SPECTRUM FANTASTIC ART LIVE 2 is in May, held in Kansas City, Mo. The booths are reasonable, but sales were pretty low the first year. But people seemed optimistic and understanding when I was there last year. So I'm doing it again this year. I'm sharing the booth, so even better. The show is very cool to attend for an artist because of the folk who are selling there and the panels and presentations. And the Awards show is the next best thing to having an Academy Awards for Fantasy art... it's a well-produced event, attended by the top guys to give it credibility.
ILLUSTRATION MASTER CLASS 2013 will again be held in June in Amherst, MA. Mike Mignola is the special guest instructor this year. I know it's expensive, and an investment of a week in time, but I still can't recommend this thing enough. Unfortunately, it is SOLD OUT this year. There might be a waiting list. I'm going for my fifth year. It's keeping me alive, art-wise, I think.
SMART art courses-- Many of the same instructors, plus more, run classes online. I'm sure this kind of one-on-one, even if not face-to-face, is highly beneficial. These instructors are amazing. I'd do this in a shot if I was interested in improving my career and skills.
SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON-- Pro-reg initial approvals have passed for this year, they are taking pre-Pro-reg for 2014, though. Actual Pro-reg is still up-coming. If you can prove you work in fantasy art, games, films, etc., you can usually score the ability to try and get a free Pro-badge (after jumping through the required hoops). Regular membership to this con are almost impossible to get! This is a crazy-big con, maybe 150,000 people or more. Almost too big to actually be beneficial, but there ARE contacts to be made. Almost everyone in the known world is there (not really much of an exaggeration, either). Booking a hotel is nearly impossible, as is getting around in the traffic. It really is a big, nasty, incredible thing, the Comic-Con. I share a booth there so I can get out of the way of most of the crowds.
GENCON-- held in August in Indianapolis. Still a great con to sell art at (HUGE art show, they give you tables and pro-panels to hang art so you can be there and sell stuff). Having a booth can be good, too. Also making contacts in the table-top/paper and collectible card game industry. There are smaller game cons, but GenCon is still the biggest and best. I've attended for 15 years or more and it's been worth it. Great for sales, socializing and making connections.
ILLUXCON-- I actually haven't been to this, but people seem to love it. Lots of amazing artists and demos and such. I mean to check it out someday...
TLC WORKSHOPS-- I haven't been to these, but know the person running them and the folk who are instructing and I'm sure they are fantastic. If you can get to the NW for a short workshop, think about it!
I'd love to hear about more convention recs and fantasy art events and workshops!