Important: Registration for the Illustration Intensive ends April 30, 2024 at 10pm Central Time.

Fantasy Art Workshop’s Illustration Intensive is a five-day workshop for aspiring and professional illustrators who want to take their art to a whole new level in an encouraging and creative environment, all while getting intense instruction from an award-winning faculty with decades of experience in fantasy gaming, video games, editorial, conceptual art, children’s books, and more.

The workshop takes place June 10-14, 2024.

Fantasy Art Workshop’s Statement on AI

Fantasy Art Workshop believes in the resonating power of human-made art. We respect artists, many of whom have spent years, even decades, honing their skills to create their unique style. And we believe the fruit of their labor should not be used without permission or compensation.

As the Writer’s Guild of America so succinctly put it, “Plagiarism is a feature of the AI process.” Indeed, AI devours and regurgitates the hard-earned work of others. As AI in its current iteration depends on stolen art to generate its imagery, we will not allow attendees of the Illustrative Intensive to use AI* during any stage of the development of their work/s of choice during the workshop, nor will we elevate AI by including it in our instruction.

Our faculty and guest presenters will continue to help creators reach their artistic, personal, and professional goals while respecting the work of others. Consider the Illustration Intensive a place to create traditional or digital art in your own voice, with your own spectacular ingenuity and flair.

* Examples of AI text-to-image generators: MidJourney, DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, Lensa AI, Jasper, etc.

How it Works

We called this an “Illustration Intensive” for a reason. Over five days, you’ll be guided and inspired to create an amazing illustration for your portfolio in an intense but fun environment filled with camaraderie and creativity. Come prepared to be challenged. Illustration isn’t just about creating a piece of art; it’s about problem-solving to arrive at the best solution for the product, story, or advertisement that your illustration is accompanying.

You’ll be working in the medium of your choice. Digital artists are welcome. You are free to bring your computer setup, laptop, tablet, etc. Past attendees have brought their entire Cintiq setup, for example. We have plenty of space to accommodate your computer needs, along with ample power outlets and power strips. Traditional artists, you’ll be happy to hear that the venue has many standing easels, stools, taborets (to hold your palette and store your materials), and tables and chairs.

A month or so before the workshop, we’ll send a list of suggested illustration assignments to attendees from which they can chose one. Or create your own assignment. In the month leading up to the Illustration Intensive, attendees will work on the preliminary sketch or sketches for their assignment, which they will bring to the first day of the workshop. Attendees will get highly detailed critiques from the instructors about their sketch on that first day. Using that feedback, attendees will make revisions (it could take a few rounds), and then create their final drawing.

By day two, work begins on the final illustration. Over the rest of the week, attendees will get ample studio time to work on their illustration while receiving guided instruction and progress critiques from the instructors. We’ll take scheduled breaks for presentations, demos, and lectures on a variety of topics relevant to the field of illustration ranging from technique, building a portfolio, getting work in the industry, the business of being an illustrator, and much more.

Getting one-on-one instruction time with professional, working illustrators is an experience we know you’ll benefit from and enjoy immensely. For an entire work week, you’ll be surrounded by fellow artists from all walks of life, building lasting friendships and learning more about the world of illustration than you could hope to imagine. We hope you’ll join us for this wonderful adventure and life-changing experience.

Group photo from Illustration Intensive 2019.

Take a look at the 2019 Workshop

The When and Where

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

The Illustration Intensive will take place June 10 – 14, 2024, at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. MIAD is one of the premiere art colleges in the country. We at Fantasy Art Workshop are excited to have our event take place in the heart of downtown Milwaukee with its vibrant atmosphere and easy proximity to lodging, restaurants, cafes, stores, nightlife, and lakefront activities.

WORKSHOP • 8am-9pm • June 10-14, 2024
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
273 E Erie St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

SOCIAL GATHERING • 6pm-9pm • June 9, 2024

We’ll host a social gathering on Sunday, June 9, the day before the workshop begins so attendees can get to meet each other, as well as the FAW faculty, in an informal, fun atmosphere. Snacks and drinks will be provided. The social gathering will take place in the first floor gallery at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.

