ReaperCon 2016 Recap

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It's time! I've finally gotten a good night's rest and happy to announce that it's been 72 hours since I've been back from the con and I'm showing no signs of Con Crud (fingers crossed). I've pulled a few loooong days at work catching up and I'm happy to finally have time to write about my experience at ReaperCon– it's still my favorite week of the year!

As you may know, Reaper is a company who manufactures tabletop gaming miniatures, paints and hobby accessories. Perhaps you've heard about their Bones Kickstarters? Each year the convention takes place in Dallas, Texas and is a great opportunity to take a wide variety of classes, play games and schmooze with some of the best painters, sculptors and artists in the mini industry.

This year ReaperCon was held at the Premier Event Center in Lewisville, Texas. Previous ReaperCons have taken place at Reaper HQ in Denton, TX and, in the last two years, the Hilton Garden Inn in Lewisville, Texas (approximately 20 minutes from their base of operations). I've attended the last two conventions, and without going into too much griping, let's just say I enjoyed the Hilton conventions more for three reasons:

  1. Easy transport/storage of painting equipment/con loot
  2. Places to go and escape the constant noise
  3. Better opportunities for socialization

That's not to say that the PEC wasn't accomodating, and it had its own benefits and allowed for larger crowds not to feel so cramped. Classes were partitioned by black curtains and Reaper thoughtfully blocked out gaming, vendor, and class spaces. However, it's hard to block noise in a large open space without carpeting, and I found myself exhausted and battling a headache by mid-afternoon each day from the constant level of noise. I was able to socialize with people, but not to the level I usually did. The con felt both larger and smaller at the same time– mostly, I think, due to the fact that we "camped out" at certain tables and since there weren't secure places to store our things, trusty con-goers took turns watching each other's stuff. I felt guilty if I stayed away too long and most people didn't leave their tables unless they were attended a class or taking a stroll through the vendor booths. However, we were able to get together and enjoy ourselves on the outdoor porch of the Hilton Garden Inn in the evenings, at a minor travel inconvenience for those staying outside the Hilton. I wish I was able to connect with more people I haven't seen in awhile, though Kevin and Jeff were my "con buddies"– we stuck together and made sure we all were where we were supposed to be at the right time. "Wait, don't you have a class that's starting now?" "Oh you're right, holy moly, thank you– gotta go!". Nothing makes me smile more than these pictures below– it really is all about the peeps!

I took several classes at ReaperCon, my favorites being Derek Schubert's "Sculpting Faces" class and James Wappel's "Basing the Wappel Way". My full list of classes (the maximum one could take) was as follows:

  • Rhonda Bender's "Level Up!" Intermediate to Advanced class
  • Justin McCoy's Weathering class
  • Derek Schubert's Painting Expressive Faces & Eyes class
  • Derek Schubert's Sculpting Faces class
  • James Wappel's Using MSP Clear Colors & Liners class
  • James Wappel's Basing class
  • Shannon Stiltz's Making Money with Mini-Painting class
  • Marike Reimer's Non-Metallic Metals class

My favorite part about ReaperCon is the people. Reaper attracts wonderful, humble artists of ridiculously-awesome abilities, and I'm always impressed by the casual vibe of the convention. The Reaper team works hard to make it a fabulous event and it pays off! Each year, I see the con as an opportunity to become a better painter by picking the brains of some of the best folks in the business. One day, I hope to teach classes and earn a place at the artist table– until then, I'm going to take classes, stay active on the forum, ask questions, and apply every ounce of knowledge these talented artists are gracious enough to share.

My second favorite part is the Painting Contest– ah yes, the thing that both motivates me and causes a heavy wave of dread to wash over me. For the last seven months, I've been working for two different teams and essentially balancing two jobs. Even worse for my con prep, three weeks before the convention, I was preparing for an interview and going through potential new job negotiations. While it left me with little time to paint, I was able to create a few completed minis (some barely in time!) Here are my entries below (click to enlarge) along with their respective titles/manufacturers.

  1. "Til Life Do You Part" - Reaper Miniatures
  2. "Kurumu" - Kingdom Death
  3. "Bombshell Scarecrow" - Bombshell Miniatures
  4. "Scorched Earth" - CMON
  5. "Carla 2.0" - Scale 75 (she was patched up and repainted after breaking into pieces at LVO).

Contest Entries

I'm happy to report that I did well in the contest– I earned a silver medal, gold medal, Bronze Sophie and First Place in the Bombshell Golden Maelee awards! I'm sad to admit that I'm breaking my habit of not posting pictures of my face in these next few photos. I'm perfectly happy pretending I'm a 2D cartoon person, but alas, here I am, grinning like a fool in my excitement and shock at the contest results– a living, breathing 3D person. Sorry to burst your bubble! ^_^

Now that my creative hobby battery is recharged, I'll be painting up a storm after November 7th once I start my new job! In the meantime, I'm going to ride the post-con joy and hope to see those I missed this year at ReaperCon 2017 :)