All of the on-line tools say how simple it is, just:
qemu-img create -f raw -O vmdk outfile.vmdk 2G
and create a default/typical vmx (or use vmbuilder).
Unfortunately, doing all that with an install ISO just flat out wasn't working. The blank vmware screen would appear after a while (the Black Screen of Boredom) and it never got beyond that.
After rebuilding vmdks, vmxs, moving symlinks to physical files, nothing would work.....
Finally, I thought about hitting the delete key and changing the boot option order... yep, that did the trick. I had to move CDROM to be the first boot option. (Odd because I thought it would be by default based on all of the other entry information I had come across.....)