my advice is that I would never do anything for free! it seems like that type of "employment" just starts trickling down to other employers out there and the pay rates for concept artists keep getting smaller and smaller.
I did do a drawing for a company a long time ago to get a job, to prove I could do what they asked, but it was only one. don't see anything wrong with that. but when the company starts getting work from you that they are going to turn around and make money from, then that's when I would draw the line.
internships with good groups are worth every second of volunteer time.
i did six months unpaid when i was first starting and it was worth it because I was learning from good people.
I ran an internship training program at troika...a couple members of this site worked with me there. we had no budget to pay them...though a position was offered to the most promising artist of the bunch. ask dethjester if it was worth it. I already know the answer.
if you are working from home...and its a good group...and the project looks good...then it may be worth it....but if its all noobs and the project is second rate then intern elsewhere.
the key to internships is seeing what the project is and who you are working with. think of it as graduate school for free....you will learn ten times what you learned in school on a monthly basis....there is no substitute for working with professionals....period.
work hard...suck up the knowledge....an internship program like that can bring you from student to professional levels in a few short months...you can go from someone who has the potential to make twenty grand a year to fifty grand a year if you work hard and put the groups experience to work in your portfolio.
if you get an internship opportunity...take it....i did nine months total...it was better than two years at ringling....ten times better...and i didnt end up with thirty grand in loans afterwards....its free friggen school...what is there to complain about.
if ya cant get a job with the portfolio you have...internships are a way inside...and the open door to a long career.