Artist Guest of Honor

Joe Jusko

Joe Jusko is undoubtedly one of the best known Fantasy, Pin-Up and Comic Artists in the world today. His career has spanned over 30 years, starting with the sale of his very first cover for Heavy Metal Magazine in 1977 at the age of 17. Since graduating that year from NYC’s High School of Art & Design, Joe has worked for almost every major comic book publisher, producing hundreds of images for both covers and interiors. His work has appeared on paperback book covers, calendars, posters, t-shirts, toy packaging and innumerable trading cards, most memorably the multi award winning 1992 Marvel Masterpieces Trading Cards. The popularity of that set has been credited with initiating the painted trading card boom of the 1990’s, and led to his groundbreaking 1995 Art of Edgar Rice Burroughs trading cards. Those 125 paintings have made him the most prolific Burroughs artist ever, producing art based on almost every major book by the famed author.

Learn more about Joe Jusko at www.joejusko.com

Art Director Guest of Honor

Sarah Wassell

Sarah Wassell is currently working as an art director for Wizards of the Coast commissioning art for special edition collectible cards in the Booster Fun and Secret Lair product lines of Magic: The Gathering. Past work includes creative direction, restaurant branding and interior design, and all facets of book and publication design.

Art Director Guest of Honor

Brian Scott Walters

Brian Walters is the art director at Hit Point Press Inc. He’s worked with amazing artists on dozens of tabletop projects including Humblewood Tales, Big Book of Big Bads, and Fool’s Gold RPG, to name a few. He’s also staffed and facilitated several fantasy-art related events, including IlluXCon and art shows featuring the art of Magic: The Gathering.

Brian is a proud uncle, and (fun fact!) he also officiates weddings.

Visit Hit Point Press at at www.hitpointpress.com

Faculty

Jeff Miracola

Director of Fantasy Art Workshop and host of its award winning Painting Techniques Videos, along with nearly a hundred art tutorial videos on YouTube and Muddy Colors, Jeff has been a professional illustrator since 1993. He’s worked on brands such as Magic: the Gathering, World of Warcraft, Dungeons & Dragons, Planescape, Earthdawn, Shadowrun, Vampire, Werewolf: the Apocalypse, Star Wars, Mars Attacks, and more. Jeff has been an Artist Guest of Honor at GenCon, the world’s largest gaming convention, and won numerous awards including a Silver Award in Spectrum: the Best in Fantastic Art.

In addition to his work in the fantasy industry, Jeff earned his stripes doing conceptual toy design, editorial illustrations, video game design, children’s books, and activity books for Scholastic.

Learn more about Jeff at www.jeffmiracola.com

Aaron Miller

Aaron Miller is an award-winning, world-renowned fantasy artist and illustrator whose richly painted illustrations have graced such brands as Magic: the Gathering, Star Wars, and Dungeons & Dragons. Companies that feature Aaron’s work include Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast, Blizzard Entertainment, EBAY, Hit Point Press, Fantasy Flight Games, Sony Online Entertainment, Draco Studios, Catalyst Games, Posthuman Studios, and Alderac Entertainment Group, among others.

Aaron’s oil and digital work has earned numerous accolades and awards. His art was included multiple times in the fantasy art field’s prestigious publication, Spectrum: The Best in Fantastic Art. Aaron was MileHiCon’s 2013 Artist Guest of Honor and Best Color Award Winner. GenCon, the world’s biggest gaming convention, bestowed him with honors two years running: 2013 Best in Show and 2010 Juror’s Choice Award.

Learn more about Aaron at www.aaronbmiller.com

Steve Prescott

A native to Cleveland, Ohio’s eastside and a graduate of the Columbus College of Art & Design, Steve Prescott has been a self-employed artist and designer since the mid 90’s, working on products from such companies as White Wolf Games, FASA, Paizo, Blizzard, Copenhagen Creators, Hasbro, Animal Planet, Larian, Draco Studios, DHX Media, Valve, Bethesda, and most notably for Wizards of the Coast where he has contributed heavily to both Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: the Gathering as a multi-faceted concept designer and painter.

See more of Steve’s art on Instagram HERE

Howard Lyon

Howard Lyon began his career studying illustration at Brigham Young University working with artists such as Robert Barrett, Don Seegmiller and James Christensen. Over the past 21 years he has worked in the video game industry as an art director, concept artist, freelance illustrator and gallery artist. For much of his career he painted dragons and trolls or scenes from science fiction. His work can be found in products from Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft and Hearthstone, Magic: The Gathering, and Star Wars. He has studied art in Italy, France, and most recently at the Grand Central Academy in New York. Howard creates work in the fantasy illustration market, for fine art galleries, as well as religious and inspirational art markets. Howard has a passion for learning and studying the artists of the past and their working methods.

