Life Model And Anatomy Model

Hi all I have just joined. I found this site by accident. I was trying to see if I could find a site where I could correspond with older life models and came across this site.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Chris and I live in East Cornwall, UK about 20 miles from Plymouth, Devon, UK. I have been a life model for 12 years and I enjoy it. I started by accident as until I saw an advertisement in the local library I had no thoughts about life modelling. Anyway I went into the local library and I noticed a job for a life model pinned on the wall. I would explain that the local Job Centre (A Government Department that tries to get people employment) rented about two square metres of wall space in the library and pinned up a number of small cards advertising jobs. The job of life model was therefore one of many jobs advertised. I was in full time employment at the time but I thought it would be a bit of fun to apply. I thought if I could do some work in the evenings or weekends it would be an added source of income. I took down the reference number of the job and approached the Job Centre. I was given the details of the college that had posted the requirement. I applied, was sent a detailed application form which I completed and sent off. I then thought that if this college needed life models maybe other organisations would do also. I collected a few prospectus issued by Devon County and Cornwall County Adult Education Centres, found those that were offering life drawing classes and I wrote to them offering my services as a life model. Within two weeks of writing I had a telephone call at home from a Art Tutor who was desperately seeking a life model. She advised that her current model had just told her they could not model for the next two weeks. She therefore needed a model urgently. I told her that I had never done life modelling before but I was very willing. She hesitated a little before asking me that I understood that I would be totally nude in a class of over 20 students/artists. As I have been a natralist/nudist most of my life I advised her that being nude did not phase me. My main concern was whether I could keep still for the periods required. I suppose that as the Tutor was desperate she decided to give a trial. I arrived, as agreed with the Tutor, 20 minutes before the class was to start to get some instruction etc. After the session the Tutor said both she and the students were pleased with my performance and I was asked to model the following week. The Tutor told me that I had done well, considerably better than she had expected and she asked me if I was interested in modelling for other art groups. She gave me a number of contacts and my modelling career took off but stuttered to an abrupt stop a few months later when I developed a chronic heart condition which required a triple bypass surgery.

On discharge from hospital I was at home recovering when I saw in a back copy of a newspaper we take an advertisement for part time living anatomy models at the newly opened Peninsula Medical School (sponsored by the University of Plymouth and the University of Exeter). The closing date was long passed but I was at home and I thought I would give them a call and see what happened. I was lucky, I got a trial and I got the job and I have been working there ever since. If you would like to know what I do please ask. You can get a flavour of the work if you read my comment on SpringfildIL-Strictly Academic. Almost immediately after I started work at the Medical School I was approached by the University of Plymouth Art Department to work for them as a life model. Shortly afterwards I was approached by the Plymouth College of Art and asked to model for them. I have worked there ever since.

In view of my heart condition I was retired (with my agreement) from my day job with a pension. My way to taking up modelling full time was now open.

For all you aspiring life models I say go for it. You will find the Tutors are very encouraging and will help you. I can hold a reasonable pose for around an hour without a break. But I am old and an exception. The most you will be required to do is hold a reasonable pose for 15/20 minutes then you will have a break to flex arms, legs etc go to the loo. The Tutor will mark you in; that is draw round your feet, maybe use a whieboard marker (it rubs off easily) to mark the position of arms/hands so the you can be put back into the same position after the break if the same pose is to continue. You will find that the education establishments will want poses of various lengths; from about 30 seconds, a few minutes up to maybe 2 hours. You can adopt some really wild poses if you are only to hold them for a short time. You will need to adopt more reasonable poses for the longer periods. Tutors are reasonable people and will not ask the impossible. If you find a pose too much then just say you need a break. If you are not happy with a requested pose say so. You will find most Tutors will ask you on many occasions whether you are all right with the pose and continue asking during the pose. The Tutors want to be sure they are not stretching you too much. Tutors do not want to alienate models; there are too few to go round.

I hope this note is of help to anyone thinking about giving life modelling a trial. You should enjoy it, I do, and you will meet some very interesting people. Remember there is nothing lewd about being a life model. Life models are required in all shapes and sizes: male, female, tall, short, fat, thin etc. Life drawing is very exacting and difficult and artists/students want/need access to models to draw and they will be too engrossed trying to get proportions etc right to notice any blemishes you might have. I have a long scar (fading now) running down the centre of my chest where I had the bypass surgery. The medical students are interested in the scar and the history and ask many questions; the artists/students pay it little attention if any. Do not get despondent if after your first session you are not asked to model again for the group for a few weeks. They like variety and may have a number of models they use. You have to take your turn. Do what I did and seek out other avenues.

