How do life-drawing models stand out from the crowd?

It’s said that when we take off our clothes we are all the same. Nudity is a great leveller and the ultimate democracy. If this is the case, how do life-drawing models stand out from the crowd?

Models use different tricks and tools in their trade. One mark of identity for a model is doing interesting poses. These can be poses that are hard to maintain for a length of time but that are fun or challenging to draw. An example of such a pose would be hanging upside-down from one leg attached to a rope. Not easy. Or doing yoga type poses. Or poses like ancient Greek statues.

Other models specialise in costumed poses, which means they may have props like hats, walking sticks or tools that they hold or wear while the pose.

Why life-drawing models use costumes.

Costumes can add interest for the drawer and inspire new ideas in their sketches. At times models choose to replicate poses found in history, such as Egyptian kings, mythological figures or Greek gods. Even when the model wears a costume or uses props a lot of the body is also able to be seen.

In this photo, the model is dressed a bit like James Bond in his underpants. He has sunglasses on, a tie around his neck and a toy gun in his hand. Though the rest of his body is naked to show his whole figure. Using such a costume tickles the drawers fantasy and provides a different way to focus on the figure. In a sense, it is more real as it looks a bit more like everyday life.

Also using props helps the drawer see better and lets them see and understand forms and contours.  For instance, it is easier to draw a hand holding something if the hand is actually holding that item.

Are you thinking of becoming an artist model? Learn more about the craft of modelling here.