If there is a certain resemblance between all the fashion drawings done for shops and stores, whatever their quality, there would seem to be rather less connection between a fashionable woman as seen by, let us say, Femina, The Lady, Mabs and the Daily Mail. And though personal bias or the influence of your own particular milieu may dispose you to think that one rather than another of these papers has the authentic vision, circumstances and the limitations of your own talent may oblige you to work for the one you least respect. Don't let this thought depress you. Since I started drawing fashions I have worked for nearly a dozen different papers, but never for the one or two I particularly cared about : yet this does not mean that I have not been happy and busy, or even moderately prosperous.

To some twenty magazines published in the British Isles which specialise in fashions and things of interest to women, you may add about twenty (and still not include dailies) that contain a regular fashion feature ; and you will have to combine ill-luck and incompetence of a very special order if you fail to get a fashion drawing published in any of them.

Whatever may be the point of view of the public as to which is the best periodical to consult about fashions, the choice of the student must fall, surely, on the one that is likely to employ him most regularly at a reasonable rate of pay, rather than on the one that employs the artists he admires most. I can believe that there are many people who draw very well with a pen who would give their eyes to draw like Erickson, and as many who would willingly exchange their freedom with brush and wash for Mabs' delicate touch. However much you may admire a technique that has its roots in a temperament completely different from your own, it is as fruitless to envy and to imitate it as it is to sigh for work with a magazine that you suppose to be more illustrious than the one for which you are drawing at present, merely because it is of a different type. And, after all, the best magazine in the world is not one particular magazine but several, each being the best for the people who like it best, and the worst for somebody else. For magazines, and for the fashion drawings in them, there are no infallible classic standards, as there are for humour, for fugue, for poetry or for human physique. What's right for one is wrong for another ; what's wrong to-day is right to-morrow.

Of the difficulties to be overcome before you can get an editor to see your work there is not much to be said, except that they can easily be exaggerated.

As everywhere, a letter of introduction is a great help. On the other hand, do make certain that the person who gives you the introduction not only knows, but is personally known to, the man or woman to whom he is sending you. An introduction insures your being received, courteously and with a certain punctuality, by the editor, sub-editor or fashion-editor, to whom you have a letter. At the same time it guarantees little more, and a polite letter off your own bat, with a stamped and self-addressed envelope enclosed, will rarely fail to get you an appointment. Write rather than telephone : do either rather than call unexpected.

It has already been pointed out how fruitless it is from your own point of view, but do not waste the time of other people as well by taking them work that is obviously unsuitable, however good it may be. A drawing that will fetch five guineas in La Mondaine would go straight into the fire at " The Cutter-out at Home." It is even less simple than that. You might even suppose that two such luxurious magazines as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar would want the same kind of drawing, but each is very conscious of having a style and policy of its own.

Take infinite pains to study recent issues of the magazine or newspaper you have in mind. If you find drawings exactly like your own (your style may even be modelled unconsciously on them), you may save yourself the trouble of applying, If, however, the drawings, though different, are in the same general category and depict the same kind of woman, then you stand a good chance of interesting the editor.

In the same way the quality of paper used by a daily does not allow of its accepting work that is very delicately shaded, however right it may be as to subject and style (see Chapter Nine). It is quite a good plan to do one or two sample pieces of work specially for the editor you have in view because, although it is hardly in your power to flatter him, he will see that you are not afraid of taking trouble to please him.

Unfortunately it is not only the editor you have to please. He is perhaps the least important of the triumvirate. The art-editor (who wonders how your work would reduce and reproduce), and the fashion-editor or editress (who wonders if the breeding, the bearing, and the bank-balance of your women would correspond with that of the women she supposes to be chic) leave the editor-in-chief far behind in respect of being hard to please.

A disturbing thing about journals is that even if they agree to let you try something for them, they will often want you to do something different, and in a different style, from anything you have done before. A specialist is apt to see in your work a quality of which you are all but unaware, while at the same time he may deplore your inability to do the very thing at which you suppose yourself to excel. This is the great advantage of showing your work to as many people

as you dare, for experienced eyes (or even those that are merely fresh) will be able to detect tendencies and possibilities of which you would never have dreamed. And people who like your work without being able to make use of it themselves are often willing, in order to make the task of dismissing you less disagreeable, to give you valuable introductions to others. Indeed, there is never any harm in asking them if they happen to know of anyone to whom your work is likely to appeal.

Fashion Drawing Sections

Part-1 Part-2 Part-3 Part-4 Part-5