Etiquette for Artists and Their Nude Models

Etiquette for Artists and Their Nude Models

W`ve been asked recently for some guidelines for appropriate artist’s behavior when working with models in a life drawing group. This is what I came up with.
Rules for Artists:
1. DO NOT touch the model, NO exceptions. No touching is a cardinal rule, not to be broken, ever. This rule also applies to artists when working with models privately for life drawing or photography sessions.

2. DO NOT photograph the model and do not ask the model if you can take a picture. A model may feel obligated to say yes because you are paying them, so it’s best to not even ask. Make a separate appointment for photography because when an artist’s model does photographic modeling, they make at least two to four times as much per hour as live models. Photographers/artists should have a model release specifically stating the intended use of the photographs.3. DO NOT chat with the model when he/she is modeling. The conversation is distracting for the model and your fellow artists.4. DO NOT make comments about the model’s body.

5. DO NOT invade the model’s personal space.  This includes sitting on the model stand any time the model is on it, five feet away is a good starting point.6. DO NOT ask the model personal questions such as their last name, where they live, etc.

7. DO NOT ask the model out on a date.

8. DO NOT remove your clothes when the model does. I bring this up because it happened in one of my drawing classes when I was a college student.9. DO NOT allow non-artists to wander through the room. 9. DO NOT come to drawing group unless you’re really interested in drawing the human form,  creepers stay away. You will be asked to leave.10. DO make sure the model is warm and as comfortable as possible.

11. DO pay your models well and thank him/her profusely for participating in the art-making process.  Here in Birmingham, AL, USA. we pay our live models $20 per hour, and photographic models $50-$75 per hour, with a 2-hour minimum, as of this date, 2017.12. DO assign one person to be a moderator to help models maintain their pose and get back into it after breaks.  This person will speak for the group, giving verbal directions to the model rather than having many people telling him/her what to do.13. NO more the TWO glasses of wine for each participant in Live nude model class allow.

Rules for Artist’s Models:

1. Show up. Arrive a few minutes early to get changed and set up.

2. Bring a robe and change into it, away from the group, in a bathroom or other space provided.

3. Wear a robe on breaks.

4. Do not talk while you are modeling. 

5. Do not social media share the artist’s work without giving them credit and preferably a link to their site.

A Few Other Thoughts:

Everyone be kind and polite and all will be well.

Artists and models are vulnerable in this situation. Don’t critique work unless asked, this goes for artists and models.

I have updated this blog post after input from artists and models, and from artist/models.
If you have any more etiquette tips W’d love to hear them, and I’ll add them to this post.
Send your ideas by email at: 

We are so very grateful to our drawing group and our models. You are much appreciated!
Here are a couple of drawings We’ve done recently at our local drawing group.





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