I work as a nude model for art classes. I'm female, in my late 20s and in the UK. It's not a very common job so, if you have any questions, AMA!

I'm sending proof to the mods because, even if I censor the picture, you know how people can get. There's always that one person who makes it weird.

EDIT: I'm going offline for the day but I will try to pop back and answer a few more later. Please forgive me if I don't get round to you! (If there's too many to answer I guess I will just answer the most upvoted questions)

Comments: 197 • Responses: 50  • Date: 

FriendsWitBenedicts109 karma

What about posting a photo online is weirder than standing in front of people naked in real life???

modelanswers226 karma

It's a good question, and I thought about that while I was posting this AMA actually. I think it's that, I only model for classes where I am confident the students are going to be mature and purely interested for artistic reasons. The tutor that I most often work with is also very protective and would bar anyone who didn't behave respectfully. On the other hand, if I post on the internet, anyone could look at me nude at any time for any reason. I guess I like to have some control over who sees these images.

tilman20157 karma

I guess I like to have some control over who sees these images.

What happens to the artwork after it's made? Do you get control over it?

modelanswers19 karma

No, I don't but as it isn't a portrait class you can rarely tell who it is. The focus isn't usually on the face. I heard one lady is selling a picture of me in a London gallery right now!

TheDandyWarhol95 karma

People are probably less likely to say tacky shit in person.

modelanswers77 karma

This absolutely.

Duke_Paul101 karma


modelanswers32 karma


Snowbank_Lake54 karma

Has seeing other people's artistic depictions of you made you see something different about yourself? Either that you're more attractive than you thought, or that you have a negative feature you weren't really aware of?

modelanswers65 karma

I think the drawings of me aren't usually that representative, as people tend to exagerrate or play back certain aspects depending on their artistic style. But one thing I have noticed is that I kind of have a double hip. As in, there is a dent in the curve of my hip where my jeans always sit. Weird.

poopfacekayla49 karma

That’s natural, they’re called violin hips! It’s from having high hips.

modelanswers23 karma

Well TIL! Interesting!

M1A_eg41 karma

This is a very interesting job! For how long are you planning to continue doing that as a career and what would be your next step afterwards?

modelanswers65 karma

Modelling is actually just a side job for me, although I know several people who do it full time. I work full time as an illustrator so that's how I mostly pay the bills. But there's no upper age limit on modelling for life drawing. The oldest model I have drawn as a student was 85 so I only need to stop if I get sick of it.

sparklingpwnie36 karma

What kind of training did you get? How long do you have to stay still? How is the work pressure/demands and environment? Thanks for the AMA

modelanswers102 karma

Thanks for the insightful questions! I didn't have any training at all. I attended life drawing classes as a student for some time as my day job is illustration. My art teacher asked me one day if I would consider modeling as she thought I would be good at it. I said sure, and ended up modelling for various classes from there. The longest I have had to stay still without moving at all is about 2 hours. But the longest single pose I have modelled is 5 hours, with breaks for the toilet and water. The teacher drew around me in chalk to help me get back into position.

The pressure is mainly physical. It is surprisingly exhausting to stay absolutely still, as it takes concentration to not make the slightest movement. Also, choosing the wrong pose can be dangerous to your health! The first time I modeled, I chose a pose with my head twisted over my shoulder, and I fainted after 15 minutes due to lack of blood flow! Fortunately, it was a class of fairly chill retirees, just drawing for a hobby, so they were patient with me. I also once leaned on my hand for a 40 minute pose, and pinched my ulna nerve. My pinkie and ring finger were numb for months!

The environment is usually quiet and fairly formal. Some classes will put some music on in the background, which is a blessing. Most are just silent rooms full of people and a teacher who goes around to critique the drawings.

dantheman424226 karma

What was your oddest experience in a class?

modelanswers106 karma

I have a good one actually! One of the classes I model for is in a community centre with multiple function rooms. On this particular day, there was a group of old people having a tea party in the next room. At one point during the class, an elderly couple burst through the door. The bloke strode in, calling back to his wife "I think it's here. Come on, we'll be late." The lady had already spotted me and the students, and she was sheepishly saying "Oh, no Harrold. I don't think this is the place. We should check the other room". But he wasn't having it and just kept nagging his wife to catch up. The teacher chased the bloke around the room and coaxed him out but I could swear he never once clocked that he had walked into an art class.