Please do not be rude about my submission; I have written it to help. Constructive comment is welcomed. If anyone wants to ask me anything please get in touch and I will help if I can. To those folks in the USA please accept my spellings and phrases may be a bit different to what you normally see. Sorry but I am English and I am what I am.

7 Responses Dec 10, 2012

I am a life model too. I have been doing the job for 11 years now. I use very dynamic poses for the shorter poses and really enjoy the job. I started cause I was having trouble finding work. I have never had a problem being nude in front of people and thought why not try it out. I started life modeling at salisbury arts centre and got more work from there. It's a very nice job, you meet interesting people and you are always treated with respect.

Hello, Thank you for your message. It is very interesting to note you also use dynamic poses for the shorter poses; me too. I have been modelling now for 14 years or so full time since 2001/2. I started modelling for art classes (clothed) when I was 15. My full time job prevented me from doing much modelling but when I took early retirement in 2002 it opened the door for me to go full time; well anytime I was wanted and at any time of the day/evening. If you want to see what I look like and see some of the poses I do go to my blog: I would welcome any comments (preferably kind ones) you may wish to make.

You may find approaching the Adult Education Department of your local council will get you additional work. I work, as and when required, for Plymouth University, Plymouth College of Art, Cornwall Adult Education and some local Plymouth and Cornish schools for 'A' Level art classes.

Best wishes Chris.

I work at Bournemouth arts university college and several wiltshire college sites too. I will have a look at your site thanks.

Hi Chris.

I am just wondering if you are still modelling and would like to pose for my groups class tomorrow evening? I know it is very short notice but we have lost a model due to illness.

Hi. I am still modelling. Where are you? If you want to get in touch further please email me at: I live in East Cornwall, UK

I recently started life modeling, for an individual artist and then for a drawing group.

Anatomy modelling sounds interesting - I wonder if it has the same name in the US...

Hi. Thanks for reading my article. If you have a Medical School near you contact them to see whether they need/use model patients to instruct their students. I have worked at the Peninsula Medical School, University of Plymouth, UK since it opened in October 2002. You have to be prepared for students to have hands on experience. They will need to palpate you to identify where your organs are, where your ribs are, where your arteries/veins etc. are. If you are happy about students touching you, then you should be fine doing the job, if you can find a medical school in the USA that teaches in this way. Apart from a few sessions, where examination in the groin area is required, you will not be required to be nude and I normally wear Speedo swimming trunks. If you would like to know more email me at If you would like to see the type of poses I do as a life model for Art Colleges etc. see my blog:

Thanks for the information and the link. I'm just about to go buy the book on poses - the library doesn't have a copy. We have several medical schools nearby, so that might present more of an opportunity for me, as the Chicago area seems to be inundated with figure drawing models, all of whom seem to need work! Much competition. I've had an opportunity evaporate before I even received my call about it, there is that much competition. The job closed 2 hours after it was posted.

In the US, they might be called Standardized Patients, but I'm still researching...

I am also now considering becoming a life and anatomy model, and your story was truly informative and inspiring. Many thanks for your courage to be so honest.

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Hi Chris
I to am a life drawing model and am a bit older than most life drawing models (62). I enjoy working with the instructor and have modeled as Marcus Aurelius and Leonardo da vinci with in the past 2 weeks. I model undraped at the local community collage now and then and hope to find more work at some of the local art schools and drawing clubs . I am sorry you have had heart trouble in the past. I can relate some what as I have had to deal with a heart murmur for the past 62 years any way good luck and keep stepping up on the dais as long as you can.

thanks lifedrawing

Hi lifedrawing.

I am 64 soon to be 65. You are as old or as young as you feel. I do not think age has much to do with being a life model; I find artists, colleges etc are just grateful that there are some people who are willing to do the work. If you have an art college, university, community college near you send them a letter asking if they want life models. You will find schools where they have students of 17/18 years old doing 'A' level art often also want life models.

I have been dressed up as a Roman Emperor/senator for portrait groups and it has been fun. I have been given a couple of oil paintings that some artists have done when I posed as Julius Caesar.

Fortunately my heart problem has been rectified by the surgeons and I am now fine and have been for the last 10 years. Lets hope it continues.