Every student, no doubt, has been told of the sketch book of thin paper which should always be carried and so seldom is in which may be jotted down rough sketches of things of interest, such as poses, accidental groupings, transitory effects of light and shade. Well, it is a habit worth cultivating, for it is the surest and quickest way to develop an ability to draw and that power of observation so essential in the artist. The rough sketch book habit also helps to form the true artist's mental attitude to his work, which is that he may never leave off learning as long as he lives. The drawings made in the rough sketch book should only be "rough" in the sense that they are unfinished. There should be nothing half-hearted or slipshod about them. They should contain all the drawing of which the artist is capable, and in making them she should not consciously strive after a rough effect or style, but concentrate on working as quickly and directly as possible. The style will look after itself; and later on, when she looks through them, she will find these sketches are good and have real life and drawing, and are a veritable gold mine of reference.

In connection with this point of the rough sketch book, the remark of the painter famous for figure drawing is recalled. He confessed that he never did his masterpieces from models; instead, he made copious notes and sketches from them, and memorized the details. Then he idealized them in his mind and put the result on the canvas.

The ardent beginner may have a difficult task to steer between the Scylla of "artiness" in work or manner, and the Charybdis of pseudo-modernism. Let her guiding star be the determination to learn simple honest drawing, spurning equally with the pretty-pretty the sham modern stuff" which is but a blind alley of art. The expression of form in the simplest of terms is one of the greatest qualities of an artist and is particularly necessary in fashion drawing. Although he should be capable of doing so no ordinary artist is required to work so simply and directly as is the fashion artist. Observe, for example, the wealth of drawing that must be put into a few seams and an outline.

To every young artist there comes an in-between stage when she feels she is really advancing, and finds that by doing the conventional things to a drawing it can be made to look fairly convincing. This is a dangerous stage, for unless the artist takes care she may find her individuality overwhelmed by the trappings of the art, and her early promise stifled. Only by keeping to the truth in her drawing, drawing the thing as it is seen and not as she thinks she ought to see it, may the artist emerge as an artist of character.


Structure, outline, and form are the fundamentals of all drawing. In the mastery of the first of these an eye trained to the work of taking accurate measurements and establishing proportions is essential, and the eye may only be trained by constant practice. Opinions differ as to the best method to follow, and whether such aids and checks as the rule and compasses and squared-up paper are desirable, or the reverse. The best advice one may give is to work on the lines which promise the most real progress.

Fashion Design Drawing - Learn How To Draw 1.jpg

It is an axiom that all drawing of solid forms is based on the cube and cylinder. Outline alone does not indicate shape, although it may indicate action. The familiar example is that of the outlined cube which has no form until the lines indicating the planes are added. Yet many fashion artists fail to apply this elementary principle, and will depict an arm by drawing all round it, as though it were a hole in the board, instead of giving it form by showing the planes. Planes, in figure drawing, are the flattened surfaces of rounded forms, and whilst they may be expressed by lines, they are more accurately depicted by tone. From the cube and cylinder is also deduced the law of foreshortening and receding surfaces.1

Besides their characteristic structure and form all things have an inherent movement or action: a tree, for example, suggests the movement of growth. Only by cultivating the power of observation may one capture the sense of movement which is of the essence of good drawing.

There is a fourth important consideration, composition, which must be present in every convincing drawing. Broadly, composition is the arrangement of the pattern within the given area in such a manner that it is not only an harmonious whole, but will hold the eye of the observer. Composition is so important a quality in fashion work that particular attention should be paid to its study. Some notes on the special meaning of fashion composition are contained in Chapter VI.


The basis of all fashion work is figure drawing, and the basis of figure drawing is anatomy. Anatomical drawing has long been

1 The writer has dwelt at some length on this one of the many " rules " of drawing because its non-observance is so frequently a failing of fashion artists; which is why so much fashion work consists of " outlines " of figures instead of real drawings.

Fashion Drawing Sections

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