GoodLordChokeAnABomb34 karma

This is like a real-life Benny Hill sketch.

modelanswers42 karma

It really was. And I had to stay still and not crack up while this was happening in my peripheral.

ovomaniac14 karma

Do you feel some insecurity when posing or when are new students in the class ?

modelanswers35 karma

I do feel insecure about it sometimes. Mainly because if I have put on any weight since my last class, I will worry that repeat students will notice! You would think that would be a good motivator to eat healthy but I'm still a about 5 pounds heavier than I'd like to be.

It can be awkward with new students too. But I trust the tutor I work with to suss out anyone who isn't there for artist purposes. Usually, people who are new to life drawing will be more nervous about seeing me naked than I am about being naked.

ovomaniac8 karma

Ahh, is there any rules about the weight hight ? Or it is just your personal choice?

modelanswers52 karma

No rules at all. Just my own vanity. I made a comment about this earlier so I'll just copy it here rather than paraphrase:

It is pretty rare for young slim women to model. Actually, I have only met one other, and she isn't blonde - she has lovely bright red hair. The majority of models that I have drawn as a student are middle aged and up, with a huge range of body types. To give you some examples, I know one lady model who is around 300lb in weight, a male model who is missing one arm and another guy who is 85 and has been modeling for 40 years. It's much more useful as an artist to draw a range of realistic body types rather than the same sort over and over. Even if you prefer to draw very extreme, uncommon body types (like say, Jessica Rabbit or Goku), you will still find it easier once you have a good understanding of what real human bodies look like. Then you can exaggerate or par back whatever aspects you want without entering the uncanny valley.

Renegadegold12 karma

Do you ever get gas? Like the need to let one rip but you obviously cant?

modelanswers30 karma

Haha! I'm embarrassed to admit it, but once I farted really loudly in the middle of a silent class. Everyone was too polite to say anything... but they knew.

EOMFD1212 karma

Immaturity-wise, what was the worst class you had to model for?

modelanswers39 karma

I once modelled for a class of A-Level students who were 16-17 years old. There was a lot of whispering and giggling which I have to say made me pretty on edge. But at their age I think they were probably still feeling more awkward than me.

pm_some_good_vibes11 karma

I have to say, this is a pretty unique but interesting AMA. (shout out for the baggy PJs, I'm working from home in oversized sweats right now haha). How often does your modeling come up in conversations? Do you usually leave out the nude detail?

modelanswers18 karma

Well, as I do modelling as a side job, it doesn't come up all that often in conversation. But I'm happy to talk about it when it does come up and I tend not to leave out that it is nude. Honestly the worst reaction I've had is people saying "Ooo I could never do that". If people object to it, they generally just shrug it off and change the subject.

pm_some_good_vibes4 karma

Man, that takes guts. You've got my respect no doubt :)

Do you have any advice that might help people struggling with body positivity? How'd you get to be so brave?

modelanswers10 karma

When I was much younger, I actually struggled with an eating disorder, so I've been there. I think what helps the most is that I started out in a class of kind, supportive people who genuinely loved drawing. So they really didn't care about my weight or looks, they were just delighted to be there and always gave me lots of encouragement.

cunningstunt64211 karma

What do you think about while you are posing ?

modelanswers21 karma

Sometimes I count the shapes on the curtains, sometimes I think about what chores I have to do when I get home. I have tried meditating but it is difficult to do while also concentrating on not scratching my nose or stretching out sore muscles. I hope I'll be able to get better at that.

ryanvango11 karma

I know its uncouth to ask, but Ive always wondered about this. how much money do models make? and is it variable based on age/experience/time/build/gender?

modelanswers24 karma

Not rude at all. :) Different classes offer different rates, but it doesn't change based on age/experience etc. Average is £11 an hour. And usually tea is provided so that's pretty crucial. More experienced models are usually in higher demend and have more contacts so in that sense they can earn more by picking and choosing only the work that pays really well.

WalrusTurkey8 karma

What is the typical pose? Have you ever been asked to pose in a way that you felt may have crossed the line too far into sexuality?

modelanswers39 karma

I choose most of the poses since it depends on what I am able to hold. The only time I've turned down a request is when I think I'm going to injure myself by holding it for the allotted time. Mostly, the teacher will tell me and the class how long the pose will be, and I will choose the most interesting pose that I can hold for that long. It could be anything - standing sitting or laying down. Sometimes a yoga pose if it's a 3 minute warm up.

