Review of the Painting Classes at the NOVA Open

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Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the 2018 NOVA Open.  Since my Age of Sigmar armies were nowhere near ready, I decided to avail my self of the Paint Classes that are offered here.  Some of the world's best painters come to instruct us noobs on how to properly lay paint, blend, and highlight.  I found out that while their expenses are paid while they are here, any proceeds they make from teaching the courses are donated to charity--nice!

Here is a breakdown of the classes that I took over three days:

  1. Layering for Smoothness with Sam Lenz - This course gave me a great understanding of the patience and time it takes to get really smooth transitions and blends.  Sam was an awesome instructor, and he went on to win "Best in Show" for his painted model in the Captial Palette competition.
  2. Painting with metallics with Duncan Rhodes - You hobbyists out there will recognize Duncan as one of the main painters on Warhammer TV.  His "Two thin coats" is a trademark that I am sure Games Workshop is happy to cash in on.  It was great to get hands-on feedback from someone who I have watched a hundred times on YouTube.
  3. Battle Damage with Vince Venturella - This may have been my favorite class.  I learned a ton about an aspect of painting I knew nothing about, and Vince did a great job of breaking it down.  I also found out that he has an AMAZING YouTube channel dedicated to hobbying and he also worked on the DnD 5e book--A true Renaissance man!
  4. Painting Skin with Duncan Rhodes - Class #2 with Duncan, and this class served to really help me understand the difference between tabletop standard and display standard.  There is definitely a spectrum between the two, and it helped me understand why certain techniques didn't seem to be cutting the mustard from an artist's perspective. 
  5. Intro to Display Painting with Roman Lappat - If there is a giant in the mini painting community, it's Roman.  His class was a seminar on the basics of display painting, but what struck me the most was how he really brought his artistry to everything he approached.  It was a real mindset shift for me.
  6. Master of Reality with Sam Lenz - another class with Sam.  He used a Zombicide miniature and talked about his techniques as he painted it.  It was great to ask questions and see how these painters did their work without the stop editing of a compressed YouTube video.  He is a master of wet blending and blocking in the shadows.  If I could get close to his ability, I'd count myself lucky.
  7. Painting Demons with Duncan Rhodes - My third course with Duncan, and it was a little basic, which was a good thing actually as it served two purposes:  First, it showed that I have improved quite a bit since first picking up a brush last December; Second, it served to confirm that the techniques I had learned and self-employed were good.  Sometimes it just takes a simple head nod from an expert to boost your confidence.
  8. Blending Bootcamp with Matt DiPietro - Matt is also a giant within the miniature painting community.  As the studio head for Privateer Press, he imparted his wisdom of blending techniques to us.  This was IMMENSELY helpful as I had struggled to understand the basics of blending and wanting to push my mini-painting to the next level