I'm Teaching Classes at ReaperCon 2017!

Hi, folks!
My sincerest apologies for my last blog post being... well, too long ago. Three deaths in the family, two weddings, health issues, and a crapton of overtime at work will absolutely kill the drive to paint and share it with others. However, many thanks and appreciations to those who reached out and encouraged me to keep going, keep painting, and expressed that they missed me. I feel invigorated and motivated by those who enjoy my work and I want to keep you all happy ^_^

So without further ado, the most exciting thing that's happened to me in the mini painting world has been the fact that I was approached by Reaper to teach classes at their October convention! While there are many talented painters, sculptors, artists and all-around great people who will be teaching classes there, I'm thrilled to have been asked to be a part of it! Reaper has played a huge part in my development as a painter, gamer, and member of this community. I'm absolutely honored. My first instinct was to teach as many classes as possible, but I didn't want to sign up for more than I could handle (and most new instructors are only approved for two classes their first year). So in the end, I narrowed the topics I wanted to teach down to two classes– techniques I've been asked about the most: blending and painting eyes.

Friday · 1:30pm: Painting Eyes

Basic/Intermediate - Demo + Hands-on
Ready to face your fears and tackle the dreaded eye? With the right approach and a bit of patience- you'll be able to paint more expressive faces! The class will be part demo- part hands-on. Students will be provided with a handout and are expected to bring their own brushes– including a liner/fine detail brush.

Saturday · 10am: Blending Skin & Fabric

Basic/Intermediate - Demo + Hands-on
While there are many approaches to blending- smooth skin and fabric transitions can take your miniature to the next level! In this class- we'll cover concepts from beginning to end– from choosing & mixing colors- to application techniques and final balance of contrast. Students will be provided with a handout.

This last one is especially ambitious. This could easily be broken into two classes and I'm attempting to make this both a hands-on and demo class. Wish me luck! While I'm a bit nervous (as anyone would be standing in front of a group of strangers), though I hope to impart a fraction of the excitement and creative inspiration that I felt at my very first ReaperCon back in 2014. In case folks don't retain everything we cover, I'll have a handy print out that I'll share for their reference, though I'll ask that they don't post it around the internet with respect to Reaper as well as my time and effort put into something that's reserved for the folks who sign up for the specific class. To some, it may sound selfish, and others may roll their eyes thinking "Yeah, those artists just want to keep the secrets to themselves so they can keep making money off convention classes", but to me, each class is unique and special. I've learned that many miniature artists share their knowledge and expertise freely, and keeping the artist's interests and livelihood in mind is another way of showing respect and admiration for their craft that they've built over years of study and diligent practice. That's my 2¢ anyway!

While you may not be interested in the particular classes I'm teaching this year, there are many other great instructors teaching a shockingly-wide variety of class options throughout each day at ReaperCon. If you're interested, I highly recommend checking them out:

Classses for ReaperCon 2017 go on sale July 14, 2017 at 10:00 am CST at ReaperCon.com.

On another note, I finished Bombshell Minis "Wu Ling Shu", which was a commission I've been working on for a while. I remember almost 20 years ago, I visited Beijing on a class trip, when I was studying Mandarin as a foreign language, and I attended a Chinese Opera. The costuming was absolutely gorgeous and I recall the bold red color playing such a major role in Chinese architecture, decor, and clothing. Now, please forgive my potential ignorance, but I wanted to portray what I remember as a young lady tourist in this miniature– rich colors, a spin on the traditional white/red eye makeup, and the bold confident attitude that so perfectly fits this Bombshell mini. Here are some of the Google images I pulled for inspiration:

While I was unable to execute the freehand and intricate patterns shown above, I looked mainly to the overall theme of red, gold and purple, which contrasts nicely with the blue tones in her cold, steel sword. [Click to zoom in:]

Another miniature that I've been working on is for a person who's incredibly important to me. She happens to have some rad tattoos and often plays a barbarian female in her D&D campaigns. She previously sent me pictures of her tattoos and I took it upon myself, as a personal challenge, to paint freehand tattoos on a miniature that embodied her free-spirited and fearless nature.

Last, but not least, my attempt at freehand tattoo. This was a beast and I'm not done yet... I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:

Next up, the final photos (and a new tech-savvy surprise) for my Effin Cool Minis Djinn miniature :) See you next time!

Mono Mocha

I'm alive! It's a miracle ^_^

I've been down-for-the-count since mid-February with Mononucleosis. Basically, you're sick for 6-8 weeks with spikes in fever, nausea, headaches and sore throat throughout that time. It's like having the flu– only it lasts a helluva lot longer. Anyway, I'm finally over it and able to paint again. Thank. Goodness. On the bright side, my Netflix and Crunchyroll stamina has greatly improved. I watch the entire first season of Attack on TItan and the first 3 episodes of Season 2 in one day. Now that is some otaku dedication. Also, the new reboot for Mystery Science Theater 3000 is out on Netflix and I love it.

