How to Become an

Art Model

The complete career guide to be an Art Model: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $37,240
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • Flexible Hours
    Career Attribute
  • Skill-Based Work
    Career Attribute
  • Working With People
    Career Attribute

Art models pose for aspiring and professional artists. Often, they pose nude, and they must sit still in a single position for an hour or more to allow artists to observe them and capture their figure and features. They are commonly paid to pose for art classes, but they may find work for individual artists.

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What is an Art Model?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in art model roles:

  • Pose for professional and aspiring artists
  • Stay in a pose and hold a facial expression for long periods of time
  • Pose either wearing clothing or nude for classes of art students
  • Alter facial expressions, poses, and gestures to capture the impression the artist is aiming for
  • Maintain a portfolio of work, and actively seek new modeling opportunities

A Day in the Life

Art models commonly pose for art classes, and while they may pose with clothing on, they more commonly pose nude. They stay still for long periods of time, holding poses and facial expressions, to allow art students an opportunity to perfect their craft of capturing the human figure as part of their artistic talents. Art models must pose for long periods of time—commonly an hour or more—in order to allow students to sketch, paint, and photograph them for art projects and artworks.

While art models most commonly pose for classes of art students, they may also be commissioned to pose for individual, professional artists. They may pose in many different scenes for professional photographers, or they may pose for days and weeks in a row for a professional painter or sketch artist in order to allow the artist to observe features for long enough to finalize realistic paintings and drawings. Models with individual clients enjoy more privacy than those who pose for classes.

Another important role of an art model is finding new job opportunities. While other types of models typically work with agencies to find job opportunities, few agencies find work for art models. This means that art models must actively work to seek new opportunities, interview with artists and art teachers who are looking for models, and manage fees, tax documents, and other income paperwork. They must keep a portfolio of work and may need to work with artists to take photographs of finished art pieces.

Typical Work Schedule for

There is no set working schedule for art models. Art models who work with individual artists set their schedules around the working hours of the artists they’re posing for, and art models who pose for art classes set their schedules around when those classes take place. This means they may work either part- or full-time schedules, and may need to work during the day, during the evening, or on weekends.

Typical Employers

Art models are almost exclusively self-employed, though a few may have recurring gigs with art teachers and colleges that have an ongoing need for art models. Most find work with professional photographers, painters, or sketch artists, or pose for art classes at local art studios and colleges.

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How To Become an Art Model

No formal postsecondary education is required to become an art model. For the most part, you simply need to be willing to pose nude for large groups of people, and you must have the patience and stamina to sit in a single pose for long periods of time. Though professional artists may have certain features, body styles, or genders they’re looking for in art models, posing for art classes often allows for less traditional body types as art seeks to capture people in all forms—not just what we deem as perfect.

To find work, you’ll want to network with artists and art instructors in your area. Sometimes, people will post classified ads for art models in local newspapers, college newspapers, or online classifieds sites like Craigslist. These can all be good sources of finding work. However, participating in the local art community can also be beneficial—visit art galleries, attend art show opening events, and attend art classes yourself. Pursuing an art degree in college is another good way to expand industry connections.

Having a portfolio and referrals is also important for a career as an art model. You’ll need to get artists you’ve posed for to allow you to photograph their finished artwork for you to use when applying for new positions, and you’ll need to get letters of recommendation from the artists and art teachers you’ve worked with. Additionally, it can help to pay a professional photographer to capture some nude images of you that can be used when submitting your portfolio for open positions.

Art Model Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Art Model salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Art Model's can make an average annual salary of $37,240, or $18 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $18,780 or $9 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #579 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Art Models

  • 0.4%   Doctorate
  • 2.4%   Masters
  • 18.4%   Bachelors
  • 8.8%   Associates
  • 27.6%   College
  • 30.7%   High School
  • 11.7%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Art Model job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of --- jobs for a total of 5,800 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a --- change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #594 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Art Models

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Clothing stores 2,700 -300 0%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; private 1,000 --- 0%
Self-employed workers 500 --- ---

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