We interviewed some students who got naked and let people draw them

There are more reasons to get naked other than Baywatch you know.  When we heard there were students doing Life Modelling for ArtSoc on campus we couldn’t resist having a […]


There are more reasons to get naked other than Baywatch you know. 

When we heard there were students doing Life Modelling for ArtSoc on campus we couldn’t resist having a chat with them. The questions on everybody’s lips: What do you think about? Do you get cold? Do you ‘prepare’ beforehand?

We spoke to Joanna Harley, a third year Marine Biology student from Colchester and Tim Lupton, a first year Ship Sciences student from Bury St Edmunds.

Joanna (wearing some lovely jewellery)

Tim practising his poses

How did you find out about it?

J: One of the committee members convinced me to do it when I was smashed. I keep my promises. 

T: I had a drunk conversation with some friends involved in Artsoc, and subsequently decided to do it!

How much did you get paid?

J:I think it was £30 for the session, if I’m honest I was so nervous that I almost asked why when they thrust some cash at me before it started.

T: £30 for a session, which was about an hour.

What made you want to do it?

J: It’s one ticked off the bucket list. And I think when I agreed to it, I was probably in the sort of drunken mindset which considers removing items of clothing a fantastic plan.

T: I don’t know really, I was just curious about what it would be like, and it is well paid!

Do you prepare your body before modelling?

J: I did indeed make myself presentable. We joked about shaving a batman symbol down there.

T: No, I didn’t really prepare at all beforehand. Once I got there I felt like I probably should have done, but it all worked out.

Do you have a particular favourite pose?

J: Lying down on my front! I was so relaxed that I actually fell asleep, I’m sure no one noticed.

Jess Howard’s drawing of Joanna. Reckon she’s asleep?

T: Probably lying down; it’s very relaxing. Some of the other poses are quite hard work to hold for long enough.

Life drawing 4

A drawing of Tim by Jess Howard

Do you ever give anyone eye contact?

J: I relished in it. I also occasionally thought of them naked. It really backfired when someone winked at me and then returned to drawing my boobs.

T: Yeah, it sometimes gets boring just looking at the floor or the wall. So sometimes I have a quick look round and accidentally make eye contact with someone!

Do you ever feel like people are staring at you in a weird way?

J: Not really, they just flicked between their work and me; I think when drawing you look at the subject just as an object to inspire art work, there’s nothing sexual about it. Between poses I was worried about flashing everyone but then realised that all eyes were directed at each other; no one wants to look at a moving model, it makes them seem like more than just a bowl of fruit. I think people have become too prude.

T: Not really, I probably should have done, but I didn’t really think about it.

Does it get really cold?

J: I was actually so nervous during my first pose that my sweat was streaming. I was pretty warm throughout, I think it’s hard to get cold in a tiny room filled with 65 people.

T: Nope it was fine, the windows were closed so there weren’t any cold draughts.

How long does it take?

J: It varies, some poses are 5 minutes, some are 20, hence the napping.

Harriet Dawkins’ drawing of Joanna in different poses

What do you think about?

J: About 90% of the time I think of nothing, it’s quite meditational.

T: I like to think of nude modelling as an important interview, I just imagined that everybody else was naked.

Where do you look?

J: Into deep space, the wall, the floor, at people or sometimes their art work.

What do you do if you get an itch?

J: Smother it in butterscotch sauce.

T: I took my job very seriously, I wouldn’t move an inch.

Life drawing 3

Harriet Dawkins’ drawing of Tim

Any really awkward/embarrassing stories (come on!)?

J: At the end the model gets to have a wander around and look at the 360° view of their fully naked body. That’s a pretty odd experience. One guy did a lovely drawing focused mostly on my crotch, even including a small mole I have down there; I noticed that not much detail was included for the rest of the picture.

T: Surprisingly not. A few of my friends came along and drew me, there are now a couple of walls dedicated to naked drawings of me.

Life drawing wall

Life drawing wall 3

Life drawing wall 2

Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? If yes, how do they feel about it?

J: He’s totally fine with it until I suggested a couples session, he wasn’t too impressed.

T: Nope, after this preview I am accepting offers though.

Have you ever been offended by a drawing of you? / Has anyone ever done a really weird drawing of you?

J: The crotch one was pretty odd, some people drew me as quite a busty lady; however I was never offended, there were some very talented artists in there and such a range of styles.

T: I was very impressed by all the drawings that I saw, they captured my likeness perfectly

Has it improved your body confidence?

J: I was already quite confident in my birthday suit. My poor housemates have all seen me naked at some point. I think it has made me feel more confident though.

T: Definitely. I had a fair bit before but this has only helped

Do your parents/grandparents know? If yes, how do they feel about it?

J: My Mum knows, she’s an artist herself and thought it quite funny.

T: I haven’t got round to telling them yet.

Have you ever kept a drawing of yourself?

J: No but I really wish I’d at least taken a photo of one of the sketches. One guy drew this incredible picture of me lying down, with the most exquisite detail of my foot tattoo, I regret not asking for a snap of that.

T: Not an original, I have a few copies though.

Both Joanna and Tim said they’d be a life model again.

Well there you have it, thanks guys!