Vilppu Circle Members Share Their Stories

Hi Glenn! This is Chris Darroca, I hope this email finds you doing well. I just wanted to drop you a line to give you an update and a "thank you" as one of your former students. I have been living in the Bay area now for the past seven years working in the entertainment industry as an artist and have recently been asked to teach a few life drawing classes at Industrial Light and Magic. I model my class after your classes that I took at the Animation Union years ago. I only hope that my students get a fraction of what you gave to me in your teaching. I refer all students to your website, online classes, drawing manual videos, etc. As the years have gone by in this industry, it seems that anything positive that has happened in my career can be directly attributed to a solid foundation in figure drawing that was taught to me by the best life drawing teacher on the planet. So I just wanted to let you know that yet another one of your students is now teaching, I am sure that you have quite a list now! Thanks for everything, Chris Darroca
Chris Darroca, Vilppu Method Professional and Instructor, San Francisco, CA

Dear Daimon & Samantha, I atteneded the Savannah College of Art and Design for Computer Animation. I had heard of Mr. Vilppu and believe he did visit the college while I was there, but as a hot-headed student I felt that I already knew how to draw and I wanted to concentrate on my 3D studies so I kind of put it out of my mind. Then for several years I abandoned drawing all together, even though it was something that I always loved. The misery of trying to deny it has shown. So I researched Glenn because I knew he was the best at teaching what I wanted to learn, the figure. I sat down and read the whole drawing manual in about an hour. It woke something up inside of me and I think that I learned more in one hour than any of the $3,000 drawing classes I had at SCAD. His casual approach to teaching and his wealth of knowledge have filled in so many holes my first education left. He is definitely a blessed artist and a wonderful teacher. I am so excited about drawing that my boyfriend is going to start drawing with me. This is not something I am doing for career goals but I think it will make my work better, it will push my level of detail and observation which will make every aspect of my animation and design work excel. Even though I just design websites I see the value in still learning the traditional drawing methods. Everything in our industry is connected and you can find inspiration in everything. Anyone in a creative field that thinks they can get by without traditional skills is in for a big surprise. You might survive without it but you probably will never thrive at your career either. Maybe one day it will open doors to jobs I don't have the skill level for now. I hope to save up enough money to take the trip with Glenn next year. I've already told all the other artists in my life to at LEAST order the drawing manual.
Karissa Dingus, Vilppu Method Student

Hello, Mr. Vilppu. My name is Naomi Hicks. I'm going to be a senior in high school, and I just wanted to thank you so much for teaching your figure drawing method. I have recently been taking fundamentals of figure drawing classes, and my teacher recommended your books and videos. Your material is really helpful for me. You see, I am working on my portfolio for college, and your vidoes have shown me how to really understand what I'm drawing and why. I was always taught to just "draw what you see", which led me to draw the figure relying heavily on contour, and unable to tell why it didn't look right. For the past feew years I slowly got better at understanding proportion and the structure beneath the figure, but it wasn't until I discovered your videos that I had a real breakthrough; particularly in analyzing the model instead of just copying, and in determining the push of the figure. You have completely changed my way of drawing and I just wanted to thank you immensely. The tools I have gained from your lessons have also helped me in my approach to animation, which is incredibly valuable to me. I hope to learn more from you in the future, and once more, thank you.
Naomi Hicks, Vilppu Method Student

I've been studying with Glenn for about 15 weeks now; and I've learned more in those short weeks than I did my entire 26 years preceding. He's changed my life, and given me two new eyes through which to see and interpret the world with, and it's a more beautiful place as a result. Aside from being my favorite artist, he's the best teacher I've ever had, and a warm, sweet, and generous human being.
Jonathan Hart, Vilppu Method Student

Hello, I just wanted to say thank you for the videos and manuals that you have been producing. I am a beginner and it has really made some things click for me, and I hope to one day be as great as Glenn. Glenn’s, as well as his student Sheldon Borenstein’s, drawings were the sole source in making me try to draw for the first time. I have always wanted to draw and be an animator, however I always thought that you either could draw or you couldn’t, a "god-given" type of thing. Trying how-to books and such never helped really. Seeing Glenn’s drawings literally almost jumping off the page and dancing along made me pick up a pencil and ignited that passion in me so strong I couldn’t resist. Now I am getting a late start at age 26, as I was in the Marine Corps, and it took a few years, but I finally figured out what I want to do, and I am thankful that this knowledge and the guidance and time you all put into this program to make it available. I hope to one day save enough to go on a sketching tour before Glenn stops them! Anyways, my best wishes.
Jason Hill, Brentwood, CA

