Monday, July 13, 2009

the nude male model

Posing nude for an art class.

After years of wanting to do this, and wondering if I had the guts to do it, I finally said "why not" and I posed nude for an art class. Here are my experiences:

I studied art for 4 years, which included a whole semester of "Life Drawing" or "Nude Drawing". Ever since my graduation in 1994 I have wondered what it would be like to pose for an art class. I had taken some nude photos while in college, and since then I have been taking more nude photos of willing models. I have also posed nude for a couple of photographers. During this process I started studying the human body even more and wanted to get a better knowledge of the human body. The shadows, angles, composition, direction, etc.

By the summer of 2008, I was not getting enough teaching hours and I needed another income. This was when I finally took the plunge and made that first call to an art school. At first it seemed difficult to get in the door, since they had already booked models for the whole semester. I did not even think of that. But I was put on a list, and shortly thereafter I got a call wondering if I could step in for one of the models who had called in sick.

They asked me if I had any experience, and I fibbed a little saying that I did. But I had done a lot of research, and was comfortable with my body, so I felt comfortable stretching the truth a little.

When I say research, I mean surfing the internet for croquis drawings from other classes, giving me an idea of which poses work. The only thing frustrating was that I found very few drawings of the male body, mostly female. I found several "confessionals" like the one that I am now writing, but this was also from women. Either there are very few male models, or they just keep quiet about it.

Anyway, I show up for class and meet the teacher. I go to the dressing room to put on my bathrobe (which I haven`t used in years and never thought I`d use for this). Plus some shower-sandals so I dont have to walk around barefoot on the floor covered in chalk, charcoal, paint, etc. (I found this out the hard way).

She wants me to do 2 minute poses, so I disrobe and try to remember all the poses I have been studying for the past few days. The weird part is: as soon as I disrobed, I didnt really think about being naked. I just thought of the next pose.

The class had 9 women and 1 guy, ages varying from early 20s to late 40s. I didnt really know what to expect, like snickering or pointing or whatever, but the room just got very quiet as the students started to draw me. After 2 minutes I did a new pose, and did this for 20 minutes. I get a 10 minute break after every 20 minutes of posing.

When I am up there on the little pedestal, in the middle of the room, I don`t look at the students, but try to fix a point on the wall or the clock, as I am thinking of my next pose. But sometimes I can`t help overhearing as the teacher comments on some of the drawings. "His hips are huge" or "his legs are not that long", or "he`s gotten alot more muscles" are some of the comments that would make me giggle, as if she was saying this to me. Sometimes she would even come straight up to me and point to the body part she wants the student to study more.

It`s all a bit surreal, if I look at this from the outside. But I am constantly thinking of the angles and positions that the students will like the most. One of the things I started using was a pole (an old curtain rod) which I use to either lean up on or balance over my shoulders. I have gotten great feedbacks from this and is something I use for the longer poses as well.

The students are really nice during my breaks as I walk around (robed) curiously looking at the results. And during the lunch breaks I will still be wandering around in my bathrobe, and it looks like I live there and I`m just getting my morning coffee or something. As I am writing this I have been pretty active for the past 9 months, and I must say it’s quite rewarding. The hourly pay here in Norway is about 200 kroners an hour (almost 30 USD with todays rate). Not bad for sitting around in the nude, but I would have to do alot more in order to have just this as an income.

It took me a while before I felt comfortable telling my family and friends about this, but when I started telling them the reactions were all positive, and some even just giggled saying it was typical me. Most people I tell would never dream of doing this, and I think this ranks pretty high up on peoples list of "things I would never dare do" or maybe even "things I would like to do one day".

I am glad I started doing this. First of all I conquered one of my "fears" or "goals". Second, I am getting to know more people in the creative field and I am finding it easier to get into creative poses. Plus I found out that standing nude in front of an art class is not as scary as it sounds. After all, it is an art class and studying the human body goes back to the oldest cave drawings and the old master painters like Michaelangelo.

What I have learned so far:

  1. Ask questions before you arrive. Get an idea of what kind of poses they are expecting.
  2. Study different poses, including standing, sitting and lying down.
  3. Be ready for poses that you can hold for 20 minutes.
  4. Arrive early, and maybe even talk to the students. It will help you loosen up.
  5. Start getting used to telling time in your head so you are not dependant on looking at the clock.
  6. Bring a robe and slippers/sandals.
  7. Wear your robe during breaks.
  8. Just relax and talk to the students before class and during breaks. They are always happy to have a live model.
  9. Do yoga. It helps you be more limber and makes it easier to keep longer poses.
Here are some of the results from the students that have drawn me:


  1. Lee (justmeina)17 August, 2009 21:03

    From a (distant - US-based) nude male model to another: nicely done and said! I'm glad I've had the experience, and I'm glad you have also.

