Bloodsports- looking forward
hey all, i wanted to make this thread to offer a place for direct feedback to an issue ive brought up a few times.

were coming up on bloodsport 15 as i write this, and things are going strong for the contests. ive had a lot of questions about whats coming next, with people anticipating things on both sides of the fence of where this has been / where it will go

dave and i will never run out of portfolio ideas or IP generation for people to work on to bolster their personal work, so this isnt about suggestions for contests.

what i would like to know is- going forward, do people want to continue doing the occasional PR contest and if so how often sounds good to maintain a balance.

when we began bloodsports, we did alternating portfolio / pr contest to contest, and i agree with most of you that it was too much too often.

however, i have been receiving messages from people asking for it to come back because it gave beginners a lot of exposure and even led to jobs for some in the past due to massive reblogging, kotaku, and reddit attention.

for anyone new who isnt sure what im talking about- we did PR contests based on fanart for the gaultlet and zelda videogames as well as a miyazaki challenge- all of which got hundreds of thousands of views across the internet- and some of which still pop up on sites today. in some cases, this led to big career changes for some of the contestants who really nailed it, landing them huge audiences, jobs, and other opportunities.

the other side of the argument is that these contests (pr) tend to favor the most technically skilled amongst us- with more experienced people seeming to rise to the top of what the internet pays attention to once the contest is over. here at daggers we love a level playing field and hate elitism, so i can see why thats an issue with many. so of course, im turning the conversation over to all of you. write your thoughts below! we value them.


I think PR contests have something to offer for everyone, sure it favors the most technically skilled among us, but it doesn't really leave out anyone. If you make it every 3rd or 4th bloodsport I think that'd be for the best, because technically skilled people are busy, but making the PR ones less frequent would give a good window for them to join in in between jobs.

I remember my Miyazaki bloodsport from last year being trash compared to the others but it didn't discourage me, nobody saw it, but I still learned a ton. People who don't get exposure from them aren't ready for exposure.

I am still new to this forum and haven't had a chance to participate in a Bloodsport yet, which I hope to remedy very very soon. Generating new work and the potential exposure is quite intriguing.

I understand how newer artist could be discouraged when having their work compared to more experienced entries. I am of the opinion that it is good for people to be judged by the same standards so that they can improve. Of course that is all up to the individuals drive to develop themselves further.

My suggestion: Keep everyone together, but require a "years of experience" bit. Then it would be possible to let everyone be compared to one standard but take into account experience and maybe block them off in groups.

For example, 0-3 years is junior, 3-5 is experienced, 5+ veteran. Or whatever classifications you want to give. This would also let everyone learn how many years are valued at what.
I second Thomas' suggestion every third bloodsport should be a PR contest.

i should mention that the way we had planned on doing it before we took a long break was that every 4th bloodsport would serve as a sort of 'midterm exam' for how much you learned in the 6 weeks leading up to them. we could make them even less frequent if people like, and treat them like events. tests, if you will, for how much better youve become in set intervals of time.

the idea was that the studies you did in the three leading up would fall under the umbrella of the 4th, so it would be that much better.

@sire- i appreciate the feedback. as to the second suggestion, separating people into years of experience is a false qualifier. some people work harder and achieve more in one year than other people do in 10. there are huge pros from the 80s who cant get work today, and at the same time 19 year old nobodies making tons of cash working on big games. it comes down to personal drive and ambition, not experience. the other side of that is the foundations of a tier system based on years working, which is something daggers is against. this is a level playing field and we never want people to feel 'less' than anyone else.

keep tellin me how you all feel! good stuff.
Agree with Thomas also :)

Hey Dan :)

I'll start by saying that the Crimson Daggers changed my view about art/illustration. I would never be at the level (still bad, but...) that I'm now if it wasnt for you and Dave - and consequently, all the community. As someone (sorry, don't remember who) said in your stream a few days ago: Crimson Daggers are a state of mind. I agree with that. You have talked so much about how we have to study and practice, that I have this deep in my subconscience now.

The CD show us that we have to improve - all of us. Therefore, in my opinion, this argument that "Bloodsports are bad for us because only the 'good ones' get exposure", is rather egocentrical.

For me, seeing people like you, Mike, Alex Negrea, John Silva, Isra, Brent - all the people I got to know when I first joined the Daggers - progress so much and get jobs, it's more than inspirational. Every day I wake up and think about the path that you guys took to be where you are now makes me want to study hard and achieve better things too!

Its time to people realize that if you did not get a job, it's because you have to work harder, improve, practice. Why take away the chance for someone else to have exposure, just because your art wasnt good enough? I myself have a LONG road ahead, and I think the Bloodsports should continue everytime you and Dave have the chance to kick our butts to work! It was a whole year since the last Bloodsports, and now that we're back, a lot of new people joined, and that was awesome!

So, in my opinion, everytime you and Dave think it's a good time to start a new Bloodsports with fanart, you should do so. People are free to join or not. Those who are insecure shouldn't be a stone in others' path.

