Mentorship

Are you looking to start or continue your art education, improve your art, or take the next step in your career?

There are several different mentorship programs designed to fit your schedule and your needs. There is Intro to Digital Painting (structured or AYoP), Advanced Digital Painting (structured or AYoP), Advanced Digital Painting 02 – Self-directed, Advanced Digital Painting 02 AYoP, and my Patreon mentorship.

For the Intro to Digital Painting and the Advanced Digital Painting mentorship, each week students will receive a video lecture and demo along with video paintovers of every single assignment. Each video will have full audio commentary. Students will also receive all of the material covered in the lecture as well as the PSD of the painting featured in the demo.

Students will also have access to online resources and a private forum where they can post their work and give each other critiques. Live chat sessions will be scheduled to go over each assignment and to discuss any questions or concerns the students have regarding the lecture/demo. Live chat sessions will be held at two different times to accommodate international students.

Higher tiers offer advanced options, such as personal assignments based on the individual, a portfolio review, contact with art directors, and 2 additional weeks for a total of 12 weeks.

There is also a public Facebook group that anyone can join. I show sneak previews and keep everyone updated on the progress of both classes. This is separate from the private forum.

In order to take the class, you must purchase a reservation that requires a $100 non-refundable deposit. The deposit is subtracted from the total tuition. Applicable discounts only apply to the remaining sum and do not apply to the deposit. You can purchase your reservation by visiting my store. Reservations will be available for purchase starting 1 month before the next class starts.

Advanced students will  need a portfolio in order to be accepted. Based on your portfolio, you will be put into a class that best suits your needs. Even if you want to take the Advanced class, if your portfolio doesn’t meet a certain level, you will not be able to attend the class.

I should also mention that there is no payment plan or discount for the video only tier or the AYoP programs. A portfolio isn’t required for the video only tier.

Below are the tiers for the Intro to Digital Painting and the Advanced Digital Painting mentorship.

Video Only
$300
Economy
$450
Standard
$700
Premium
$900
10 Weeks  x  x  x
12 Weeks  x
Video Paintovers w/ Audio Commentary + JPG  x x
Video Paintovers w/ Audio Commentary + PSD  x
Standard Assignments x  x  x
Personal Assignments Based on the Individual x
Portfolio Review x x
Access to Resources (brushes, websites, etc.) x x x x
Private Forum Access x x x x
Live Chats x x
Contact with Art Directors x

Modular Options

Intro Class

• Upgrade from 10 weeks to 12 weeks (video only). Only available to economy and standard tier students – $110

Advanced Class (currently the advanced class is only 10 weeks)

• Add contact with ADs (Standard tier upgraded to Premium tier only) – $55
• Add premium assignments (Standard tier upgraded to Premium tier only) – $55
• Upgrade from 10 weeks to 12 weeks (video only). Only available to economy and standard tier students – $110

Payment Options – Economy, Standard, and Premium tier only

• Full – 5% off (does not apply to the reservation)
• Two Payments – 50% up front, 50% at week 5
• US Military Discount (proof required) – 20% off (can’t be combined with the 5% off)

Intro to Digital Painting

Intro to Digital Painting is a 10-12 week course dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of drawing and painting using a digital medium. A portfolio and a working knowledge of Photoshop is required for this class.

Lectures and assignments are based on the fundamentals of drawing and painting, therefore no painting from imagination will be covered in this course. Not enough people focus on the fundamentals, but without them, you won’t reach a professional level.

In addition to the assignments, students are required to keep a physical sketchbook. Sketchbooks can be uploaded to the forum. If you don’t have a scanner, you can take pictures of your pages with your phone or camera. You will need to fill at least one page per week. These sketches should be of studies from life, not imagination.

Course Outline

Week 1 – Composition & Thumbnails
Before learning how to paint, you need to learn how to compose your image. If your composition fails, a well rendered painting will fail as well.

Week 2 – Value Studies
Artists will always tell you that values are more important than color. Without a solid foundation in values, a colored painting won’t be able to stand on its own. Focusing on values first will also help you learn how to render objects without having to worry about color. Once you learn to render objects, then you can begin thinking about color.

Week 3 – Materials & Textures
In this session you will learn how to paint different types of materials and textures based on how you render an object through the use of edges and brushstrokes.