  2. I am pleased to say that I am a male nude model also for art classes.I do nude photos as well.I am doing this because my dream is to pose for Playgirl Magazine and do a Centerfold.I have met alot of neet people by doing this kind of work and I am sure you have to. Thanks for what you do John.

  3. Your experience was very similar to mine. The main difference was I was way more nervous. The clock seemed to barely move. I only modeled nude twice and found it to be a liberating experience which added to my self-confidence.

  4. Thank you for all the feedbacks :-)
    It`s great to hear responses from around the world, and I`m glad you found my blog.
    I`d love to hear more from both men and women, and which country you are from.

  5. From another in the US. Recently posed for some charcoal sketching and then an outdoor session for a photographer.

    Must say I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was something I had wanted to try for a long time. One of the things on my bucket list

  6. I posed nude once for an art class inside a bar when I was 19. Felt comfortable with all the people sketching me, even though it was a chilly day(early May). Now, at 21 and half, I am thinking of doing it as a part time job. :)

    RR from Toronto, Canada

  7. I posed for art classes in Washington DC and your account sounds just like mine. True about the pay, i'd need to do it around the clock to make a living but as extra income its fine. The bonus was working in a creative environment. Any advice on finding work with individual artists and/ or nude photography?

    JT Washington, DC

  8. WWC- Prince Edward Island - Canada26 December, 2011 08:35

    Great blog, Art posing is a great way to earn $$$ meet interesting people for sure . This is my third year working as a male art model and I do agree - yoga and daily stretching is a must and always working on new poses keeps the phone ringing for bookings ! I work for a local Art college and as well with a seniors art class so both are unique and different but it is amazing to see creative art being made ! This is as you mentioned - a lot of work and it keeps one more conscious of how we eat and treat the body , It definitely has me in better shape and health because of art modelling which is a perk !

  9. I am a 31 year old male and I modeled nude today for the first time at a local university. I had modeled recently a couple times, but this was the first time undraped. At first it seemed awkward. I was wearing athletic pants, briefs and a t-shirt. The instructor asked me to undrape. I stood up, took off my shirt, and then my pants and briefs. I then listened to instructions from those in the room as I adjusted to a pose. The pose was quite relaxed in a large soft chair, and was held for close to an hour. Some of the artists seemed uninterested, while others seemed more interested. This is definitely something I never thought I would do. It was fun and daring at the same time. The main thing is to remember that the students are so serious about what they are drawing that they do not see a naked man in front of them, they see a nude figure to draw. I go back later this week for a second day!

  10. It´s great to read all the feedbacks :-)
    Very true what the last "Anonymous" wrote, that the students are seeing a figure, a sculpture, and not a naked man/woman when they are drawing. Plus, they are always so happy that they have someone willing to pose for them.
    I am curious about the latest post if you were able to take breaks during your 1 hour pose. It is an unwritten "law" here in Norway that the model gets a 10 minute break for every 20 minutes.

  11. Male art model 50 y o with big experience of modeling in US and Russia

  12. Thanks for this concise impression. I am just at the place between fascination and fear -- meaning I have an opportunity to get into this kind of work and I am really drawn to it, and it is something that has rattled around in my imagination for a long time....but now that I have the chance, guaranteed because there is an incredible shortage of male nude models in this area, my fear is paralyzing. It has helped to read about your experience. Thank you for sharing.

  13. I have just stumbled across this thread.

    I am an "Amateur" Artist who exhibits occasionally here in the UK.

    I have been drawing from Life ever since I started a Foundation in Art and Design 25 years ago.

    I have attended Life Drawing at College courses (Evening Classes) my Local Art Societies and many different settings.

    A few years ago I was luck to inherit and bought a reasonable sized house with a space to have my own Studio.

    I now have my own small Figure Drawing groups in my home studio.

    My session are small group events - all women as it has turned out (not deliberately to begin with)

    This all women small group dynamic has proved to be so successful and enjoyable.

    We have used a variety of Models over the last three years, male and Female and a few "Couples".

    We source our Models via recommendation - normally one of our group has met or heard of a new or nice looking model and we book in sessions on that basis.

    Anyway, my subject ties in neatly with your discussion here.

    We started of using a lovely local Male model, who is the Yoga Teacher of Rebecca (my good friend and a regular member of my group)

    She heard that he had done some Life Modelling and proposed to him that he come and pose for us.

    This was the start of a most enjoyable Life Drawing interest for us.

    A small group of Women - sincerely interested in Studying and Drawing the human form.

    Kyle (name changed) came for a morning session last December (winter here in the UK)

    I had in mind because he practices and teaches Yoga, that he might to some Yoga postures for us to draw.

    Well his poses were fantastic - he brought a Rope with him which he ties over the beam in my studio.
    And does these incredible "Tension" poses pulling on the rope; these show off his beautiful Muscular form from every angle.

    The Ladies loved it.

