Fashion Design Drawing - Kinds Of Drawing 1.jpg


Henry the Eighth, we are told, ordered Anne of Cleves because he had seen an excellent drawing of her.

The incident has its analogy for the woman of to-day, though, if her income be limited, she is not so trustful. A hat is made in Paris, which she never sees. A week later she is uneasy. She opens a magazine, a newspaper, and is unhappy. She becomes aware that her head is still supporting a hat that has become virtually insupportable. This is easily remedied, for she buys another, not perhaps very different from her own, but one that is first cousin to the hat that was made in Paris. For a few months now she can look at a magazine or a newspaper with complacency.

Unlike the English king, she is pleased with her bargain ; but she has, all the same, been a little bamboozled. I think she knows this, and I think, too, that she cannot be quite indifferent to the cause of those reactions of hers, of uneasiness, of unhappiness, and, finally, of complacency. So easily influenced, she must want to know something of the psychology and the artistry that have sown her discontent and have fed it only to allay it. And that is why, although it may be of as little use to the average woman as the medicines and novels upon her bedside table, I cannot help feeling that she will find something to interest her in a book, however inadequate, on fashion drawing. Even men, who think they no longer need to be told how easily women are taken in, may be surprised to find that they have been dipping, for the last hour, in the pages of a book that cannot possibly have been intended for them.

But though their name is legion who may enjoy this book for the delightful illustrations I have been lucky enough to borrow for it, it is intended only in the second place for their eyes. It is meant, in the first, for the student, who must attempt to extract, from so much thinly veiled instruction, the few facts that may help him.

Faced with a mass, fairly great, of information and experience, some of which must be written down and some of more doubtful value, I find it convenient to divide the whole subject into two distinct classes. This may seem arbitrary, for so many things are common to each class ; but it helps me and will, I hope, help the student.

Fashion drawing may be dealt with under two main headings : Drawing for shops, and Drawing for the press. Many people do both, but it would not be difficult to place any one of the more important fashion artists definitely in one group or the other.

Some knowledge of his capabilities and preferences must help the beginner to decide for which branch he is going to specialise. Failing his own initiative, or to temper it, advice may be sought from someone with experience, whether it be on the staff of a big store or of a journal. But, rather naturally, people do not care to take the responsibility of encouraging you in so vital a matter, and you will probably receive from each the advice that you had better start with the other. So it would seem the wiser plan to decide what you would like to do best, and to start doing it.

Fortunately the best, the only, initial training for either, as for any branch of art, is the same. You must learn to draw. Do not imagine that to know where to put the muscles in is any handicap when it comes to leaving them out ; and though you may never have to draw it in all its starkness, you really must know all about a woman's abdomen. How amply rewarded you will be when you can put all conjecture and uncertainty behind you, when you can draw an arm or a leg in any position without consulting an anatomy book or (so do the blind lead the blind) the work of another fashion artist ! In ideal conditions you would always have a model at hand from whom to draw, but this is usually out of the question, and a complete knowledge of the human figure, with a sharp incredulous eye to see where this has failed you, will be invaluable assets for which, so far as I know, there is no substitute. The fact that you may already be obliged to earn a living all day at some uncongenial work does not in the least excuse you from ever drawing from the life. There can be hardly a provincial town in England where it is not possible to attend night schools for a very low fee, and in London there are County Council schools which have excellent evening life classes.

In any choice between a fashion class and a life class, always choose the latter. This doubly applies if you live in the provinces. I imagine that the human body improves, if anything, as it lives further away from London, and that a model who poses at the life class in a small county town will be as valuable to the student as one that poses at the Slade. Human knees and elbows articulate the same all the world over. But there are a dozen ways of making a skirt, and as many ways of wearing one, and these are apt to grow more ingeniously wrong as you depart from the centres of fashion. It is only fair to add, however, that during three months' regular attendance at the fashion class at a first-class London school I only saw one model from whom it was possible to make a single fashion study of any value, and that was only from one angle.

Another disadvantage of the fashion class as against the life class is that the

Fashion Drawing Sections

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