The trained fashion artists, on the other hand, have put into their drawings not only what they see, but also what they want the potential purchaser to see, or rather what the client wishes to show. By long practice the eye of the fashion artist has become expert in finding that something which in the case of Vogue will sell the pattern, and in the case of Debenham will sell the dress. In short, the fashion artist's object is not so much to show a dress but' to show how attractive it is, and how attractive it will make the woman who wears it.

For this reason the female form divine, in fashion drawings, is idealized. Women in real life are not all graceful, slender beings of about 5 ft. 8 in. in height. But in the fashions they are; and not simply because it is a convention to idealize the female form, but because the idea is thus easily conveyed that the dress depicted will do that for its wearer.

In considering the idealized figure proportions of fashion

drawing, it should be realized that there are special sorts of figures (e.g. matrons, or what are sometimes termed "outsize," and the petite), which have their own proportions and technique. For a matron the figure is drawn slightly more full all over, as it were, with perhaps a suspicion of a double chin. Otherwise she is just

Fashion Design Drawing - Fashion Technique 4.jpg

as presentable as any other female. Her style of dress may allowably be on the slightly heavy side. The petite, to whom, incidentally, there is more attention paid nowadays, is conventionally represented by increasing the proportion which the head bears to the body. In studio terms "big heads" are employed. Of course there are subtler methods, such as background treatment, which are used to get these special effects, but the foregoing will sufficiently indicate that there are certain variations in the method of idealizing fashion figures.

; Similarly, a drawing of a frock or coat alone, without a figure, is approached with an understanding of the psychology of appeal to possession, and not necessarily with the idea of showing the whole of its detail, and that as accurately as possible.


Detail, however, is a point which has to be carefully considered, and the foregoing is not to be taken as meaning that detail is unimportant. There are cases, indeed, where detail is almost all-important; but, generally speaking, it is secondary to the cut of the garment and its general appeal and form.

This question of detail, moreover, is one which is likely to cost the fashion artist many a heartache. Some clients are apt to labour the point ad nauseam, insisting that every seam, button, and even the pattern and weave shall be shown, to the detriment of the drawing as a whole. One has known clients send back a sketch with requests for detail alterations which, when effected, make the drawing look simply ridiculous. But between this attitude of the difficult client, and the equally impossible one of the artist who thinks she knows best and resents " dictation " by the client (who, be it remembered, pays the piper and may be presumed to know what best sells his particular goods), lies the proper function of the good fashion artist. That is to create a drawing which, whilst showing all that is necessary of the cut and texture of the garment, yet remains a true and artistic work, of which the artist may be justly proud.

As has been said, there are drawings where detail is almost a first consideration. Drawings for periodicals which sell paper patterns, for example McCa/ls, The Lady, Weldori's, etc., need a quite definite treatment of all constructional seams, and a careful representation of the fullness of the skirt, and the hang of folds, etc. Also in drawing for the wholesale, as opposed to the retail trades, the matter of detail is most important. Not only does the presentation differ, but the actual technique also. Wholesale (except when advertising direct to the public, which may be considered as special

Fashion Design Drawing - Fashion Technique 5.jpg

"prestige" advertising), is concerned with as direct a representation of the actual garment and material as possible. Therefore accurate detail work is required. The retail trade, with its different, more personal appeal, aims rather at figure style and the manner of wearing the garment, so that detail usually need not be stressed

Fashion Drawing Sections

Part-1 Part-2 Part-3 Part-4 Part-5 Part-6 Part-7 Part-8 Part-9