For instance, if a coat is cut cunningly in the sleeves, it would be foolish to depict a sitting figure with arms folded. Of course, the choice of pose does depend to some extent on the artist, but, generally speaking, a particular garment calls for a particular sort of pose. But it is in just this that the really clever artist may be distinguished from those who fall into the fatally easy habit of adopting always the obvious stock pose. By her ability to find just the right pose which will best show off the garment whilst at the same time avoiding the deadly repetition which mars so much fashion work, she achieves that chic and distinction which is the mark of good drawing, and for which studios and fashion houses are ever on the lookout.

Pose, then, although admittedly conventionalized to a degree, yet affords considerable scope for the artist to achieve that happy and attractive something in her figures for which she must be continuously striving. To say that a figure is happy is not to imply that she must be laughing. Rather that she radiates that glad, confident, or even slightly superior air which some persons do have about them, and which positively braces one up to see. Every fashion artist should try to get her figures like that. Remember that you are concerned with part of the business of selling new clothes, and new things; and new clothes are themselves a source of happiness, or should be so. Remember, too, that the psychological principle

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underlying your work is that of interesting, through your sketches, potential buyers of the articles displayed, and of persuading them that they would like to appear as the figures in the sketch. So, of course, it is useless to put the garments on a lot of drooping females. Make them living figures.


There is, however, a certain sort of decorative fashion drawing which employs rather static pose for example, the work of Erte. Such, naturally, does not require actionful drawing. But, generally speaking, the happy sketch, the sketch which is going to sell somebody's mackintosh for twenty-nine and elevenpence, or a set of undies which are warm yet ever so flattering, is going to be an actionful one.


Before one can commence work at all the composition of the drawing must be decided. The accepted meaning of composition will already be understood, but it has a special significance and application in fashion work. Composition is treated more fully in Chapter VI, but it may be as well to mention here that composition is every bit as important in fashion work as it is in pictorial drawing. The student should therefore observe all the rules of composition learnt at art school, and those which are set out later in this book. Particularly endeavour to place the figure or figures to the best advantage in the given area. For example, in drawing a single figure do not make her too large for the space available, nor yet too small. Do not push her up against the top edge, leaving her feet in the air. Do not sink her through the lower margin. And do not put her right in the middle of the board.


Where a background is to be shown with the figure it should be conceived as part of the composition. Before beginning to plan

the picture one must therefore consider with some care the sort of thing one is about to draw. If a frock, observe whether it is evening, day, or afternoon wear, and whether for town or country. Then one may visualize an appropriate setting of the figure, and arrive at a good composition for the whole.

Of course, one can work the other way round that is, draw the frock, and then stick in something "suitable" behind it. Lots of so-called fashion artists seem to manage that way. But that never made a worth-while artist.

Much might be said on this subject of background and of the various treatments; but no purpose would be served in attempting to lay down definitely how every background should be dealt with. There are times when the background is strongly developed; times when it is very subdued. There are occasions when a specially light treatment is desirable in order not to detract from the interest of the figure, or even to give it added interest by contrast with its background. But whatever style is chosen, whether naturalistic, decorative, or purely abstract or geometrical, the background must harmonize with, but never absorb, the principal object of interest, which is the figure.

Fashion Drawing Sections

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