3 Comments

  1. Sheila Ceccarelli
    July 1, 2014 @ 9:54 am

    Thank you Hester for this valuable and interesting resource.
    Any other artists who run life classes – please do let us know if this resonates with you and any tips you’d like to share we’d love to have your comments.
    Thanks Hester – I hope all is going well at DRAW Brighton. Stay in touch!

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  2. Sharon Gale
    February 23, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

    This is such great advice, I’ve been toying with the idea of starting up a life drawing class. Do you discuss with the model beforehand all the poses that you want, and for how long they are held for or do you just make them up on the spot? What happens if a model doesn’t turn up? Do you stand in for them (clothed)?

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  3. Hester
    February 23, 2015 @ 11:48 pm

    Hi Sharon,

    Yes, I discuss some poses with the model beforehand, but not necessarily in too much detail – I basically let them know how long and how many we’re planning on doing. Then before every pose I tell them how long it will last, so they can choose something appropriate and comfortable. I try to plan beforehand what length of pose – personally I think it works best to warm up with some short poses (3 mins) and gradually get longer (15/20/45 mins). Then if there is time at the end, we finish with some very quick ones (sometimes just 1 minute, that’s very liberating after a long intense one!)

    If it’s an experienced model, I leave them to it. If it’s a new model, I give them some tips, eg. make sure you face different directions, don’t do anything that you might not be able to sustain etc. Then throughout the session, I might make suggestions, but always checking they’re happy/comfy. The best way for a model to get an idea of which poses to do is firstly to look at lot of life drawings and secondly to go life drawing themselves. If it’s a themed or tutored class, I might direct them a bit more, for example in a class on negative space, I might ask them to stand or hold their arms in a certain way, so that the class can see lots of the backdrop behind them, noticing the gaps between limbs and torso.

    I think it’s important to communicate with the model, so that you are satisfied with the poses, and so that they don’t feel put-upon or ill at ease. Everyone should be happy!

    Sometimes models don’t turn up, and there are various reasons why not. It can be quite stressful when you have a class who have made an effort to come, all waiting expectantly! I have a database of models that I can ring in an emergency, and normally someone can whizz over. Sometimes the class are very understanding and are happy to take it in turns modelling clothed. It is rare that this won’t be the case, but if not, I would probably model. As long as it wasn’t supposed to be a fully tutored class. But I have modelled before and I am reasonably comfortable doing it – you shouldn’t feel any pressure if you’re not!

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