Thoughts on the bloodsport
#1
I just thought I'd throw some coins in the hat. Give my pointers.

I can't speak for everyone, I can only speak for myself. I'm more into design than illustration. I still like illustration, but there's been more illustrative remakes of things rather than design. It's a shame I didn't get to do the monster hunter one (I'm not trying to come up with excuses but I just couldn't do it at the time).

I think the biggest problem is the re-make stuff. I get that it will bring attention because things like Zelda is popular and some might enjoy drawing that stuff. Personally though, I'd rather come up with something new. The monster hunter thing was amazing, same thing goes for the action figure thing. I think people like that stuff more because it's new.

And you know, it's like you said, Dan. If it keeps getting more complicated and harder, it's obvious there's going to be less people joining in. That's just the nature of it all. So we just got to think about it, what's the best rout?

For me it's less re-make stuff, more new stuff like the monster hunter and the action figure stuff. And mix it up more with concept art AND illustrations.

I think it's good that you guys take a break from it and come back to it after thinking about it.

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#2
For me the break is a smart move, one purpose of the whole thing is to stimulate the creativity and the competition of the whole group trying to pull out the best by everyone, if less and less people does it it's better take a step back and try to understand what's more useful to the group. As Dave and Dan said most people need to focus more on the basics prior taking such difficult tasks.

All challenges where great, I started all, finished few and learned a lot from my errors. The Zelda one was too difficult to me, I tried to push myself too far from where I am now and the result was so bad that I felt frustrated. It will remain unfinished in a deeeeeep sub sub directory in an external hd, hidden to myself :) I think other people have felt this way and found the whole thing too demanding.

The good thing about this is that now I know what I need to do, lots and lots of composition exercises and loose drawings.

I don't think the re-makes were a big deal, only 2 of 7. And wasn't simple fan-art but a request that you may face in a real client commission.
Bloodsport in the future? I think the interest must be rebuilded doing parallel activities.
Maybe a simple stop will help, maybe it's a natural selection, just fewer and fewer people have the constancy to continue so you have to advertise the event to increase the daggers and keep fresh people coming in, or maybe you should take note that 10-20-30 people are enough for a challenge.
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#3
I think you should do the challenges once a month and people should have the whole month to do them. Yes, two weeks is plenty of time to do an illustration if that's all you're doing in those two weeks, but the thing is most of us have other crap to do. I would've loved to do the Monster Hunter challenge, but I had other work I had to do in those two weeks and I couldn't do it all. I had to choose between doing something for fun or doing something that will make me some money. I chose the latter. I didn't even attempt the Monster Hunter one because I knew it would take a long time and I didn't think I could get it done by the deadline. If I had had a month to do it, I would've at least made the attempt. The reason why I did the action figure one was because it was fun and because I knew I could get it finished in a few days. The other challenges would take far longer so I didn't even try. Plus, I don't particularly care for Miyazaki's movies and I hate Zelda, so there was that, too.

The reality is that we aren't getting paid to do these challenges and they are very time consuming to do. Only a handful of people are even going to get any kind of recognition for doing them. The vast majority of people that do the challenges get nothing from doing these except some practice and some fun. The action figure challenge was fun, so I did it. The Monster Hunter challenge sounded fun and I wanted to do it, but I just didn't have enough time. The Miyazaki and Zelda challenges weren't going to be fun for me so I didn't bother. I don't care about those properties and spending weeks of my life working on illustrations of them wasn't going to be worth it to me.

That brings me to another suggestion: be less specific about the subjects. Instead of doing a redesign of 'Zelda: Wink Waker', do a redesign of any game of the artists choice. I hate Zelda and I didn't want to spend two weeks drawing a Zelda picture. Give me the option to choose my game to redesign and I'd be far more willing to do the challenge. I was watching 'Return of the Jedi' the other day and was thinking about how bad the design of the Ewoks were and how if they were more like chimps instead of teddy bears, people would've liked them much more. I thought "Redesign the Ewoks" would be a great Bloodsports challenge, but then I thought "What about people that don't give a shit about Ewoks or Star Wars? Why would they want to do that?". I realized a better challenge would be "Redesign a creature or character from any movie" so people could choose to do whatever they wanted. With the action figure challenge, you gave people three different properties to choose from and on top of that, people still had a lot of freedom to design whatever kind of character they wanted. That's why it was successful. Telling people to design a Miyazaki poster is great for Miyazaki fans, but for people that aren't fans, it becomes a chore. So, we think "Why bother?". The Monster Hunter challenge was a great idea because people had a lot of freedom to do whatever characters and creatures they wanted. The problem with it was time. We had to design two versions of a guy, front and back and a monster, too. I think if people had a month to work on it, a lot more people would've at least attempted it. I know I would've.
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#4
(03-11-2012, 03:36 AM)Mr Furious Wrote: I think you should do the challenges once a month and people should have the whole month to do them. Yes, two weeks is plenty of time to do an illustration if that's all you're doing in those two weeks, but the thing is most of us have other crap to do.
I think that's maybe too long for a single challenge. Maybe as an option, if we still did 2 standard 2-week challenges alongside. At least then there's the opportunity to spend a whole month working on two illustrations simultaneously, the possibility to come out the end of a month with 3 portfolio-class pieces, and if ever you feel the standard challenges are too hard or don't have enough time, you could at least fall back on the one-month.

