Studying with Glenn Vilppu review


Welcome to “studying with Glenn Vilppu, an adventure in art”, apologies for the long silence (I was very busy drawing).

I’m starting this blog again for the following reasons: I’ve been studying with Glenn for 8 years now, and I regularly meet both on social medias and real life people who are obviously considering signing up for the classes at the but but who need a review of Glenn Vilppu’s classes and informations about them.

I can answer this through this blog as I have before (and show examples of my path that will give you an idea of how artists progress studying with him.

You can read the “old” articles, and starting next week I’m going to talk about my experience of the different classes (with images!!!), but for those of you wanting a fast response to “what is it like? am I good enough” here is a little sum-up of what happens at

All the classes are online, each week you get: 

Monday; the lesson of your class plus references (images etc) and he gives an assignment. The lesson is recorded and online so you can watch when you want and as many times as you want. The lesson if often one or two hours long.

Tuesday is a big day. You get your critic from your work from the previous week. Glenn critics and draw over each and every student’s  work and this is where the magic happen: he shows you what you can improve and how to do it! He can spend up to 20 minutes on a student (Glenn is very generous with his time in all occasions)

Later during the day there is a 2 hours demo (live or recorded if you live in a time zone that makes things difficult) of Glenn drawing and explaining everything he think, why he does this choice and not that one, it’s a treat. Sometimes he’ll talk instead about a great master, but he’ll draw too (he uses top technology so you see what he sees while drawing wether on paper or on ipad)

Thursday: the two hours chat on zoom (recorded for those who cant be there) it’s a ”ask any question, there is no stupid question” meeting but also a friendly one, Glenn will draw whatever you ask, answer any question, do any demo and you can also make friends with other students (whom you’ll meet in the active and private facebook group where we all share our work, doubts, discoveries and other art related things) You can ask questions before or during the chat “help I cant get to draw a box in perspective” or “how to think of the from legs of a dog in order to draw them simply when in movement?”

About Glenn: he is the coolest and friendliest person I know, so is his wife Eleanor (who also an artist) who takes care of all things that have to do with organisation.

Glenn of course has pro students, but he loves loves loves beginners, because beginners have less bad habits to get rid of! So if you wonder if you are good enough to be his student the answer is yes! I suspect his dream type of student would be someone who cant even double a house with a white fence while being on the phone!

One thing that sometimes surprises new students in particular Americans who are used to teachers saying “lovely, cool, very nice” about everything you do” is that Glenn doesnt do that. He tells you what is wrong with your work and gives you the solution to get rid of the problem, and it works if you do what he says! Glenn is there to help you, you are not there to be complimented, it’s a waste of time (in fact I’m sure is Glenn did a critic of a piece by the great Glen Keane he would not say “lovely, wonderful nice amazing” he’d go straight to what he sees that can be made better (and if Keane did critic Vilppu it would be the same!).

Some students have an ego problem with this lack of compliments. It’s – forgive me – stupid. I remember a long time ago going on vacation in a farm, I offered to help cut small logs with an ax. After ten minutes the grand pa of the farm came and told me to put my hand more like this to have more strength and not to balance my arms like that to avoid hurting myself. “Thanks a lot!” I had no problem with this, I did not rush to a friend crying “he did not say any positive thing about my ax wielding, I’m a failure i knew it!”. So why did I (at the first lesson with Glenn) moan about his not complimenting me and offering to put my drawing on his fridge….. ego! Of course drawing is the meaning of life to me, ax using is…. meh. But that means I want to get better at drawing faster so let’s get to it: how do I get better? Leave your ego in you other jacket, and draw!. And one day you’ll hear Glenn tell you at the end of a “normal” critic “maintain course and speed” (he’s a sailor) and you’ll know you’ve reach a new level and you’ll feel so good…. but your next critic will be without compliment again – only this time you wont care.

One personal advice: regularly (whether you study with Vilppu or not) you’ll have the feeling you cant draw anymore – many people stop drawing at that moment which is tragic as this is the sign you are making progress, the drawing part of you and the judgmental part of you have not yet caught up with each other. Glenn say: “you cant draw anymore? good! it’s when you feel great about you drawing you should worry” and it’s only half a joke. changed my life and who I am. I live in France, Glenn is in California – wherever you are you have the possibility to study with the greatest teacher there is (ask other teachers who they admire!)

it’s not surprising the vilppuacademy has been voted best art school on the net for the last four years.

see you next week and feel free to share the url to this blog;

and meanwhile draw!!!!!

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