the structure of man- is it useful?


I have seen the DVD series “The Structure of Man” suggested a few places, and I am wondering if it is worth it. I also read some negative reviews, mainly about the quality of the recording and presentation. What I want to know is if the content is any good, quality issues aside. I would be willing to pay 45 dollars for the download version if it is helpful and informative.

Also, if this is not something you would recommend, what are some good beginning figure drawing DVDs?

Cheers and God bless.


God, suffered though the first lecture and i couldn’t start a second one. Watching it is painfully boring. Well maybe its that because my artistic thinking is a bit different than his.

Id recommend Vilppu’s dvd set which is somewhat enjoyable to watch. Vilppu is a professional lecturer, unlike Riven Phoenix(sorry if I am wrong, but it seems so).


I second that.


… And ‘third’ that.

Totally agree. ‘The Structure of Man’ sounds impressive, but falls short on it’s delivery.

Vilppu continues to lead in the area of human anatomy training. Admittedly there’s a lot of course material from Vilppu and it doesn’t come cheap. Personally I recommend his ‘Drawing Anatomy Lecture Series’, which is a total of 15 lectures (each about 1hr 30min). You really have to devote yourself to it, but you will come out confident in your ability to draw the human form. I actually projected each lecture onto a screen, set up an easel next to the video projection, and drew along with Vilppu as he lectured. The watching and doing combo really helped.

For more introductory Vilppu perhaps try his ‘Drawing Manual Lecture Series’. It contains two lectures on Anatomy which are a great start, plus all the fundamentals of good drawing.

All the best with it.


it depends on your level of motivation… YES he is an absolute bore (no offense) but I managed to learn some things when I first started learning anatomy. Vilppu is good stuff too.


i was actually looking at the structure dvd’s but the vilppu series dont look that bad at all.


I found it hard to listen to the structure of man DVD’s when I first bought them and then they ended up sitting on my shelf for months. I just recently got them out and started doing 2 videos a day and its much more manageable. It keeps me from getting bored and keeps me motivated at the same time. They’re pretty good actually but yes, Riven’s delivery is not the best. But the guy is a good resource.


I did not like The Structure of Man DVD’s. I mean, it looks good at first, but then it gets too confused, especially the anatomy part. I do not recommend those DVDS at all.

Vilppu DVDs aren’t bad, but the anatomy lessons are not so clear as if you were looking at anatomy drawings from anatomy books. From Vilppu I only recommend the lessons when he uses geometric shapes (spheres, boxes) and gestual lines to create movement and dinamic poses, and understand volume. From Vilppu is really helpful that you pay close atention to the gestual drawing lesson.

The anatomy part is better you learn from anatomy books and bones and muscles photos. Use the real thing (life drawing, skeleton photos, muscles photos) not the interpretation of another guy of anatomy of the human body. The only true method to learn to draw is the one you feel confortable with, by creating your own approach. Otherwise you will end up being forced to adapt your natural way to draw to the way of another person.

Best of lucks!


Thanks for this thread. I ordered and payed for two series: “The Structure of Man” and “Sketch Book”, and luckily I was reading this thread last night, and managed to cancel order. At least he was fair to me, no questions asked :slight_smile:

I am interested in Vilppu now.

any idea what are the names of those video tutorials? ( “From Vilppu I only recommend the lessons when he uses geometric shapes (spheres, boxes) and gestual lines to create movement and dinamic poses, and understand volume.” )


The Structure of Man DVDs are garbage. I have many of the Vilppu DVDs and I can’t watch them enough. Well worth the money. And looking at his site, the DVDs are now on sale.

Just a word of warning, it will take multiple viewings for the information to sink in so be patient.


Good luck!


A good thing I looked at this thread, I was just about to order the structure of man, but after reading some of the negative reviews here I am glad I didn’t. I will definitely check out Vilppu.


That is so true about the information sinking in. I have watched the gesture drawing one something like twice. The second time, I gained so much more than in just one watch.

Cheers and God bless.


Vilpu seems to be pretty expensive :frowning: I have just bought new downloads from David Finch for $39 and I love it:


@levius: I had just been looking at those David Finch downloads myself. Could you talk a little more about your experiences with them? Do you think any prior anatomical knowledge is required?

Cheers and God bless.


@Blenderfan: There are 3 DVDs for download. Head, Body and Hands and Feet. I have finished only The Body video so I am going to write about that one. I am big fan of Loomis and this videos reminds me of his book " Figure Drawing for all it’s Worth". He has tons of good advice there for drawing figures from head. In the first 4 of the videos (download is split into 11 videos) he is constantly drawing and not going into the details, just the overall poses and shapes. Which is actually really good as I believe it is easy to fill these with individual muscles later. I agree that once you can draw the correct pose and outline of the figure you are 90% done. There is also one 25 minutes video where he goes into individual muscles and another 15 minutes on differences between female and male anatomy focused on drawing good looking females. Another hour about rendering the muscle shadows on several figures with additional 15 min video about rendering female figures and the final one about modifying anatomy to draw monsters and “non standard figures”. Overall its very interesting to watch and you can definitely see this guy knows what is he talking about. And the most important thing: His figures actually looks pretty good. I cannot force myself to learn anatomy from somebody with style I don’t like. And I think for 39 bucks its a great value too.


I have been doing the Structure of Man DVD’s and for me, starting from zero, they are great, they have taught me about proportions, drawing the skeletal system, drawing the muscles on a figure.


i went through most of the structure of man and i found it very useful, i did not finish the courses because of lack and time and it’s also pretty dry. but i’ve never been in an anatomy class that doesn’t make me sleepy.

it is definitely not a drawing lesson. i had already taken anatomy classes in college under direction of vince perez plus many figure drawing classes, so i pretty much knew anatomy beforehand. what TSoM did for me is help me remember relationships and proportions. it really is more about shorthand techniques to draw the human body quickly from memory and not about teaching you what the body parts look like in detail. it makes more sense if you have knowledge beforehand or study from anatomy books at the same time.

my old professor covered every body part in detail including deep muscles arteries fat deposits and different functions. once in a while he would throw in a technique for killing someone, but five years later what i had was thousands of body parts i didn’t remember off the top of my head. so anyway, TSoM helped me remember where those parts go. so with my knowledge of anatomy plus tsom’s shorthand way of remembering i got a better understanding of the human body.

so that’s my experience anyway.


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