Sensitivity Training -- LIVE WORKSHOP

"Babe Lab : Sensitivity Training" 

Sensitivity in art is vital, especially when women are involved.  Join concept artist / pinup enthusiast Paul Richards and veteran model Stacy E. Walker as they guide you through the do's and don'ts of portraying the female form.  


January 26th, 7PM-11PM
Gnomon School of Visual Effects
1015 N. Cahuenga Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90038


Thursday, Jan. 26th
7:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.: meet-and-greet with Paul and Stacy
7:15 p.m. - 9:45 p.m.: Sensitivity Training (lecture)
9:45 - 11:00 p.m.: lifedrawing session

Stacy E. Walker is a professional figure model providing inspiration and visual reference for world renowned illustrators, major animation studios, video game developers, fine artists, sculptors and a variety of academic institutions.

Babe Lab : Hi Stacy! Thanks for descending the model stand to chat with us. Watch your step!

Stacy E. Walker : It's my pleasure. I'm thrilled that you asked. I'm a huge fan of the blog so I'm honored to be introduced to all your followers.

BL : Well, we're honored to have you as our first model! So what was the turning point in your life when you decided to start doing this? Something or someone must have emboldened you.

SW : I grew up wanting to be Batgirl or a professional dancer. I began studying ballet, jazz and tap at the age 5 and was dancing professionally in stage productions in NYC by the time I was 10. As I began to mature, I was getting more curvy than tall and was constantly being told I was not thin enough, not tall enough and too "ethnic." Sometimes I wouldn't even get the chance to audition. They would just look at you and send you away. It got very difficult to handle so I started looking for other things I could do. I always loved comics and fantasy art but had no idea how to get involved with the field until I saw an article in a magazine about Fabio. The rest is history, as they say, and my strong background in dance really enhances my modeling work.

BL : Wait, Fabio...the guy who did all those romance novel covers?

SW : Yes, [the article] showed you how he and a female model would pose for a photographer who would then supply the images to an illustrator. So when I saw they do actually use real models for this I began to seek out artists who needed models for their work.

BL : When a person draws you, they get the privilege of being before the nude, and a few pieces of artwork under their belt. What do you get out of it?

SW : I love to see all the different variations and styles the artists portray me in, but most of all to help inspire their creativity and tell their story. It's always amazing for me to see myself as some of the most amazing characters this genre has to offer, especially when I inspire an original character.

BL : Describe the arc you've made in your modeling career. What are you doing now that you weren't doing when you began? What might you do differently in the future?

SW : I spent the first half of my career working primarily for illustrators who work from photos. Some would shoot the photos themselves and others had photographers who would do it for them. We would get the art brief ahead of time so we could show up with hair and makeup done and any accessories we could bring to add to the character. You had to be able to walk in and give them exactly what they needed. I treated them all as small acting roles. As time went on, many of the artists trusted me to deliver the photos because they knew I had a ton of costumes and props and really embodied the characters I was given to portray. They would send thumbnails or sketches and I would shoot the reference for them. I view myself more as a collaborator and not just the model. My image has been featured on countless book covers, calendars, trading cards, magazine covers, t- shirts, statues, comics, posters, etc.

BL : That's got to be surreal. What's the most random place you've seen yourself?

SW : One time I was walking with friends in a mall and there was a store that did airbrush work on shirts and jackets and there I was on the back of this jacket right in the front window. They had copied an image that Boris Vallejo had done of me in a calendar. They had zoomed in and it was 4 times the size of the calendar image. It was surreal and exciting at the same time. Yes, I went right in and bought it and I still wear it to this day. After that it started to happen quite frequently. You see someone in one of your t-shirts walking around. I get photos emailed to me saying "I used this image for a tattoo and just realized it was based on a real person." I enjoy their excitement when they discover that girl in the image is real and not just made up by the artist. There have been gas tanks on motor cycles, hoods of cars, you name it.

BL : So getting back to your career arc... Kinda derailed you there...

SW : Now I am primarily providing live visual reference from series of gestures to the long poses nude and in costume. My style and knowledge of the industry is ideal for animation and gaming studios and the field is booming at the moment. For the immediate future I want to get more into performance capture work. It allows me to take my work to the next level and I love it. I really want to work with Blur Studios so I hope to make that happen really soon. I still have not given up on a part in a big screen film and it is my dream to work with Peter Jackson and Zack Snyder. I am also outlining ideas to run my own specialty workshops as well as digital reference for downloading. At some point I may cross over to a full time position working with artists in one of the studios or gaming companies as I also represent a group of artists through my production company that I book for jobs via freelance work hire assignments.