Week 4 – Still Life Painting
Foundations are an important part of learning. Still Lifes are important because they teach you how to render objects, compose images, and understand light and color.

Week 5 – Light & Color
Color is another problem many beginning artists have. In this session we will talk about using light and color to convey emotion, as well as talk about how to add color to a black and white painting.

Week 6 – Master Studies
In this session you will create master studies from different artists. This will help you learn and understand how an artist solved a particular problem and help you to see and recognize color, value, and composition.

Week 7 – Movie Stills
Movies are a great source for learning. Doing a study from a movie still will help you learn how to tell a story through the use of color, lighting, and composition.

Week 8 – Landscape Painting
This session will cover painting landscapes and will include discussions on how to paint various environmental elements. Other topics like atmospheric perspective and creating depth will also be covered.

Week 9 – Figure Painting
Drawing figures can be challenging, especially since we are so critical when it comes to critiquing figures. This session will focus on the human form and will cover exercises and techniques on how to paint a successful figure.

Week 10 – Heads & Hands
Heads and hands tend to be the hardest things for people to paint. Whenever there is a figure, people almost always look at the face first. Many times you will see a beautiful painting, but the hands are extremely crud. This session will help teach you how to paint heads and hands using reference, which can then be applied to imaginative work. 

Week 11 – Painting Animals (Premium members only)
This session will focus on painting animals and how to render different types of materials such as fur and scales.

Week 12 – Architecture Painting (Premium members only)
Being able to paint architecture is an important skill, especially if you plan on going into the film or game industry. This session will talk about how to paint architecture from life and/or photos.

Advanced Digital Painting

Advanced Digital Painting is a 10-12 week course dedicated to improving your digital portfolio. This is an upper level class that requires a portfolio.

Fundamentals will still be stressed in this course, but students are now allowed to paint from their imagination. These assignments can be directed to improve the individual’s portfolio and give them a better chance at getting freelance or staff work in their desired field. Assignments are much harder and more involved, which means the student needs to be able to spend more time each week.

In addition to the assignments, students are required to keep a physical sketchbook. Sketchbooks can be uploaded to the forum. If you don’t have a scanner, you can take pictures of your pages with your phone or camera. You will need to fill at least one page per week. These sketches should be of studies from life, not imagination.

Currently the advanced class is only offered as a 10-week course. If weeks 11 and 12 are ever added to the course, you can purchase them as a modular add-on. See the modular options above.

Course Outline

Week 1 – Clothed Figure
Most figures need some type of clothing. This session will cover how to clothe your figures and topics like action folds and materials will be discussed. Paintings will be done from photo ref.

Week 2 – Clothed Figure II
Unlike week 1, this session will cover painting clothed figures from your imagination with an emphasis on depicting different clothing materials.

Week 3 – Character Design
This session will cover how to design a character from a silhouette and how to take it to finish. You will also learn what makes a good character design and what you should think about when you are designing your own characters.

Week 4 – Turnarounds
Learn how to do turnarounds of your character design from week 3. These are important if you want to go into the film or video game industry.

Week 5 – Character Portraits
Give your character designs some interesting faces. Different ethnic groups will also be covered during this portrait painting session.

Week 6 – How to use Photo Ref in Illustrations
Many people shy away from using photo ref because it is considered “cheating.” This session will show you how to use your own reference in your illustrations and how it will benefit your career.

Week 7 – Illustration From a Client Brief
Create an illustration from an actual professional client brief. Style guides will also be provided so that the students can create an accurate illustration based on the assigned IP.

Week 8 – Battle Scenes
Battle scenes are commonplace in the gaming industry. This session will go over composing large battle scenes and how to portray depth, scale, and imply a larger force without having to completely paint every detail.

Week 9 – Sci-Fi Illustration
Instead of focusing on the fantasy genre, this session will cover the sci-fi end of the spectrum. Gas masks, robots, and space ships, oh my!

Week 10 – The Business Side of Illustration and Concept Art
Students usually know how to create a good portfolio, but they rarely know how to actually submit one or who to contact at perspective companies. This session will cover the business side of the industry and will cover topics like contracts, invoicing, taxes, and self-promotion.

