1. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t attractive in the traditional sense.
“Oh my god, if I did that for a living, I’d feel so self-conscious,” I frequently hear in response. That was never a concern of mine, to be honest. Even though I’m nervous before a nudist shoot, posing in front of a class is a different experience.
I’m there to assist the students in their studies. It makes no difference if you aren’t curvy, muscular, or have chiseled cheekbones. It allows students to practice drawing various body types and faces in different postures and lighting at multiple times of day as my stomach expands as I eat more. It’s just another real human body to them.
Let’s look at it another way: I’m giving the kids the opportunity and ability to sketch persons with my body type and bone structure in their future works of art.
Despite my self-consciousness about having a small body and small boobs, some students find my appearance intriguing enough to draw my bust. Some pupils better understand how to create tiny breasts draping across pectoral muscles after drawing me. When huge boobs are the standard in nude erotica, it feels good to know I’m doing something different.
IN AMERICAN ART, ETHNIC DIVERSITY IS BECOMING MORE OF A NORM.
It’s incredible to learn that students can accurately depict Asian eyes and that one of them decided to draw me, an Asian-American woman, as part of a tarot deck. There was no stereotyped faux-ethnic attire or Dragon Lady nonsense— simply an Asian person.
In an ideal environment that wouldn’t be notable, artists always create new multicultural tarot cards. Tarot, on the other hand, might be rather white at the moment. Working as a multiracial art model gives more opportunities for people of my ethnicity.
MY BEAUTY, NOT CONVENTIONAL, CAN BE AN ASSET TO MY JOB.
It’s beneficial for art students to draw a range of people, regardless of their appearance. Posing naked may be nerve-wracking for some. To me, it’s, at worst, just me demonstrating how a real body appears and, at best, contributing to the diversification of beauty in art.
2. Art modeling does not pay as well as photoshoots.
…but it is more stable, low-maintenance, and sufficient to support a family. Art modeling for classes pays between $15 and $20 per hour. In contrast, I may anticipate making $30-65 per hour of shooting for a photoshoot. “per hour of filming” is an important term.
IF YOU WORK AS A FREELANCE ALT MODEL, YOU PROBABLY HAVE MUCH MORE TO DO:
Management of social media and promotion
Other safety precautions include vetting.
Putting together your clothing
Keeping your appearance up to date
Getting ready for photoshoots with hair and make-up
Paying for assistance with any of the issues above (an agent who promotes might take a 20 percent cut of your profit)
In truth, much of the work that goes into modeling happens away from the camera. There may be lulls in income from week to week unless you’ve built a relationship with a prominent designer (for example, by conducting fit modeling).
TO THE SAME EXTENT, THESE DRAWBACKS DO NOT APPLY TO ART MODELING.
It’s usually quite steady once you start the ball rolling. Suppose there isn’t a coordinator allocating models to classes. In that case, you’ll have to network with art professors, but finding universities and community colleges with art programs in a metropolitan location isn’t difficult.
If you’re doing it full-time, you’ll alternate the classes and institutions you work with: two professors on Mondays and Wednesdays, two professors on Tuesdays and Thursdays, one on Friday, one on Saturday… Then do it again the following week with a different lineup.
Working 40 hours a week for a lower per-hour income is far more stable than working for fewer hours at a time for a greater per-hour wage. This isn’t to argue that being an art model is preferable; it depends on what you find more satisfying. Furthermore, you can undertake many types of modeling under the same brand to produce multiple income streams.
3. How to come up with rapid gesture postures
Gesture (warm-up) drawings are almost often the first thing students do in a drawing or painting lesson. For nearly a minute, the model holds a series of these stances (though it can be anything between 15 seconds and 3 minutes).
Most people can tell whether or not they can hold a stance for one minute.
The issue with short poses, on the other hand, is coming up with multiple stances in a short period. Almost the entire time I’m holding a short pose, I think about the things that influence whatever pose I’ll take next. Here are a few quick pointers.
GET UP AND MOVE!
