A commercial studio is conducted for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to earn dividends for its owners. It is a business undertaking which to be successful must be run on orthodox business lines. The artist must therefore expect to receive ordinary businesslike treatment in regard to her hours of attendance, the way the work is dealt with, and the time that may be spent on it. This rather obvious point is mentioned because some artists, more especially young artists beginning their career, would seem to have an impression that a studio exists for the purpose of pure art, with a management actuated only by altruistic considerations.

Almost all good-sized studios have some sort of costing system, whereby the time spent on a job is noted, and the total expense of the work determined. By this means a studio is able to tell which of the artists is pulling her weight, and which not. It also affords a guide to what prices, generally, must be charged, allowing for all the overhead charges and a margin of profit. Of course each job is not charged for on that basis, but on certain scales, as mentioned in Chapter II.

The bulk of the work of a studio is required for advertising purposes, and the feature of advertising work is speed. When a client decides to advertise something he is bound by certain time limits. First, if the article is something new, he naturally wishes to get it over quickly before it loses its freshness, or competitors get hold of it. Secondly, most fashion goods have a defined seasonal appeal which must be made at the right moment. Thirdly, he will have had to book his "space" in the newspaper or periodical for a given date, and the blocks and the rest of the matter must be delivered to the printer some time before the paper goes to press. Press day is always a fixed event, and if booked space is not filled

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the money paid for it will be wasted. The artist may find a knowledge of press days very useful on occasion. Press jobs frequently entail working late to get the work done to time. Generally the artist is given the option of remaining in the studio or of taking the work home to finish. Whilst it is, as a rule, better to stay in the studio, it will sometimes be an advantage to the artist to be able to finish the job at home. Extra work of this kind is, of course, usually paid for as "overtime," as already mentioned.


Jobs invariably arrive in batches or rushes, with the result that the atmosphere of a studio is alternately one of furious activity and a partial suspension of effort. It frequently happens that a very important job comes along in the middle of a busy spell; then all the artists are likely to have their work re-arranged in order to get the urgent job through. In such an event several artists may have to collaborate on the work; for example, where there are a number of separate figures, one artist will be rough-sketching them, whilst other artists finish drawing the figures and put in the detail.

The allocation of work is done by the studio manager or head artist, and when an artist has been given her job she is left undisturbed to her drawing, save for an occasional visit to see how the work is progressing. The studio manager will say if too much time is being spent on a sketch, either from the point of view of when it is wanted, or the cost of the artist's work. Faults will also be pointed out, and it should be remembered that even though he may not be a good artist himself, and the artist feels inclined to disagree, the studio manager generally knows what the client wants. The golden rule of all commercial drawing is to give the client what he asks for, within decent limits.

Success in studio life greatly depends on the artists' attitude to her fellow artists, to the managers, and to the clients. In a studio one's work is bound to come in for a good deal of criticism; but there is no reason to resent this it is better that it be fair and

open than made behind one's back, which is what happens if resentment is shown. Indeed, criticism from fellow members of the studio, even if it is adverse, can be of tremendous assistance. It shows what mistakes have been made, and, what is more, since we are all biased about our own work, how the drawing strikes the disinterested observer.

Whilst on the subject of criticism one is tempted to add a word of encouragement (although this is perhaps not the most seemly place for it). There are times in the life of every artist when everything seems to go wrong, and every possible difficulty arises. Let her not be disheartened. Any one can do well when things go smoothly; but the test of an artist is to be able to pull an apparently hopeless job out of the fire in the face of difficulties, one of the most frequent being having to recast a job in twenty minutes or less.

Fashion Drawing Sections

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