The perfection of modern fashion figures looks deceivingly easy to picture. Actually, it requires just as much practice as any other form of art. The first steps are simple, but the student must study and practise each step before attempting a new one. He must master the fundamental steps of sketching the figure before dressing it.

25, 26, The charts on pages 27, 28, 29, 30 show various dummy figures which the student must practise blocking in. Measure off the heads on the left-hand side and the proportions on the right-hand side. Familiarize yourself thoroughly with them and refer to them when in doubt.

Before starting the actual sketching of a figure the artist must have a mental picture of the pose. It is advisable to sketch from a living model, of course, but when this is impossible the artist must rely upon his imagination or photographs. Even when sketching from a live model a great deal depends upon the artist's imagination - hence the importance of developing this resource to an extremely sensitive degree.

After the general pose has been carefully thought out, the proportions should be blocked in in a rough, free manner and in very light pencil lines. Think only of the figure. The fashion artist should completely forget the fashion or clothes element at the beginning of the drawing.

Always block in the figure in the following manner: Draw an oval for the head, slanting it in the general direction the head is facing. Draw the neck (in a fashion figure the lines of the neck are usually drawn parallel) and locate the pit of the neck. Construct the line of balance, which is a straight line from the pit of the neck to the standing foot, i.e., the foot that supports the weight of the body. This line must always be parallel with the edge of the paper.

Block in horizontal lines for the shoulders and bust at the correct angles. These lines are always parallel. Next, come the waist and hip angles, and here again we have parallel angles. The waist-hip lines are always parallel. It is interesting to observe that frequently these sets of angles (shoulder-bust and waist-hip) are at reverse angles. This is another example of our law of balance. It is possible, however, for all lines of the angles to be parallel.

After these horizontal angles have been properly placed, mark the correct location for the knees and legs, also the arms and hands. Then proceed to block in the masses of the figure, mainly the torso, hips, thighs and legs. Connect these. If at any time you are confused about certain proportions of the fashion figure, refer to your charts.

The hip is always raised on the side that supports the weight of the body, and generally the shoulder is lowered on this side. The leg is always stiff and straight on this side, never bent. The relaxed foot frequently appears to be slightly longer than the standing foot. This is accounted for by the fact that, in the majority of fashion poses, the relaxed foot is in the foreground.

To obtain grace and ease in a pose there must be a balance of weight in the figure. The writer terms this the "S" distribution of weight and bases her theory on the fact that if there is a greater amount of weight on the left side of the line of balance in the torso, it shifts to the right side in the hips, forming a letter S effect. Weight must balance in a figure; otherwise it will seem to topple over. We cannot over-stress the importance of the balance of weight in a figure.

Use the line of balance as a leaning post, as a guide in checking all the proportions of the figure. Compare the distribution of weight on the left with the right. Check the bust measurement with the hip measurement, the left shoulder with the left hip on both sides of the line of balance, etc.- all up and down the figure.

In blocking in figures do not concentrate on the outline of the sketch nor any detailed parts, but think in broader terms. Think of the masses that compose the figure and their relative proportions. The figure must be completely blocked in beforexthe garment is sketched.

Fashion Drawing Sections

Part-1 Part-2