What was said in the preceding chapters will have sufficiently warned the beginner to dismiss any idea that good drawing is not an essential in fashion work. A thorough grounding in the art of drawing is the first preliminary to entering the profession. It cannot be within the scope of a work of this sort to teach the uninstructed how to draw. Indeed, for the ordinary person, as distinct from the self-taught genius, there is only one satisfactory way of learning to draw, and that is by practice under the guidance of a master; that is to say, by a course of study at a school of art.

Some brave spirits manage to get their training by taking a job in a commercial studio and studying in their spare time. But although that is very commendable, it is not a desirable method. Full-time study should be taken wherever possible.


For those of moderate means the cheapest and quickest way of obtaining a good art training is to attend the county or borough art school. These schools employ tutors and methods second to none in the country, and turn out many first-rate artists. If one prefers a somewhat less democratic atmosphere, and can afford the higher fees, any good independent art school may be recommended, provided it is not of too academic a character. A list of the principal colleges and schools of art is given in Appendix II and every student would be well advised to find out what facilities


her local school offers before going elsewhere. One school may be mentioned as affording exceptional opportunities for the study of fashion drawing in all its branches, and that is the Birmingham School of Dress Design.

It cannot be sufficiently stressed that one's time at school should be employed to the utmost advantage. These are the golden days of an artist's training, and the opportunities for learning lost in youth are usually lost for ever. The student should endeavour not only to study and understand art and her work to be, but to saturate her whole being in its atmosphere. Let her reading be on art and drawing in any form, more especially that dealing with figure drawing and fashions. She should see all the pictures and drawings possible, and mark how good artists achieve their effects. The work of the great masters should be particularly studied, from the reproductions at the school, photographs, and, best of all, the originals in the museums. It is sometimes considered "the thing" among the very young to affect to despise the work of the old masters. Reynolds said this to his pupils: "The more extensive your acquaintance is with the work of those who have excelled the more extensive will be your powers of invention and, what may appear still more like a paradox, the more original will be your conception." As to the truth of that there is probably not a creative artist who, at some time, has not gone to the work of others for inspiration. "Iron sharpeneth iron"; and this is the only way that one may "learn" originality.

For convenience in teaching, schools of art divide their instruction into several sections. There is the design class, the colour class, the antique, costume, life, and so on; and every part of the syllabus has its function and an ultimate meaning in the artist's work. Some schools will suggest a course of study as being suitable to the aspiring fashion artist, and whilst this may be useful to those whose time is limited it is generally much better that the whole syllabus be taken. The student's object should be to learn to draw rather than to learn to become a fashion artist; and although in actual practice her work will mainly be executed in line, tone, or

colour, a knowledge of other mediums will be found of great value.

The student whose opportunities for study are really limited may be compelled to forgo some of the classes, but even then it is very necessary that something more than the costume or fashion class should be taken. Preferably one should commence with the simple elements of perspective drawing cubes, still life groups, and so on. Next pass on to the antique, that is to say the classic statues, and casts of ears, noses, and hands. The antique serves a dual purpose. Its primary object is to teach one to draw and how to express form. Secondly, it affords useful instruction in the human figure.

But whatever is omitted the life class must be taken, for this is where the fashion artist is going to get her most valuable training. Particularly useful are the few-minute poses. These are intended to give the student the opportunity of practice in capturing the spirit of the pose. The utmost use should be made of these.

Fashion Drawing Sections

Part-1 Part-2 Part-3 Part-4 Part-5 Part-6 Part-7 Part-8