I’ve been mostly drawing ginger gorillas for my other blog with my comic on, so I’m looking forward to life drawing classes starting again.
I have been asked a couple of times how one starts in life modelling, so I thought I’d write a piece on that. I started simply by asking the group I drew for and I think quite a few models begin that way. If you’re not already in the life drawing world, it can be difficult to know where to start, however.
Nationally, RAM, the Registry of Artists Models http://www.modelreg.co.uk/index.php help people get started by putting artists in touch with models and vice versa. There are other organisations trying to organise and even train life models, but RAM is the most established. A lot of colleges prefer RAM models, although it depends where you live. They have more of a presence in the big cities than in Cumbria.
If you just want to go it alone, start by Googling life drawing classes in your area. An artist group is probably the easier place to start rather than a college or adult ed class. They’ll be a little more relaxed.
If you’ve never been to a life drawing class, be aware of what’s expected. You’ll need a robe to dress in in between poses. I foolishly sat on mine the first time I modeled and then it couldn’t be moved, so I had to spend the breaks with no clothes on. Some models do, but it’s generally considered good manners to cover up between poses.
Turn up with plenty of time to get changed. People are paying for the class and want to get on with it. Sometimes it can’t be helped, but reliability is probably the most important trait people look for in a model.
Poses will be varied in time so have a repertoire of poses you can hold for five minutes, ten minutes or twenty. Usually the format is to have a number of short poses followed by a longer one. I prefer to have my own timer for these, which also lets the teacher or organiser concentrate on their drawing instead of the clock.
Try and remember to rotate the poses a bit so that artists around the room get different angles to draw. Nobody wants to be drawing the back of your head for three hours. Also, I find it helps to find a spot on the floor to stare at to keep my head still.
Finally, enjoy it. An enthusiastic model gives the class energy and it comes through in the artwork. A model who looks like they don’t want to be there saps the energy of the class.