Tuesday, 24 February 2015

GottaCon 2015 this weekend!

Just a reminder to anyone who can get to Victoria, B.C., that GottaCon 2015 is running this weekend.  Along with the usual gamer-y goodness (tournaments, vendors, used stuff auction, etc.), there is also a fantastic painting competition (judged again by yours truly, and Lee DeKock), as well as a drop-in painting clinic (again, run by myself and Lee).

I've had some questions asked regarding the painting clinic, and thought it might be good to explain what one might expect, why we're running it as a clinic (and not as a formal class), what materials you should bring, and times.

First of all, what exactly is a painting "clinic", and how does it differ from a "class"?

Live demos! Free advice! Bad jokes!

Clinics are drop-in friendly ways of learning how to paint, where we address the specific areas of painting that each painter wants to concentrate on.  Drop by, sit down, pull out some models that you are currently working on (and possibly having difficulties with), and either Lee or myself will happily discuss and demonstrate any tools or techniques that will help you get to the next stage of your painting level.

We will have a few painting stations set up, and I will have a number of my own paints and supplies out to work with.  However, painters should bring their own models, brushes, and perhaps some of their own paints as well.  In addition, as I can only bring a limited number of lamps (and I'm not sure what the overhead lighting will look like yet), and there is a limited number of outlets anyway, I usually recommend bringing a headlamp (one of my favourite items for painting while travelling).

In fact, if you pack a kit like the one I outline in this previous blog post, you should be fine:

A typical portable painting kit.  Yours may differ slightly.

The advantage of a drop-in painting clinic is that it allows the painters to concentrate on their own particular goals and challenges.  If you are having a hard time getting smoother blends, we can work on that together.  if you want to see how to get deeper contrasts on your models, we can show you some techniques that would help there too.  If you want to learn how to get more precise freehand work done, we can take care of that too.  And once we've shown you how, you can practice it for as long as you like, and get feedback any time you like.  And if you need to rush off in order to get to your next convention event, you can pack up and leave any time you like.

Don't get me wrong, I love painting classes too.  It's just that in the context of a huge gaming convention, with many interested participants coming and going due to all the events going on, an open free-form skills clinic seems to have worked out the best for everyone involved (both instructors and participants).  In contrast, classes seem to work best when there's just one instructor, and a whole mess of students, and they all have a set start and finish time (with plenty of time in between).

Speaking of time, my intention is to get to the venue early on Saturday, set up the table, and run it until dinnertime.  Lee and I will alternate back and forth (giving each other a chance to go to the bathroom every so often), and give any participants our full attention.  After dinner, we will shut down the table, and then focus on judging the painting competition.  On Sunday, it's likely we won't open up the clinic table until sometime around lunch, and then resume painting until we have to pack up and head for the ferry back to the mainland.

Judging last year's painting competition.  ;)

As for the painting competition, I've run coverage of the previous two years of GottaCon's events, as well as my thoughts as a judge (starting with this post from Feb 2013).  If you are interested, I suggest reading through a few of the posts for examples of previous entries, and my feedback as a judge for each.  In addition, there's some great advice from a painting judge's point of view in these two articles as well:


Anyway, it's getting pretty late, and I'm going to pack it in for the night.  I'm currently in the middle of trying to get my condo ready for sale (actually, the first open house is while I'm gone in Victoria for GottaCon), and the whole process has been absolutely exhausting.  Between renos, cleaning, packing, staging, and negotiating details, I haven't found any time to paint or blog much.  But before I head to bed, I'd first like to thank Lee for offering to help out this year, and to thank Paul Puhallo, who runs the whole miniature gaming component for GottaCon.  It's a huge job, and without his help, there would be no miniature painting component either.

I'd also like to mention that I've been corresponding back and forth with Loquacious over at House of Paincakes, and have been invited to contribute every so often to their fantastic blog.  They've got some talented writers over there, with an even quirkier and twisted sense of humour than I do.  I invite you guys to check out HoP often, and see for yourself.

Goodnight, and I hope to see you at GottaCon!