Bear with me, this is going to be a long one.
So, yeah, the IMC (Illustration Master Class) will be holding it’s forth iteration next June; again on the beautiful Amherst College campus. And I will be there, I registered the day the registration site went live. I missed the first 2 years, and I was not about to miss this one.
I could tell you that it’s awesome and that you need to get your ass there, but it wouldn’t really help. Instead I think I’ll do a recap of how it went for IMC 2010. I wanted to do that right after it but I was a bit overwhelmed and wanted to paint and not type.
So, when I saw the first iteration announced on Conceptart.org, I thought it looked cool, but I didn’t plan for it and couldn’t afford it. The second year, I missed registration and it was sold out by the time I found about it. The third year, I was determined not to miss it so I put some money aside and I registered, taking advantage of the reduction in price for people who pay early. The same is true this year, you get a 150$ break if you registered early and do just one payment. If I remember correctly, last year it was sold out in January or February, for an event happening in June. So yes it’s popular. And the proof is, a lot of the students are returning from year to year. If it sucked and was over-hyped, they would have to find new suckers every year, which is not the case here.
The class is 7 days long and food and board is included from the night before to the night after the classes. There is an assignment that you are supposed to work on before getting there so the preparatory work is done and on Day 1, they split the classes and everyone gets a very thorough critique of their preliminary drawing. I moved city just before IMC so I didn’t get my e-mails for a while and I only found out about the assignment at the last minute. So I only showed up with a handful of thumbnails and character designs. Luckily, it didn’t slow me down too much. That day was exhausting but it filled my head with more art information than what I had learned in the past few years, in just one day!
The following days we had lectures and worked on our assignments and had demos and had the faculty in class with us to guide us in our pieces. There really is something to be said for having classes small enough that the faculty can learn our names, know what we are working on. Some stayed on campus with us. Most took their meals with us, so we could chat with James and Janet Gurney at breakfast and then pick Donato’s brains during lunch, then go back to the class and have Dan Dos Santos do a paint-over on our piece and then go for a little lecture with someone else for the faculty, and then go back to work, rinse and repeat until you collapse.
Also, a surprising number of attendees are already professional illustrators and can provide valuable feedback and information. It’s also a wonderful place to make new friends who are super excited about art and just as motivated as we are.
Next year promises to be even more intense with more instructors and guests. I can’t wait to see the friends I made last year and to make new ones.