New Model Orientation Guide

If you’re new to modeling at Basic Inquiry:

  1. Scheduling. You must confirm your scheduled session by text or e-mail with the Model Coordinator one day before your Session. If you know you cannot make a future scheduled session for any reason, please contact the Model Coordinator ASAP. If you do not confirm a booked session the day before, the Coordinator may assume you’ve forgotten your appointment, and schedule a different model. This may also happen if you come late to your session: you may be replaced by a different model. In these events, you will not be paid for your session.

    The success of Basic depends on the reliability of our models, so please take your commitments seriously.

  2. Session format. Your session will be moderated by a Session Manager, who can help orient you to the Studio and your job. You’ll model for three hours including breaks. Depending on the day of the week, your format may involve many short poses (Gesture Poses), one long pose (Long Pose Sessions), or a variety of short and medium length poses (Regular Sessions).

    Sessions should start on time, and you should be on the model stand and striking your first pose at the beginning of your session hour. So give yourself enough time beforehand to prepare, change out of your clothes, and be ready to begin work then. Sessions end on time as well. Assume you can be out the door 5 or 10 minutes past the hour at which your posing stops.

  3. Start. Arrive at least five minutes before your session starts and introduce yourself to the Session Manager, and ask about pose timings and other requirements for your session. If you are unconfident about timing yourself, ask the Session Manager to time you during your poses.

  4. Platform. Check that the brakes on the (wheeled) modeling platform are locked before your session, especially if you are planning any active poses.

  5. Props. There are a variety of stools and poles available for your use as props in longer poses, as well as pillows and cloths. Ask the Session Manager if you don’t see these.

  6. Breaks. Long poses will be punctuated by breaks, and every session features a long break (20 minutes) halfway through. For your first several sessions, check in with the Session Manager on the long break about your posing and ask for feedback. Not all session managers are "active communicators;" you taking the initiative in asking whether things are going well, or whether there are things you could be better doing differently, will help insure you get the feedback you need for comfortable, successful sessions.

  7. Pay. You’ll be paid our regular rate by cheque by the Session Manager at the end of your session, and you also earn the contents of a tip jar. Tips depend both on how many artists attend your session and how generous they’re feeling, but session tips on the order of $5–$10 aren’t uncommon.

  8. Privacy and your body. Basic Inquiry prides itself on maintaining a safe and comfortable environment for your work. Artists keep a respectful distance from models; people who are not artists are not allowed to observe sessions. Only the Session Manager is permitted to direct the model. Photography of models is strictly prohibited at Basic. If you have any questions or concerns about these policies or actual practices, please bring them to the attention of your Session Manager, the Model Coordinator, or any member of the Board of Directors.

If you’re new to modeling in general:

  1. Clothing. All poses are nude (except during the Monday Costumed Sessions), but for their own comfort and quick access, many models wear a robe or other light covering before sessions and during breaks, after changing out of their street clothes. You may change from your street clothes in the washroom, and leave your personal belongings in the curtained area in the corner between the sinks.

  2. Posing. For short poses (5 minutes and under), dynamic poses—with the body or limbs extended or somewhat off balance—are more interesting than static ones (very stable, symmetric poses; or reclining poses). For long poses (20 minutes or more), look to support your body and all limbs comfortably in the pose: it’s difficult to hold even a lightly flexed muscle steady for more than a few minutes. Even here, contrapposto poses, or poses with some twist to them, are better than symmetric and "straight-ahead" poses.

    Remember you are being drawn by artists surrounding you on all sides. Vary your poses to face different parts of the room, or even better, twist your pose so that you are facing different parts of the room simultaneously!

  3. Confidence in your pose. When striking a new pose, especially one in a train of short poses, do not look to the audience of artists for confirmation that "it’s an okay pose." Different artists like different things, and what’s good on one side may not be so good on another, so feedback from the crowd is often mixed. You decide your poses, not them! Instead, strike your pose confidently and quickly, then hold it. (Even if it’s not the best possible pose, a steady pose is more enjoyable to draw than when you decide to "adjust yourself" 30 seconds after people start drawing.) For longer poses, work with Session Manager to identify a pose that’s both comfortable for you and satisfying for the audience.

  4. Breaking a Pose. Of course, if you are having real difficulty with a pose—especially a long one—you have the right to stop it at any time. In such situations, some models find that by stretching a muscle or shaking out a limb mid-pose, they can resume the pose for the remainder of the period. But if you need to abort a pose, do so. Your own safety is more important than artists’ drawings.