Quote:Only a handful of people are even going to get any kind of recognition for doing them.
But your forgetting one of the other benefits of doing these challenges: if you actually honestly push yourself, and treat each challenge as a legit paid commission, your work will improve drastically—most especially if you push yourself through a challenge you may not find particularly enjoyable.

Quote:The Miyazaki and Zelda challenges weren't going to be fun for me so I didn't bother. I don't care about those properties and spending weeks of my life working on illustrations of them wasn't going to be worth it to me.
. . . I hate Zelda and I didn't want to spend two weeks drawing a Zelda picture. Give me the option to choose my game to redesign and I'd be far more willing to do the challenge.
All the more reason why you probably should've taken the challenge seriously. Exactly what percentage of your freelance commissions do you expect to be fun, whilst simultaneously making a living? Sure, there's potential to work on a really fun challenge, and that helps push you through the end of a project, but another opportunity these challenges bring is to work on a project out of our comfort zone! Here you have the opportunity to spend two weeks pushing yourself on a project you don't like, without penalty of losing a commission. What do you have to lose? Nothing. What do you gain? Experience spending two weeks illustrating a picture you hate. What if someone wishes to hire you for Zelda work?

Oftentimes we don't have the luxury of choosing or turning down commissions, and these challenges would aim to reflect those conditions are not meant to be always fun all the time. Some of them are fun but really difficult, some of them or easy but not up your alley, and they mix it up a bit. Some jobs are going to be specific (Gauntlet, Miyazaki, Zelda), others will give you almost total freedom (Monster/pet, swamp elder, action figure, monster hunter). Beggars can't be choosers, and Bloodsports is a great way to get used to that fact.

And if you want to redesign Star Wars, then do what Dave does: do it on your own time! No one and nothing's stopping you but yourself.
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#5

Quote:What do you have to lose? Nothing.

You're incorrect there. I lose the greatest commodity of all: time. The one resource that is constantly running out and I'll never get more of. I spent four days of my life doing the action figure challenge. Four days that I will never get back. What did I gain from it? Nothing. I don't regret it, though, because it was fun. What would I have gained from spending weeks of my life drawing a Zelda picture? Nothing and it wouldn't have been fun. It would've been a chore. The thing is, this isn't a job. We aren't being paid. I'd draw Zelda all day long if there was a paycheck waiting for me at the end of it all, but in this case, there isn't. In fact, I often have to draw things I don't want to draw to get paid, but that's worth my time. These challenges, though, they're only worth it if they're fun. I can draw things I enjoy for practice. I do it all the time. Why spend my precious time drawing things I don't enjoy? These Bloodsport challenges should be fun. Just drawing things you don't like just to get used to drawing things you don't like is stupid. It's like stabbing someone just to show them that getting stabbed hurts. I like the various challenges. I just need to like the content, too, otherwise it's just not worth the time to me. I only get 24 hours in a day and I can fill that doing something I enjoy or doing something I hate. I may do a redesigned Ewok illustration, because I think it will be fun. Do I think someone from LucasArts is going to see it and hire me? Fuck no. I'm not that naive or stupid. It's still worth my time, though, because I'll enjoy doing it.
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#6
(03-11-2012, 03:36 AM)Mr Furious Wrote: The reality is that we aren't getting paid to do these challenges and they are very time consuming to do. Only a handful of people are even going to get any kind of recognition for doing them. The vast majority of people that do the challenges get nothing from doing these except some practice and some fun


I do have a couple of comments about what's been said, I haven't participated in the bloodsports as of yet. But I fully intend to start from the start and do what I can :)

The bloodsports are there to help give people a brief which will in turn produce a piece for a person's portfolio. Not only just a piece for your portfolio but something that you can in turn explain the brief for the picture and why you selected certain elements and it's reasoning.

