Ok, I gave this post that title, because I would like to touch base with something that comes with the territory for any given pin-up artist: working with models. Very, very, (very) often, I get approached and asked about how it is to work with beautiful and attractive models, many of them from the porn industry. Most of the comments come from people that doesn't work in the art field, or at least not related to pin-ups. Most often than not they have no idea how it is to work with a model, and I am always glad to help with tips that I might have. First of all, let me point out that 90% of my work with models is through collaboration and a big chunk of that is virtual collaboration (online). That is how I have been able to work with talent from all over the world, and fortunately meet a lot of them in person as well. Nowadays, the models I have available for work are enough to keep me busy for a long, long time. I still approach new talent (online and in real life) once in a while, and also get approached by them more or less often. So, work is good: they like my work, I like their image and we get to work in a sexy and fun project. However, it wasn't always like that. Back in the day, when I decided to my portfolio, I didn't know any models personally... and because of that, I didn't have a portfolio to show them in order to ask for a collaboration, or even permissions to use their image. That is indeed the typical and recurring problem that an aspiring pin-up artist faces first hand: how do you get models to work with you, if you don't have any work done with real models at all. In fact, that's a question that I get asked pretty often as well. Let me say this: if you are just starting and are serious about it, the best advice I can give you is this one: "Seriously, be serious about it". That doesn't mean that you shouldn't have fun with your art, with your process. All the opposite, have a blast, that's the point of being an artist, to enjoy what you do. But, a big big part of being a pin-up artist comes from working with models. That's the serious part I am talking about. Be friendly, be fun, be daring, be creative... but always be professional. Why do I mention this? Because, another typical comment that I get often is: "Man, I don't know how you can work with a hot girl like that one, I would be all over her". Yes, we work with beautiful and sexy women, most of the times when they are dressed and posing in a provocative way. That is indeed the point of this kind of art (and yes, it's fun! how many people can say that about their jobs?). But, I do think that one of the quickest ways to kill your career as a pin-up artist, especially when you are just a newbie, is to start messing up with the models (meaning being disrespectful in any way). I won't go into the details and steps on how to work with a model in person or online (that's a topic for another post), but the essence is easy: always, always be respectful of the model's boundaries. Always. Always. In case you forgot: always. Personally, I try to accommodate my work to the model's personality and preferences. That might sound a little too flexible, but I see it this way: there are plenty of models out there, each one with their own style and look. Just work with one that fits your project... instead of trying to make a model fit what you have in your mind. For example, when I work with a model for the first time, I ask her if she does nudes, while at the same time I assure her that it is fine either way. I have plenty of work in my portfolio with and wihout nudity, and I'm always in need of both. So, if this specific model doesn't do nudes... good, we'll work on a sexy image that isn't nude. If this specific model does nudes indeed... good, we'll work on a sexy image with nudity. It's that simple. Work with what the model has, and more importantly, with whatever she feels comfortable. This is extremely important, because a big part of your reputation comes from the models themselves. This is a much smaller world than it seems, trust me. We, as artists that work in erotic themes, already have a bad reputation to begin with, in the general view. Why? because unfortunately, there are plenty of people out there trying to score with a model. Sometimes these people are not even artists... and we are the ones who pay for it. For me, that's not much of a problem anymore, because I have plenty of references. But again, it wasn't always like that, and I will never forget how it was, for the sake of others. So, do your homework, do it nice and things will start to pay off.
Last but not least: same as the models, every artist is different as well. The way I work might be the opposite of other artist's way. What works for me doesn't have to work for everybody. But, I can honestly tell you that this has indeed worked for me. Proof of that is not only my portfolio, but the relationship I still maintain with the majority of the models with whom I have been fortunate to collaborate. And that is priceless. :)
Pin-up artist by day… and also by night. Well, mostly by night, because night time is my favorite time to paint.