Previous Workshops

Creature Quest: Combining Animal Anatomy 
and Story with Terryl Whitlatch

In this workshop, led by celebrated creature designer, Terryl Whitlatch, we will explore various existing animal’s structures, and then apply this to designing creatures that support, and interact within a story setting.  This is a concise course focusing on designing with intent—the why of the creature—and applicable to concept illustration for not only the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but for games, motion pictures, special effects, animation and illustration.

Illustrative Lighting and Color Theory

Award winning illustrator, Dan dos Santos, will show you how to create more dynamic compositions and a stronger narrative through the careful use of light and color.

The workshop will focus specifically on lighting techniques and color theory, giving the students a deeper understanding of how light works. We will also discuss how we can use these techniques to paint more convincing skin tones, or achieve a greater sense of realism when painting from imagination. 

Mythological Character Portraiture
with Karla Ortiz

Celebrated illustrator and concept artist, Karla Ortiz, blends digital and traditional methods to create her beautiful and sensitive fine art work.

In this three day intensive workshop Karla will guide students through her entire process, from photo shoot, to Photoshop, to pencil, to final! (Although we will be working on a fine-art piece, this is the same process Karla uses to create her illustrations and concept art, so you may relate this to a variety of applications).

Painting Alla Prima
with Greg Manchess

Experience firsthand Manchess' unique handling of oil paint for the portrait. Greg will answer all of your technical questions about the medium of oils, including his personal approach to mixing and applying pigment, using the brush, painting mediums and surfaces. On day 1, we will work from supplied photos; day 2, from a live model; and day 3, from a reference of your choice, focusing on creating a portfolio piece. This is a fast-paced, industry-oriented illustrative painting approach with an emphasis on meeting deadlines.

Sunday Sculpture Special

Learn about mixed media sculpture while sculpting an expressive face with polymer clay on this Sunday Special with Virginie Ropars. Mixed media techniques and processes will be discussed as Virginie shows you some of her work in detail as well as her working methods. Bring your questions, and pictures of your own work if you'd like to discuss it. Clay and sculpting material will be provided, but bring your own sculpting tools.

Golden Shadows:
graphite & gilding in traditional drawing 
with Yoann Lossel David Thierree

Join visiting French artists, Yoann and David for two packed evenings learning how they make their evocative imagery. See the traditional graphite techniques they use to enhance shadows, textures and details. Understand how to push your own sketches further into finessed drawings and then how to enhance those with borders and gold leafing. They will also discuss their inspiration, background and artistic processes.

Taming the Watercolor Beast 
with Omar Rayyan

In this workshop Omar will walk through his process and approach to narrative painting in watercolor. We'll be addressing reference and inspiration, composition, character design, color, line, and paint application to help make a character express and bounce, be it beastie or human, all in wonderful watercolor! We'll also explore how to correct, finagle, fight back and tease the medium to your needs.

Expressive Sculpture and Maquettes

In this workshop, geared toward illustrators and animators as well as three-dimensional artists, renowned sculptor Tim Bruckner will guide you through the process of sculpting, molding and casting your characters. Tell a story and convey a unique personality through facial construction and emotional expression. Practice with photographing under different lighting conditions to translate your 3D maquette to two-dimensions will also be covered.

Organic Drawing: Finding the Line

Come get your hands dirty for three days as we dive into explorational drawing with graphites in its various forms. Allen will share every facet of his process as it pertains to drawing in general and creature concept design specifically. Some topics we will delve into will include: tools, texture, experimentation, spotting values, comparative anatomy, drawing from the outside in and inside out...and we will make creatures, among other things.

Mixing it Up: Classical Techniques for Creating Fantasy Genre Paintings
with Bob Eggleton

Classic Master fantastic art has followed a lineage from hundreds of years ago until the present. This workshop will focus on using classic art techniques, and narrative myths and legends to help inform an individual style of working. Everything from lighting, to environment, to creature design will be covered, using fictional myths and legends as inspiration. There will be demonstrations, hands on and critique of personal work, and discussions of student's sketchbooks and ultimate objectives.  

Narrative Portraits and Metallics
with Donato Giancola

This three day workshop is for the storytelling artist who aspires to pursue further development and refinement of their drawing and painting skills with the figure. Focus will be placed upon creating a compelling portrait with an emphasis on metallic elements such as a spacesuit, medieval armor and/or robotics. Donato will share topics as diverse as marketing in commercial and fine art marketplaces, color and compositional theory, the aesthetics of narration, and the physical application and techniques of working with oil paints, mediums & glazes. 