BL : Do you get a chance to observe or speak with others in the field? What sets you apart in your approach or presentation?

SW : Yes I do. There is also much you can learn from seeing them in the artists work. What sets me apart is my extensive background in dance and working as a professional art model as well as my thorough knowledge of the genre and art in general. I know how important the figure model is to the creative process and the need to help tell the artist's story. I always bring my own music to establish a mood. I always push to bring a dynamic quality to my work even if it is a more sensitive moment. With each pose I am telling a story from the look in my eye to the unique ways I use my hands. I put my entire body into each pose and will push the hip and shoulder to the extreme. Dance taught me to always lift from the ribcage and I use my torso well. I am a story teller with my work. Sometimes making my own movie in my head or my own graphic novel panel by panel. I always have fun props like a variety of swords and guns so I don’t have to use the boring pole or broom handle. I also have my own methods of using a variety of rubber balls and chords. I want to leave a room knowing I have inspired the group whether they are students or professionals. I consistently hear that I am so fun to draw and working with me was very inspiring and that is greatest compliment I could ask for.

BL : What, if any, are your expectations from the people drawing/painting you?

SW : I hope that they will not sneak photos of me and post them on Facebook or other social networks or blogs. I had an issue last year and it was not cool at all. I don’t have real expectations. I love to see what they are doing and hope when I ask if I can photograph some of the work for my archives and my new website they will let me. It's always an honor to receive actual credit on something because it really makes you feel as if you added to the success of the piece or the project. But, as I understand, it's not always possible to give a printed credit. I really love to see when an artist uses me in their work and to be able to add it to my body of work so I wish they would let me know. There are so many times when I see an image and it's so obvious that it's me. I know the photo they may have used off my site, or I know my poses, or my cleavage and I can really tell when someone took something we did in life class and elaborated on it into a beautiful color illustration. It feels awkward to contact them to verify and it's very frustrating when they admit it's me. It doesn't take anything away from their creation to say it's based on my image. People do it all the time and it hurts me not to be able to post it loud and proud. I don’t know if they think I'll ask for money, but that's not the case at all. It happened several times just in the last few months and I'm still working on getting confirmation. There's always the hope in my heart that I'll inspire one of the studios I work with to create a character based on me that would appear in a game or movie. One that I could voice and do the actual performance capture as well. That would be the ultimate dream goal for me.

BL : Greatest pride moment?

SW : The first illustration that Boris Vallejo did of me. Working with him I learned so much and it awoke something in me I never knew was there. I was very lucky to begin working with him early in my career and I will be forever grateful for the time I had working with him. It was also have to be the first illustration that Alex Horley did of me. It really seemed to capture me more than many of the others and has become my signature piece. “Red Stacy” has been a limited edition lithograph, quilt, t-shirt and a statue.

BL : Greatest moment of embarrassment and/or frustration?

SW : This is my favorite story. I was appearing as a guest at the Motor City Comic Con and when I first starting the Con circuit I always tried to really look the part so I would wear a lot of latex. On Friday nights the cons go late so we usually get really hungry. One of my fans was a chef so he brought my friend and I some of the food from his Italian restaurant. I have always tried to eat very healthy so I don’t use much oil or salt etc. Needless to say the chicken parm did not agree with me and I became quite gassy while wearing a pair of latex leggings that I soon realized were blowing up like a balloon from all the gas. It kept going down one leg so I tried to shift it over so it would down the other because I was afraid to try and push the bubble out. I was laughing so hard I almost passed out! Embarrassing as it is, it happens to all of us and it is such a great story it has to be shared.

BL : Wow, that's....uh...well, let that be a lesson to all you latex wearers out there! Thanks for baring all, Stacy. Figuratively and literally.

You can catch Miss. Walker in her element at a studio space near you (provided you live in Southern California) or in the following app : Posebook by Stephen Silver – A Fundamental Guide For Artistic Development for iPad, IPhone and android. An updated version of her website will be launching in the next couple of months with a ton of new features and content, so please check back.