The only instance where someone crossed the line with me was actually another model. He was twice my age and clearly not in it for artistic merit. He kept implying that we should model nude together in intimate poses. It was creepy.

RGavial8 karma

I know nothing about artist models!

Are most nude models still what you (or most people) would consider "attractive"?

I guess what I mean to say is, are most female models the typical 5'4, 105 pound, petite build?

Are there very tall/thin/thick female models as well? I guess I would assume that something "different" would challenge the artist to draw what they actually see, and not what they remember about the human body and are just mentally filling in the gaps.

modelanswers16 karma

It is pretty rare for young slim women to model. Actually, I have only met one other, and she isn't blonde - she has lovely bright red hair. The majority of models that I have drawn as a student are middle aged and up, with a huge range of body types. To give you some examples, I know one lady model who is around 300lb in weight, a male model who is missing one arm and another guy who is 85 and has been modeling for 40 years. It's much more useful as an artist to draw a range of realistic body types rather than the same sort over and over. Even if you prefer to draw very extreme, uncommon body types (like say, Jessica Rabbit or Goku), you will still find it easier once you have a good understanding of what real human bodies look like. Then you can exaggerate or par back whatever aspects you want without entering the uncanny valley.

splitplug7 karma

There was a nude model who I knew in my art class back in the day. I ran into her at a club, and she recognized me. She brought over her boyfriend, and introduced me as "the guy who sees her naked all the time." It was an awkward night at that club.

Have you ever done that to anyone?

modelanswers4 karma

My husband has come to class with me a couple of times when I'm there to draw, and meets all the people that see me nude on a regular basis. I hope he doesn't find it too weird! I also once met one of the students at the supermarket with his very timid wife. She seemed very embarrassed to meet me, even clothed!

DrunkWino6 karma

Why did you start?

modelanswers8 karma

About two years ago, I was attending class as a student and my teacher asked if I would like to model at some of her classes. I had a think about it and then told her sure. I can always use extra money and I'm glad to help other artists learn, especially as there is a bit of a shortage of female models where I am.

thomas_simpsons6 karma

What is your favorite movie?

modelanswers17 karma

Haha! I tend to like series more than films but I do like Shawshank Redemption and Battle Royale.

titoink6 karma

Do you have a relationship? How does your significant other takes this job about you being naked in front of strangers?

modelanswers14 karma

Yes! I am married. My husband doesn't mind (at least as far as I know!) and actually he has come with me to class a couple of times when I attend as a student. He knows it is for artistic merit and not in any way sexual. His boundries are pretty much the same as mine - he doesn't mind me posing for a group of students but would probably feel uncomfortable if I posted a nude picture online. I just make sure to be transparent with him about what I am doing and who my students are so he doesn't feel nervous.

DistroyerOfWorlds6 karma

Have to ask, do you have any hobbies that you love doing outside of work?

modelanswers15 karma

Drawing is my constructive hobby, and also my main job. But I also love video games of all sorts. Lately I've gotten back into Prison Architect, but my favourite games are Bethesda style RPGs.

New-found-Girth5 karma

Have you ever had a student you found particularly attractive? Did it make you feel more awkward or self-conscious that you were naked in front of them?

modelanswers13 karma

Ah, I kind of wish I had a few cute students. That would give me something more interesting to look at than the backs of canvases. But no. Most of my students are either middle aged and up or occasionally 16 year old A Level students. One time I was in class as a student and a handsome young guy my age came in to draw. I was torn on whether to be happy or sad that I wasn't modelling that week.

factsd0ntlie5 karma

How good are you at drawing? And did it ever happen that someone tried hitting on you?

modelanswers7 karma

I'm an illustrator as my main job, so I'd say I'm at least kind of good at drawing. But I have a lot to learn still! No one has hit on me yet, other than occasionally an old man making a cheeky joke about my bum.

TizardPaperclip3 karma

How attractive is this nude artist that you model for?

modelanswers4 karma


Ranakor3 karma

I have a question about pricing/work something that requires a nude model but isn’t artistic (not sex related at all). It’s for something tech related, is it ok if i ask it here or preferably PM you? Is it a no go if it’s not art related (doing this only as a passion for art) or is it ok as long as it doesn’t involve anything sexy?

modelanswers3 karma

Sure, I can't promise that I will know the answer but I will try to help!

