Learning to Model

December 10, 2013

Went to a figure drawing session yesterday at the Democracy Center in Cambridge. First time models had paid a $40 fee for instruction in how to model by Ed, the guy who organized the ten model/30 artist extravaganza two years ago. I got there a little early and heard a few tidbits like “If you take this kind of pose, your elbow will probably fall asleep and the best thing to do is…” Ultimately there were about ten artists and they set up in two rooms.

One of the things I heard Ed say was “If you are asked to pose with another model, you should ask him or her if it’s OK for you to touch. It depends on both your comfort levels.” I heard one of the male models ask one of the female ones, “Is it OK if I touch you?” Two poses later they were virtually entangled on the floor. The artists were invited to make comments and I finally said “As an artist I really enjoy drawing two models together, but as first time models you guys should get more practice posing separately.” Tim, the other guy running the show, agreed with me and broke them up for the next pose. One pose later they were back at it and I have no doubt that in heaven, a match was made.

Finally, this morning I saw the following Meet-Up message in my inbox:

“no one needs to pay $40 to learn how to model

“I feel sad and a bit pissed off to learn about this class. actually I got involved in artists’ modeling because it did not require training or classes or any sort of monetary investment to do it. just do it. if you can’t manage to figure out how to do it then you probably will never learn.

“think like an artist and put some effort into it. real simple. there! I have just told you all you will ever need to know.”

I somewhat agree with the guy; on the other hand, the poses were, for the most part, quite good, which is not something you’d expect from a first time model without a lot of prompting and direction from the monitor, and $50 of the $200 they collected went to the Democracy Center anyway to rent the space, so it’s not like Ed and Tim made out like bandits.