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First Life Drawing Session Tomorrow, Any Advice?


Lili Thorpe

By Lili Thorpe, 1528460724

So tomorrow I'm modeling for a 2 hour life drawing session, it's my first time so I'm a little nervous and as I've never even been to one before I'm not really sure what to expect (I know the basics) or what is expected of me, so does any one have any advice?

IanWarnerPhotography (FKA ClickCam) said, 1528461035

No real experience or advice that I can offer but I wish you well and I'm sure all will go fantastic for you .. Oh make sure you use the loo before taking up the pose, two hours is a long time with your legs crossed ;). Good luck ..

Edited by IanWarnerPhotography (FKA ClickCam)

Jerome Razoir said, 1528461468

Relax. Not simply the usual advice about not stressing but really relax. If circumstances allow, do a few minutes of relaxation exercises before you start. You will (usually) be expected to hold a short series of poses ofr just a few minutes each. That rapid sketch time is for the artists to warm up. You then need to go into a static pose that you will be expected to hold for quite a long time. If your muscles are tense or you are stressed as you go into that you are more likely to cramp up. Ask the teacher to make chalk marks on the ground to show where your feet or whatever are. So you can resume the same pose after a break.

Learn to flex and relax your muscles without altering your position. Then you can ease the cramps a bit without changing position. Guardsmen are taught to tense and relax their calf muscles every so often as that reduces the chances of them fainting.

Have something to think about. Compose your shopping list or plan a holiday or dream up a short story.

If you have never been in a life class you may be surprised how formal it all is. You do not wander around starkers!. You walk to the podium in a robe. Your robe is brought to you when you break.... Etc. The artists will usually be very quiet and the whole atmosphere is like being in a library!

You will be surprised how quickly you find you have forgotten about being nude.

Enjoy it. I have known a few life models and the good ones all enjoyed doing it and were a bit exuberant. One chap in particular, delighted in dreaming up ever more odd or challenging poses. You may not get that choice as the teacher may well dictate what is wanted.

❀ Chiara Elisabetta said, 1528467671

Take portable heaters.. yes, even in summer! Staying still whether nude or scantily dressed for so long relaxes your body and you become cold very quickly.

Trust me, I’ve had years of experience of freezing my tits off as a life model. I’ve been warmer shooting nude yoga in the snow as the movement / exercise keeps your body temp. up.

Second bit of info - choose your positions / poses carefully. What may feel comfortable after a minute might not be so pleasant 15 minutes in! 

Have fun x

❀ Chiara Elisabetta said, 1528467903

Don’t stress either.. whilst it’s all professional, don’t forget to breathe and do all normal stuff, lol. It’s  so easy to think you have to stay majorly still. Whilst it’s good to be still, you can still scratch an itch, (well depends where I guess LOL) move a hair out of your eyes, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask to move if you’re physically in pain or shake out a hand that’s gone dead. Most groups are super lovely and understand you’re a human being..! 

I’m sure there will be mini breaks between long poses where you can stretch, walk about and drink tea.. if not, make sure you ask for these basic needs when you need them x 

PaintingLight said, 1528468146

Think about and try out some poses before you go. Most likely the class will be broken into a few short poses (5 min), a couple of intermediate (10 min) and one long pose (30 min- 1 hour). Figure out what you can sustain for those periods. Clearly you can't stand on one leg for an hour - so the longer pose would normally be seated or reclining. Avoid poses with your arms raised above your head unless you have proven to yourself you can do it. Even 5 minutes is a long time with arms raised. The class leader should make it clear for each pose how long it is for, if they don't, don't be afraid to ask. Life models move, that is part of the challenge, so don't stress, just try not to move a lot.

Oh, and don't twist your back :P

Lili Thorpe said, 1528473839

IanWarnerPhotography (FKA ClickCam) thank you so much, yes I definatky dont want to forget that :)

Lili Thorpe said, 1528474158

Jerome Razoir wow that's some really great advice! I'll definitely start practicing relaxing/tensing and remember to bring my robe :)

Edited by Lili Thorpe

Peaches Du Jour said, 1528474653

Enjoy it. The time flies by quickly.

LifeDrawingArtist said, 1528474658

Hey Lili,

Congrats and best advice you can read online are from the website modelreg.co.uk .

They have a set of guidelines for models and artists/employers that I find really useful.

Depending on the duration of your assignment, you are entitled to a break in the middle and make sure you stretch properly in between poses. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any other questions.

All the best.

skycladpixie said, 1528477924

There’s some great advice here, not sure there’s much I can add except enjoy it! I love life modelling & find it really rewarding & it’s so lovely to see what the artists produce. Have fun :-)

Lili Thorpe said, 1528499121

Thank you everyone for your help and well wishes, I hope everyone has a nice day tomorrow :)

Becky Kvittems said, 1528499412

Remember to stretch and warm up your muscles first. You don’t want a crick in your next or cramp

Vidman said, 1528499972

I photographed quite a few still life models in the past, most said you sit for 15-20 mins then have a 5 min break before the next session. This gave you chance to drink, eat. loo and exercise muscles. Think of something to think about for each session, makes the time go quicker apparently. Enjoy.

ATrail said, 1528522571

 I've drawn quite a number of models in classes and studios and there are usually very short poses for quick "gesture drawings" at first and then the poses get progressively longer. I have noticed that a fair number of models start shaking *(and sometimes sweating) during long poses and I'm not sure if it's cramping or strain. I suppose you should get very comfortable and situated from the outset :-) (or take some magnesium for muscle cramping ?)

Dragonlady said, 1528542156

If you can get it, quinine is great for preventing cramps. It's naturally in bitter lemon an tonic water.