New Areas Of Study

Growing new career paths in Costume and Design and Performance Art and Acting, also benefit enormously from the study of the human body and movement within life drawing. As an experienced professional life model I have worked with local designers, artists and models, to explore how materials and costumes relate to the human form and how the human form can relate a narrative – even while completely still.

Less acknowledged careers such as Courtroom Artist, Tattooist and those using Photoshop are usually only noticed when things go badly wrong and it is at that point the value of serious study with a life and portrait model can be seen.

Costume and Design

While there are many variations on the standard human figure the basic elements of a head, two arms a trunk and two legs, generally form the basis when designing an outfit for fashion or production use. Working with a life model, designers can explore how the body is put together and how it moves.

Clothing for example that restricts the arms or leg must have that aspect considered. Costumes that may be more adventures, for example in a Sci-Fi production, need to be considered for the human body’s ability to support and balance that costume. As a professional life model I also include in my repertoire a range of costumes and outfits in various materials and shapes.

Working first with the unclothed human form and later with a clothed model allows designers to consider how material flows, folds and relates to the body beneath.

Performance Art and Acting

Today there are many ways to enhance the narrative of a story – from sound, cut away images, blue screen and additional animation to name but a few. The essential tool in an actor or performers repertoire always remains their own body. Even in radio, voice over work and dubbing, how you use your body has an effect on the emotion, tone and narrative of your work.

In physical performances understanding how you look to others and the effect your movements and expressions have on the audience all play a part in telling the story. Utilizing the space you have to work in and thinking in terms of composition i.e. how the scene looks in terms of the space and your body within it (and those of fellow performers) can add a polish of professionalisms to your performance.

Working closely with a life model and studying how the very smallest of gestures and eye movements can complete change the mood of a pose is an incredibly useful skill to learn and develop. I have many years of experience telling a story without moving at all – think how powerful a tool that would be in your performances.

Courtroom Artists

There are still no signs that cameras will be allowed into courtrooms in the UK or Eire in the near future so we continue to rely on the court artist’s renderings of the courtroom scene and figures within it to help us visualize events. As court artists cannot rely on their subjects remaining still they need to perfect the art of capturing the scene and the figures within it at some speed.

Working with a life model improves the speed and accuracy of figure drawing and experience with a portraiture model increases the ability to capture a person’s likeness so that others will be able to easily recognise that figure from the drawing alone.

Tattoo Artists

Tattoos are becoming increasingly popular, and have noticeably moved away from the amateur experimentation with a pin and some ink between teens, to increasingly intricate and detailed works of art rendered by gifted tattoo artists. While many designs remain abstract or stylized, many people are requesting famous faces; figures and depictions of loved ones whether in portrait of full body form.

With an artwork as personal and permanent as a tattoo there can be little room for error or the client will be left disappointed at best and lastingly visually disfigured. For any tattoo artist planning to include faces and figures in general and specific portraits in particular then a lot of practice and experience with a professional life and portrait model is absolutely essential.

Careers Utilizing Photoshop Skills

Photoshop has been in the news for many of the wrong reasons recently. Working with a real life model can help those working with Photoshop avoid making what seem later to be glaringly obvious mistakes.

Are there programmes out there to view and work with the human body? Of Course. However many that I have seen allow the figure on screen to move in ways that a real human being cannot, many allow legs to be slimmed to a point where, in real life, the model figure would be unable to walk. When photo shopping one figure from two separate images, being able to tell where an arm would naturally bend and appear is vital if you do not want to be featured on a Photoshop Fail site.

For anyone planning to use Photoshop regularly to work with figures, working with a life model is vital to ensure you understand the basic functions and movements of the human body in a variety of poses. This will inform and develop you work enormously and provide you with an edge over competitors.