The rewards open to the fashion artist are of two kinds: material and spiritual. And the material rewards may be more exactly defined as financial returns and social amenities. In this materialistic age no apology will be expected for considering first the financial aspect of the matter.


Compared with any other avocation, fashion drawing is well paid, the principle of the labourer and his hire being thoroughly appreciated in modern advertising. Good work is paid well; average work is paid fairly; exceptionally good work is paid very well indeed. This is equally true whether working as an employee in a business studio, or as a "free-lance." The advantages and disadvantages of these two different arrangements are discussed in another chapter, but so that the possibilities of each may be properly understood it will be well to explain here what is meant by the terms "studio" and "free-lance," as applied to fashion drawing.

First, then, one may work "on the staff," in a studio organized and run as a commercial proposition. It may be either a self-contained business specializing in the production of fashion drawings, or it may form part of a larger concern engaged in the advertising, printing, and publicity trade generally. The former is sometimes termed a fashion studio, and the latter a commercial studio; but as the distinction between them is of no importance in the present connection, the term "studio" used here applies equally

to both. Sometimes, too, a large departmental store runs its own studio complete with artists, and so on; but this is not common, nor, from the artists' point of view, is there any considerable difference between such a studio and any other small commercial studio. Beginners almost always commence serious fashion work in a studio; and certainly, for reasons explained elsewhere, every young artist would be well advised to spend at least a year on studio work.

Artists employed by a studio are paid a fixed salary, and provided with their materials, accommodation, and so forth. In exchange, all drawings produced by the artist become the property of the studio. The studio sells the work, or perhaps certain reproduction rights, at the best price obtainable, or else uses it in connection with their own business. To obtain the necessary orders for work and to assist in its preparation and disposal, the studio must employ other workers besides the artists. Thus the whole studio constitutes a team centred on the artists. The actual members of the team vary according to the size and importance of the studio. In a big studio there are besides the artists, a studio manager; a lay-out man and letterer ("lay-out" being the arrangement, or form, of an advertisement); a copy-writer, who writes the wording to go with the drawing; a model, who poses, and wears the garments on which the artists are working; and finally the outside representatives, familiarly termed "reps." Reps call on the various business houses which are clients of fashion studios, selling the drawings and canvassing for orders.

An artist's salary, theoretically at least, is her value to the firm employing her. Consequently, salaries vary a good deal. The average wage in London, for a trained artist, is from 4 to ^5 a week. Provincial salaries on the whole are slightly lower, although some provincial studios pay very well. This average wage can easily be exceeded, and is so by most really competent artists. It is only remotely related to what the big "stars" earn.

The studio day generally commences at nine or nine-thirty, and ends at six. Many studios pay for overtime at an increased rate, but there is no recognized rule on the point.

During her first year of training the young artist would receive perhaps ios., or fi a week. Beginners, incidentally, are usually about 18 years of age, and must already have had some art school training. From this modest beginning the worth-while artist may progress until L500 a year is reached, which is about the limit of an ordinarily good fashion artist's possibilities, so long as she remains with a studio. Exceptionally good artists may exceed that figure, but as a rule the "cracks" do not care to stay on a studio staff. If they do not turn free-lance they inevitably gravitate to the big fashion papers, like Vogue and Harper s Bazaar, where the really big salaries are paid. There are several artists, drawing regularly for the leading European fashion papers, whose incomes have long passed the four-figure mark.


The dictionary describes a free-lance as "a Knight who wandered over Europe and fought anywhere for money: one not bound by party ties." The free-lance fashion artist, too, stands alone. Clients must be found and work put through without the organized support of a studio.

Fashion Drawing Sections

Part-1 Part-2 Part-3