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One Fantastic Adventure - The Workshop Experience

Lost In the Found! – Oil on Canvas by Ron Lemen

Lost In the Found! – Oil on Canvas by Ron Lemen

My wife Vanessa and I, have been fortunate enough to have been around for some of the very first art gatherings, or workshops, brought together by the internet and the forums where we all go to escape to our art “culture” or “family”.  Over the years the workshops have changed focus as technologies have changed the modern artist, but the core element still remains:  family.  

Scaritt Bennett Center in Nashville, TN

Scaritt Bennett Center in Nashville, TN

The 1FWorkshop is a workshop where I can truly say that every year, we gather with family to meet with family, regardless of whether its their first time or fifth.  The greeting party is super friendly, the setting is Harry Potter cool, quiet outside of our group, and absolutely peaceful.  The workshop happens in the most beautiful time of the year with the the fiery colors of fall just turning with all the beautiful trees on the campus.   

The content is solid, and the delivery is on time and on point.  There is a schedule (thank you for having one and sticking to it) that is designed down to the minute with non-stop information fired at you, aimed at helping you become an artistic entrepreneur.  

This workshop is full of fantastic relevant information on starting your own personal business, from internet and social media tactics to printing and shipping solutions, and everything in between from ideation to creation of your personal projects.  

The staff is all amazing, talented, cordial, helpful, fun to be around, and always there for you when you need some help or just want to ask a few questions.  Everyone on staff has been through the trenches with major brands and high-profile clientele, and have all successfully branded their own products or body of art.  They are all well equipped to help you with whatever questions you might have for them. There are no secrets here at this workshop, and no holding back either if you ask the right question.  For those of you who have been to previous workshops, you know what I’m talking about when I say that the closing panel can get pretty close to the bone, in a good way of course…and quite entertaining.

Ron Lemen LIVE demo at The Fantastic Workshop

Ron Lemen LIVE demo at The Fantastic Workshop

Without getting caught up in details, I can say that the lectures where Kickstarter was dissected from start to shipped was so eye opening for me, it changed everything I thought about self-publishing, and doing it all on my own.  They painted such a clear picture of the process that any doubts I ever had about doing such a thing were thrown out after listening to those lectures.

There were a few other revealing lectures with self-made illustrators that were quite jaw dropping too, examples of just how far an artist can go if they have great business savvy or someone with them willing to take on that part of the incorporated pathway. 

There is also a strong emphasis on changing things up so that each year has more to bring to the table. The lecture artists come prepared with new and current information, updating and adding to the resources and information delivered to the students.  

Challenges, hardships, and other setbacks are also a part of the conversation throughout the week. There is no success without tons of failure, failure, and more failure.  You will hear it from the best how they were almost toppled by problems, but persevered and pushed through it battle scars-a-blazin’.

Sketch Night!

Sketch Night!

This is one of the few workshops where we all get a chance to be a part of all of the workshop. Sometimes the scope of a workshop is so massive it requires that it be broken up into groups that do different tasks or watch selected workshops that different groups might not have the chance to see.  Not at this workshop as it is quite linear, one lecture hall, and you get the opportunity to take part in “ALL” of it if you so choose.  When the day is over, there is a massive art lab(hall) that everyone sets up shop and works in.  

Which does remind me, the evenings are quite entertaining and a well appreciated LOUD, a great kind of getting close with each other loudness, the kind that is addicting, the kind you want to take home with you to keep the buzz going longer than the workshop lasted.  There is a lot of “inspired” creating that takes place in the art hall, and a lot of bonding and lasting friendships that start there.

Something else that is quite outstanding is the insane eating hall, a scene right out of Harry Potter. The food is really good, but you do have to eat exactly at the designated times or you will miss out.  You’d also miss out on the full table conversations that take place at every meal.  It’s also great to see everyone eat with different groups throughout the week. And for such a good-sized group, there is no chance of not meeting everyone at the workshop by the end of the week.   

A word of caution and something I have noticed from past workshops, if you come unprepared, or you don’t have any sort of project to work on, you might find it a little overwhelming and, the core of what you can gain from the workshop is not just in the lectures, but the one on one time with you and your product, project, or art. The time you spend conversing over your work is personal, connecting totally with you and what you can do with it to improve it, prepare it for marketing, or publishing it.  

Last lecture is a Q&A with all the instructors.

Last lecture is a Q&A with all the instructors.

I’ll also gratuitously plug that I’m so inspired by this workshop, every year that I have taught including this year, I have and will make a booklet focusing on some subject pertinent to your development as an artist/entrepreneur self-published individual, that I hope at one point to bundle and publish as a book.    

All of this to say that if you have any inclination towards doing your own thing, this is such a great starting point, and such a great support group throughout your journey.  This is an eye-opening workshop and an amazing experience you will never forget. 

And if you’re lucky, you might get a rare chance to witness Sam’s whiz bang finger work on the banjo. it’s quite a treat.



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Ron Lemen

llustrator, Educator, Designer, Author, Creative Consultant, Visionary. Whichever creative project Ron Lemen is tackling, he will always bring a fresh twist and perspective to it. Quality and Clarity are the main motives. His art is a mosh up of influences from Warner Brothers Cartoons to Peter Paul Rubems, and everything in between. Every job is inspired by this confluence of creative influences, melding together each new piece into something fresh and unique.

http://lemenaid.com/