Also, they are preparing people for the fact that if they go into this area of work, they will have requests from people regarding subjects that they hate. So you do have to challenge yourself and do the ones even you hate to end up with that piece for your portfolio/get paid for the job.

I do agree with the break and intend to be prepared to join in the moment they restart.
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#7
(03-11-2012, 07:54 AM)Mr Furious Wrote: It's like stabbing someone just to show them that getting stabbed hurts.

(taking a second to be entertained by this analogy)

Anyway, I think I pointed out all the possible benefits of participating in the challenge. If you think every challenge is unacceptable if not fun, then that's just a personal problem and you have every right to be as dramatic about it as you wish.

Though I do half-agree on month challenges, I just don't think they should be the only option. I think 2 weeks is more than realistic.
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#8
I think contests like chows and stuff are very helpful, the competitive nature is a great motivator. There is only one problem, it's a double edged sword. Competition can be a demotivator too. Last time I did team chow about a hundred signed up and about a dozen finished. Everybody says it's not about winning, but very few actually get through the intimidation of certain loss. So it's inevitable to lose steam, no matter how well these contest are run.

There were only two challenges I backed down from Zelda and Miyazaki. Because I couldn't see myself doing these titles the justice they deserved to be taken seriously. Frankly I was intimidated by the direct real world comparison. I wasn't afraid of losing the contest, I was afraid of losing credibility in my portfolio and losing two weeks in the process.

I think the contests for nonexisting or underdeveloped properties were popular because, we could grow our own concepts from the ground up. Tune up our design skills.

But please keep the bloodsports going. They have really made crimson daggers an invaluable institution. I really didn't know how to keep studies relevant until I sent in my first entry.

SUGGESTIONS:
Illustrate a scene from a book.
Design a team of characters.
Protagonist vs Antagonist
Historic Battle

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#9
Well I would rather have the challenge be fun myself with more room for personal interpretation. Like the last suggestions there are great. I have limited time working full time and taking care of the house and my daughter I would not find time for a challenge that is about a property I know little about or have little interest in.

Doing something like Zelda I had an idea to make it sort of a Redwall kind of thing with different critters for the characters but was too afraid that this would be frowned upon in this establishment. I would do that to make it interesting for me because I have never played Zelda and know little about it.

Here is a few ideas to add.

Lord of the Rings Book covers.
album cover for a fictitious band
Design and Alien from a particular kind of planet

Lots of things that can be
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#10
Quote:... I would not find time for a challenge that is about a property I know little about or have little interest in.

I'm not saying they shouldn't be fun, I'm just saying they all can't be fun. We'd all prefer our jobs to be fun, but it's unrealistic to expect is all I'm saying.

And whatever you do for the cover, I would think as long as you did the studies and pushed it through to the end, you'd find support from this community (at least I hope). If the idea's interesting to you, you should go for it. Challenge 7 was about taking the game and changing the style to something new; what if you were assigned the project and were unfamiliar with the game (however unlikely the circumstance)—what would you do?

I mean, I think LotR is totally overrated and boring and doing their book covers would be highly unoriginal, but if I had the time and the pieces worked for my portfolio, I'd have no reason not to push myself — I'd still find a way to do the project and push the piece. If you don't have the time, thats totally cool, but all the reasons not to have done this project as opposed to any of the others just because it's not as fun or more difficult are all a part of what Bloodsports is all about.
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#11
Well all that said I look forward to seeing more challenges. I am a newbie so I really have to get a feel for the community and what they are like etc. One of the deal breakers for the last one was also the formatting only because I was planning on doing it in acrylic.

Some differences are generational I read a lot of books but have not played so many games or watched as much Anime'. Being nearly 50 will do that but I do have an interest in imaginative art that I would love to share with others I just bring it from somewhere else.
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#12
I think the one-month-challenge thing isn't such a bad idea.
I mean, lots of people started the Monster hunter thing, but only few of them could finish it due to the deadline (me included, and now I feel bad for it :-| It was such an awesome challenge).
And for the Zelda thing, I would have had to spend at least two days or so researching everything about the game or the characters, because I never played a Zelda game in my life.
We all have other things to do besides the bloodsport, it simply isn't the highest priority for everyone. I know that two weeks is an appropriate time, and also closer to the deadlines in business, but like some others said, we do not get paid.

