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Life & Nude Modelling - Preconceived Ideas

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.

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.

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: 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.



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    • Paul Maplesden profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Maplesden 

      6 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I agree - I think it's a subject that needs to be demystified. It's in our nature to be prudish about nakedness though, whereas in reality, art models are providing an important service for people that want to capture the human form. Thanks very much for sharing, appreciated.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      I think people still have the preconceived idea that nude modeling is in questionable taste, when it is far from the truth. An appreciation for the human form is its basis, and is what people must understand. I am passing on this hub to help a little in enhancing understanding.

    • LaeliaV profile image


      6 years ago

      I think as a model just being pretty is not enough, also need to have a unique face that people can remember after the first glance.


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