The Drawing Academy: Painting Focus

Classical figurative drawing and painting is a journey towards revealing the essence of nature; understanding reality and interpreting it through a synthesis of color, light and form. We invite you to start that journey with this course.

Type and duration

Foundation course, 19 weeks (every Spring and Fall)

Course dates

Spring 2024: January 8 -June 7 /// Spring 2025: January 6 - June 6

Course fee

DKK 36.000 (approx. EUR 4835) *(Former students of The Drawing Academy's semester courses and Visuel HF get a DKK 6.000 discount)

Application deadline

November 21, 2024


The course is not accredited with ECTS credits

What you will learn 

The disciplines of classical drawing and painting are closely related, and both disciplines are taught during the course. In a way, painting is really an extension of drawing, adding some more aspects to the process of visually interpreting reality – a process that you will focus entirely on, while taking this course. But painting from life is so much more than creating a flat copy of something three-dimensional.

Below is a short reflection by the teachers, providing an insight into their thoughts upon what, to them, the act of painting from life means:

The invention of the photo camera pushed painting as an artistic genre into seeking new territories. What had actually happened? From being a form of document representing the physical properties of people or events, painting was challenged to address the metaphysics of existence instead.

Now, since established, conventional reality can be represented by a photograph, the painting has to address the ultimate. That shift, which happened somewhere between the 19th and 20th centuries, still has a great philosophical impact on the modern state of the arts and what we call art these days.

Both photographs and paintings are forms of reflection. There is a certain trend these days to paint based on the image in a photo, rather than the object itself: to reflect upon the reflection. That creates a great deal of confusion and stress, but most importantly, devalues artistic research, turning the divine process of observation into blind coping.

The goal of this painting course is the opposite. We embrace the changing nature of things. We do not object to subtle shifts of the live model's hand, or a change of light in a still life, we embrace those movements, because they are the beacons of life, her celebrations. And that is exactly what we, as painters, are after. The painting creates an illusion: An illusion of movement in a static image. The illusion of depth in a flat image. In order to achieve that illusion, a mere copy, which is highly praised amongst amateurs, is not an option. In order to reveal the essence of nature, and its forms, one has to be utterly present as one moves through an unknown terrain, where every step has to be taken with great awareness.


There will be a mix of lectures, individual guidance and study time, where you work on your drawings or paintings, processing feedback and information from the teachers. Extra work outside of class hours is to be expected. Your class hours are normally 9-12 and 13-15, Fridays 9-12.

Target group

The course is for students who are interested in learning the craft of classical drawing and painting. Experience with classical drawing and painting is an advantage, but also applicants with experience in other art fields or applicants with limited experience are encouraged to apply, if they are motivated to work hard to learn this craft.

However, if drawing is entirely new to you, please see TDA Classical & Visual Storytelling Foundation instead.


Maja Vendelbo teacher at The Drawing Academy
  • Maja Meisner Vendelbo

  • Lecturer and Artist
    • Bachelor of Fine Arts
    • Lecturer at The Drawing Academy since 2015
    • Fine artist
See more from Maja
Artem Alexeev teacher at The Drawing Academy
  • Artem Alexeev

  • Lecturer and Artist
    • Ph.D. in Fine Arts
    • Lecturer at The Drawing Academy since 1997
    • Fine Artist
See more from Artem

Ready to apply?

How to apply?

When applying to the course, you will be asked to upload a portfolio, either as a PDF or a document with a link to an online portfolio. The portfolio should include:

  • 2 observational drawings at least 2 hours long each
  • 5 additional works of your choice (paintings, sketches, croquis etc.)
  • Letter of motivation

After the application deadline, your acceptance will be based on both the quality of the work in your portfolio and your motivation described in the letter.


There are no educational prerequisites for applying. However, you should be highly motivated and willing to learn classical drawing and painting. The deadline for application is 21 November 2024
Apply now

Need more information?

