Looking through the newspapers and magazines one must sometimes have wondered where all the drawings come from. Every daily paper, every periodical, every house journal, and of course every catalogue is full of drawings. More drawings than print very often. Pictures of hats, and pictures of coats. Pictures of frocks and gowns. Pictures of shoes and parasols; of beach wear, rain wear, and slumber wear; pictures of furs and lingerie, jewellery and scarves; bags, powder puffs, gloves, and handkerchiefs. Everything in fact that Woman wears or uses in her pursuit of that illusory but fascinating ideal, Fashion. Some of these pictures are photographs; and as this book is not concerned with the purely photographic aspect of fashion advertising, we need not consider them. But mostly they are reproductions of artists' drawings. Hundreds of drawings daily, all new, modern, up-to-the-minute; reproduced once and immediately replaced by still newer ones. For Fashion waits for no woman. The demand is always for something new; and somehow the demand must be met.

Where then does this inexhaustible supply of fashion drawings come from? Who creates all the original work, and by what channels does it find its way into the pages of press and catalogue which are so much a fact in our lives to-day? The answer is, principally from the commercial studios, three hundred of which are in London. There a veritable army of artists mostly well-paid, clever young women, many of them known to the great fashion houses of Paris, London, and New York is hard at work meeting the hundreds-a-day demand: or rather attempting to meet it, since the profession of fashion artist is one of the few which are not yet overcrowded; for the very good reason that the supply of competent artists does not keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for their work. How great is that demand to-day may be realized from the fact that the output of fashion drawings from London's studios alone is roughly four times that of all the other kinds of commercial drawings from these studios put together.


The aim of this book is to show the young artist not only how to fit herself for the profession, but how to get the best out of the work once it is taken up. The most and the best in every good sense, for herself, for those for whom she works, and for the profession also. It is not intended to be a guide to those curious persons who dabble in fashion drawing because they imagine it gives them a certain cachet, and are able to dispose of a few mediocre sketches here and there simply because they have friends at Court. It is for the serious entrant who is prepared to accept the trials and responsibilities of the profession as well as its rewards, and who will endeavour to raise and not lower the standards of the craft. Like all creative work, fashion drawing has its pains and difficulties; and the more seriously one takes it the more it may sometimes hurt. But it also offers a satisfaction and reward beyond mere financial gain. When a calling combines with these advantages extremely good payment and who will pretend that money is no object, even to an artist ? one may fairly say it is a calling well worth while.


Before discussing the practical details of fashion drawing it would be well to first consider what Fashion is, and why fashion drawing

exists. In the first place, one must never forget that fashion drawing is advertising; that is, it is part of the business of selling. By all means one should bring to the work the best that one has, never lowering the standard of art because it is allied to commerce. But at the same time, ideas about art for art's sake must not be allowed to blind one to the essential fact that the one purpose of a fashion drawing is to sell something. It may be a journal or magazine which the drawing has to sell, as, for instance, when one draws for Vogue. Or it may be a paper pattern. It may even be "prestige" one is selling the prestige of a big store, or the prestige of a studio; or it may just be somebody's hats. But whatever it is the artist must always remember that she is part of the modern organization for selling things.

Now there is only one way to sell a thing, and that is to convince the potential buyer that the article offered is not only desirable and well worth the price, but that it is the one thing she needs. Consequently one must have faith in the things one draws, just as one has in one's work, if that work is to carry conviction.

Fashion Drawing Sections

Part-1 Part-2 Part-3