As the moderator and booking coordinator, I am often asked questions from people who are curious about art and models for the classes. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions from people who are interested in what it takes to become an artists’ model with the general answers to those questions. For more specific answers about when classes are held and other information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who can be an artists’ model?
Anyone! Any body type. Any age over 18 years old. If everyone looked the same, artists would have become really bored drawing models by now. All that is required is a desire to become a model, punctuality, and a good attitude. Many groups are willing to work with inexperienced models that show promise.
While there are people who work exclusively as artists’ models, most people become models to supplement their income. Many are artists, actors, or dancers. Others are fitness instructors, teachers, students, salesmen, or store managers. In other words, anyone from any walk of life can become a model!
As a rule, a model has to be physically capable of holding a pose. That can mean being able to hold still for up to 30 minutes without moving for some classes.
What exactly is a model required to do?
Whether for portrait or figure/life drawing classes, a model is needed as a subject to be drawn, painted, or otherwise rendered by an artist. It is more involved than just “sitting there and looking good” – there is a physical challenge to modeling. Portrait models need to be able to hold a pose for an entire sitting and be able to resume the same pose after a break. Figure models need to hold poses and are usually required to give a variety of poses through a session. The exact length of the sessions, number of poses in a session, and frequency of breaks will depend on the class format.
How do I become an artists’ model?
Your best chance to become a model is to seek out the teacher and/or booking coordinator for a class and tell them you are interested in modeling. Once you get experience there is a good chance that other groups/classes will call you asking you to model. Some groups would allow you to observe a session to see what would be required of you as a model if you have little or no experience.
Do I have to model completely nude?
Yes and no, the answer really depends on the class. There are plenty of opportunities to work as a portrait model, where you would not be nude. In these classes the model usually has to hold the same pose for an extended period of time, the frequency and number of breaks depend on the group.
However, modeling for figure drawing classes pays better than portrait classes and you would have more opportunities for work as a figure model. It is a requirement that the model is completely nude for a figure drawing class. There are some cases where the model will be “draped” in some poses but that varies from group to group.
Depending on who you ask, being nude can either be “the worst part of the job” or “the most liberating part of the job.” Generally speaking, if you are weighing whether or not to do nude modeling based on how much it pays, you’re really not interested in doing it.
How much does modeling pay?
This varies from group to group. Always ask the teacher/booking coordinator how much the pay is before agreeing to model if you are taking travel and other expenses into consideration. It is also best to ask if you would be paid by check or in cash and WHO WILL BE PAYING YOU beforehand. Colleges and universities usually pay models by check.
Advice for models:
• Remember every model is not right for every group. Don’t get frustrated if you are turned down for a job or not asked to come back once you have modeled for a group.
• Some coordinators only pick up their messages once a week so leaving a message every day for them will not get you hired faster, in fact, it will probably result in the opposite happening.
• Try to check out where you will be modeling before you model for a group. It will allow you to familiarize yourself with the geographic area. It is also a good idea to see if you are comfortable with the class itself.
• If you are uncomfortable with a job, say so.
• If something comes up and you are unable to make it to a class you are booked for make sure you contact someone as soon as possible to let them find another model. Do not just send another person in your place.
• If you run out of ideas for poses during a session it doesn’t hurt to ask the class if they have any requests for poses.
• Finally, remember that as a model you are working with artists. Artists can be temperamental, throw hissy fits, etc. Don’t take it personally.
Jim Miele is a moderator and booking coordinator for the Ocean County Artists’ Guild Saturday morning Life Drawing group.