The Art Model’s Handbook, by Andrew Cahner is one of those books I look at and exclaim, “Why didn’t anyone write a book like this before..?”
If you use artist’s models in your studio, work as an artist’s model, or have ever thought of working as an artist’s model*… you need to own a copy of this book.
Yes, I usually say, “Read this book at your public library first, and see if you want to buy it.” However, this is the kind of book that you’ll refer to so often, you may as well buy a copy and save yourself multiple treks to the library.
This book is 141 pages of to-the-point information. There’s no fluff, and the author is knowledgeable, experienced, and addresses issues on both sides of the canvas (or sketchpad).
Author Andrew Cahner has left nothing out. He tackles the difficult aspects of nudity in Chapter 2. In Chapter 3, he tells you the two things that every model must bring with him (or her), and then lists many items that will make your work easier and create a more professional environment.
Chapter by chapter, Cahner provides useful tips and the kind of information every artist — and artist’s model — needs to think about before, during and after a modeling session.
For example, the author provides some brilliant ways to research poses, so you don’t stand in front of the group, blink, and ask shakily, “Err… what do you want me to do?” (Likewise, if you’re working with models, these resources will avoid wasted time while the artists try to think of poses, and the model responds, “Okay, how about this?”.)
There’s even a list of useful links to find modeling work, online.
If there’s anything missing from this book — from either the model or artist’s standpoint — I can’t see it. And, I’m speaking as a third-generation artist who worked as an artist’s model during her college years.
I rarely give a book five stars, but — for this topic — I can’t think of any way the author could have improved the book. Every working artist and every classroom that uses models should have a copy of this book in their studios. When you have a question, the answer will be right there.
And, of course, every working model should own one as well.
I read many books about and for artists, and this one stands out as a brilliant idea, well executed and long overdue. It’s well-written and easy to read, but — even more importantly — it’s a useful reference that provides far more than just the basics.
*If you’re willing to sit still for 20 minutes at a time — with a roomful of people staring at you — this can be a fine career choice for people who need work or want extra income. Taking off your clothes is optional but will significantly increase your chances of getting work, but it’s not vital. (Portrait and other models are needed, too, but — for economy — classes often swap-out students in those roles.)
Even better, this book will explain the nuances of working in this field so you don’t feel like a total novice.