Week 11 – Creature Design (Premium members only – Currently unavailable)
Creatures! Everyone wants to paint creatures. This session will cover how to create your own creatures using real life creatures as inspiration.

Week 12 – Concept Design (Premium members only – Currently unavailable)
This session will cover more aspects of being a concept artist, including environment and prop design.

Advanced Digital Painting 02 – AYoP

Students will receive 10 pre-determined assignments along with video paintovers of every single assignment. Each video will have full audio commentary. Students will also receive the PSD file of the paintover.

• $600
• 10 predetermined assignments
• Video paintovers
• Chat through email

Course Outline

Concept Design – Students will have 5 assignments to create the elements of one cohesive world.

• Main hero
• Main villain
• Environment
• Props
• Creature

Illustration – Students will have 5 assignments to create various types of illustrations.

• Book cover
• Magic: The Gathering card
• Video game marketing illustration
• Movie poster
• Double-page spread

Advanced Digital Painting 02
Self-directed AYoP

Students will receive 10 assignments they create along with video paintovers of every single assignment. Each video will have full audio commentary. Students will also receive the PSD file of the paintover.

• $600
• 10 self-directed assignments
• Video paintovers
• Chat through email

Course Outline

The student will decide what type of assignments they would like to do. This will give the student even more power to create a focused portfolio based on the type of work they would like to do. For example, the student might want to receive an assignment based on vehicles one week and the next week they might want to receive a romance cover assignment, anything is game. Once the student decides what type of assignment they would like for that week, I will create a more specific assignment based on that information.

FAQs

General

How do I find out more information about the mentorship?
Send an e-mail to mentorship@daarken.com.

How do I sign up for the class?
Reservations must be purchased with a non-refundable $100 deposit. The deposit is subtracted from the total tuition. Applicable discounts only apply to the remaining sum and do not apply to the deposit. You can purchase your reservation by visiting my store. Reservations will be available for purchase starting 1 month before the next class starts.

I purchased a reservation but something came up and I have to cancel. Can I get my money back?
No. The reservation is a non-refundable deposit. Only purchase a reservation if you are going to take the class. If you cancel, you will not receive a refund.

Are international students accepted?
Yes! There is no location restriction for this program. Two different live chat sessions will be scheduled each week, so hopefully you will be able to attend at least one of them.

How many students will there be per class?
Starting out I will probably only accept a maximum of 10-12 students per class. After I make sure I have enough time to handle 10-12 students, the number might be increased.

Why aren’t there live demos?
Unfortunately I do not have a reliable internet service. My internet signal is very intermittent, which causes lag, slow downloading/uploading times, and frequent disconnections. The only way to improve my internet connection is to move to a new apartment.

What is AYoP?
It means “at your own pace.” You can take as long as you want to do each assignment, there is no deadline.

Assignments

How much time do I need to spend each week?
The more time you spend on the class and the assignments, the more you will get out of it. That being said, each lecture/demo is roughly 2-3 hours long. Each assignment will probably take several hours to a few days, depending on how fast or slow you work. The Advanced class meets every other Thursday and the Intro class meets every Friday.

Since there are assignments, will I be graded?
No, there are no grades in this class. Assignments are very important because they teach you to complete a task by a certain date, but they will not be graded.

So what if I don’t do my assignments?
Then you are only hurting yourself. If you don’t do your assignments, you won’t improve. You also won’t receive video paintovers since there will be nothing to paintover.

If I turn in my homework late, will you still do the paintover?
It really depends. If you turn in your homework late, I can’t guarantee that I will do the paintover. That means I will have extra work to do because I will be trying to do the current paintovers from that week in addition to any late assignments.

How many times can I watch the video and can I watch the videos of other student’s paintovers?
You can watch the videos as many times as you want. Unfortunately I had to change the way student paintovers work. You will now no longer be able to watch the other paintovers (unless students give them out themselves) because it uses too much bandwidth. Dropbox only allows 200GB/day.

Features

I signed up for the “contact with art directors” tier. That means I’ll get a job right?
No. This doesn’t even guarantee that you will be put in contact with an art director. Only students who have a professional level portfolio or show great potential will be put in contact with an art director. Even then, it doesn’t guarantee that you will get a job. It only guarantees that an art director will look over your portfolio.

