Expected behaviour while attending a life drawing session

Do not comment on a model’s body
It is highly inappropriate to use objectifying language around a model’s physical appearance or gender presentation. If you would like to express your gratitude to a model, do not do so by complimenting their body. Instead, thank them for their time or tell them what you enjoy about their work. For example:

DON’T SAY

“You have a beautiful body.”

“Wow, you look great, have you
lost weight?”
“I much prefer to draw models
like you with a few curves, you
look like a real woman.”

“Are you a man or a woman?”

INSTEAD, TRY

“Your poses are so
challenging/elegant/fun.”

Never comment on weight.
“I enjoy drawing you because
you’re so expressive/
still/professional.”

“Hi, my pronouns are [she/her,
he/him, they/them, etc.].
What are your pronouns?” *

*Pronouns are widely used in place of a person’s name in a sentence, eg. “Drew is our model for today, they are a member of the Life Models’ Society”. Some of our models, much like the general population, are transgender or gender diverse. We encourage you to introduce yourself with your pronouns, ask the model what theirs are, and then refer to them by the pronouns they state. It is impolite to refer to someone by the wrong pronoun

Never touch the model or approach when they are posing
It is never appropriate to touch a model. When placing tape or charcoal markings
around the model as reference points for a long pose, care must be taken to avoid
contact with the model’s body, and we recommend that the markings are placed by an artist of the same gender as the model. Consent must be gained before approaching.
Please also refrain from walking around the room while the model is posing, as it is
disconcerting to have people moving around, especially behind you, and can create
uncomfortable draughts.

No photography
Unless explicitly agreed upon prior and paid appropriately, it is not okay to photograph the model, whether clothed or nude. Do not take photos of your work until the model is out of their pose, robed, and outside of the photo boundaries.

Be courteous, kind & professional
Models and artists alike are human beings. A model is not a mannequin to be contorted in any which way, and no two models can perform exactly the same. Being a Life Model is a difficult job, and is heavily influenced by how safe, energetic, creative, and comfortable the model feels in the class. Whatever you can do to create a sense of safety, comfort and professionalism is appreciated. As with any other
professional service, keep interactions courteous, without being overly familiar.

Click here to download a printable version.

Published by

lifemodelssocietymelb

The Life Models' Society (LMS) is a collective of artists' models. We were formed in 1989 to provide a means for life models to get to know each other, and as a support group to standardise rates of pay and to improve our working conditions. Although we do not have the resources to act as a booking agency, we publish a list of available artists' models which is sent to all our subscribers, and updated several times a year.

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