I was attracted by Vilppu's teaching material when I found out about his lectures at the Animoation Workshop in Denmark (I was there for a Concept Development for Animated TV Series and Feature Films Course). When I went through his books for the first time I liked the honesty and quality of the teachings and decided to see other products. I'm studying in order to become a concept designer and painter and right now developing a concept for a screenplay I wrote. Besides my other dream would be founding a school here in Italy in which people like Vilppu and Scott Robertson (for the design side) could give real solid lectures about drawing and design. In fact, though we possibly have the most amazing collection of art, what is really lacking here is the teaching about how to make art. I have been working with Vilppu's material for some months so far and the difference in my art you can see. Yes, I am still studying and I hope I will never stop since this had been one of the most amazing experiences in my life. I discovered the importance that drawing has to my life and the beauty of seeing and exploring this world through this wonderful tool... if you meet Glenn say thanks from Ghereardo
Gherardo Martin, Vilppu Method Student, Padova, Italy

I first learned about the Vilppu instruction DVDs from (believe it or not) a video rental company by mail! I am retired and decided to "go to art school" and one of the classes was drawing the human figure, a subject I enjoy but am not so good at. Well, when I had to learn the skeleton, musculature and then the body I searched for a way to study something at home. I rented a couple of your DVDs and was amazed that there is still a teacher around who actually TEACHES, rather than tossing a handout and saying a few words about technique and then says "Go to it" whether you know how to or not! And we pay a lot for not being taught. I rented several of your DVDs and they were so engrossing, I spent hours following Glenn as he drew and instructed. At first, the cell phones ringing and the coughing students were distracting, but once I focused on what Glenn was saring and DOING, I didn't notice! My order was for the artist's satchel because nothing I've ordered from supply shops has worked for me. I have "sets" of art supplies all over the house, in different carriers. I was keen on the heavy duty one Glenn had on his site, with the added snap-on utility sections. I am still rearranging it for the just-right combination, but what a quality product for going outdoors, and even going to the doctor's office! Thank you for checking up on my order and asking my opinion. Please do put me on your mailing list as I do admire his teaching method and skill! He seems to cast a spell to make the lines appear in the right places. It looks effortless. But I know it's not and comes from his years of work and teaching. I'm grateful to have found him... and am working toward getting some of his DVDs. I wish Glenn many more years of giving us his wisdom in drawing. He's amazing!
Therese H. Xech, Helena, AL

I wanted to thank you for the fast delivery of the 'Sketching on Location' manual. I also wanted to thank you for bringing the love back into drawing for me. Wherever my sketch book is the Vilppu drawing manual is right next to it and now, so will the sketching on location manual. Every time I watch your videos or open one of your manuals I learn something new, even though I could have sworn I've read that before. You are a great teacher and true master of 'feeling' life the way you see it. Thank you.
Tony Gaddis, Vilppu Method Student

Regarding your questions, all went well with the purchase process. I found out about Glenn Vilppu's teaching material through I started with the drawing manual and was immediately impressed. Then, based on praise from some members of, I bought the accompanying DVD's to the drawing manual. I was so impressed, that I decided to purchase most, if not all of the instructional materials... Although, I have only been working with the drawing DVDs and Manual for about a week, I'm already seeing some results and I am very pleased... The lessons are clear, concise, and well thought out. They logically build upon concepts in a progressive manner to present a very efficient way of learning. In my opinion they are simply the best teaching materials I have, and I can tell you I have lots of stuff!!!! One of the central benefits I am getting from Glenn's teaching method is that I now finally feel I have a structured and focused approach to learning. I no longer float around aimlessly, and can now better organize my time and practice.
Jonathan Masters, Vilppu Method Student, Cave Creek, AZ

