Category Archives: Professional Suggestions

19. Types of Poses

A)  “Stretched” poses: usually short, (30 seconds to 2 minutes)
take unusual shapes, usually feel stretched; used by artists
for studies in foreshortening, action, and “character”.
These serve well as “warm ups” both for models and for
artists, and can offer excitement and variety not possible
in longer poses.

B)  Moving poses: continuous slow-motion poses from one position
to another: used by artists for studies in shape-changing,
and for understanding the natural movements of a particular
person.  Every still pose is, after all, a stop-action piece
of a movement.  Models can make these poses very interesting

C)  Idealized poses: the kind of poses we expect to find in
ancient Greek statues or in Renaissance paintings.

D)  Character poses: these poses express moods and emotions.

E)  Sport and fashion poses: shapes patterned after photographs
and especially drawings you see in magazine and newspaper
ads.  I group these together because the object in each is

F)  Natural pose: a pose you seem comfortable in.  It works best
if you are comfortable.  A “jeans and a tee shirt” type of
pose.  These are especially appropriate for poses lasting
fifteen minutes or longer.

20. Practicing Poses

This section expands on the section above, offering general
remarks first, then going into suggestions regarding each type of
pose described above.  A full-length mirror is a very useful tool for
people practising any kind of pose; it helps you be aware of how you
come across.  Models often pose in  front of a group rather than in
the middle of it.  Even so, it is important to remember that you
exist in three dimensions, and plan poses so that you will be
comfortable in being drawn from any angle.  There is a 3-stage growth
in development of a comfortable attitude.  First is self-conciousness
in any pose, but posing anyway, followed by comfort in a growing
number of non-revealing poses, followed (usually after considerable
effort), by equal, deliberate comfort,and confidence in any pose, as
that pose expresses you.  Any pose can be given wrong, or wrongly
received; but ultimately, there is no such thing as a pose which
cannot be beautiful in itself, or cannot be beautiful in art, if it
is given and received with love and respect.  Suggestions follow for
particular kinds of poses.

A)   Stretched poses: take a standing pose; bend as far as
possible in any direction; hold the pose until it gets
uncomfortable.  Stand on tiptoe; reach both hands up; stay
there as long as you can.  Then, start inventing different
stretches.  TV exercise programs can help here.

B)   Moving poses: set a timer for five minutes; crouch; start
moving slowly and continuously, from one position to
another, without hesitating at any point, until the timer
goes off.  Try to develop patterns of movement.

C) Idealized poses: get a book of art work reproductions (The
Nude by Kenneth Clarke is excellent for this purpose), and
imitate the poses as closely as possible. Try to get a
feeling into yourself for the emotions portrayed. You
will not ice, in trying them, that many of these poses are
not natural ones, for you. Listen to music that seems to
go with particular ideas, and take poses these pieces
inspire. Get someone to read short poems to you; take poses
these poems seem to suggest. He sure to include humorous
poems in your repertory, as well as the romantic poems you
are likely to think of first. Be sure, also, to incIude
frankly erotic poetry to illustrate in your poses. When
these are used in a context of varied poses, they are very
appropriate as expressions, even if you do not plan to use
them in public.

D) Character poses: take poses that express exaggerated

feelings [pride, fear, love, anger, hate, and so forth); hold
the pose for a few minutes before moving on to tin- next

E) Sport and fashion poses: take poses illustrated in the
photos, and especially in the drawings, that illustrate
magazines like Vogue and Sports illustrated. Watch
sportscasts on TV.

F) Natural poses: watch people doing ordinary things in
comfortable clothes. Look at. snapshots of yourself in the
same kind of clothes: jeans and tee shirt that you don’ t mind
getting torn or dirty; pants rather than skirts or dresses…
People do not pose naturally when they are wearing skirts, or
when they pose as if they were wearing skirts. This is a
cultural accretion that is prejudicial to women; our whole
culture needs to unlearn it. Pants are a heIp in
overcoming this prejudice; modeling nude, in natural poses,
can be very helpful indeed. Recreate the feeling in
yourself that you find in natural poses, as you recreate the
poses. These poses arc relaxed; but they can be more fully
expressive than any others. Paintings by Rembrandt and
Renoir offer good examples of expressive natural poses.