What does the portfolio review entail? 
Before each semester starts I will record a video portfolio review talking about your strengths and weaknesses. These reviews will be done in Photoshop. I will also do a second portfolio review at the end of each semester so that the student will know how much they improved and what they still need to work on.

How do I access the mentorship forum?
There is a login form located on the right sidebar of this page located underneath the RSS feed icon. This forum is private and for members only. Permission must be set for each user before you can login. After you create an account, you need to send me an e-mail (mentorship@daarken.com) letting me know what your user and e-mail address is. After you have been granted permission, you can click the mentorship forum link located below the login form or hover over the “mentorship” menu at the top of the site and click on “forum.”

When are the live chat sessions?
The live chat will be held every Friday for the Intro class at 11:00am PST and every other Thursday for the Advanced class. I am located on the west coast. The easiest way to convert the time is to use this link and compare your location mine.

Why isn’t there a guest demo this time and can I get a discount?
Unfortunately I can’t always find an artist to do a guest demo for every class. I pay for these demos, but professionals are very busy so they can’t always find the time to create a demo for my class. These guest demos are just an added bonus, so I can’t give discounts if there is no guest demo during a particular semester. I will let everyone know before each semester starts whether or not there will be a guest demo.

Why has the guest demo feature been removed?
I decided to remove the guest demo feature because I still can’t find anyone to create a demo for my class. Even though I am paying for these demos and allowing the artist to retain full rights, I still can’t find anyone. If I ever do, I will add it to the course.

Can you explain the modular option of upgrading from 10 weeks to 12 weeks? 
This option is only available for the economy and standard tier students. If you upgrade, you will only receive the new videos, you will not receive the other “premium” options. For example, someone in the economy tier would not suddenly be able to join the live chat, get a portfolio review, get personal assignments, etc. They will simply have access to the week 11 and 12 videos. You will still receive a video paintover of weeks 11 and 12 since that is part of your normal tier.

Will the videos change from semester to semester?
It really depends on my schedule and the lesson. Lessons like color theory or compositions probably won’t change since the information won’t change. If you already purchased the “video only” tier and you are interested in taking the full class, I will let you know how many of the videos have changed.

Payment

What type of payments do you accept?
All payments will be made through Paypal, unless you are local, then you can pay in cupcakes and cookies. My Paypal account is daarkenart@daarken.com.

I am in the military in a different country. Can I still get the military discount?
At this time I am only offering the discount to people in the US military. Many other countries require military service. This discount is for those who voluntarily entered the service. Trying to keep track of which countries require military service and which ones do not is something I don’t want to worry about at this time. Proof is required.

I am on one of the payment plans and I missed a payment, what happens then?
If you miss a payment, access to demos, chats, and the forum will be revoked until you make your payment. Once the payment is received, access will be returned.

Video Only Tier

How do I purchase the “Video Only” tier?
You can purchase it from my store. Next you need to create a free Vimeo account and send me a message through Vimeo so that I can give you access to the videos. My Vimeo user is Daarken. If you have a slow internet connection and can’t download the videos, that is your responsibility, not mine. Before you purchase the “video only” tier, make sure your country has access to Vimeo and your internet speed can download all of the files (roughly 22 GB).

Is there a seating limit for the “video only” tier?
No. Since the video only tier does not require paintovers, there is no limit to the number of people wanting to purchase the tier. This tier can be purchased at any time.

For the “Video Only” tier, why can’t I get all 12 videos? Why only 10?
The final two videos are only for premium and standard+upgrade students.

I noticed the “Video Only” tier still has standard assignments, does that mean you are still going to critic them?
I personally will not be doing any paintovers or critiques of the assignments. You are welcome to do the assignments and post them on the forum for others to critique.

If I buy the “Video Only” tier and then decide to take the full class later on, can I get a discount?
If the videos don’t change from when you bought them, I can offer you a discount. For example, if you bought the “video only” tier and then decided to take the “standard” tier, I would subtract $300 from the standard tier rate, meaning you would owe $400. If only some of the videos don’t change, I can offer a partial discount for the videos that are the same.

I bought the “Video Only” tier but I didn’t receive any of the files or images mentioned in the videos, where are they?
The “Video Only” tier is just that, videos only. You will not receive any of the extra material mentioned in the videos.