Next month I will be attending the Illustration Master Class in Amherst, Massachusetts. (facebook page)
Now in its third year, this major gathering of leading and aspiring fantasy illustrators is fast becoming a "must do" in the schedule of the young illustrator. Last year at Illuxcon, I heard the buzz about it and decided to book it for this year. The format of this week-long workshop is a split between lectures, demonstrations and working on a project. Students are given the choice of a number of themes one month beforehand, and arrive at the class with their design and reference prepared, and proceed to work throughout the week on their illustration under the guidance of the instructors. The instructors are a who's who of the worlds top fantasy artists, including Donato Giancola, Boris Vallejo and James Gurney. In addition, representitives of publishers will be on hand to offer input and lecture on business aspects as well as advise students on their portfolios.
One of my virtual studio mates, Aaron Miller, has gone for the past 2 years and he has just made a podcast with some other alumni that goes into some detail on what the experience entails.