Life & Nude Modelling - Preconceived Ideas
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.
Other hubs in this series
You almost certainly have a number of ideas already about life modelling. Let’s look at them and see how they match the reality of the work. Here are some of the more common beliefs people have about life modeling; as you’ll see, there is more to this job than you might imagine.
Anyone can do life modelling
If someone is able to sit still or stand still for extended periods of time, isn’t afraid to take their clothes off in front of others and has an open approach to the way they think about themselves, then they have all of the prerequisites for a career in life modelling.
Height, sex, physical condition and the like are all subjective and give the artists more to work with. All that someone needs to life model is the willpower, interest and time to learn the right techniques, approach and skills.
Discipline, empathy and consideration all help and you’ll develop these attitudes very quickly. Any other obstacles are inside your own mind and learning new ways of seeing.
You’ve got to have a great body to life model
In fact, the opposite is true. The more interesting your body is, the better; the more real your body is, the better. The human form is a difficult thing to draw, and although we’re surrounded by people every day, we don’t really notice all of the subtleties and nuances that make up the human form. Combine this with the highly airbrushed and cosmetic approach of people photographed in magazines and the media and it’s easy to understand why artists are searching for authentic looking individuals to be their subjects.
Bodies differ so much from one another that anyone interested in drawing them needs to see many different shapes, sizes and quirks to understand how they can best be captured in art. 99% of people don’t look like magazine models or muscle-bound titans, and an artist isn’t expecting that you to either. A real person, complete with curves, contours, sags and surprises is worth their weight in gold to a life modelling class and they are much more interesting to draw.
You have to be really brave to take your clothes off in front of other people
True and False
Disrobing when you are life modelling for the first time is like preparing to dive into a cold swimming pool or making a speech in front of a room full of people. There’s some nervousness and trepidation, fear of what the experience is going to be like, not knowing what others think of you and worrying about how you are going to appear.
The truth is though, that once you’ve made the decision, taking the plunge isn’t that difficult. It’s the anticipation and fear of the unknown that needs courage to overcome. After you’ve started life modelling and broken through that barrier of doubt, you’ll enjoy the process a lot more and realise that it’s not so much about bravery, but about you doing something that you can learn and will become comfortable with.
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.
- Introduction to Life & Nude Modelling - Our first article introduces you to the world of life modlling and provides an interesting overview
- FAQs about Modelling for Artists - Anyone who is interested in life modelling is going to have lots of questions. We've examined some of the most popular ones and answered them here
- The Main Skills Needed to Nude Model Effectively - Find out about the main physical, mental, emotional and social skills that you need to be a great life or nude model
- Expectations, Examples & Exercises - Find out what to expect from a life modelling class, understand what artists need from you and read some examples
Do you have any experience of life modelling, hints, tips or experiences to share? If so, please let us know in the comments.
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 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.