Learn more about Howard at: www.howardlyon.com

Guest Artists

Shawn E. Russell

Shawn E. Russell is an award winning wildlife and fantasy artist specializing in creating detailed depictions of animals melded with plants and fungi in symbiotic relationships as a way to process the power struggles of the human world. She crafts her images with graphite pencil, or ballpoint pen with occasional forays into other traditional mediums. Her illustrations highlight animal species with endangered status as a way to appreciate their natural beauty and raise awareness for the urgent need of conservation, with many Asian influences as a nod to her Chinese American Heritage.

Shawn makes her living primarily by connecting with fans at comic and anime conventions across the country with personal work and merchandise for sale. She has worked with food and beverage packaging, and private art collectors as well. Shawn also has a physical studio and gallery space in downtown Terre Haute Indiana where her work is on display to the public year round.

Learn more about Shawn at: www.shawnerussell.com

Carly Milligan

Carly works to bring stories to life through illustration, specializing in figurative art for young adult and adult book covers in the fantasy and science fiction genres. She also takes private commissions and sells her original paintings. Growing up she was always a creative type and wanted to be everyone and everything, which explains why she’s always been drawn to stories. Nothing lets us explore other lives quite the way narratives told through books, games, and movies do. Even now she has a chronic thirst to learn, explore, and experiment. When not painting and experimenting in her studio she’ll probably be in her garden or exploring the nearby mountains with her faithful and constant companion, Strider.

Learn more about Carly at: www.carlymilligan.com

Studio Assistant

Melissa Sue Stanley

Melissa Sue Stanley is an illustrator and sculptor from northern Illinois. The lush green and blue landscapes of Midwestern summers are the heart of what inspires her work. Melissa’s watercolors explore open fields and deep forests, looking for the small moments of magic and mystery hidden in these environments. Her storytelling project, Grisella’s Woolbeast Wayguide, discovers the denizens of these worlds. She has been sculpting and illustrating the Woolbeasts for 15 years; they are collected in homes all over the world and have been shown in galleries across the United States.

In addition to her personal work, Melissa works with her husband, Max Bare, on unique illustrative projects for local breweries such as Revolution Brewing. Melissa’s other select clients include private portrait commissions, illustrations for Hit Point Press, and some really weird stuff for Dead Meat Productions.

Learn more about Melissa at: MelissaSueStanley.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, we do. If you are a student age 18 years or older and currently enrolled full-time in college, you are eligible to receive a discount. Discount and registration fee information coming soon.

Some students have asked if they are still eligible for the event in June if they are graduating earlier in the year, like May. Yes, full-time students graduating in 2024 before the event in June are still eligible for the discount.

After you register, we will contact you for proof of full-time student status.

Absolutely! The Illustration Intensive encourages all aspiring and professional illustrators to join us no matter what medium they choose to work in. Digitally created art is a HUGE part of the current illustration field. In fact, even those illustrators that work with traditional mediums need to have better than beginner knowledge of using digital tools. All of our faculty work traditionally and digitally.

Digital artists will need to bring their own laptops or other digital devices they use for producing their art, including all power cables and cables needed to connect the device to a projector if needed. Digital artists must also have those devices loaded with any software they will need. Past attendees have even brought their entire Cintiq or tower setup, for example. We have plenty of space to accommodate your computer needs, along with ample power outlets and power strips.

Fantasy Art Workshop will be providing a printer and regular printer paper on site.

Yes. On the last day of the workshop you will receive a Certificate of Completion. This is a great keepsake and something you can also present to your employer if they require proof that you’ve completed our workshop.

Yes, there will be free wi-fi available all week to attendees of the Illustration Intensive. You will receive instructions for joining the network on the first day of the workshop.

Absolutely not. You can be working in any genre of illustration. Fantasy Art Workshop is running this event, but the faculty members have worked in other illustration genres including editorial, book, children’s books, games, video games, and advertising.

No, you will need to bring your own art supplies. However, Fantasy Art Workshop will be supplying some community supplies to spare you the trouble of traveling with dangerous materials. Fantasy Art Workshop will provide solvents (Gamsol), mediums (linseed oil, walnut oil), and drying agents (Liquin) for oil painters, as well as the containers to house those materials. We will also provide Murphy Oil Soap for the cleaning and care of brushes for both oil and acrylic painters. White Acrylic gesso will also be available to anyone that needs to prepare a painting surface.

