Most Northwestern students spend many of their non-studying hours working in campus employment positions to gain some extra cash. Some scoop platefuls of lasagna in the caf, some clean dorm bathrooms and some sit perfectly still in the center of a room.
The models who meet every few weeks with a group of NW art students and faculty to pose for Life Drawing sessions seem to have it pretty easy. There is, however, more to this strange job than meets the eye.
“They told me to do whatever pose I want, but it was hard to think because you had to do a different one like every 30 seconds,” said Emilee Berry, an art student who has modeled for the group. “I started to run out of poses and got more and more weird and artistic. Toward the end, I was just thinking about being in pain from posing.”
At the beginning of each 2-hour session, the models are asked to hold a series of poses from somewhere from 15 seconds to one minute each. As the session goes on, they are asked to hold positions for up to 15 minutes.
Berry remembers a friend of hers getting into a pose, and after about 5 minutes realizing that all of her weight was on one leg.
“She was seriously regretting that,” said Berry.
Understandably, many of the models express feeling awkward about being studied so intently for hours at a time.
“When people stare at you, they’re not staring at you, if that makes any sense,” said Jose Martinez, an art minor who has modeled for art students twice. “They’re actually staring at the imaginary lines running through 3D space and transferring that into paper.”
Berry, however, feels more uncomfortable about the peering eyes.
“Professor Yun actually said to me once, ‘Your body is just so difficult to draw because your limbs are so long,” Berry said. “You just have to embrace the awkward.”
Despite the pain and awkwardness involved, the models seem to enjoy this quirky campus job.
“The best part was getting to see all the different versions of yourself on pieces of paper,” said Martinez. “Some poses look smashing.”
Getting to see their finished portraits isn’t the only allure of the Life Drawing modeling job; it’s also one of the highest paying jobs on campus. Models are paid $40 for each 2-hour session.
“Yeah, I did it more because of the money than anything else,” admitted Berry.
Life drawing sessions for the rest of the semester will be held from 7–9 p.m. on October 9 and 23, November 6 and 20 and December 4 in room 103 of the NW art building.
Any students are welcome to join, regardless of artistic training or ability. Students may bring their own drawing materials of any type. The evenings are set up in a drop-in style, meaning students can come or go as they please throughout the 2-hour session. For more information about Life Drawing, contact Professor Emily Stokes.