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 :) 

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

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!