehand

I had a lot of fun with this! I researched different “graffiti alphabets” and chose a style I thought would translate well on a miniature scale. I cut a smaller piece from a Reaper “Jersey Barrier”, to mimic a concrete traffic barrier you often see in the cities, dividing opposing highway lanes without grassy medians.

I penciled it in first, outlined it in liner, and then filled in the letters. I used the purples and pinks to really emphasize her camouflage-patterned gun holster and rollerblades. One thing I’d do differently next time is to give it some more weathering— chips, paint scratches, dirt– to make it grungier. Otherwise, I’m happy with how it turned out!

Honestly, I’m very lucky I placed at all in the Bombshell manufacturer awards. There was a bit of confusion as far as the deadline for the painting contest entries at ReaperCon. Long story short, I knew I had to enter these pieces before teaching a 3-5pm class. A little after 1pm, as I was about to glue my Bombshell entry to her base and turn her in, someone approached me at Artists Alley and wanted to chat. I apologized that I was just leaving to turn in my entries since I had class close to the deadline. “Oh don’t worry, the deadline isn’t until 6pm. It says so in the program.” Oh! Well in that case, I do have some time to spare :) One discussion led to another, and I found myself planning to turn my minis right after my class ended at 5pm.

Fast forward to me gathering up my class supplies at 5pm, when I find 5+ missed texts from a friend asking why my entries are still on my table and that I’d missed the deadline. All I could think about was how much time and effort I’d put into these miniatures and how it was all going to be wasted. I can’t even remember who the person was who told me the deadline was 6pm, but I swear I remember seeing it printed that way. Yes, the deadline in past years was 5pm, but I assumed it had been changed this year. NOPE! Supposedly, someone came by Artists Alley to remind everyone that the deadline was 5pm, but I honestly don’t remember hearing that (maybe I was in a class?). In a panic, I slapped some glue on the miniature base and half-ran my entries to the entry table at 5:07pm. I was certain they were going to turn me away! [Begin the circus music]…

One of my friends asked if they could help carry anything, and I handed them the Bombshell mini while I entered my other two miniatures. However, I failed to mention that I didn’t pin her arm and as they held her tightly and pushed her down into the slowly-drying glue, her arm came off. Hoo boy. So now I have a miniature that isn’t attached to her base AND her arm/gun has detached at the elbow AND a pissed off person behind the contest entry table, as I babble about hearing about/seeing a 6pm deadline printed somewhere. More friends came to the rescue with a bottle of glue and I held back tears of embarrassment as she was patched back together. I couldn’t believe it: I was THAT person who waited until the last minute and inconvenienced others due to their poor planning. And I was so ashamed since this was my first year of being a full-time instructor— to me, that was absolutely unacceptable. I’m incredibly grateful to my friends who helped save the day, and I vow never to be that person ever again.

Important Note: Now before anyone thinks someone gave me bad information, intentionally or otherwise, the person WAS correct— the deadline was listed as 6pm in one of Reaper’s printed handouts and 5pm in another.

Luckily, my entries were accepted! Having worked 8+ years proofing printed material for retail companies, you’d be remiss not to honor a big misprint like that. I used to work with sale flyers proofreading products and prices— people get really pissed off if their $6.99 lb Animal Welfare Rated, Grass-Fed Beef Short Ribs are actually $8.99 lb. Trust me. Part of me wanted to offer my content/proof-reading services to Reaper, but I figured that would come across as insulting. However, I genuinely would love to help correct typos and inconsistencies, especially if it can save folks a headache or two (me and the entry table reps). Also, funny story— my name card at Artists Alley had my last name misspelled. Not a big deal, as I was able to correct it with some subtle Sharpie/paper patchwork). While there’s so much that goes into a convention, you really can’t catch 100% of errors, but it never hurts to have an extra pair of eyes on the important printed information materials :)

Lessons learned:

  1. Pin your damn contest minis, even if you assume you’re the only one who will be handling them directly.

  2. Double-check the deadline. Always. Never take someone’s word for it.

  3. Never wait until the last moment to turn your contest entries in. Even if you’re 99% done like I was, finish it and turn it in early, especially if you’re an instructor. You’re expected to be available to the con-goers, not hiding in your hotel room panic painting (I didn’t do that, I promise!)


In other news, I entered a Reaper miniature in the MSP Open— one of the 25th Anniversary miniatures– that wasn’t chosen as my strongest entry in the Painters division to be judged. I’ll write about that finished miniature in a separate post, since I want to add a few more elements to her base before I take the final photos.

I’m very happy with the outcome of the contest, and I intend to continue incorporating freehand into the next few miniatures that I paint :)

Final ReaperCon 2018 Pics

Apologies for the delay! My husband was in the ER on Monday and he’s been recovering the rest of this week. He’s fine now, thankfully. Tonight I’ll get pictures of my miniatures and have a new post tomorrow morning. Thanks for your patience!