I also played Stardew Valley on PS4 while I was in bed (and not working from home) and finally mastered the art of fishing, which is damn hard at first. If you've ever played Harvest Moon, it's similar to that– plus elements of Minecraft– and the game features some oddly-adult concepts. For example, as you go about your farming and charming of the community, you become more familiar with the personalities and hardships of the residents. Shane, a character in the game you can marry, is a depressed alcoholic. At one point, you find him blackout drunk at the edge of a cliff, wondering whether he should throw himself off. Your character has a few choices in responses and afterwards, he seeks help and goes to rehab in the city nearby. He comes back to start his own chicken farm and thanks you for your intervention. They definitely didn't have things like that in Harvest Moon! And that's just one dude of the 28 people you interact with. The graphics are old school, but that's only off-putting until you get hooked into the game– then you can't get enough! I've played over 75+ hours of the game so far and I'm in Year 3, Spring. Oh, and the best part? It was $15. Well worth the investment ;)

Since I wasn't really feeling up to painting during the last month, I was able to cut, file, and clean a healthy amount of my Kingdom Death miniatures. I've completely assembled a few, though most I have to partially assemble and paint sections before attaching the rest of the pieces. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to reach certain areas with the paint brush since pieces overlap so closely. One I was able to fully assemble was the Latern Pinup:

 
 

Once I did get back to painting, I worked on the Effin Cool Minis Djinn– she's 95% done! I just need to finish the bottom or the brazier, clean up the back of her hair, and add a few Spruce Green glazes for a bit of OSL effect. In the end, I decided not to give her eyebrows, though I really did consider it.

Once I'm done with her, I'll be taking some nice final photos. Then, I'm going to finish this lovely lady from Bombshell Miniatures:

Wu Ling Shu - Bombshell

Djinn The Mood to Paint

I'm getting back in the mood to paint after being hit with the annual plague that goes around when fluctuating weather and bad allergies collide. Recently, I was contacted to work on a special project by Felipe, for Effin Cool Mini's Kickstarter, "Court of the Sultana", which runs through March 17, 2017. I wasn't sure what to expect, since the Kickstarter project hadn't launched yet. After they sent me 3D rendered images of the Djinn, a miniature from the Kickstarter, I agreed to paint her, as the sculpt looked like a fun challenge! Felipe was super-reasonable about the turnaround time, since I was going to be out of the country and navigating a death in the family. After returning home, knowing this mini was on my painting table motivated me to get painting again. Felipe shipped the miniature quickly, and a few days later, the Kickstarter went live and I was able to see the full group of miniatures offered through the project. I was happy to see that they funded within 24 hours!

Now, before we get too far, please note that this Kickstarter does contain full female nudity, and if you're sensitive to this subject matter, please think twice before clicking. While I fully acknowledge that this can elicit strong opinions, I appreciate these sculpts within their context. Here, I'll let Effin Cool Minis set the stage for you...

We have conjured up a world in our mind where the Sultana rules supreme in a female dominated society where men are culled and kept only for breeding. At least, that is our story thus far which continues to feed our inspiration toward the figures for this Kickstarter. This has been the most interactive Kickstarter we have had this far, and we are excited to have our backers so involved with their ideas for these figures. Come join the fun!
— www.effincoolminis.com
 
In the desert realm of Tharaa, summer’s heat lies as heavily upon the lavish court of the Sultana as it does upon the simple shops and homes of her subjects. Yet they are the ones who rejoice with the cool evening zephyrs that race refreshingly through their markets stalls, tents, and villas; breezes that never seem to reach the perfumed halls of the Sultana’s court. On those stifling, windless, near endless days; comfort, pleasure, and even mere distraction elude the powerful ruler. Her great wealth, her many servants, and her countless possessions seem more burden than blessing. On those days when clothing itself seems a pointless effort, the beauty and power of the human form acts as reminder that modesty can be a needless vanity.
— "Court of the Sultana" Kickstarter
 

The Process

I didn't have many mould lines to correct and after minimal sanding, I scrubbed her with an old toothbrush and dishsoap, and let her dry. I then primed her with Reaper's brush on Black Primer and picked my basecoats. I wanted to start with a darker olive-brown skin tone and work my way up to a warm, white highlight. Given her androgynous musculature (especially around her hips and upper back), I wanted to be sure I was able to highlight each muscle group and add some high contrast to her skintone.

I also did some research on painting fire since flames are supposed to be lighter closer to the combustion center, or hottest part, of the flame. One of the most valuable I found so far is on Laszlo Jakusovszky's blog "Hot Lead". I own both of his How To Paint DVDs and have benefitted from his experience and insight. While I know the center of the flames should be lighter than the tips, ethereal flames may have a little more room for "creative license", given that flames can look different depending on the level of oxygen available. Since the flames on this mini originate in a brazier, I plan to bend the rules for a mix of both– I'll have the brightest part of the flame in the center of the brazier and at the tips of the flames closest to her skin– for a nice contrast that carries the eye up and around the mini. I'm just getting started, so we'll see where we end up!

Where I left off:

I'm about 30% done. I'm fairly happy with how her skin is turning out, and I've yet to paint her hands, hair, brazier, chains, and flames (though I've at least chosen the flame colors/range of contrast). I'll be refining the blends around her stomach and hips, since they're a little too sharp right now. I'll also be considering what color to paint her hair– if I'm going to keep it black with grey highlights, or have it blend to another color, possibly with Object Source Lighting eerie blue-green coming from the flames. I'm happy with her eyes, and I painted them as exaggerated as I dared, matching the bright color of the flames. I hope to finish her in the next week– stay tuned and thanks for following along!