-By Arnie Fenner

You can’t learn in a vacuum. That’s simple common sense. I don’t care how many people think they can sit at home and teach themselves everything there is to learn about being an artist and creating art by cruising the internet or watching tutorial videos. That will only take even the most motivated so far—and it’s simply not the same as being surrounded by fellow artists eager to learn and striving for the same goals, getting help first hand from instructors who have been-there-and-done-that and are eager to share. Personal interaction provides clarity and promotes new ways of thinking and problem-solving.

Yeah, there’s always someone who complains about cost and wonders aloud why everything isn’t either cheap (and virtually no price for some is ever cheap enough) or free. But the question to ask in reply is, “What is your career worth?”

If you want a career, if you want to be able to make a living doing what you love, you have to be willing to invest in it and that investment comes in the way of time and money.

So, yes, workshops or classes carry a price tag, but the potential return more than offsets the initial expense. You’ve heard it before, but education provides an edge; interacting with students and instructors can open doors of opportunity in the future. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Teachers deserve to be paid to teach; organizers deserve to be paid for organizing. If you place value on your own work, you must in turn place value on the work of those who help to make art careers—in a whole host of ways—possible.

The TLC Workshops in the Great Northwest (Bothell, WA, about 40 minutes outside of Seattle) have a great roster of classes in February at modest prices.

Feb 6-8

Taking a class with one of the most important artists putting paint to canvas today is a no-brainer, but Greg’s workshop is crammed full; you can add your name to a waiting list in the unlikely case of any cancelations.

Feb 15

Likewise, who would want to get instruction from one of the most amazing sculptors working today? Everybody, of course. Unfortunately, Virginie’s workshop is full but you can also add your name to a waiting list in case of any cancelations.

Feb 18-19 

As one of America’s most respected illustrators, Greg knows a thing or two about making a living in the art world. His AAB workshops blend philosophy with practicality and help provide clear direction in a foggy marketplace. If you want to be in charge of your own destiny the Artist As Brand workshop will provide the tools to pursue a successful career as a creative entrepreneur. There are a handful of spots still available, but hurry: they’re going fast.

Feb 25-26

Students on this side of the pond won’t often have the chance to take a workshop with this dynamic duo of French artists so this could be the opportunity of a lifetime. David has a brilliant  technique that infuses faerie subjects with a contemporary attitude which provides an unexpected edge and freshness. And Yoann? He is simply one of the most exciting young artists to gain prominence in recent years: his rich blend of graphite and gold leaf while illustrating mythological subjects is astonishing. Together they’ll provide a one/two punch to help jump start their students’ creativity. The workshop is limited to 14 participants and there is just barely a spot or two open (if that). Snooze and lose.

And that’s just in February! Tara Larson Chang, TLC’s Guru, has classes in the works with Omar Rayyan, Tim Bruckner, and Kekai Kotaki for later in 2015. Visit the website for further info.

Above: Greg Manchess

Above: Virginie Ropars

Above: Greg Spalenka

Above: Yoann Lossel

Above: David Thiérrée