(: Thanks

im glad everyones being so mature about this!

and yes i agree. i personally dont think it alienates people- im just repeating concerns that have been given to me. i can see the legitimacy in them for people new to the group who might not have the mentality down yet. we never judge the contests based on skill, but for the pr its 100 percent in the internets hands what succeeds and what doesn't. ideally everyone should realize that failure is a motivator to improve, and that many underdogs of past contests are working professionals today for that exact reason.

keeeep em comin!
I think every 3rd or 4th is a solid general plan. Those types of contests only favor the most technically skilled in terms of exposure. They still offer a really good basis for a contest outside of the fact that it's fan art. The medal winners of Bloodsport events are the people that follow the prompt, study hard, and push themselves which is what makes the Bloodsports so cool and unique.

Steve Anthony Pierce
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I am for the PR contests. Perhaps Quarterly or Tri-annually? I suppose that would make Bloodsports 15 the first of the quarterly projects. For myself I have enough freelance work that it is difficult to devote the time to a final product to a non paying job HOWEVER these PR challenges historically are high traffic items and it would behoove me and everyone else to participate as they indeed get the aforementioned exposure from Kotaku etc. Im all for it Dan just give me adequate heads up.
I agree with Thomas as well. It's been quite a while since I've participated in Bloodsports, due to a lot of personal issues and lack of motivation, but I'm ready to get back into it and force myself to improve. I think every fourth one being a PR sounds like a solid plan.

I look forward to participating once I get my computer working right again (hopefully within the next month or two)!

I agree with the general consensus. I think 1/4 is a good ratio. Thanks for asking us!
Every 3rd sounds good to me. People can always choose to alter the brief to fit their needs anyway if they aren't super into the idea.

Every 4th Bloodsport sounds good for a Fansport. I think it would be better to have them than not, just a matter of hitting the sweet spot of how often.

Like it was said before, the more experienced will benefit from the PR the fan art will give. However, that doesn't mean the less technically skilled will walk away empty handed. If someone is taking part in the Bloodsports correctly and following the intended mentality they will have improved by the end of it and walked away more technically able. I can see how those NOT doing this would have cause to complain, they might feel they didn't have a fair chance to win the "grand prize" of PR. In my opinion, these aren't people who should have a say in how the Bloodsports are run to begin with. It isn't about "winning", it's about getting better and hopefully expanding your portfolio with things you want to do. Also, like Thomas said, those who aren't getting large PR are probably not ready for it anyway.

Nothing really new to the conversation, just adding to the mass. Gaston with moustache hohoho~

I agree with everyone as a long time follower but technically new dagger who has yet to participate in one. The bloodsports are a great opportunity for motivation and evaluation regardless of whether it is PR or not. If you are a new artist post your stuff and work with the feedback you get.

"Our critics are our friends, they show us our fault." - Benjamin Franklin

As someone who is new I am excited to put my stuff in there against the best. I may fail most of the time but I am sure going to keep trying and with enough work Ill get there.
Dan, as long as they keep coming I'll be happy! They've really been a huge help to me with these last 2 sports. I'm doing more work than ever, at a nice steady pace. It's a great feeling. And though I did feel way out of my league in past PR Bloodsports it never made me stop. Thats a whole self motivation thing on it's own, and if people feel discouraged from the more experienced artists then I'd have to say thats their own issue. Don't overdue it with too many PR Bloodsports and kill off the fun for everyone, but certainly do them again. Exposure like that is hard for artists starting out like me to find.

So if you're going to do what you've been saying above, about it being sort of like a test Bloodsport, then that really excites me. I really like the go at an "even playing ground". I'm looking forward to that idea coming in full circle. I can already think up some fun ideas, and I know you and Dave will have even more.

Cheers to the future Bloodsports.

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A big pro argument about PR stuff is that even for the non-technical great ppl there is a big chance to work on something they really love - and passion is a big plus for putting real work i a piece. That may be easier for a fanart of something you loved since years than for the IP challenge where you need to find the characters you wanna draw first.

I agree with the rest :-) Every third or fourth, or as often as you see fit!

Ultimately I believe that whatever you decide whats more important to me is to keep the goal of the Bloodsports challenge centered around studying and doing it above all to improve.

That being said, these are challenges that people if they choose to participate KNOW that they would be doing this on top of other work they're already doing (to paraphrase Dan). PR is simply more incentive to put in that extra effort in my opinion. Not only is the idea of involving PR more frequently, good for the artists that do super great work and get that PR, I think it would motivate those who have not won to work harder (basically the entire point of the challenge) if they get job possibilities and a bump.

Also it makes the group look boss.

Also I wanted to remind everyone of that sweet crimson daggers bump in that magazine not to long ago and when PR and CD come together it is awesome and energetic feeling for all of us.

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I think that a lot has been said and every 3rd/4th would really be the good moment to place it, as you said this fonction of kind of "exam" is really cool and even if some are much more "technically upon", people will always learn by following the work of others so that they can do better each time :)

And again as it's been said, people are free to choose to be in this so if they don't want to be judged on the same standard that are pros, they just have not to participate...

I know for myself that it's always challenging to think that you have to try (even if you already know that you are 99% sure to fail) to give the best of you to be at the pros level...

In the end it's complementary to the Bloodsport and I can't wait to see it :)


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