Become A Nude Model
Nude art models have been around since the days of ancient Greece and their work is both difficult and rewarding. If you want to be a nude art model, you have to be comfortable with your body, know how to hold a variety of poses, and understand the proper protocol. This article addresses the basics of getting hired, working, and posing for an artist.
become a nude model
When people think of nude modeling, they often think of publications like Playboy and Penthouse. But posing for erotic magazines is just one facet of nude modeling. Nude models also commonly pose for art projects: for a class of art students, or for professional photographers collecting photos for an art show.
Within the career field of nude modeling, there are two major opportunities. The first is posing for erotica publications and magazines like Playboy and Penthouse. For these opportunities, models pose with little or no clothes on. They may pose with their entire bodies in view, or they may mask certain body parts with their arms or legs. Like any other type of model, nude models must engage in long photo shoots, expressing a variety of emotions and posing their bodies to represent the theme or impression the photographer wants to create with the published photograph.
Another type of nude model is an art model. While art models may pose for photographs, they more often pose for classes of art students who draw, sketch, or paint the model. Art models may pose with their clothes on, but more often their purpose is to teach students how to capture all aspects of the human body through their chosen art medium. Nude art models may also work with individual artists who specialize in painting, drawing, or photographing nude models.
There is no typical working schedule for nude models, and most will work whatever hours are needed in order to secure opportunities. They may be required to work during the day, in the evening, or on weekends, and their schedules may vary between part-and full-time throughout the year. They may also be required to travel for some photo shoots or to meet with potential clients for auditions.
For the most part, nude models are self-employed, though they typically have contracts with agencies that help them find and secure work. Their clients often include erotic magazines like Penthouse and Playboy, art instructors, colleges, and professional artists.
Though no formal education is required, some aspiring nude models find it beneficial to attend modeling school at trade or vocational institutions. Modeling school teaches aspiring models how to vary facial expressions and how to pose to aid photographers in capturing the best possible photographs. However, one of the bigger benefits of attending modeling school is the ability to start building a portfolio and composite card, which will be needed to find clients and apply for modeling agency representation.
There are two types of art modeling. "Portrait" modeling is usually done in a seated position with clothes on, so artists can render the model's head and shoulders. "Figure" modeling, more often than not, is done fully nude in a variety of positions. (Think of all the nude paintings and sculptures you see at an art museum!)
I was friends with working nude models, some part-time and others full-time, at local art schools. One of them gave me the email address for a studio in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood that mainly catered to adult artists. I sent in two clothed photos and booked my first job the very next week.
The model poses for anywhere between one minute (warm-ups when students are quickly sketching) and 25 to 30 minutes at a time (often referred to as "long pose"). Sometimes I'll strike the same long pose the entire time, or I'll switch up long poses every time I sit (or lay down). I'll get a break every 25 to 30 minutes, usually for about five minutes or so.
For longer poses, I sit or recline. If I stand in a long pose, it's with both feet flat on the floor with both arms supported or resting on my body. Art schools usually have their models pose on a platform for easier visibility, and offer chairs, stools, pillows and/or yoga mats for the model's comfort.
Nude modeling has also made me appreciate my own body more. When I'm feeling good about myself, I like to see different renderings of my body and the pose. I'll even take photos of my favorites and share them. (I once posed one morning a week for an eight-week session, and an artist gave me her finished oil painting! I have it hanging in my apartment.)
An art model poses, often nude, in front of the class, as students draw them. This seemingly simple job demands much confidence in one's body, body awareness, and pain tolerance. If you've ever wondered how they stay so perfectly still, the short answer is that they don't! They're humans who feel pain, have limits, and take breaks for food, just like you.
"Oh gosh, I would be so self-conscious if I did that as a job," I often hear in response. The truth is, that was never a concern for me. Even though I'm super self-conscious before a nude photoshoot, posing in front of a class is a totally different job.
Despite my insecurity about having a petite frame and small boobs, there are students who find my appearance interesting enough to focus their drawings on my bust. There are students who, after drawing me, better understand how to draw dainty breasts draping over pectoral muscles. When big boobs are the norm in nude erotic art, I like knowing that I'm bringing something different to the table.
No matter what you look like, it's good for art students to be able to draw a variety of people. To others, posing nude might be nerve-wracking. To me, it's at worst just me showing what a real body looks like, and at best doing my part to diversify beauty in art.
UPDATE: I'm no longer modeling nude for art classes, so I can't comment on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected it. If you'd like to look at other ways to make money online, I do have newer posts about that!
It might seem like a totally foreign concept to a lot of people, but life drawing modelling is only getting more popular as people feel increasingly open and free in themselves. A person can become a life drawing model for a number of different reasons; a job, boost of confidence or interest in art even. If you see the appeal of modelling in the nude to a room full of artists, we can help you figure out the first steps to your dream here.
Luckily for you, no formal qualifications are needed in order to become a serious life drawing model. All you simply have to do is get your name out there in the field, apply for job positions and potentially attend an interview. The criteria is based all around your ability to hold poses, and of course having a professional yet bubbly personality that artists in the class will be able to enjoy and communicate with. Learning how to become a figure drawing model is all in the practice.
You should train yourself to be able to pose for long durations and control your muscles, as in most interviews you will be asked to hold a variety of poses anywhere between 5 minutes and 45 minutes. It is important to show professionalism during your interview and performance, along with a confident personality. It is completely normal to feel nervous, so you may be asked to go back a handful of times in order to build up your confidence to become a regular model.
Yes! Life modelling is a career path that anyone can be part of. Life drawing classes are diverse and all inclusive, meaning that both the models and artists themselves are welcome regardless of how they may identify. Everyone is at the class to have fun, get creative and produce their own masterpieces!
When it comes to posing in front of a group whilst nude, there are a variety of poses to bear in mind. The basis of posing is to ensure your posture is correct, which stretching beforehand will help towards. With classes lasting anywhere up to three hours there are things you should take into consideration such as eating, going to the bathroom and being comfortable with the room temperature before starting. You will need to train your body to cope with posing for long periods of time and ensure you are well rested before a class begins. Life drawing poses can be divided into four categories; reclining, seated, standing and kneeling.
Depending on how you feel about nudity and the human figure, you may or may not bat an eyelid when you see models and celebrities wearing next to nothing in magazines and social media feeds. Without discounting the importance of the Me Too Movement, and the effect so-called 'perfect' body images on young girls, people tend to be more conservative when it comes to exposing their own bodies.
Life drawing models tend to either feel confident in their own skin or are comfortable knowing their figure is simply an object to those doing the drawings.
You might be modelling for one artist or fifty, all of whom want to produce a portrait, a sculpture or a painting representative of the human form and anatomy. It's really important, therefore, to remember these individuals are only looking to represent your image, rather than judge your appearance. In fact, if we all looked exactly the same when we were nude, then artistic pieces would be incredibly boring and repetitive!
For an artist, life models can play a very big part in teaching about the form and proportions of the male and female figures. As much as they can learn about the structure of the human body in Biology classes and practise drawing people in the street, it is almost impossible to really understand the body without seeing it in real life.
During sketching or painting sessions, the person modelling will be asked to pose in a range of ways to showcase different parts of the body, display different sets of muscles and to expose different angles.