Figure drawing master Glenn Vilppu & SketchBook Pro

Being 77 now,  I have been drawing for 72 years. I started drawing very early, probably about the age of 5 or 6. My father was an engineer but took painting classes in the evening. I remember him standing at an easel painting, with me on the floor tracing images from a how-to-draw book.

I attended Art Center College of Design and earned my BFA and MFA. I started teaching before I graduated. Teaching actually helps me keep my skills sharp and keep to the point. When you are explaining something to someone else it helps you to learn the subject better. 

The ability to draw the figure has always been the measure of an artist. That ability can only really be acquired by the analysis of the action of the figure. This knowledge is not developed by copying, but by studying how all of the parts work together to create a gesture. Body language is a critical element of acting. Any artist that wishes to communicate emotional content is essentially an actor with a pencil or brush. How you compose the lines, shapes, and tones communicate this action. The skills developed in the study of figure drawing can be applied to every other artistic endeavor.

Drawing is just thinking visually. The medium that we use may vary- from a pencil on paper, to Autodesk SketchBook Pro - but the fundamentals do not change. I bring the approach of the Old Masters to the new technology. The ability to capture an action and describe form  is no different today than it was 600 years or 1000 years ago. Fundamentals do not change. The language of art is universal and timeless. I am constantly studying and learning. I am always very excited to discover something new and improve my skills.

That is what keeps it interesting and the key to life in general. Keep studying and learning!

A tutorial by Glenn after the cut.

Click to read more ...


SketchBook Pro demo on

Special thanks to John & Cali of for inviting me on the show. I had a really great time teaching them some of the basics of SketchBook Pro! You can check out the recording here:



Coloring a Character in SketchBook Pro

My name is Michael van den Bosch, a freelance character designer from the Netherlands. During my internship I was stationed at Hallmark Cards, where I saw all these freelance illustrators bring in their traditionally painted artwork. I then realized this was what I wanted to do. In the middle of this I decided to drop-out, got myself registered and became self-employed. 

Thru the years I've worked for various companies, doing graphic illustrations, logos, mascots, 3D character design and worked on some Dutch commercials. I've done the 'Character Animation' course at AnimationMentor, and lately I've been doing children's book illustrations and cover art. Half way thru 2013 I decided to create more female artwork (felt like I was creating too much of the male characters for my own taste), so I started a new company called

I love waking up in the morning, knowing there will be a blank (digital) piece of paper waiting for me in the studio, of course I also still work the traditional way and when time is on my side, I love to paint on canvas.

 Learn more about Michael on his website, his portfolio, and his Facebook Page.


CAVE Paintings


Talented artist and educator, Susan Murtaugh, is no stranger to SketchBook. Her Masterclass, which she teaches from her iPad, has been a sellout at Autodesk University for the past three years.

 Watch her class, Sketching on an Apple® iPad® 101, at the Autodesk University website here.

Susan spent her free time in Las Vegas capturing moments from the first Autodesk CAVE.


Check out more of her work on her Flickr.


Storyboarding on Archer

Read Kevin's previous post here.

My day job is as a storyboard artist for the TV show Archer. I work with a team of 3 other people, and we have two art directors : Neal Holman and Chad Hurd. It's a very small team, which I like. A lot of the other sections of the studio are made up of larger teams, but our group is small and we've become really tight-knit over the last year.

It varies from episode to episode, but we generally get a script and divide the work up into sections. The two more senior/experienced boarders will take larger chunks, and the rest of us take smaller chunks, usually divided up by acts.  It's generally been Justin Wagner and I splitting an act, and we sit next to each other, so it's really easy to address any concerns and talk about scenes we have that take place in the same settings so that we're on the same page with things. We all take turns doing board cleanup, on our own work and each others.

Inside the studio

Then I will go through with my sketchbook or some paper or SketchBook Pro using a file with tiny board templates on it (usually 9-12 per sheet) and thumbnail out (as quickly as possible) the whole part I'm working on. This can take a few hours, or the whole day to get through. It varies depending on the complexity of the episode and how many characters are in each scene. The more characters in a scene (and on Archer, there are around 7 main characters, often more depending on any ancillary characters and guest stars) the more complex the scene is and the more time it takes to figure out.

That said, the show is a dialog and joke-driven show, so even scenes with just 2 people can be complex just by volume. I'm working on a scene between Lana and Archer right now that's just them talking, but it's around 4 pages of dialog. I feel like my job at that point is not just to convey the acting, but to keep things visually interesting and to find as many camera angles that make sense within our parameters as a limited-animation show to keep it from just being a static medium 2-shot scene with a couple of over-the-shoulder reverses. But sometimes, that's exactly what's needed.

Archer sequence part one

Once I get a pass that I like, I'll show it to the other boarders to get feedback, and then I'll work on refining things, and making the figures clearer and indicating backgrounds more. Often-times, backgrounds and new characters are being designed as we're boarding, so I check with the art directors to see where things are at or get any notions from them as to what a setting will be like so I can accurately stage things at this point (or sometimes let them know how I'm staging something so they can design with that in mind). My camera moves and character setups can change wildly depending on what the setting ends up being, so keeping things loose but readable is key.

All of this takes place in just a few days. We generally have about 2.5-3 weeks to board an episode from start to cleanups. My understanding is that this is a much faster time-frame than most animated shows work on, but since this is the only one I've done so far, it's all I know.

Archer sequence part two

I was happy and surprised to find myself surrounded by people who are not only talented, but passionate about art and animation and funny as hell. Most of the people I meet in Atlanta who work in animation are amazing to be around and talk to. I shouldn't have been surprised by this, but I was. Also, everyone wants to make something good. No one wants any part of the production to suffer or be sub-par, and that attitude can be infectious.

The one tool I have beyond being able to draw is to finish that drawing and put it out into the world and then move on to the next one. Being someone who finishes things is key to any walk of life, but doing (and getting) work in art, especially.

As far as keeping inspired, I'm of the school of thought that this Chuck Close quote describes: "Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work."

Archer sequence part three

I mostly use SketchBook Pro to design characters and pencil my comic pages. I started using it a few years back (2009, I think?) and it quickly became my go-to drawing program. I was incapable of drawing in other programs on the tablet I had at the time, but for some reason SketchBook Pro made sense.

Once I got a Cintiq, that process and result only heightened. The weekend I got my first 12" Cintiq, I was on a severe deadline and had to do layouts for over 30 pages in about 4 days. SketchBook Pro allowed me to make them my pencils that I could print out and ink from, as I was able to move quickly and intuitively throughout the program and able to go back and forth between pages easily to check consistency. I draw faster in SketchBook Pro, for some reason.

I've been a convert ever since. My book with Blair Butler, HEART, was penciled in SketchBook Pro. American Muscle, with Steve Niles, was penciled in it. A lot of my commissions are thumbnailed and penciled in it. It's my go-to program for sketching and drawing.

My favorite tools are a custom pencil brush that I made, and a couple of inking tools that I modified off of some of the settings Callum Watt was using at one point. His work in SketchBook Pro is nothing short of amazing and inspiring. For color, I generally just use a few of the marker tools and an airbrush, although I've been messing around with the synthetic paint tools when I get a chance. 

Click here to download Kevin's brushes for SketchBook Pro.