Also, doing fanart challenges will always annoy somebody. But instead of saying "redesign Zelda" wouldn't it also have worked, if the challenge was "design a DVD cover for a fantasy game in a waterworld, which must feature the bad guy, the hero and a damsel in distress"?
Or, if you want to do fanart challenges, be sure next to everyone should know it. I ever only saw one Miyazaki movie, and like said before never played a Zelda game.
The cool thing is - the gauntlet challenge worked even if you didn't know the game. the miyazaki and zelda ones not so much. It's not about fun, it's about knowing what is expected from you.
Also, if the challenges keep getting harder, what stands against a longer deadline?

uuh, well.. long rant from a newbie like me... It's not our choice after all. Dan and Dave know what they are doing, and they are awesome anyway for all the effort they put into the Daggers.
:D So, what's to fear?
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#13
First of all I just want to say that the Zelda challenge was the first one I didn't do, and after the announcement I feel extra terrible, sorry guys!

But the thing is, I didn't do it simply because I wanted to keep working on the Monster Hunter and some other personal projects. I have a lot going on in my personal life, I have a full time job, I'm getting married this summer and have to plan for all that shit, it eats up a lot of time. That being said this is what I want to do, and I use all the time I do have to work at it. I hate Zelda too, but I likely would have done this challenge because I need to get better. I don't know how to draw everything. I would have found the challenge an excuse to do studies I hadn't done before, practice things I hadn't done before, practice my blending, work on getting faster, etc etc.

I can already tell I'm going to start going on a long rant, so I'll try to cut this short. Anyone who thinks doing a challenge is a waste of time clearly doesn't understand the whole point of the Crimson Daggers and doesn't need anyone to explain it to you. This isn't school. This isn't something you signed up for. Come and go as you please. It's just a stupid argument. Get over yourselves.

Now, the whole reason I came to post is that I want to say for me, personally, I'd prefer less reimagining and more basic fundamental challenges, like the Sci Fi Hunter and Pet, Action Figure, Swamp Elder etc. Because I know I'm not at the level where the attention is going to help me yet. That's just my preference.

I'll do any and all challenges to get better though, bring on the bloodsports!
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#14
I'm still trying to wrap my head around hating Zelda O_o Like, are we talking about just Wind Waker, or the whole series?

Guess that would explain why nobody did it...
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#15
I don't know about hating Zelda or Miyazaki, but . To be honest Dave Rapoza is one of the very few artists out there that can make Fan Art cool. Deviant Art is an ocean of fan art. Typically if I see a portfolio full of fan art, I don't take the guy as serious. Normally I get a wannabe vibe from that kind of shit. Because I think the most important thing is originality. The fundamental skills are just there to support it. It's an important foundation, but don't lose site of the creative end. Dan and Dave have done a great job of keeping that end relevant.

It's not that these challenges are hard, they are just time consuming. The hard part happens on during the comp sketches, the rest is an endurance contest. For me at least. One week out of the two week challenge is dedicated to studies. Which is the whole point. It's not about the final piece, it's all about what you learned to make the motherfucker. If it makes your portfolio look better, then that's the icing on the cake.

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#16
THANK YOU, gangster!

although again, at six challenges, 4 were based off original designs and 2 were fan art. It's not exactly like Bloodsports has been all about fan art either...

Assuming someone participated in all Bloodsports, the portfolio wouldn't be "full" of fan art. And as you say, "focusing on the fundamentals", if someone needs more to focus on their fundamentals, that's much harder to do if you're also being judged on the originality and functionality of your design. I think these are two very legit sides of the coin: fanart allows you to focus more on the actual process, whereas original art allows you to focus on your design sensibilities (not that you couldn't also take fanart so far that your interpretation requires flexing that muscle also). I think so far they've struck an appropriate balance of the two with plenty of opportunity to be as original and creative as you want.

Can we at least stop pretending that all we've done is play "fan boy cover art"? If someone's only been inclined primarily to participate in the fanart challenge, then that's not the fault of the system as its been so far implemented... is it?
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#17
(03-12-2012, 11:20 AM)Mikel Butler Wrote: although again, at six challenges, 4 were based off original designs and 2 were fan art. It's not exactly like Bloodsports has been all about fan art either...

