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All this preliminary training, both in the life class and in the home, goes far to show you in which directions you had better specialise. If, for example, your life drawing remains cramped and unexciting while your skill in depicting drapery and fur leaves it far behind, you can assume that you are more likely to succeed at drawing for shops, where exactness is of more value than style and dash. If, on the other hand, you find the representation of textures and details bores you in comparison with the pleasure you derive from sketching the human figure in a variety of easy poses, from grouping two or three such figures in a natural way, and from placing such a group in a plausible and appropriate setting ; then you may hope for a greater measure of success from magazine work.

I can imagine that, before deciding, many people would want to know which kind of work would pay them better ; and it is a question not easily answered. When it comes to contracts it is usually more profitable to work for a magazine,

and there can be no beginner who would not regard a contract with a journal of the calibre of Harper's Bazaar or Femina as the hall mark of success. But for everyone who eventually wins such a prize there must be thousands who do not, but this is not to say that they fail, many of them, to earn a good living out of free-lance work or in the cloistered security of fashion studios.

I know very little of fashion studios and am obliged to seek information from people who do, never having been near one in my life ; but I like to imagine that they occupy the position in the world of fashion drawing that touring companies and repertory companies do in the world of the theatre. I think nowhere can you get better grounding in the technique of fashion drawing, and its routine. I am certain you pick up a thousand useful tips, dodges, hints, short cuts to good effects, and that in the shortest possible time you will get (what Americans call) the low-down on fashion drawing. I think, too, that for the beginner who has skill but no individuality, and there are thousands of these who wants a small regular income and no anxiety, a good commercial or fashion studio offers the only solution. I believe that there are fashion artists who have entered such studios on leaving school, who have worked hard and who are now earning 500 a year or more, still in the studio they began in. I advise every student of fashion drawing who is not conscious of having unlimited vitality, versatility and talent to seek the shelter of some such institution. Stories are even told of artists who have spent two or three years in a fashion studio, who learnt all they could as quickly as they could, and who broke free and became brilliant and successful free-lance fashion artists. I don't believe such stories.

Actually, drawing for drawing, more is paid for one that is published in a good magazine or daily paper, than for one done for a good store. A store, on the other hand, wants more drawings by the same artist than a magazine (where variety is everything) ; so that if you are energetic and don't mind how many figures you do at about a guinea apiece, you may well earn more from a store than from a magazine. But if you are a slow worker and cannot complete more than two figures in a day, it means you are earning two guineas a day. If this was really equivalent to eleven guineas a week and over 500 a year, it would not be at all bad, but it is not too much to suppose that on half the days in the year you will have no work at all, as work comes alternately in large quantities and not at all. You ought, then, to aim at earning rather more in a full day than the sum which, if multiplied by five and a half, would amount to a comfortable weekly wage.

The fact that a great many magazines and papers can afford to take more risks than dare a shop makes them a better goal for a beginner with more originality than experience. With a shop every advertisement must make its definite and calculated effect; and the drawing which does not sell the garment it depicts means wasted money for the shop and a wasted opportunity for the artist. An

editor who takes a fancy to your work may not mind a slight amateurishness in its quality and will be willing to count on the likelihood of its improving all the time he is employing you. The first journal I worked for paid me five guineas a week for work that the advertising manager of any big store would have put straight into his wastepaper basket. However, I need hardly tell you not to start marketing your work while it is still very amateurish. For those who have little originality and ambition and who are yet disinclined to join a commercial studio, there are innumerable little 6d., 3d. and 2d. weekly and monthly papers, devoted to popular fashions and paper pattern fashions, which pay, very often, rather less than a guinea for a single figure, but which require a great quantity of work.

There is in England, so far as I know, no scope whatever for the girl who designs fashions by drawing them. Dressmaking houses that do not confine themselves to copying French dresses have their own designer who is either a cutter or the head of the firm; someone, at any rate, so identified with the policy and reputation of the house that no beginner with a portfolio of designs could hope to be allowed to compete.

Certain wholesale houses have their own artists, but they sketch the dresses already executed by the cutter-designer rather than originate anything on paper.

But, for whichever branch you intend to specialise, remember that your competition with your rivals is as nothing compared with your battle with the camera. The fact that the artist had the monopoly of fashion work till about thirty years ago meant only that the camera had not been perfected. The balance is held fairly equally now between the two, and if there is a bias in the favour of the artist, it is only because you cannot very well photograph a dress of which there so far only exists the paper pattern ; and also because the paper used in cheap journalism is so poor that it is practically impossible to recognise a dress that is reproduced as a photograph in a penny paper.

In those fields, however, where there are equal opportunities for the best of both methods, equilibrium is kept by a contest of very unequal numbers. For if there are a dozen or more first-rate fashion artists, I can think of no more than five or six photographers who can give a good account of a good dress. Steichen, Hoyningen-Huene, Scaioni, Cecil Beaton and Baron de Meyer hold the bridge (assisted by a minimum of paraphernalia and accessories) against all the opportunities to distort, to improve, to eliminate and to embellish that are inherent in the artist's pencil. It might be supposed that the existence of these opportunities were all too well known to the great buying public for whose attention, ultimately, the whole contest is held. It might be supposed that her firm belief that the camera cannot lie would lead every woman to order through the post, without bothering to see it first, any garment she likes in a photograph ; while she could never be certain of anything she had seen in a drawing. Experience shows that this is not so, and it is gratifying to notice, day after day, the utter incompetence

with which the average commercial photographer takes the opportunities that are offered him, his sublime unawareness that better work is being done in his own medium by the men at the top, and his total ignorance of the very special qualities required in a fashion photograph.

Fashion Drawing Sections

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