A very exciting and useful thing happened last week: A small critique group got kicked off when my long-time friend and fellow illustrator Joe Wilson decided to use Google's new technology, Wave, to follow in the footsteps of the mega-pros, and create what they call a "virtual studio."
I was going to make a lengthy post about it, but my fellow Wave-er Mike Sass beat me to it: http://sassart.blogspot.com/ His post sums up what I'm sure all of us are feeling.
Aside from the technology coming in very handy for a critique format, the specific blend of people we have at the moment has a uniquely awesome chemistry. We have folks from lots of different areas of illustration, including books, games, and comics, and with varying levels of experience, as well as different strengths. We all have a couple of things in common, too: We're all very driven and talented, and above all else: we're so much fun.
I like the fact that I can give advice on texture and lighting, and in the same keystroke get help on poses and composition. I'm very excited to see how all of our work will collectively improve over the next several months. You can't get an education this good in school.