Well to be fair 4 out of 7 were based on existing properties. Although certainly not fan art in some cases. But here is the list. The existing properties are all in caps. I'm not saying it's a bad thing I'm just saying it is what it is.

sci fi hunter and pet
swamp elder
toy design
GAUNTLET
MONSTER HUNTER
MIYAZAKI
ZELDA

I hate to say it but in the real world game studios start by comparing themselves to other titles. They'll say "God of War meets COD" and so on and so fourth. I'm guessing the pitch for Assassins Creed started with these three words "GTA meets Thief" because it's something an investor can understand. So it is a valid challenge to pull something original out of something contrived. At least it's better than doing things the other way around.

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#18
Quote:Must create a HUNTER influenced by a real culture from our world but you gotta alter it to fit yours.

MUST create a MONSTER based on real world creatures but altered to fit your fantasy/scifi/or whatever else universe.

THESE DO NOT HAVE TO BE EXACTLY LIKE MONSTER HUNTER, THAT IS NOT THE CHALLENGE. THE IDEA WAS SIMPLY INSPIRED BY IT.


Monster Hunter may have inspired the concept of the challenge, but you were totally free to decide how you designed the subjects and what style you illustrated. The end result(s) were quite far removed from the inspired concept that had the challenge not been named "Monster Hunter", I doubt anyone looking at any of those pieces in a portfolio would associate them as been so inspired.

As far as the challenge's function, I'd say it's ill-conceived to consider it as fanart and not an exercise in total creativity in design.

Still 3/7.
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#19
I love freedom and I love topics that cover what I would like to do for work (important for my portfolio).

In the last months I started living from freelance illustration and had no time for the challenges, because I have to study a lot of fundamentals (anatomy, gestures, textures). But I would lik do participate in them.

My ranking of the past challenges:

swamp elder
MONSTER HUNTER
toy design
sci fi hunter and pet
MIYAZAKI
.
.
.
.
GAUNTLET
ZELDA

I prefer own designs. I prefer movies and books, not game-covers.

2 weeks are perfect for a deadline!

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#20
first off, weve aready addressed this issue and ive said publicly a few times now weve resolved it.

secondly, this phrase in your statement-

theres been more illustrative remakes of things rather than design

is absolutely false. dave and I alternated every two weeks between skillbuilding design challenges and publicity challenges to try and get people work. i am happy to say, despite the fact that we will no longer be doing as many publicity and fan art challenges, that they did exactly what their goal was, and got some people in the group some paying jobs.

but the bottom line is, we never did more fan art and redesign, we did an even amount of both. that was the idea. and actually, if you count in trevors bloodsport one, weve done MORE design than fanart and redesign.

If youre all too angry or dense to understand why we did it this way, let me break it down for you and maybe youll get it. skillbuilding and design challenges were in place more for people who needed a portfolio to get into concept art but didnt have the direction or motivation. these included the sci fi hunter and pet, the swamp elder, the toy design, and the monster/hunter assignment. redesign and publicity assignments were in place for everyone to get their names out there. naturally, some of the more experienced people in the group got the lions share of the attention because thats how this industry works, but the point is that we wanted to create a series of challenges where everyone had something to gain. beginners would, if nothing else, get a portfolio together quickly (and maybe even some exposure)- more advanced people would get their names out there, which would lead to better, higher paying work.

regardless of what any of you think about the zelda, miyazaki, and gauntlet challenges, they all served their purpose exactly as we intended them too. the group has recieved over a QUARTER MILLION views off the zelda alone, and multiple daggers have gotten offers off of it.

these are challenges, for fun. not homework assignments. if you dont like them, dont do them. not every assignment will be for you, so dont force the issue. in the same regard, if an assignment isnt for you, dont whine. take some time to work on your personal work (you should all have some going on), or study, or shoot for comissions. but dont come on here and write essays about your lost time and how this particular thing doesnt speak to you. we never intended for every challenge to suit every individual member of the group. thats impossible.

i appreciate that youre frustrated and might not be getting what you want out of these challenges, but understand that so are we when we see misleading feedback like this. weve dealt with the problem already, lets not beat a dead horse.

for the record, where as the mix of skillbuilding vs publicity before was 1: 1 from here on out it will be something more like 4: 1, or even less.

we started doing this cause it seemed fun. we stopped cause it wasnt anymore. if it continues to not be fun, well just kill it. simple as that. its a much better alternative than having the forum become an opinions poll.


best,

dan
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