Although background is secondary in interest to the figure, nevertheless it should be drawn with almost the same care. References (that is to say, cuttings from illustrated papers, and photographs, etc.) will be found extremely useful in helping one to get the correct background scene. An otherwise good drawing can be entirely ruined by a poor or inappropriate background. The importance of background is, strangely enough, nearly always overlooked by the less skilled artist, even after years of drawing for the fashions; and, more than anything else, it is the quality of their background treatment which particularly distinguishes the work of the "cracks." Their backgrounds are always right.

On page 42 are two drawings; in one, a good background adds value to the figure; in the other, a poor background completely spoils the picture.

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The picture conceived, and the particular treatment to be adopted decided, the next step is to get board or card for the work. The beginner may not entirely appreciate the fact, but different treatments call for different sorts of boards. And not only is this a case of certain materials being required for certain processes for example, Bristol board for line drawings but one finds that different types of board best suit different styles of drawing. Here the personal element comes in, constituting what may be considered the individual technique; but as a rough indication one may take it that line drawings call for Bristol, hot-pressed, or smooth fashion board. Line and wash, "not" or smooth board. Wash drawings are best done on "not" or rough surfaces, although where a very bright, high finish is desired, smooth fashion board may be used. Charcoal and Conte crayon drawings are executed on rough surface Whatman. But one will advance further along the road in a shorter time if the effect on one's own particular style of various sorts of board are tried out.

Just as certain materials best suit certain processes and styles of drawing, so particular mediums are most effective for expressing particular types of garment. Furs, for example, are best done in wash, whilst "undies" generally look their most attractive in line, or in line and wash.

The choice of medium also depends largely on the type of publication in which the drawing is to appear, and on the method of reproduction followed. For newspapers, where the screen is very coarse and reproduction is at high speed, line, or the simplest of half-tone treatment is required.


From a study of the fashion advertisements in the principal London papers, it will be observed that each different house has a distinct preference in the type of figure chosen to depict their garments. To some extent this may be the result of placing their advertising business over a period with a particular studio, where it


is a point to give that client's work to a particular artist whose work has pleased the client in the past. Thus, a certain house becomes associated with a certain artist's work. But it is also because each house has a sort of tradition or taste, probably based on what they know appeals to their clientele. For example, there is the ultra smart type, in contrast with the distinguished county type, and the suburban type. The artist must therefore make it her business to study and endeavour to satisfy the preferences of the different clients.

This preference for a type also applies to the various publications for which one will be drawing. Some papers feature the haute vie type, smart but not "smarty." Others prefer the refined type, yet permit or encourage her to smoke a cigarette so that their readers may feel at home with her; and there is the quite definitely "cheeky" type.

For provincial work a different, less advanced type of figure is usually required. The provinces like to think themselves rather Puritans in these matters, and a cigarette-smoking female in some Midland papers would probably create a sensation. The subject-matter must also be somewhat more restrained and decorous.

Fashion Drawing Sections

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