    While doing these poses for us Kyle got Erect a few times as he held the pose, totally natural.

    He strikes a Pose and sometimes Erects and just stays there, so still and firm.

    The Yoga must have allowed this incredible inner stillness and control.

    He is wonderful to draw - all of him.

    Not a word has been spoken about these vibrant poses, he just gets on and does them - and he Poses for us regularly for us (maybe once a month)

    His maleness is not always aroused - it just seems to happen spontaneously and naturally and we love it.

    Anyway - Life Drawing has changed for us since Kyle's appearance as our Model.

    A new and exciting dimension.

    Wendy (UK)

  14. Hey you have a very interesting blog.I have become very comfortable in my bodyas of late losing 50 pounds in the last 5 months.I have a lot of interest in doing this for extra money, things are tight for me money wise.I have no experience at all any advice to get started.

  15. Me too, I am interested, I am an art lover and money is super tight. I think I'd have to have a glass or two of wine before...LOL..eek.. What is the average pay? It'd really have to be worth it.

  16. I am a 65 yr. old male model. About 3 years ago I started modeling for a drawing group at a local gallery. I do strength training 3-4 days a week and stay in great shape. I started getting a lot of work and now model for art classes at 2 universities and for private artist.I concentrate on very dynamic, heroic poses, even the long ones. My first session at a university was unusual for me as all 22 students were females. I had to focus and relax. I didn't get an erection, never have and I think it would be uncomfortable for the class. There are very few male models in my area, so we are regarded as being very valuable. Everyone treats me with respect. I love the work, it has liberated me as a male.

  17. Being a sometime nudist, I thought nude modeling would be easy. I answered an ad for a model at a local college. Both my mother and sister had modeled (clothed). But I kept thinking I was too unattractive to model. I thought that my penis was too small. It was too far to drive every day.

    I chickened out. I called the college and cancelled. Daaave in Florida

    1. Don't worry about your penis being too small. It is a non-issue. Bodily proportions and the ability to hold a pose for up to 20 minutes is even more important.

  18. I was asked to pose nude in college, back in 1969. I declined, out of shyness, even though I was lean, lithe, athletic and quite hung. I have regretted that ever since. I tried to make up for it by auditioning for Playgirl in the 1980s, but I was too old for them at that point.

    1. You can still pose for figure drawing classes. You may be too old for Playgirl but figure drawing classes you do not have to be well hung. Sexuality is never an issue. It is important to have pleasing proportions. Check out ancient Greek and Roman statues as well as Renaissance nudes. I am 65 years old and have posed for several drawing classes and loved it.

    2. I agree. I am 60 and posed nude for an art class in suburban Chicago for my first time last May and found it to most exhilarating.
      I was very nervous beforehand but once I dropped my robe I just focused on my poses and not disappointing the artists.
      I plan on posing nude again on Sunday January 3 and can't wait!
      Glenn Tomczak

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. This is one of those obnoxious posts: as if being "well hung" means anything when it comes to figure modeling. This and your desire to pose for Playgirl just show that you're doing it to get your rocks off, thereby giving all male models a bad name.

  19. I started modeling for art classes when I was 60. I have ED, so don’t worry about erections I was once asked to model for a figure in landscape photography workshop. I don’t have a muscular body am was a little on the heavy side but agreed to do it. Of the ten students, all but one were female. There were two female models also modeling and we did some couples poses. Due to diabetes, I have had to have both of my legs amputated below the knee. I would still like to do modeling amd wonder if there is a market for older male models with amputations?

  20. I posed nude for a college when I was only 19. It's definitely not something that most people would expect me to do, but being a creative person and having drawn other people nude, I figured I'd go for it and give back to the art community, lol. Like other people have mentioned, I worried about my penis being too small, and I was especially concerned because I knew some people in the class. I almost chickened out. In the end, it was a very rewarding experience. I'd probably do it again. -Joel from California

  21. I started modeling for art classes in my early 60's and in 15 years have worked/modeled at over 22 schools of art--both private and public. Every teacher I worked for --over 50 of them--commented positively on my creative poses because my duffle bag has various props. When I first started, I was asked why I wanted to model. i said I was encouraged to do so by a friend; and I had creativity and stamina. It is not easy work and the pay is not great but it helps buy tanks of gas for the car! I'm already booked for over ten session this spring.

  22. And in 15 years I never cancelled or arrived late for a session

  23. My name is Glenn. I am 62 years old and have posed nude a hand full of times for a suburban Chicago art association.
    The classes are 2 hour sessions ranging from ten one minute poses to three fifteen minute poses to one forty five minute pose. I have become more creative and daring with my poses each session that I model. I find the experience calming. Once you drop your robe and interact with the artists, I frankly forget that I am nude and focus on holding the current pose and thinking out my next one. I thoroughly enjoy the experience. I just posed last Sunday and can't wait for my name to be scheduled again.