This chapter will contain some information about such details as are not a part of the body and do not (more than incidentally) take their shape from it.

Of these, perhaps the most important is fur. All through this book I have tried to remove difficulties by pretending they do not exist, and it will be the same here. Furs are easy to draw. If you can express anything at all, you can express furs.

They can be divided roughly into three classes : the long-haired furs, like fox, opossum, skunk ; the flat furs, like mole, seal, broadtail and ermine ; the former are used to trim coats, whether of cloth or of some other fur ; while the flat furs are more often used to make the fabric of an entire coat (though, admittedly, they are often used as trimming, but always in the character of a flat trimming). The left-hand figure in the drawing by Benigni on pi. 15 gives an example of fox and ermine used characteristically. Between these two groups is a third, which comprises all those furs like sable, musquash, mink, squirrel, etc., which are equally suited to form an entire coat or to trim it, the decision being a question rather of expense and colour than of suitability.

The battle between camera and artist is fairly even where furs are concerned. The limitations of the camera in this respect seem to be irremediable and peculiarly typical. It can neither overcome the tendency of any fur coat to make a woman look bulky, nor can it exaggerate the volume of the long-haired furs, whose charm is their massive luxuriance. And while photographs of furs are, of course, useless in a daily paper, they are also inclined, however well reproduced, to obscure, rather than reveal, the intricate working of the small skins, like ermine and mole ; which is sometimes the only remarkable feature about a coat whose general silhouette is perfectly ordinary.

The advantages of the camera consist in the exquisite sheen and quality it gives to all furs and, particularly, in the distinction it can impart between rather similar furs. Not only can a camera distinguish between a silver fox at ten guineas and one at fifty, but it can also show the difference between such easily confused but variously priced furs as broadtail, galliac lamb, maimima lamb, coltskin and astrakhan, furs which even the finest fur artist would be apt to make rather like one another.

While easily surmounting its disadvantages, the artist will have some difficulty in equalling the good qualities of his rival. It is not always possible to have access to a fur store for purposes of study, but, as has been said before, no oppor-

tunity must ever be missed of sketching fur when you see it, and a good fur catalogue is very much better than nothing.

The problem of drawing fur is like that of doing a printed satin. There is first of all the question of the marking and colouring of the skin and then, over that and after it, comes the sheen or high-light. Since this gloss on fur is changeable and to a great extent irrespective of the markings, though it usually runs in the same direction, it must be added, in your drawing, after the markings have been put in. Irrespective of marking and sheen is the fact that almost inevitably furs are forming, as it were, part of a drapery, and this, besides distorting the shape of each skin, imposes its own high-light. Thus, for example, when a coat has a collar composed of a number of mink skins, each skin has its own little high-light, while the whole collar, being draped, has its own larger passages of light and darks of each individual skin. A coat made of Persian lamb, on the other hand, is treated like an unbroken expanse of very rough fabric, no account being taken of the division between the skins, even if this were discoverable. Yet again, with a fur like broadtail, the skins may be so worked that a design is made of the markings, exceptionally well-marked skins being placed, let us say, down the centre of the back and forming a definite motif, while it is at the same time undesirable to show where one skin begins and another ends.

This may all sound complicated and far-fetched, but you have only to speak to any good furrier to hear of distinctions far more subtle.

Whether working for a fur store direct or for a magazine editorial, equal care must be taken to note every minute detail of the furs you are drawing, mere opulence and sheen being far from enough. Great art goes to the making of a fur coat, both in the contrivance of the mosaic of little skins that is to cover a large area (in which case you must be careful to note the exact number of skins that make up each part of the coat), and in the matching and blending of separate skins to simulate a continuous fabric.

Examples of each kind may be seen on pi. 16, where two coats have been sketched by a Swears & Wells artist for a daily paper. The moleskin coat is a finely considered piece of work on the designer's part and equal care was taken by the artist to note such things as how many bands of fur went round the cuff and how many went across the sleeve itself. In the other coat the furrier, and consequently the artist, treated the fur, nutria in this case, like an unbroken material, and it can be seen that no division whatever is made between one skin and another.

Fashion Drawing Sections

Part-1 Part-2 Part-3 Part-4