Tons of people want to be figure models. Besides showering beforehand and showing up on time, here’s what you can learn from the benefit of my experience of many, many, many hours of modeling:
-Water and a small snack. Modeling can make you sweat, and holding awkward poses puts pressure on you joints and mucks with your blood pressure.
-Your own sheets or a large towel, just in case. Studios should have clean sheets for every model. Sometimes they don’t. Just as you wouldn’t want to share clothes with a sweaty stranger, you wouldn’t want to use someone else’s modeling sheets.
-Foot protection to walk around in on breaks. These can be your shoes if you like. Some studios also work with wire or other sharp materials that inevitably end up on the floor and maybe in your feet. Also every single studio I’ve been in has had a pretty dirty floor. You’ll ruin your socks.
-Get enough sleep. If you don’t, you’ll be weak and have trouble holding poses.
-Eat well and exercise. Using your body in this way will help you realize what’s good for you and not.
-Don’t drink the night before. While you’re under hot lights or in a cold room, sweating, straining your muscles, and putting pressure on your joints, you will discover how bad alcohol is for your body. A pose that would be tolerable under normal circumstances is definitely NOT after even just two glasses of wine the night before.
-Don’t speak while you’re modeling. Don’t answer people who speak to you while you’re modeling unless it’s to make sure you’ve gotten back into the pose correctly. Don’t comment on the conversation going on in the room. If you wish, talk on breaks.
-Change into your robe in the bathroom or modeling room. Some models undress in the same room before they get on the stage, which I think is odd. I’ve even heard it said that some models don’t cover up during breaks! Not. Appropriate. Ever. When you’re modeling, you’re nude. When you’re on break, you’re naked. Naked is vulgar, nude is art.
-During quick sketch, I try to have my poses flow together. I think poses tend to be more beautiful if they’re imitative of natural movement. Also, this way the artist has a sequence of gestures across their sketchbook, which just looks cool.
-An awkward pose is not always a beautiful pose. Look at classical poses for inspiration.
-Try to give every artist the same amount of front facing poses. Sometimes there is a horseshoe of easels around the stage, and artists on the edge might not get as many good poses as those in the front and center if the model isn’t conscious of that. Think of yourself as an actor on stage. Be nice to them.
I could go on and on.
But I won’t.
I’ve been figure modeling on and off for about three years now. I really love being around artists and being able to contribute to their work. I love that it’s physically demanding, creative, educational, and brings art into the world. At the end of a gig, I’m always full of creative energy and goodwill, and grateful for the wonderful opportunity to be around people who manifest their creative energy to create beautiful things.