How to Become an Art Model

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Modeling for artists sounds like a glamorous job in which one sits about doing nothing and is immortalized in a beautiful painting. The reality is that it's a physically demanding activity that requires practice. At the same time, it's all the more rewarding for its demands!

  • Examine figure drawings and paintings that you find beautiful or interesting. To be a good art model, you need to have an appreciation for art. Note the poses that you think are interesting and draw inspiration from them.

  • Invent visually interesting poses. As model, you add much to the art. Use your inspiration and your body to find poses that an artist might enjoy drawing or painting. Try out sitting, standing, reclining and crouching poses in front of a mirror or in front of friends.

  • Become comfortable with nudity. Undraped, or nude, art models are in the highest demand. Though you don't have to become a nudist, make sure you are okay being naked in front of people before you model.

  • Practice sitting still. A still model is as important as an inspired model. You will generally have to hold a pose for 25 minutes at a time, after which you will get a short break. It can be physically demanding!

  • Locate a figure drawing class or open session. They are offered at art centers, private art schools, colleges and universities, and though continuing education. Check the phone book and search online for art classes offered in your area.

  • Contact the school or organization that offers the figure drawing class. Explain that you would like to be an art model but don't yet have experience. They will probably be able to find an opening for you.

  • Bring a robe when you model! During breaks, you should put on your robe. A major faux pas as a model is to lounge nude before class or during breaks.

  • Pose! Bring all of your inspiration and practice to the model stand and try to offer poses that are good for everyone in the room.

Tips & Warnings

  • When you do short poses, be dynamic. Exciting, dynamic poses bring more energy into the artwork but are difficult to hold for long periods.
  • Keep rotating as you pose. If you faced right on the first pose, face forward on the next. When you rotate, the artists will get a variety of angles.
  • If an artist appreciates your work, she may ask you to do private work. Charge at least as much for private work as you earn in group work.
  • Be prompt! You will be hired often if you are.
  • Don't continue posing if you feel faint. Let the instructor or monitor know immediately and break the pose.
  • Don't accept a private modeling job unless you know the artist or can get references from them.

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