Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hello and welcome to Crimson Daggers!

Crimson Daggers is a free online community/study group focused on improving all around fundamental skills. Primarily we work within the realm of Illustration and Concept art.

Dan Warren's Livestream!- 

Everyday we meet on Dan Warren's Livestream, co-hosted with Dave Rapoza, to participate in an open forum discussion on anything relating to current goals in art. While people ask questions Dan works live on studies and sometimes personal work that co-insides with our current Challenges. As well as studying Dan talks a lot about his current situation working towards his Deathline goals and also encourages everyone to honestly discuss any problems or accomplishments in regards to their own Deathline.
At the end of each Livestream Dan and Dave do two live critiques of peoples work linked in the chat. These are full paint-overs with discussion on composition, form, lighting, etc. Most critiques last anywhere from 15-30 minutes and are posted separately in the Livestream library for viewing whenever you want.

Requirements for Critiques -

-Come with in to the critique with some idea of where you want the image to be, a clear concept or idea. 
-If this image is a study then please include the Reference

Follow Dan on Twitter for updates!

Dave Rapoza's Livestream! -

This livestream is a bit random with schedule but has many process videos already recorded in the Livestream library. Throughout each stream Dave Rapoza discusses freelance, making it in the industry, general techniques marketing, networking etc. As well as answering any questions people may have regarding the work on screen or whatever else they need. Most all of the portraits seen in the TMNT and Masters of the Universe series are up for viewing whenever in the livestream library.

Follow Dave on Twitter for updates and to ask questions!

More info from a Q&A we did

Do you have any personal art goals for 2012?

Well, because its Daniel Warren and myself hosting the stream(Dan paints/studies) we both have our own goals.
As an aside, keep in mind not all things are directly art related but related to personal productivity in general. For example Dan's goal to lose weight will result in more energy, productivity, and confidence as an individual. It is extremely important for us to stay totally and completely honest with ourselves and everybody listening. Otherwise how can you truly succeed? I'll list them below:

Daniel Warren - Lose 100 lbs, be totally self sustaining off art, and to create a professional portfolio

Dave Rapoza - Increase study habits to 2 hours a day, finish secret project by November 2012, and organize my life just on a daily basis(emails, bills, all the things I am terrible at remembering)

Please tell me about the Crimson Daggers Deathline, and how our readers could get involved (or do similar things, if it's closed number)?

The Crimson Daggers Deathline is open to everyone, we have no cap on viewers during the livestream and we encourage people to make their own. This isn't something we control, its 100% not for profit and for everyone. As everyone is different, everyone will naturally have different goals. Because of this we do not cater to any one style or methodology. We understand that there are many different styles/approaches and that every illustrator is unique. The stream is more about developing self discipline and therefore provides a community of people dedicated to achieving their goals and not just fundamental skill. That being said this is not a strictly a classroom environment although everyday at the end of the stream we do 2 intensive critiques of member's artwork. Because this is a daily livestream and we are both trying to improve ourselves, we talk quite a bit about our own problems/experiences learning and dealing with clients etc. We don't really have any boundaries on the discussion as anybody can bring up whatever they want regarding problems or anything else in their lives revolving around their goals. 

PS - This stream has been going on for over 6 months straight, everyday, so we talk about literally everything. Which may include some terrible puns and endless references to dan killing himself. Dan will not actually die, unless he does, but we'll probably cover it in detail, including his funeral.

Do you find giving yourself longterm goals useful, or needlessly stressful?

Well a lot of people tend to give themselves unrealistic goals which is the right thing to do. The only problem is that they don't break down the goal into manageable steps that they can accomplish in a timely manner. When you just associate yourself with the finished goal it can be very stressful because you're constantly running up hill with no benchmarks. After making the effort to really figure out what you want you can start making serious progress. Overloading yourself with the immediacy of the long term goal is a major issue with people starting the Deathline. It leads to a lot of people giving up during the first month. Moving past that and understanding its going to take a long time is key to seeing that time as an investment in yourself. We try to get everyone to embrace failure and understand that short term failure has a very important role in long term success. This is something we encourage everyone to do during the Deathline challenge. 

For our readers that are starting out, they may look at your quality of art and your rate of output and say: 'what's he got to learn?' How exactly do you think your art can improve? (Conceptual side of things? Technical? Business side, ie, selling your stuff?)

Well, they have to understand that there is no end to art. I am not at a pinnacle point in my career and never will be. Nobody should set out on any sort of goal with the idea that the goal is the point. Its not about the results its about the challenges along the way and how you choose to address and overcome them. For instance, I set out to do a set of Ninja Turtles portraits just for fun on the side. When I started I told myself I would do 15 of them, and as I went on working on each one I continually pushed myself to make each one better. Not saying I totally achieved what I wanted, but I set out on accomplishing something and learned a lot in the process. Now I have 15 images that have some visible improvement from start to finish. After I finished that I was super pumped to keep on pushing myself, and of course address my short comings as an artist. For instance, I still suck at hands and feet. Dynamic poses are still an issue. Even though I'm working daily for what you might consider major clients I'm still addressing these issues in my work. What I'm trying to say is that getting a job doesn't justify comfort and a sense of lethargy in ones self. You have constantly push yourself to remain not only vital in your own mind but to the whole community. And in this way we can all grow off each other and feel some common energy to achieve great things.
And anything else that you'd like to add...

Yes, as you watch the livestream keep in mind that Daniel Warren is just like everyone else. Nobody on the livestream is above anybody else. Each one of us is constantly failing and constantly moving forward at the same time. When you're watching Dan paint you're going to see mistakes, thats the point, hes human. We're trying to promote the idea of passing the torch in the Crimson Daggers community. I started the group in order to improve to a point where I could really live off my art. When things got crazy and I was too busy I gave the Livestream group to Dan and Dan will do the same when he is working fulltime at art. The stream is more rooted in the art of learning than some sort of master class mentality. 


  1. Wooow man...this is really exciting to me!I read all the text! It is very interesting and helpful.
    I just recently graduated and now I am a professional Illustrator - looking for job-
    The truth is that I love digital art and have found such a kickass artists is very
    encouraging and see them on livestream even more! I'm new here, I am horrible speaking English...-you know the kind of people that hear well but talk like an asshole without offending to anyone :P. So for now I will folow you on chat and comments!

    See you soon on Livestream .....
    and...yeah... Thrash Metal rules!!!!

  2. hola, lamentablemente no hablo ingles, aun así me interesa mucho aprender ilustración, los felicito por sus obras, son buenísimas...todo el material que encuentro aquí debo traducirlo, espero hacer un curso de ingles para que las cosas me vallan mejor....