Except in certain cases where you have to do a finished drawing from a croquis made by someone else, you have always your own rough sketch of a dress to work from. Where you are obliged to use a croquis and have no old sketch of your own you can adapt, you must make up a figure. Many people who can make admirable sketches from the model are no good at composing a figure out of their head. If you are obliged to do this, be sure you draw in a nude figure first, otherwise you will never get anything life-like. Another, and inferior, way is to adapt a photograph. You are sure to have a number of old-fashion periodicals and, in one that is sufficiently past and forgotten, you may find a photograph that you can work from. At least never make this kind of use of another artist's work ; it is less good and also seems more immoral than copying a photograph.

Nothing, however, whether it be a complete knowledge of anatomy or the happy discovery of the psychological photograph, can compare in value with a pencil sketch that you yourself have made from the actual dress on a living model. As, in nine cases out of ten, you can rely on having such a sketch, I am going to ignore, for the purposes of this chapter, the rare occasions when you have not.

Supposing you decide that, for any reason, you must alter your original sketch at all, it is best to carry out the modifications on the tracing you have made of it on your drawing paper. Don't alter, or in any way interfere with, your rough sketch. It can be transferred to your drawing paper in one of two ways.

You can either trace it in the ordinary way, that is, by scribbling very black on the back of your rough sketch and placing it on your drawing paper and going over all the lines of your rough sketch, pressing very hard. The advantage of this method is that, unlike the next process to be described, it can be done by artificial light just as easily, and also the thickness of your drawing paper is no bar to the clearness of your tracing. Indeed, when transferring a rough sketch to a fashion board, this is the only method. Its disadvantage is that it is messy, that it wastes your pencil and that it produces a peculiar insensitive line on the drawing paper, a line automatically simplified by the exigencies of having to press so hard with the pencil and completely out of harmony with any lines that you add afterwards with the pencil direct.

Quicker and, on the whole, better is the method by which you place your sketch under your drawing paper ; you then place both of them on the largest accessible window-pane and trace through. Better still, of course, though

difficult to contrive, is a sheet of plate glass over an electric light, because this obviates the rather strained position of drawing on a vertical plane, though this is not as inconvenient as you might suppose. The beauty of this method is that it is clean, that it avoids the time and the bother of blacking the back of your rough sketch, and that you can reproduce exactly in all its fineness and subtlety the line of your original. You can, if you want to, reverse your original.

Another advantage is that you can alter as you trace. Things that are obviously wrong can be put right while you are tracing, instead of having to put them down wrong and alter them afterwards. Often you will find that in your sketch you have made the body (or it may be the legs) too long or too short. By this method of tracing over glass this is easily corrected, for you have only to trace the upper part of the figure, and then to adjust the relationship of the two pieces of paper so that when you go on tracing the rest of the figure the legs have come up nearer to the body or gone down further from it. This sounds rather obscure from my description, but you have only to try it for yourself to see how easy and successful it is. This readjustment during the actual process of tracing is quite impossible with the ordinary method, owing to the impossibility of seeing what you are doing through the thickness of the paper. If you ever want to combine two rough sketches, putting the body and arms of one figure on the legs and hips of another, it can be done with this method ; and it is possible, when making a group of figures from two or three separate sketches to see exactly how you are grouping them, to readjust this, or even to make one figure overlap another, whereas by the old method you are unable to see exactly what you are doing.

Once having transferred your rough sketch on to your drawing paper your next task is to adapt it to the particular needs of the magazine, paper or shop for which you are doing it. This adaption must to some extent take place before you begin the actual process of finishing. It is now that you must re-do her hair, alter her expression, give her suitable jewellery, and shoe her properly. Her complete stance it is now too late to alter, but a knowledge of her ultimate destination must, at the time of making the sketch, have influenced your choice of a pose. Now is the time to alter her physique, although her height, if necessary, was corrected when you made the tracing. You may know that at a particular time there may be a tendency in a paper like Vogue or Harper's for women's shoulders to be broad and sharp and their chests flat, while a year later in the same papers the fashion may be for round-shouldered full-chested women. It is too much to hope that your model had a fashionable figure, but now is the time to make it so. It may please one shop for its advertisements to echo these varying peculiarities, while the advertising manager of a big store may pride himself that his customers are natural unaffected women who prefer to buy clothes that are advertised in a natural unaffected way. Use your discretion and your knowledge of the previous

work of the same magazine or store in adapting your drawing to the requirements to which, ultimately, you will have to conform. You may ask what is the use of trying a new artist if clients are so pleased with the types evolved by the old. The answer is that they were not evolved by the artist you are succeeding. These types (and their proneness to vary or to remain the same) are indissolubly connected with the name of the business. Occasionally a new editor, a new managing director, or advertising manager, alters the tone of a publication or a business, and from then onwards the artist working for him must seek inspiration, not in the past, but in contemporary standards. Some time ago, for example, the firm of Jaeger, to name only one, appeared to undergo a profound change of policy and, owing to intelligent and progressive advertising, it has taken its place in the van of contemporary fashion ; and it would be useless for an artist working for this firm to consult their past advertisements since it has evolved new standards, and is possibly now setting a standard for other firms. For an example of this and of other unusually enlightened advertised fashions, see pis. 2 and 22, where you will find drawings that are far above the average of advertisements, being worthy to take their place beside the work of the best fashion artists. In order to illustrate my meaning and to give some idea of the various points that may be emphasised or discarded, I have made finished drawings in different styles of the rough sketches of a dress (pi. 3) and of a hat (pi. 4). Each of these two sketches has been completed in six different ways. By the time this book appears the actual modifications are likely, by the passage of time and the alteration of standards, to be as inept and untrue as the dress and hat themselves will be outmoded ; but it will, none the less, show the kind and the degree of adaption that must take place. Throughout this section it has seemed advisable to refrain from using the names of actual magazines or artists, as each of my drawings combines the features of more than one artist or shop or magazine ; is, in fact, typical of several; and more because my skill is unfailingly inferior, in most cases, to that of the artists to whose idiosyncrasies attention is drawn.

Plate 6 (1). This is intended to represent the figure as it might be designed to appear in a luxurious magazine that specialises in women's fashions. The same magazine, will, of course, contain drawings more extreme and much more chic than this, but it is intended to be fairly representative of one of their more conservative drawings. This is a naturalistic treatment and the figure has been made slightly shorter, the extra height having, in this case, been taken from the hips, between the hands. She has not been made any thinner and the natural draperies of the skirt have not been altered. However much subsequent treatments may reverse this, the essential character of this dress is not girlish nor theatrical ; being of black lace, it is a dress for a quiet well-bred woman, moderately sophisticated. The hair has been made more severe and tidy, and the forehead bared. The face, though not in the least haggard, has been given a

Fashion Design Drawing - Drawing Theme Variation 1.jpg

Fashion Drawing Sections

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