If you have always wanted to be a model – or you want an easy way to make a few extra bucks – there’s good news: art teachers all across the country want to hire you.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a Barbie and Ken physique. Art students are looking for subjects in all shapes and sizes.
Will you have to take your clothes off? Probably. Drawing and painting the nude human figure is one of the most popular – and challenging – skills that students want to develop. But don’t worry, artists are focused on their work, and you can count on them to treat you with professionalism.
To put it another way, experienced models, art instructors, and art students will all tell you that though nude modeling sounds like an erotically charged experience, nothing about it feels intimate or sexual when you are in class. Really.
Here’s what to expect from an art modeling gig – and how to find one in your area.
Day 1 Working As An Art Model
When you land an art modeling job, you will be given the logistical details – where to go, what time to be there, and who to ask for when you arrive.
Try to be early – feeling rushed and missing the chance to approach the experience in a relaxed, calm frame of mind does not bode well for the success of your session.
Typically, it is easy to identify the instructor when you get there, but if not, just ask. You will be shown to a changing area where you can remove your street clothes and put on your robe.
Most classes handle figure drawing in a similar manner. You pose on a platform, and students sit or stand at easels.
Sometimes, the platform is positioned in front of the room. Other times, the platform is centrally located so that students can set their easels up on all sides to ensure everyone has a clear view.
The platform is carefully lit, usually with relatively bright lights. However, if teachers are focusing on specific shading techniques, there could be areas that are deliberately in shadow.
When it is time to begin, walk to the platform, set your robe aside, and pose as requested by the instructor.
Often, at the beginning of a session, you will be asked to take and hold a series of poses for just a minute or two. This allows students to warm up with practice sketches intended to capture movement.
You will then be asked to take and hold a pose for a longer period of time – perhaps 20 minutes or so. After 20 minutes, you have a break and you can put your robe back on. When the break is over, the instructor will let you know whether to resume the same pose or take a new one.
Do Life Models Get Paid?
Yes, it really is possible to get paid as a nude model. And putting a little extra cash in your pocket isn’t the only benefit of being an art model.
You are also providing a valuable service to the students in the class.
Their passion for perfecting their craft requires years of practice, but there simply aren’t that many opportunities outside of an educational setting.
As you can imagine, there are many reasons artists don’t ask friends and families to pose. Plus, developing well-rounded skills requires an array of models, including people in every age group, of every ethnicity, and with every body shape.
Perhaps most important of all, many experienced models discover that their self-confidence increases as they continue this work.
Once they are accustomed to disrobing in front of strangers, they find that they feel much better about their bodies in other areas of their lives – clothed or otherwise.
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How to Find Art Modeling Jobs
The key to a positive art modeling experience is securing jobs with reputable art education providers. That means ads in your local classifieds are not the best way to go.
You should also skip emails and pop-up that say, “Models Wanted”. At best, these are scams that will cost you money. At worst, you could find yourself in a dangerous situation.
Instead, try any or all of the following:
- Check out the Art Model Tips and Art Model Book sites for a comprehensive list of facilities that offer figure drawing. These sites offer information on art classes being held around the world, so you can pick up jobs wherever you go.
- Do a search for art galleries and museums in your area. Check their sites for events and classes, then approach the events director for information on any art modeling jobs they have available.
- Visit colleges in your area, whether or not they are well-known for their arts programs. Nearly every school, from the biggest universities to the smallest community colleges, has at least a few art classes. That could mean opportunities for you.
- Look for continuing education programs in your area. Drawing and painting are popular with folks who need a creative outlet after the stress of their day jobs. There may be a central administrative office that you can contact for information about modeling opportunities, but often you must call or email instructors directly.
When you connect with the person in charge of hiring, don’t worry about having extensive experience or qualifications.
All you need is a willingness to sit on the modeling platform for an extended period. Of course, your ability to land future jobs depends on the reputation you develop for professionalism and reliability.
Make sure you are prepared for the class by asking how many students to expect, how long you will be holding poses, what sort of breaks you will have, how much you will be paid, and when you will receive your check.
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Stay Safe Working As An Art Model
Staying safe as an art model is much like staying safe in any other situation – if the location looks or feels out of the ordinary for an art class, leave immediately.
You can minimize the likelihood of getting into a dangerous situation by finding jobs through reputable sources and limiting your services to established education settings.
For example, a quick search of Craigslist and similar classified sites is sure to turn up a number of listings for “Models Wanted”. Many of these are not posts from legitimate art instructors.
If the “class” takes place at a private residence, or you are posing for an individual “artist”, think twice about taking the job.
Once in the classroom, you can count on experienced instructors to ensure that students understand the protocol for working with art models.
However, do not hesitate to set boundaries clearly and assertively if the need arises. After all, you are a model, not a prop.
Inexperienced students may be tempted to try and adjust your pose by touching your arm or your leg. Say loudly and clearly, “Touching is not allowed,” or simply say, “No.”
Finally, many art classes are held outside of regular business hours in galleries, studios, and continuing education settings. If you are traveling to or from a class at night, using public transportation, and/or modeling for a class held in a part of town that doesn’t get a lot of traffic during these hours, take all ordinary precautions for sketchy situations.
Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. Better yet, take someone along with you for company.
Park in a well-lit area, be alert, and stay aware of your surroundings.
When you leave class, walk out with others.
Get Paid To Get Nude:
Tips and Tricks
One of the biggest issues for beginner art models is finding a pose that you can hold for at least 20 minutes.
Don’t try to get creative until you have spent some time on the modeling platform, and you know what to expect. For example, putting a lot of weight on one leg and not the other or holding your arms up or out might be comfortable for the first 30 seconds, but before long you will start feeling muscle twinges and cramps.
If you aren’t sure what is going to work, practice at home before your first job.
Another common issue often takes new art models by surprise. Sitting on the platform and silently holding a pose leaves you alone with your thoughts for an extended period.
Today’s mobile-centric lifestyle ensures constant stimulation, and it can be unnerving to be up there with literally nothing to do.
Prepare for this in advance by compiling some ideas for keeping your mind busy.
Popular options include creating complex creative stories, meditating, or doing academic acrobatics such as math problems, logic problems, or foreign language practice.
As long as you can keep your thoughts occupied without moving or speaking, you will be fine.
Don’t forget about the practical aspects of posing for an extended period.
Get enough sleep, and fit in time for a light snack and a restroom visit before class begins. Nothing is more uncomfortable than holding a pose while you are tired, hungry, or overdue for a bathroom break.
Finally, if you start to get cold feet before your first job, remember this: art students invest a lot of time and money into these classes, and they are truly focused on improving their skills.
When they look at you, they aren’t seeing a naked body. They are breaking you down into lines and shapes. To the students, you are simply geometry that they want very much to recreate on their canvas.
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