Sign up for a class or watch videos if you have no experience in dance, fitness, or sports. Take notes in your head! Pose-thinking on the fly is perhaps the most crucial thing you can do. I imagine going go-go dancing or performing yoga and then depicting what it would look like if I suddenly froze.
DO I WANT TO LYE, SIT, KNEEL, OR STAND IN THIS POSE?
For each of these four categories, come up with a go-to stance: lying, seated, kneeling, and standing. Then, for each pose, branch out with variations from the front, rear, side, and 3/4 views. With just this tip, you can create almost 16 different combinations!
WHERE DO MY ARMS AND LEGS GO?
Have asymmetries between your arms and legs to keep things interesting. For example, one leg is bent to the side, and the other is straight. One component is stretched across your chest, and the other is above your head. Contrapposto variations with one hand on the hip are simple classics.
Please keep in mind foreshortening: extending an arm or leg from the front perspective vs. the side view looks quite different. Therefore I always ensure to include a couple of postures with an arm or a foot extended towards the spectator.
4. Long positions can be uncomfortable in unexpected ways.
“What is the most difficult posture you’ve ever had to do?” you could ask a figure model, and it’s likely that their response will be unexpected.
It isn’t even the postures that need the greatest strength or flexibility, the most difficult, or the most painful. When you hold seemingly simple poses for an extended period, circulation concerns are the most difficult aspect of being a figure model. A numb hand and foot may occur, or flexing a locked knee may be unpleasant.
PRESSING HANDS AND FEET AGAINST HARD OBJECTS IN A LONG POSE IS A NO-NO.
There have been occasions when I couldn’t feel my foot at all; I could move it but couldn’t FEEL it. This is much more likely to happen if I lay my weight on a bony part of my foot against a hard surface. Thus soft towels or a pillow come in handy.
Also, I wouldn’t say I like sitting on the edge of a hard chair, which puts a lot of strain on my thighs and inhibits circulation. I’ve even had a hand go tingly and fall asleep due to bending my wrist and pressing my hand too hard against my hip, which I had no idea was possible.
LOCKING KNEES IN A LONG POSE IS A NO-NO.
We rarely stand with our legs completely straight, and I discovered the hard way that there’s a reason for that: it’s fucking terrible to keep a knee locked straight for 20 minutes, especially while moving weight on it. It feels like Jell-O when I take a pause and start moving my leg again.
Apart from the discomfort, there are practical reasons why you would not want to do so. For one thing, it’s dangerous for your knees, and for another, it’s a surefire way to cause low blood pressure in the brain. When you’re standing, your knees are usually slightly bent, and you use your leg muscles to keep you stable. Maintaining a completely straight and rigid knee, on the other hand, necessitates significantly less muscle involvement.
5. Because figure modeling is physically taxing, it’s OK to take short, frequent rests.
Bring snacks and drinks, assert yourself, and maintain your physical and mental stamina. You don’t want your blood sugar to plummet while you’re posing, which could result in fainting, and you don’t want to conclude a position in discomfort. It’s vital to be conscious of your body and take appropriate rests.
Shaking a leg out a few times while holding a position and then returning to it is quite acceptable. If one of your feet is bothering you, it’s fine to alert the students and rest your foot while keeping the remainder of the stance. You can always return it to its original location.
Nobody will be angry with you if you take a few moments to recuperate. Speaking out and taking breaks allows you to accomplish your best, even if you need a 5-minute break before one is scheduled. If someone has never figured modeled before and has no idea how difficult it can be, they have little reason to critique you.
6. Encourage your students to be assertive as well!
Remember that figure modeling is all about assisting pupils with their learning. If I do a 20-minute pose, take a break, and then return to the same posture for another 20, I always ask myself:
“Is there anything else you’d like me to change before we resume?”
That way, I can ensure it resembles the position I had before for their sake. This allows them to request that I rotate my leg a little, change the slope of my shoulders, or do whatever else is necessary to maintain it consistently.
Even when I’m starting a new long position, I check to see if there are any tweaks I could make. Students may be accustomed to settling and not asking for what they want in a foundation-level lesson. I want kids to realize that making requests is perfectly acceptable. As a former art student, I want them to be happy with their drawings.