2D Concept Design
This workshop gives students a rare chance to immerse themselves in an intensive weekend with two senior concept designers from Weta Workshop. Throughout the weekend they will run a class-based brief that will introduce students to the fundamental conceptual and technical skills employed in 2D concept design. The brief will enable students to work across areas such as character, prop and environment design and allow the flexibility for the student to employ their own style and medium, whether it's live action film, animated features or game design. 

Punching your Viewers in the Eye 
with Todd Lockwood

Todd Lockwood explores composition and action in narrative illustration through demonstrations,
 draw-overs and discussion. Among the topics we'll explore will be color, composition, balance, negative space, perspective, and point-of-view, with a special emphasis on story-telling. Come learn from one of the most dynamic illustrators in the industry! 

Photo-referencing the Fantastical 
with Fred Fields

From his early fantasy work at TSR to his Western representational art and working as a concept artist in the video game industry, Fred Fields has been in the business of creating art for nearly thirty years. In this three day workshop, Fred will discuss his painting techniques regarding color, light, value, edges, composition and his use of gold and silver leaf. A special interactive focus will be on the time-saving practice of piecing together or "Frankensteining" photo references in Photoshop to obtain your desired look with ease. 

Drawing from the Imagination (& Using a Big Eraser)
with Charles Vess

This workshop will help you develop drawing skills that are based on your imagination and not constrained by the use of photo reference. We will also discuss the importance of collaboration between the artist and the written word, its writer and most importantly its intended reader. Whether it's a cover painting or interior illustrations, what you choose to leave to the viewer's imagination is just as important as what you draw or paint. 

Plan Great Images, From the Ground Up
with Greg Manchess

This workshop concentrates on building compelling images with the human figure as the focal point. Using a book cover format, participants will start with initial thumbnails and work toward realizing the final sketch. We will focus on the structural elements of effective composition, value, dimensional depth and emotional content.

Artist As Brand
with Greg Spalenka

Did you know you can make a solid income from your unique stories & visions from fans, patrons and collectors from around the world? This course shows you how to make a living from your talent on your own terms. Whether you are a student who is ready to start an art career, a teacher who wants to make income beyond the classroom, or a professional artist who is burned out working in the industry, this workshop will show you how to build an art empire around what you love. Get ready for the future of art career sustainability.

Book Cover Illustration 
with Dan Dos Santos

In this 3 day workshop, Dan dos Santos will go over his process, specifically as it pertains to cover work. Students will work alongside the artist, as they execute their own paintings. Topics covered will include: composition, photo reference, and oil painting techniques. Even though a large portion of the class will be geared specifically towards oil painting techniques, the lessons and methods that Dan will go over can be applied to any media, including digital.

Story and Pictures: Monsters & Maidens 
with Cory Godbey & Justin Gerard

In this dual-faculty workshop, Justin and Cory will cover their illustration processes and approaches to character-driven art. Students will work alongside the instructors to conceptualize and design their own character, craft their visual story and put it all together into a single image. The class will be heavily geared toward drawing and painting traditionally, but Justin and Cory will also demonstrate how they use digital tools to enhance their work.

The Magic Art of Visual Storytelling

From initial concept to finished artwork, internationally acclaimed writers/artists Iain McCaig and Brom reveal their dynamic approach to crafting story through illustration.

In this highly interactive workshop, Brom and McCaig work with participants to re-imagine a classic tale in a new genre, demonstrating how to create captivating illustrations and iconic character designs as well as breaking down world creation and essential story structure. Each participant will be assigned a key frame in the story and work with the instructors to bring that image to life. The workshop culminates in the creation of a story reel weaving together all the images for this re-imagined tale. Drawing and painting exercises will be augmented by in-depth discussions, demonstrations, and one-on-one conversations with these two incredible instructors, tailoring their input to your personal drawing and painting techniques.

Idealized Realism and the Human Figure 
with Terese Nielsen

Prepare for an information-packed weekend as Terese shares her process of creating beautiful figures from the initial drawing stage, employing tips on idealizing anatomy, lighting the figure, and selecting reference to achieve the best results, including easy corrections of common mistakes. Via a mock Magic card assignment, she will also discuss her symbolic use of color, light and imagery and offer a peek into her masterful use of multi-media as it supports the central figure. 

Beyond Reference: How to Imbue your Characters with Character
with Justin Gerard

Good use of reference is extremely important in professional illustration, but overusing it can suck the soul out of a piece of artwork. This workshop focuses on the secrets of utilizing reference so that your image is believable without sacrificing the unique personality that you bring to your work. 

"My experience was great and I'd definitely like to come again for more workshops!" Doug Stambaugh