  • Shortly after you have been accepted into The Animation Workshop/VIA University College, you will be contacted by the school’s Housing Coordinator with specific housing information. You can choose to:

    • apply for a dorm room
    • make arrangements with private housing providers, for example shared apartments with fellow students

    The school itself has no accommodations. Our role is to provide various housing options and help create contact between housing providers and new students and to assist with language barriers if necessary. If you have questions about housing or need language assistance, please contact

    Dorm rooms

    Dorm rooms in Viborg typically cost between 2500-3500 DKK (250-470 EUR) per month depending on size and whether you are willing to share facilities. Utility expenses, like electricity, internet and heating, are often paid separately and cost around 600 DKK (80 EUR) per month.

    The dormitory Camp Logos is located across the street from the school and houses many of our students. Rooms at Camp Logos come with furniture, a bathroom and a small kitchen. You should bring your own pillow, duvet and kitchen utensils.

    Merkur Kollegiet (The Merkur dormitory) is located in a newer residential area in Viborg's eastern district, 3.8 km from The Animation Workshop. All rooms are furnished with a bed and a desk, and all have cable TV and free internet access. Each room has a storage room.

    Shared apartments

    The cost of private rooms in shared apartments varies depending on size, location and other factors, but they are not drastically different from the cost of student accommodation.

    It is our experience that the majority of our students prefer to move into a shared apartment in the city. Join our Facebook Housing group to team up with other students looking for roommates and new tenants for the apartments, they are vacating.

    These websites may also be helpful:

    • Danhousing (many large apartments in the city – suitable for sharing)
  • You will be required to pay the full tuition fee around the time of course start. If you have applied to the course, but have to cancel, e.g. because you get into a different programme, you will not have to pay, as long as you cancel before course start. If you have started, but wish to leave the course before completion, The Drawing Academy must be informed of this in writing. Please be aware that you will be obliged to pay for an extra four weeks of tuition after leaving.

    The Animation Workshop/VIA University College (TAW) reserves the right to cancel the course should there not be enough participants.

  • For each semester, one scholarship is available for students of TDA Classical Drawing & Painting, granting the recipient a free seat in the course. In other words, the scholarship covers the full participant fee.

    The purpose of the grant is to enable dedicated and talented students of The Drawing Academy to take an extra semester to develop their classical drawing and painting skills.

    If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please write an email to and explain why you would like to take an extra semester and how a scholarship would help you do so. 

    Please note that each student can only receive the scholarship once.

  • The Drawing Academy (TDA) is the drawing department of The Animation Workshop/VIA University College. At The Drawing Academy, we approach drawing as a craft with reference to baroque and renaissance masters, as well as to more recent artists working with representing and interpreting reality.

    During the courses at TDA, we train your ability to draw the human body and the world around it. We often draw a live model in a variation of both very short and longer poses depending on the purpose of the exercise. Many of the exercises aim at teaching you how to understand, draw and construct the actual shapes that objects, bodies, heads etc. consist of, so that you can work with values, tones and light. Other very important topics are movement and mood. In TDA Classical Drawing & Painting, we expand into the area of colours.

    At TDA, we are interested in giving you a deep understanding of form, construction and movement rather than how to make a nice and glossy surface. This understanding is relevant, not only for animation, but for all kinds of artistic disciplines. Thus, the semester course is an excellent base for further visual studies. It is also relevant for visual professionals wishing to improve their drawing skills.

    If your main area of interest is classical art, we encourage you to take a look at TDA Classical Drawing & Painting. For that course, some experience with classical drawing is an advantage. However, we also welcome students with limited classical drawing experience, if they are highly motivated to learn. For students of TDA Classical & Visual Storytelling Foundation, who wish to continue developing their classical drawing skills and learn how to paint, the course is well suited as a top-up course.

    Studying at The Animation Workshop

    You will study in a highly ambitious environment that cultivates an extensive international network of skilled professional guest teachers. You will also get access to many extracurricular activities such as inspirational talks by artists, illustrators and animators, evening life drawing, sports and social events.


Maria Skov Pedersen
  • Maria Skov Pedersen

  • Coordinator and Lecturer at the Talent and Skills Department
  • T: +45 87 55 49 44