Dear Mr. Vilppu, I can't begin to tell you how much your drawing manual and DVD instruction has meant to me. I am 46 years old and finally following my passion to become a working artist - full time! I was introduced to your work through my own labor intensive search for drawing instruction - but not just any instruction - I mean the kind that truly gets inside one's head to methodically break down the essence of drawing whether from life or from imagination. I can't believe it, after almost 5 decoades of "looking" at the world, I am finally learning to truly "see" and hopefully with hard work and the set of visual tools you have described in your instruction, I will be able to effortlessly render on paper what it is I see inside my head - and most importantly "make it look right". Factoring in my late start, plus, with life expectancy increasing as each year goes by. I figure I should be able to accomplish what Hokusai did by the time I am 145 years old - give or take a few years. Thank you for sharing your gift. It is truly a measure of succes in life when one shares their gifts to enrich the lives of others. Warm Regards, Brett N. Sizemore, CEO and Professional Brainstormer, Brett Sizemore Fine Art P.s. Maybe somdeay I will be able to take your class in person. I know the Scottsdale Artist School would love to have you teach with them.
Brett Sizemore, Vilppu Method Professional, Scottsdale, AZ

Dear Glenn Vilppu, I have been purchasing an number of your DVD's lately and I feel Compelled to tell you why, although it is likely a story similar to many others you've heard. In art school, I was tought by drawing training. Mostly, they plopped us in front of the model, gave little instruction or focused on contour drawing. When I entered an MFA prgoram, I asked, "Who teaches anatomy?" and was told, "You'll need to do that on your own." So I did as best I could. I found tapes of Robert Beverly's Hale's lectures stuffed away in the library, but they were in a deteriorated condition and some were missing. I kept attending fugure drawing classes in which I wasn't enrolled, trying out different teachers and getting time with models. And I gradually acquired a library of books on the subject. Now I teach beginning figure drawing in a large art program at a University, one of 6 or 7 faculty who teach the same course. I'm well regarded, but to me, my student's work always seemed flat and lifeless. They developed accurate observation and measuring skills, we talked a lot about line variation, different rendering techniques and composition, but their work was rooted in drawing just what they saw and it consistently lacked a sense of movement, rhythm, and volume. I think you see where I'm headed... I found your web site by chance while surfing the net - it was link on an animation artist's page that one of my student's asked me to look at. I've been working with your techniques over the summer and started using them this fall with my classes. We have a special display area for freshman class work and, luck of the draw, I happened to get one of the earliest slots - 5 weeks into the semester. This is generally undersirable as the work has not had much time to develop. The response has been very gratifying, with accolades from many faculty. In fact, another instructor opted to not put up his class' work alongside mine (that was too bad). But here's the cherry on top: a couple of my former students were admiring the work when I came by. One said, "Boy, this doesnt look like what we did in class, ours didn't look nearly as good." So I asked, "Well, what is different about these drawings?" The student paused thoughtfully before replying, "They all move, and they feel real, they have volume." I could have kissed his perceptive forehead. So Thanks. The anatomy DVD's are the clearest reference I've found for understanding how the muscle and skeletal structures work when the body in action. The chapter by chapter DVD's are terrific. I see the results of them in my own drawing and in my students work as well.
Jill Eberle, Vilppu Method Professional & Instructor, NC

I was blown away at how clear he made complex drawing issues. I also like how he approaches all drawing the same -- without bias as to the application of said drawing ability. He teaches foundations that will help you your entire career. I have read through the drawing manual now and watched some of Glenn's instructional videos -- and the difference it has made has been tremendous! He cuts through the veil of mystery that a lot of instructors place around artistic topics. As I indicated, everything just becomes clear. In terms of impacting my life I suppose his materials (such as the satchel) has made toting my supplies much easier and it has kept everything at my finger-tips. In general I have more confidence in my abilities, or in knowing that my abilities are improving...
Jay Brushett, Vilppu Method Student, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

Samantha, I've found a gem in your website and company, I'm not about to hit the road and run for the hills, I will return and place more orders in the future, including for items such as watercolours, sketching equipment etc.. you have a very happy customer and I put it mainly down to your customer care policy... it makes a change from call centres and automated phone lines! I'm looking forward to my bag, Many thanks, Ryan.
Ryan, UK