ReaperCon 2018

I'm home safely from ReaperCon 2018-- what a fantastic experience. It's always such a joy to spend time with my favorite convention folks! I'm forever grateful to the artists and wonderful people who inspire me and push me to be better :) 

Since I taught a full class load, I was awarded a spot on "Artist Alley", where guest instructors (artists, painters, and sculptors) are available to chat with convention attendees in between events and classes. I did miss a few folks who came by my table while I was teaching, and if I'm an instructor next year, I may make a sign that says "Sorry I missed you! I'm currently teaching a class. Will return at [time]." This was my first time on the "other side of the table" (so cool!) and it was personally rewarding for me. I welcomed new folks to the convention and offered feedback for beginner painters who came seeking advice on how to improve their painting skills. 

I was extremely honored and excited to have all my classes fill up. "Mocha, all your classes are sold out!" "...Seriously? That's awesome!" My favorite class to teach this year was "Multicultural Skin Tones". I had a lot of fun creating the class content and references-- there was so much I wanted to explore and share with my students! We played with different skin color recipes and I shared ways to become more ambitious when trying to plan color schemes for miniatures that look wildly different from the original box art (always a fun challenge!)

My "Painting Eyes" class is a close second-favorite, since I have folks who have never-- and I mean never-- painted an eye. "I avoid miniatures with eyes because I can't paint them" ... "Well that won't do! I expect you to walk out of this room cured of that fear!" The folks who have taken my class tell me excitedly that they've learned something new about painting eyes, whether they're beginners or intermediate painters. When my students have a "Eureka!" moment, that is the absolute best for me as an instructor. I still remember when I was taught different tips and tricks for painting eyes and I actually found joy when painting more expressive faces. 

One of the biggest surprises for me at the convention was the interview with Ron Hawkins, Art Director of Reaper Miniatures. Reaper was livestreaming interviews different instructors during the convention and when I was approached to do one, I was both appreciative and anxious. What will they ask? I don't want to embarrass myself. This is live after all!

In the end, I remembered the convention is all about having fun and sharing the love of the hobby. I agreed and did the best I could, despite being nervous :) As soon as they said, "We're live!" my brain blacked out and had to go back and watch the video to remember what I even said, ha! It was fun and I enjoyed watching the other instructors' interviews as well. 

Interview with Michal “Mocha” Schultz at ReaperCon 2018

Uploaded by Reaper Miniatures on 8/31/18

I do wish I had documented the convention better with photos. It was a true whirlwind! However, once I got back home, I scrolled through my pictures and uploaded the fun ones below (just click the picture if you need to enlarge it). 

I have to say, this year's venue was a true highlight. ReaperCon was held at the Embassy Suites Denton Convention Center and the hotel was beautiful. The two previous years were held at the Premier Event Center in Lewisville, TX and was a musty, sad bunker when compared to this year's fabulous venue. Embassy Suites elevated ReaperCon in my opinion and added such a great value and experience for all who attended. I hope they have it there next year. If they do, I'm definitely coming back!

New Venue Highlights: 

  1. Convenience. Being able to travel upstairs to drop off/pick up painting supplies and personal items in hotel room.
  2. Clean, well-appointed hotel rooms. Bluetooth in the bathroom mirror! Two-room suites! Great value for the price.
  3. PLENTY of room to mingle, game, paint, and explore the convention. Quiet places to escape and recharge.
  4. Noise levels were managed well with the carpeted convention hall, separate gaming & classroom areas.
  5. Private & semi-private classrooms allowed students and teachers to converse easily without struggling to hear.
  6. Gaming tables increased exponentially. Folks were enjoying tabletop games spread throughout convention area.
  7. The staff was fabulous. We can be a rowdy bunch and the hotel was courteous, reasonable & accommodating.

I'll be posting the final photos of my competition pieces on Monday, September 17, 2018.  I flew to the convention, and since leave with more than I brought (yay swag!), I didn't have enough room to transport everything home. I didn't want to risk checking my miniatures as luggage, so I decided to leave them with family members until I can retrieve them in two weeks when I attend a wedding. Flying is stressful enough, but if I arrived home with broken miniatures, I would be heartbroken. 

All in all, ReaperCon was another success and I already look forward to next year. One of the best things about going to this one convention each year is that I get to see the folks who share in my interest and get to recharge creatively! At the same time, it only happens once a year...  However, now that I'm living in the Midwest, Adepticon may be in the cards for me for the very first time. And I'd love to visit my friends in Las Vegas during the LVO convention... now that I'm no longer a corporate slave, I have more time to indulge in my hobby and start painting commission pieces. More miniature adventures to come! Thanks for following along :)