Luggage is often shown in company with travelling costumes, a conjunction that shows the size of the former and the purpose of the latter.

To return to the five artists we were discussing, Bernard Boutet de Monvel is an artist of great distinction and has a considerable reputation in Europe and America both for his portraits and mural decorations. For a time he did some fashion work for Harper's Bazaar and some very interesting drawings were the result, of which one is reproduced here (pi. 37). With an artist of this kind the difficulty is not how to draw what must be drawn, but how to temper an ability to draw anything on earth with an appreciation of the limits imposed by fashion drawing. The use of pencil, unsupported by wash, to produce something that is not a line drawing but a half-tone drawing, was certainly an inspiration, and reproduces better than many wash drawings. In other hands this method of suggesting tones by pencil shading would almost certainly have been unsuccessful, because it would have degenerated into smudging, and this, when reproduced, would have looked slimy. Here the pencil has never been disguised as something else, and, in the original, even the tone of the sky can be seen to be composed of pencil lines. The method of drawing used in the figures combines the observation of accidental individual folds and creases with a consistent simplification. For example one feels that it would have been impossible to have made up the folds of the scarves and yet, having been drawn from nature, they have undergone a process of refining and pruning that has given them a kind of universal application. This is true also of the limbs which have been reduced to the greatest degree of simplicity that is consistent with keen observation of nature. There is, in short, simplification without distortion.

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Note how all the straight lines in the buildings are drawn with a ruler. You probably feel that this is cheating, or, worse still, inartistic, but it is much better to use a ruler, without making any attempt to disguise the fact, than to use a trembling free-hand to reproduce things that are straight in nature and should be straight in your drawing. Note the tendency of lines to follow through and to continue past the line that crosses and should terminate them. This gives a peculiarly architectural sense of good planning to a drawing, of thoroughness and soundness ; but other artists have made a mannerism of it, and the result is awful.

Finally study the landscape. It could stand alone and be a picture on its own account, but the heroic scale of the figures throws it back to its proper place, and makes it what it is intended to be, not only a world for them to move in, and one that will exist long after they have stridden through it, but one that is, at the moment of their passage through it, entirely subservient to them. Still more notable is their dependence on it, a thing you should always aim at; here, the snow, which everywhere covers the ground, glares up into their faces and reflects light on to them from below, while the brims of their hats protect their eyes from the light, which streams down from above.

The types Monvel draws are very good and have been attempted, so far as one can see, by no one else. They are neither pretty, smart, county nor cute, nor yet quite beautiful. They have, instead, a fresh negation of these qualities, combined with good sense, good taste, splendid athletic bodies, and a general air of being people one might know, shorn of all the accidental features of the people one actually does know.

It is doubtful how much it is safe to recommend the student to study Benigni. It is probably altogether unwise, and yet it would be strange if so considerable a figure in the world of fashion drawing should have nothing to teach a beginner. Certainly any artists working for shops and stores and daily papers should turn their backs on his work, which is too exotic for such humdrum purposes.

It should at once be said that a great deal of his best work is in colour and at colour work he had no peer. Of the five drawings by him in this book (pi. 15, 38, 39, 40 a andb) only pi. 39 was drawn in black and white. The others, therefore, have lost considerably by being reproduced in monochrome. But though they have lost in beauty, they have not lost in interest for the student for whom, as we saw, colour is practically a forbidden paradise. What is particularly notable about Benigni are his calm unworried capacity for organising a complicated scene in which his important figures do not necessarily occupy the bulk of the picture ; his ability to reduce everything (men included) to the same common denominator as his women; his sense of composition, balance, and design; and finally his power of expressing action in the same simple terms with which he expresses everything.

In his drawing of the entrance of a hotel (p. 39) he has had to draw three actual costumes in a particular setting, and yet his three principal figures occupy only a fraction of the whole scene. This is quite as justifiable as the device in Monvel's picture of making the important figures occupy nearly the whole of it, since here the hotel is the excuse for their presence and the wish to illustrate life at Chamonix or St. Moritz is the inspiration of a whole series of illustrations. But although the principals in the scene are recessed some 20 feet behind the objects in the foreground they are not swamped, but are artfully framed in the swing doors. In the coloured original, moreover, they are situated in a golden haze, which is framed by the cold-toned foreground.

With Benigni men are never a burden as they are with some fashion artists, who ought, consequently, never to attempt them. Besides mingling with the ladies, they provide very useful wedges to fill in dull corners, or, rather, corners that are usually dull in other hands. They do more. They are used to provide a plane between which and the background the central figure holds the balance. Thus in the drawing (pi. 39) where a lady stands talking to a man, whose leg and hand only appear, he serves both to accentuate the distance of the belt of trees and the car, but also to draw the eye of the beholder back again from the distance to the immediate foreground ; as a result of this the woman occupies a central position, not only from left to right, but also between foreground and background. If this seems too far-fetched it is best to pay no attention to it.

Men in fashion drawings are like bulls in china shops, more often than not, since their ineptness wrecks the whole scene. This is only natural, since the artist draws women all day and men only occasionally ; and his skill with the one is not equal to the other, even if his inevitably stylised outlook with regard to women were able to take a consistent view of men and the rather different problem they present. By this I mean that the expression of women in fashion drawing becomes a kind of shorthand even in the finished drawing ; and, though the artist may be able to give a good account of a man in a pencil sketch or even in a laboriously finished drawing, he may yet not be able to express him in the same terms and conventions as he does women. This difficulty probably accounts for the prejudice that many timid editors have with regard to men in fashion drawings. Certainly any suggestion of a scene gains enormously by their inclusion, if it is properly done, as there is something ineffably bleak about a collection of manless women. The only scene in which this can decently be allowed is a dress show, a device which has been rather over-worked and is in any case too cloistral to give much idea how the clothes will look when in public.

Another artist who draws men very well is Grafstrom. Comparatively new to fashion drawing, he is rapidly coming to the front rank, being an accomplished draughtsman who depicts a very good type. In the illustration by him (pi. 23) the dead black tones of the man's hat and coat give an excellent contrast to the

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Fashion Drawing Sections

Part-1 Part-2 Part-3 Part-4 Part-5 Part-6 Part-7 Part-8