My experience using your site was great. Plus the follow up on the order was very professional and courteous. it was refreshing to see a store care about their customers. Not only is the product superb, the customer service is destined to create raving fans. thank you for your help and for the amazing DVDs.
Steven Gravano, Vilppu Method Student, Fresno, CA

Thank you for the quick response! Yes indeed, please use this as a testamonial of my appreciation of Glenn's excellent teaching, his great art, his friendship, and what he has done for me!! I have taught art for over twenty years and have been a practicing artist for even longer. Currently I teach Currently, I teach Cartooning classes, Basic Drawing for Adults, and Figure Drawing/Anatomy classes at the Art League School of Alexandria (Virginia), a very fine institution. I also conduct my own private art classes. My personal work appears in other art related projects. I am proud to say that I have received a number of awards, among them one from the Society of Illustrators in New York. Of all of the instructors that I have had, Glenn is the BEST. I feel truly blessed to be his student. Please extend to Glenn and Eleanor our sincerest regards. Maria and I look forward to hopefully seeing them in the coming months. If there is ever anything that Maria or I can do for you, please don't hesitate to contact. It was my great privilege to study with Glenn in Sarasota, Florida during the spring of 2006. That was truly one of the BEST EXPERIENCES of MY LIFE!!! Glenn even took the time to work with me on one during the weekend following that week long workshop. But, just as meaningful, Glenn and Eleanor spent time with my wife Maria and myself sightseeing and having fun after class. We love Glenn and Eleanor!!! Glenn is a once in a lifetime teacher and I have learned so much from him. And, as an instructor of anatomy and figure drawing at a prestigious art school in Virginia, I am very successfully sharing the information that I have learned from my Vilppu studies. While I feel that Glenn is already my mentor, I would be extremely interested in officially being included in his Mentorting Program when it is initiated. To say that Glenn Vilppu is a genius us an understatement and I am truly thankful that he is my teacher! From a master like him, there is always more to learn.
Malone A. Samuels, Vilppu Method Professional & Instructor, Forestville, MD

The DVD's do work as they should. The information contained on them is invaluable. There are some issues with the sound, etc. I'm sure you are probably aware of this. It is not a concern for me, as I can still hear the lectures. I was attracted to Glenn Vilppu by the frequent mentions from professional artists. I am an aspiring concept artist. I frequently see major figures in the conceptual art world mention the value of Glen's teaching. When I saw Craig Mullins urge an artist to spend the next five years of his life studying in Glenn's classes, I knew there must be something to it. I first ordered the Drawing Manual. The was the single most important book I've ever read on art. Many illustrators and animators struggle to develop methods to draw from imagination. The drawing manual gave me that method. It gave me a structure to build off of. I enthusiastically point other artists in the direction of Glenn Vilppu. If this sounds like a testimonial, its because it is one. The teaching of Glenn Vilppu has Greatly helped me. I hope that you will let him know how grateful I am.
Aaron Poe, Vilppu Method Student, Logan, UT