DrMarlboro3 karma

Has seeing yourself through other's eyes (and canvases) changed the perception of your body?

modelanswers3 karma

It makes me feel a little self concious sometimes as some of the artists have the habit of really defining every curve and fold. But I try to remember that a drawing isn't a photograph and doesn't necessarily reflect my appearence perfectly.

Stabiel3 karma

How long do you see yourself working in this branch for the foreseeable future?

modelanswers7 karma

I have no plans to stop doing it any time soon. I mentioned it elsewhere, but modelling is just a side job so if I ever got bored with it, I could just reduce the number of sessions I do, or pause from doing it for a while. But I like being able to help other artists learn so I don't have any plans to quit.

JungleCatStevens2 karma

I did that too a long time ago, my main concern was how long to comfortably hold a pose while not making it look like your bored or uninterested, any tips on relaxing into a position?

modelanswers4 karma

Whatever you do, don't twist your head too far! You will lose circulation and faint! I know this from experience...

justatreesthrowaway2 karma

what happens if you get a rash in the middle of a multi day project?

modelanswers3 karma

It's never happened to me before but... I guess if it was mild you would just push on regardless. If it was really bad then you could ask to postpone the remaining sessions until you have recovered.

justatreesthrowaway1 karma

thank you for your insight

modelanswers2 karma

You're welcome! Happy to be here. :)

CharlieJaybird2 karma

Are you a nudist?

modelanswers13 karma

Nope. Actually, I am very rarely nude at home. I prefer baggy PJs.

poppin-pocky1 karma

Do you ever get unsolicited remarks from people who don't really understand that the process is non sexual?

modelanswers3 karma

Sometimes cheeky old men will make an off colour joke, but I've never heard anything (from a student) that made me want to not model for them.

EnigmaND1 karma

Curious what sort of annual compensation range you fall into. I assume you can book more or less depending on your needs but what's a rough range for what the industry pays? I have no frame of reference! :)

modelanswers2 karma

Pay varies but it's an average of £11 an hour in my experience. Anual wage depends on how often you are modelling. I do it as a side job so it's just extra spending money really.

icanfly1 karma

Hey OP, I’m a sculptor in training and I’m about to start working with a nude model for the first time. What are some things I can do to ensure her sense of comfort/safety/wellbeing? What is a good session length for holding a pose and how do you feel about photographic reference to reduce pose length?

Also, as I approach other models what tips can you offer to help reduce the ‘creepy dude factor’ to approach new models?

Thanks for the AMA !

modelanswers1 karma

I would say to make sure they have a good temperature in the room. You can always bring a mini heater to point at them if you live somewhere super cold! Allow her some choice in what pose she uses. If she ends up in pain, she may injure herself, or just end up fidgeting! Also make sure she has some pillows/towels etc to put anywhere where there is pressure (e.g. under an elbow). There's not a real limit to pose length, but if it is more than 1.5 hours, I strongly suggest giving her toilet and water breaks! You can draw around her in chalk to help her get back into position.

The easiest way to reduce the creep factor is to find a model through someone trusted in the art community e.g. a teacher or an experienced peer. If the job is reccommended to her by someone trustworthy, she is going to feel more at ease. At least, that's how it is for me.

mouseinhouse1 karma

Do they have rules about being well-groomed or being groomed a specific way? Do you determine how to style your hair or whether you wear makeup? What happens if you have your period!! Kudos to you on doing something that I'm definitely too self-conscious to do!

modelanswers2 karma

No rules per say although certain classes may have different preferences. But obviously it helps to have good hygeine! I usually tie my hair in a bun and wear light makeup only so that students can focus more on anatomy, but I know some long haired models who wear it down and some who won't be seen without heavy makeup. I knew one elderly female model who would absolutely not remove her pearls.

About periods, I have an IUD so not a problem. But one time I was drawing as a student and the female model suddenly grabbed her robe and ran from the class. You can imagine why. She returned after a few minutes and sheepishly apologised. But the ladies in the class totally understood.

Shepsus1 karma

I know that this AMA is about your new modeling, but would any of us be aware of your illustrations? I'm a writer and I'm always curious about people's artwork

modelanswers1 karma

It's possible that you have unknowingly seen my drawings. I do illustrations for gift items mostly. Like images for kids' stickers or to decorate the front of a notebook. I'm not famous or anything but whenever you see an image, there has to be someone, somewhere who drew it! :D

coalitionofminnows1 karma

What’s the process of a session like? Do you have a separate room to undress and get ready? do you have a dressing gown/robe? are you sat there ready at the start? at the end are you the first person to leave so you can get dressed?

