Life modelling etiquette

If you think life modelling is just about stripping off and waltzing around a room naked in front of a load of people then you’d be wrong. There’s actually some unspoken rules and etiquette that draw the line between art modelling and distasteful nudity.

All art classes are going to be different, and some are less formal than others, but here’s some general Do’s and Don’ts which will put you in good stead.

Model

Don’t wander around naked. You’re there to be a model, and to be looked at for drawing. Being naked any other time isn’t really appropriate.

Do always ask an artist before looking at/photographing any of their drawings; not everyone likes showing their work and it’s only polite.

Don’t eat too many biscuits at the smoko, unless you’re prepared for a pot belly and probably the need to fart in the second half.

Do find a point to look at that’s not in anyone’s eye line, it’s uncomfortable for most people to be stared at for any length of time.

Do be realistic about (and practice) the poses you can do. No one really can hold and gymnastic yoga pose for longer than a minute, no matter how interesting it might be for the artists.

Artists

Don’t talk to the model when they’re posing – most of us like to zone out and it’s easier to concentrate when we don’t have to talk. It’s also harder to stay really still when talking.

Don’t keep staring at the model when you’ve finished drawing/while they’re putting their robe on, it feels inappropriate and invasive and a bit weird.

Don’t get in the model’s eye line once they’ve started a pose. It’s off-putting to have someone’s face or something moving about in the way.

Don’t make personal comments about any body parts unless in reference to drawing. Unless they’ve already mentioned something like a massive bruise from falling over a tree, then it’s OK.

Don’t expect the models to pull off amazing poses for long lengths of time; it’s harder than it looks. Do feel free to chip in with ideas or requests for us to work from though, as it’s quite hard to keep thinking of new and interesting poses for you.

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