As you requested, here are my thoughts about why I have found the Vilppu drawing and anatomy DVDs so effective: First, I find the DVD as an instructional medium very effective. I see and hear the essentials of what is being taught as the entire process unfolds. With a DVD I can easily go back and re-experience the process until I am satisfied. A book, being inanimate, just cannot lead you through a process like a DVD can. In classroom instruction, on the other hand, repetition is limited by time available, and critique after the fact, while helpful, does not reinforce a process so much as seek to alter a result. Second, and most important, is that Glenn’s instructional style and material make these particular DVDs work very well. As I watch Glenn’s lectures and demonstrations, I sense a wealth of knowledge and experience that he is trying to transfer to me as effectively as possible. As a communicator he displays a great balance of intensity and relaxation, as well as a nice touch of humor. He combines enough repetition for the idea to sink in with enough variation that the material isn’t boring. The material presented is extremely well organized. It starts with fundamentals that evolve along a continuum into more complex concepts. I find that continuous evolution eye-opening in every application, from spherical forms to much more complex anatomical topics... I noted that every review of Glenn’s DVDs was extremely positive, and I was not disappointed. I was so impressed with this first topic that I then purchased the Head Anatomy series, as well as the Upper Torso, and Quick Sketch DVDs. All of these have surpassed my expectations. The Quick Sketch in particular has started me toward an on-the-spot sketching facility that I have long sought. I thought that I understood gesture and basic drawing well enough to pass over the drawing series. I was mistaken. With the idea that I might improve the gesture in my sculptures, I rented the Gesture DVD. Wow! It filled holes in my understanding of drawing fundamentals that I wasn’t even aware existed. I have now purchased the Drawing Series as well. I find that after watching one of Glenn’s lectures and following his instruction, I have taken a huge step toward drawing like I have wanted to for a long time. In short I have not found any classroom or written (I own about 50 drawing books) instruction that can compare to what I have gotten from the Vilppu DVD lessons that I own thus far. I anticipate purchasing more of these when I have digested all the great lessons I already own. I mentioned earlier about the reviews... and the role they played in my first rental decision. I make most of my book purchases on, and when I went there looking for Vilppu, I found only some used books offered through the Amazon Marketplace, and no DVDs. Have you considered Amazon as a retail outlet for Vilppu? I hope this is helpful. Don’t hesitate to use any of this as testimonial or to contact me if you want clarification of anything I’ve written. In terms of my previous statement: Since I retired 9 years ago I've been doing drawing and figurative sculpture (including casting some of my work in bronze). I've taken a number of courses and must have acquired almost 50 books on drawing and artistic anatomy. You should know that I find Glenn's instruction on the DVD's the most effective way I've experienced for transferring knowledge from someone else to my doing it. I'm thinking now that I'll eventually acquire Glenn's anatomy series.
Joe Krutulis, Vilppu Method Student, Martinsville, IN

I've received the order yesterday. Actually I wanted to let Glenn know that his video series, "the Language of Drawing" helped me dramatically in improving my drawing skills (I studied them in 1998). And I wanted to get these books for my collection. Since then I began work in the games industry and have become a Senior Character artist at Epic Games (Gears of War, unreal Tournament), and have lived and worked in Paris for Ubisoft (Rainbow Six). His teaching has been the backbone of my career, and I'd love the opportunity to thank him.
Christopher Wells, Vilppu Method Professional, Morrisville, NC

I studied with Glenn in 1974 in downtown Los Angeles. Meeting Glenn and the classes I took with Glenn were a life changing experience; the confidence I attained in a short period of time pointed me in direction I was looking for. Against his wishes, I went off to study at art school (CCAC) in Oakland and then made my way back to the east coast and have worked as an Artist my entire life: first exhibiting and then working on large scale commisioned artwork, evolving to an art teacher for the last 8 years. I am still drawing everyday from life with Glenn's ideas ingrained into my method.
Ron Wolfson, Vilppu Method Professional, New York, NY

I studied with Glenn at the Animation Union back in 1997 while I was still attending college. After graduating, I continued studying with Glenn, doing my best to build my figure drawings in my portfolio until I could get a job in the animation field. I was hired as a Character Designer at Klasky Csupo. After working in the animation industry for a few years, I started illustrating children's books. Now I work as a figure drawing instructor for the Animation Department at Laguna College of Art + Design. I use many of his teachings in my classes and feel that his methods of figure drawing instruction really makes the daunting task of drawing the human figure a much more accessible thing. I have always used his gesture drawing methods when illustrating. I feel fortunate to had the chance to study under Glenn.
Larissa Marantz, Vilppu Method Professional & Instructor, Orange, CA

Samantha, OH YES! That one delivered, the other one is lost in the abyss forever. I talked to my postman and he said he was on vacation for awhile when the other shipment was eaten by some dark, mysterious force (my wording, not his). I am working with the book and the tapes and actually making beautiful progress with that whole human thing, progress I have NEVER been able to make before. I am very glad to have found this system and even more appreciative of such great customer service. You guys have definitely gone above and beyond and so you have my deeest gratitude. I start a new job monday and may make a few small orders for a couple weeks and then I will be soon ordering the "everything in the store" option. Thanks so much for a great system and even more outstanding service. Happy Hugs, Jennifer
Jennifer Spencer, Vilppu Method Student

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