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Introduction to Nude & Life Modelling for Art Classes

Updated on January 3, 2016

This hub provides an overview for anyone interested in nude or life modelling and what they can expect from it. I've taken great care to cover the subject in a sensible, sensitive and mature way. The hub does not contain nude images or content that could be described as sexual in nature.

This hub is not intended to make anyone uncomfortable and information provided is intended to be used by interested people to see if life modelling might be right for them. Please also note that I am not a life model myself but do have a good friend who helped me write this guide. I hope you find it interesting and engaging.


Nude modelling for art classes can be a very interesting and engaging experience for people interested in working with artists, who are open-minded about their bodies and who would like to make a little extra money from the work.

We've created this introduction to life / nude modelling for several reasons:

  • To help people that are interested in life modelling but don’t know where to start
  • For existing models who want some further insight
  • To explain a little of the craft and philosophy behind life modelling

About our life model

The life model that helped me create this guide is called Will: Will is a life model with several years of experience. Based in the south of England, he has modeled for a number of life classes of all levels and has a keen interest in helping to teach other life models the right skills so that both they and the artists get the most out of the classes.

Will believes that anyone has the ability to life model and that the right attitude, combined with practical skills, a little experience and the willingness to try something new can help people learn some remarkable things about themselves.

Why life / nude modelling can be an interesting pastime

“Oh, I could never do that.” is what people say to me after I tell them I am a life model. They often follow it with “Don’t you get embarrassed?” And the look of curiosity, surprise and fascination says just as much, if not more.

Life modeling isn’t that hard at all, in practice. The idea of taking your clothes off in front of strangers is strange at first, but once you’ve overcome that barrier, the rest is much easier.

I started modeling because I’ve always enjoyed the company of creative people and I like to do things that initially scare me. Everyone’s reasons for life modelling are different: Have you ever enjoyed a piece of art? Does the idea of being naked in front of a room of people fill your heart with butterflies? Do you look at your body and feel unhappy at what you see?

These are all things that can push people towards a room full of easels and a dressing gown. It’s a great way to spend your time, it’s really satisfying to be part of so many pieces of art and it’s exciting too. If you’re curious about whether this might be for you, then read on. We’re going to give you some idea of what goes into being a life model, the things you’ll need to do, the skills and approach that you’ll need and the things to bear in mind if you want to try this out. It’s as easy as jumping into a pool, think of us as the people encouraging you from the side.


Related books on Amazon

The Art Model's Handbook: The Naked Truth about Posing for Art Classes and Fine Artists
The Art Model's Handbook: The Naked Truth about Posing for Art Classes and Fine Artists

The Art Model's Handbook explains what you need to know to model for art classes and professional artists. You'll learn about the structure of figure drawing sessions, how to come up with interesting poses, costume modeling, professional conduct, finding work, and security concerns.

Modeling Life: Art Models Speak About Nudity, Sexuality, And the Creative Process
Modeling Life: Art Models Speak About Nudity, Sexuality, And the Creative Process

Modeling Life reveals how life models get into the business, managing sexuality in the studio, what it means to be a "muse," and why their work is important.


What are your reasons for wanting to try out life modelling?

Whether you’re new to life modelling, or you’ve already had some experience, it’s useful to think about your reasons for becoming a life model. While everyone has different motivations, here are some of the more common ones:

  • Creative - It’s an amazing feeling to be at the centre of the creative process
  • Financial - A session of life modelling can pay for a good night out
  • Challenging - It’s interesting to see how far you can push yourself
  • Social - You’ll meet lots of interesting, creative people

Of course, the reasons might be more internal. Life modelling helps you accept the way your body is made up; all the interesting quirks, the shape of your physique, the texture of your skin, your outward appearance, unique characteristics and inner attitude can all play a part in your view of yourself and willingness to show that to other people. You might ask yourself questions about how your body shapes who you are, what you think and how your self image affects your perception.

Spending a little time contemplating your reasons can really help your motivation and attitude. It's useful to have your reasons in the back of your mind as you read through.

What are the benefits of life modelling?

Everyone gets something different from being a life model, that’s why we’ve included interviews with models in these lessons.

There are some common themes and benefits though, things like:

  • Being part of something bigger than yourself
  • Doing something that is a little bit scary and loving it
  • Learning about your own body, motivations and self-image

On a more practical level, other benefits include:

  • Making some money; although it’s unlikely to be a full-time career, a session of life modelling will put some cash in your pocket
  • Meeting particularly interesting people
  • Learning new skills and ways of thinking about things

You can find out more in our other life modelling hubs, linked above and below.

Other articles on life and nude modelling in this series

This is just one of our series of articles on this fascinating subject; please do take a look at our other materials.

Do you have any experience of life modelling, hints, tips or experiences to share? If so, please let us know in the comments.


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    • ajwrites57 profile image

      AJ 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Conratulations Paul!

    • Paul Maplesden profile image

      Paul Maplesden 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks very much - It was very important to me to the tone of the articles just right. Because it is an area not many people know about, I wanted to remove the mystery and make it accessible to people that want to find out more.

    • dailytop10 profile image

      dailytop10 4 years ago from Davao City

      You successfully delivered a sensitive subject. Good job!