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.

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. 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 13 – 17, 2022, 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 13-17, 2022
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
273 E Erie St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

SOCIAL GATHERING • 6pm-9pm • June 12, 2022

We’ll host a social gathering on Sunday, June 12, 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

Artist Guest of Honor - Kekai Kotaki

We are super excited to announce Kekai Kotaki as an Artist Guest of Honor for Fantasy Art Workshop’s Illustration Intensive June 13-17, 2022.

Kekai is a one man powerhouse! The lead concept artist on Guild Wars 2, over eight years at ArenaNet, he’s also worked at Bungie and Monolith, working on titles like Destiny and Mordor Shadow of War. His client list is impressive and includes such companies as Wizards of the Coast, National Geographic, Simon & Schuster, Amazon, Aplibot inc., Tor Books, Paizo, and many more.

Come meet, and create art with, Kekai at our workshop!

Learn more about Kekai at www.kekaiart.com

Art Director Guest of Honor

Our Art Director Guest of Honor is yet to be announced.

Faculty

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 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 Wizards of the Coast, Blizzard, Fantasy Flight Games, Sony Online Entertainment, Mercury Retrograde Press, 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

A native to Cleveland, Ohio’s eastside and a graduate of the Columbus College of Art & Design, Steve Prescott has been a freelance artist in the gaming industry since the mid 90’s, working on products from such companies as White Wolf Games, FASA, Paizo, Blizzard, Copenhagen Creators, Hasbro, Animal Planet, Valve, and most notably for Wizards of the Coast where he has contributed heavily to both Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: the Gathering.

Steve won “Best-in-Show” at the 2007 GenCon, published a book of drawings in 2009 called AGGREGATE, and then another called Steve Prescott’s Alphabet Book of Mythological Beings in 2016, has had work in multiple Spectrum: The Best in Fantastic Art annual publications, did all the illustration work for the app game SoulSpark, has done concept design work for D&D, Magic: the Gathering, Hasbro, Bethesda, Valve, and even worked on pre-production creature designs for the My Little Pony movie (yes, you read that right). Somehow in there, he finds time to hastily draw a cartoon to put in his daughter’s lunch every day.

See more of Steve’s art on Instagram HERE

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

Guest Artist - Ashley Cassaday

Ashley Cassaday is a digital illustrator and art educator based out of her hometown of Dallas/Fort-Worth Texas. Inspired by the world of fantasy, faerie, and flora, she has developed a love for telling stories through dark and alluring fictional characters, while aiming to portray the juxtaposition between in these ethereal, yet ominous characters.

Ashley currently is working in collaboration with Llewellyn Worldwide, and spiritualist author Pamela Chen, to create the Steampunk Faerie Tarot, a deck inspired by the Victorian themes of steampunk fantasy and the world of faerie. On the side. Ashley also is working on a menagerie of personal passion projects, and her art business and illustration course; where she helps budding artists discover their authentic creative voice to thrive in today’s illustration industry.

Learn more about Ashley at: www.ashleycassaday.com

Guest Artist - Jarel Threat

Jarel Threat is an award winning Fantasy and Comic Book Illustrator living in Sugar Land, Texas. A graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design, Jarel works with oil paint, seeking to capture beauty and strength with the use of subtle color and light. His work has been featured multiple times in the “Infected by Art” annuals. Jarel is also the Creative Director for Verse Comics.

Primarily known for his work for Magic: The Gathering, Jarel has created works for a number of projects and companies over his 8 year career, including books covers, card art, album covers and comics. Other clients include Iron Crown Enterprises, Hit Point Press, 247 Comics, Verse Comics, Straight Back Games and a list of private art collectors.

Learn more about Jarel at: www.jarelthreat.com

More guests announced soon

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. Students receive $200 off the price of the workshop fee, making the student workshop fee $1,000.

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 2022 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.

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. Since we moved the workshop to the heart of downtown Milwaukee for 2022, we have decided not to offer catered meals. There are SO MANY restaurants, cafes, markets, within walking distance of MIAD that we felt it best to leave your food choices up to you this time. 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. Although MIAD does have dorms for their students, that building will not be available to Fantasy Art Workshop attendees in 2022. However, this now gives you more flexibility with your lodging choices. There are area hotels or AirBnB options. We will be reaching out to some local hotels to see about getting a special rate. Please check back here closer to registration.

The added benefit of being in control of your own lodging is that now you can room together with other workshop attendees to save on housing costs. 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.

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

$1200

Registration opens January 2, 2022

Limited spots

FULL-TIME STUDENT?*

Use Coupon code iistudent2022 to get $200 off the workshop fee

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.

* Full-time students, age 18 years or older will be asked for proof of full-time student status after registering. Students graduating in 2022 before the event in June are still eligible for the discount.

Photos from our 2019 workshop