Apologies for all the questions but I’m curious as to what the logistics are

modelanswers0 karma

I do have a seperate room, which always struck me as odd since they are going to see me nude anyways. I bring a fluffy onesie usually to wear while waiting for the class to start and during the tea break. Sessions practically always start with a set of short 1-3 minute poses to help people get their eye in. I try to do some stretching poses to warm up my muscles. Then, if it is one long pose I will discuss with the students and teacher if they have any preferences, then get right into it. In the shorter classes, I will do increasingly long poses, finishing with usually a 40-45 minute pose.

RufusSwink1 karma

I took a drawing class in college that included nude models, and I have nothing but respect for the confidence it must take. I only ever once had a model go around after the session looking at the drawings of her. Do you like to see how people see you or do you prefer not to?

modelanswers3 karma

I find it interesting from an artistic perspective to see how people draw me, and since I attend classes as a student too, I usually go and have a look at peole's drawings so that I can try and learn something from them. It took a while to get over the self-consiousness of seeing all my flaws drawn out though.

FermiDiracDist1 karma

How does someone with no artistic background get into this? What's the application process like? Interview or no?

modelanswers1 karma

To be a model? It depends very much on where you are applying. If you are applying somewhere with students under 18, you will need a background check (costs £25 to apply to get a clearance form I think). If it is somewhere formal like a university, you can enquire and usually they will do an application process and interview like any job. I mostly model for hobby groups and clubs rather than more formal classes. I had been attending one community class for a while and knew the teacher so she ended up just asking me if I wanted to model. In that case there was no interview or anything since it was just word of mouth and privately run. This kind of job often is not advertised as a vacancy - employers just use word of mouth or wait for someone to enquire. I find a few extra jobs just by talking to other models and finding out if there are any interesting jobs going.

TacoBell3801 karma

Was it weird when you started? How did you start this? Don't you get cold? If it's not inappropriate to ask - does this job pay well?

modelanswers3 karma

I had been drawing for a while when I started so it was only one step more awkward than drawing the nude model. The art teacher usually cranks the heating right up, so I'm not cold but the students fry! Pay varies a lot but I earn an average of £11 an hour.

jonvonboner1 karma

I am a sculptor and I want to find a place where artists can go to paint/sculpt live models and i also would be potentially interested in commissioning a model to pose for a sculpture. How do you pose the question in a way that shows you are serious and doesn’t make you the model feel like someone is just trying to make an excuse to see you semi or completely nude?

modelanswers2 karma

If you are already part of an art community (club, class etc.) I would consider trying to find a model through your teachers or peers. Personally, I would be much more likely to take a job if someone I trust and have worked with before referred me. That way I know the person in question is legit. Or you can just find a freeform class where the students pitch in to hire a model and the each do their own thing with minimal tutoring.

Oayusuf1 karma

Does it ever get awkward, just staying still with dozens of people staring at you?

Or you get used to it?

modelanswers2 karma

I'm used to it by now, although the first couple of times I kept making accidental eye contact with students and I felt awkward for making them feel awkward.

Raiden115X0 karma

Do you bleach your ass, or just tell the class to bring a variety of color pallets?

modelanswers11 karma

Haha! No, I don't although I always shave my bikini line and legs before a class. Different artists work in different mediums, so some of them will draw me in full colour and others do purely value or contour in their drawings.

Raiden115X9 karma

Thanks for answering, I know a lot of people thought I was trolling but I've always wondered about this.

modelanswers7 karma

No problem. I was expecting weird questions anyway!

Chromehorse560 karma

I notice many queries suggest that there is a sharp line between modelling for erotic purposes and for artistic purposes. Do you think, as a model, that it's possible that the line if really rather blurry? Isn't part of an artistic appreciation of your beauty connected at least partly to a consciousness of sexual attractiveness?

modelanswers1 karma

I suppose it is a fine line. It's not something I've really ever thought about that deeply as I can't really control what other people are thinking and I will just make myself paranoid by worrying about it.

shoshanarubin-11 karma

What is the difference between nude modeling and stripping? Besides the setting and audience of course.

modelanswers14 karma

Well, nude modelling is purely for artistic purposes, so that students can learn about anatomy. If anyone threw money at me or said anything inappropriate they would be swiftly kicked out! Also, I have to sit or stand very still, unlike a stripper who would generally be moving around, I assume.