For additional art supply needs, there is a Blick art supply store conveniently located just across the street from MIAD.

Digital artists will need to bring their own laptops, tablets, or other digital devices they use for producing their art, including all power cables and cables needed to connect the device to a projector if needed. Digital artists must also have those devices loaded with any software they will need.

Fantasy Art Workshop will be providing a printer and regular printer paper on site.

Yes, you can. Arrangements can be made for you to ship your supplies directly to Fantasy Art Workshop and we will have it available to you on the first day of the workshop. Your package must be clearly marked with your name and that it is for “Fantasy Art Workshop‘s Illustration Intensive”. All packages must be sent to us earlier than two weeks prior to the start of the workshop. Please contact us to make arrangements for your shipment.

If you decide to work in oil paints or any other slow-drying medium at the Intensive and your painting is not dry by the time you need to return home, we will store your wet painting at our home. Once it dries, we will box it up and ship it to you. Of course, you will need to pay for shipping and handling fees, but at least you know the option is available for you. And we’re happy to do the same with anything you’d like to to ship back home after the workshop, such as art supplies or a painting this is dry but too big for you to transport.

There will be a form for you to fill out at the Intensive if you wish to take advantage of this option.

Attendees may call for a taxi, Uber, or Lyft upon landing. Expect the ride to be about 20 minutes under light traffic conditions.

No. There are many restaurants, cafes, markets, within walking distance of MIAD that we felt it best to leave your food choices up to you. All kinds of dietary needs can be accommodated. There are gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options, etc. at many local restaurants.

One very popular location is the Milwaukee Public Market just a few blocks from MIAD. This facility houses dozens of food vendors all under one roof.

No. There are area hotels or AirBnB options. If you don’t already have a friend or friends that you plan to room with during the workshop, feel free to join and post to our Fantasy Art Workshop Facebook Group that you are looking for a roommate for the workshop. This is of course an entirely voluntary and personal arrangement outside of Fantasy Art Workshop’s purview, and we cannot be held responsible for roommate choices or outcomes.

Due to insurance requirements, the only individuals allowed to attend the workshop are attendees. That means anyone joining you on your trip to Milwaukee for the Illustration Intensive is not able to visit you at the workshop. We apologize for any inconvenience.

If you have a disability that requires a human helper, please see that question below.

Yes. However, depending on the particulars, your helper might have to cover some cost of their tuition. Please contact us with the particulars of your situation.

While Fantasy Art Workshop strives to be inclusive and accommodating where it can, we cannot accommodate a service animal at our private event, as its presence would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of our business. Our workshop features long days, usually 11 hours from start to finish, tight quarters among participants, and a setting in art rooms which house hazardous chemicals and tools, as is the nature of art supplies.

2019 Workshop Photos

2018 Workshop Photos

Policies

By attending Fantasy Art Workshop‘s Illustration Intensive, you agree to our Code of Conduct policy and Anti-Harassment Policy. Please view and download these policies and read them carefully. Thank you.

Our policies can be found at http://www.fantasyartworkshop.com/workshop/policies/

Disclaimers

Faculty and Guests listed have confirmed their commitment to attend the Illustration Intensive. However, the guest list and agenda is subject to change. Should advertised faculty and guests not be able to attend, Illustration Intensive will do its best to bring in alternate talent. Such a change would not constitute grounds for registrant reimbursement.

WORKSHOP FEE

Workshop Fee $1350. Click Here to Sign Up

FULL-TIME STUDENT PRICING: $1000*
(use code ii2024student during checkout)

Workshop Fee includes:

  • Five days of instruction with the faculty members
  • All presentations, lectures, and demos
  • Access to other faculty/special guests throughout the event

WORKSHOP FEE IS NON-REFUNDABLE. If you find after you’ve registered that you cannot attend, you may find a replacement at your own expense. Registration fee will be refunded, however, if state or national directives ban large gatherings due to COVID-19. Attendee is responsible for their own food, lodging, and travel to and from workshop.

Attendees must be 18 years of age or older.

* If you’re a full-time student, we will reach out to you after you’ve paid to request proof of your full-time student status.

Photos from our 2022 workshop