from craftsman to artist, manipulating different instruments giving him a wide choice of treat ment, while chemical research and dark-room technique have produced a more elastic printing medium than etching. Note that the improve ment in photographic subjects (increased beauty, distinction, and acting ability of the models coupled with better design and finish in the clothes themselves) has lessened the value of the artists' power to idealise. Note that this power now works against the artist in the mind of the innocent reader, who imagines that whereas the camera cannot lie, the artist can and does lie whenever he feels like it. Note that the camera takes twenty different shots while the artist is making only one drawing, and that this habitual variety in covering a subject introduces the new and important element of editorial choice. Note also that Vogue uses as many artists as ever. Whole types and systems of surface marking remain beyond the camera's power to produce therefore to-day significant paintings, posters, and illustrations concentrate on exaggeration, simpli fication, caricature, humour, decoration in general, the making of personal comment by the artist and the capture of non-photographic nuances. The eternal truths of art are always taking a hard knock of some kind, and in 1940 the first thing you notice about a good drawing is that it is as unlike a photograph as possible and, specifically, does something the photograph cannot do. Fashion drawing has its own methods of conforming to these new critical standards. The quality common to the great fashion artists like Erickson or Willaumez, is calligraphic draughtsmanship. That is, their use of media, whether chalk, wash, pen, or paint, combines freedom and pace with a concealed precision (as opposed to a congealed precision) which can no more be successfully imitated by anyone lacking comparable training and experience than could Astaire's dancing or Cotton's golf. These draw ings are drawnthe hand triumphs in pace and movement over the sensitised film, rendering it static by comparison. In colour, too, they make their contribution in ways denied to colour photography, again with momentum, simplifi cation, bold effect. The main significance of these drawings is that they exist by and for fashion. Fashion is the real idea behind all this workyou can't help sensing the love and respect these men have for it. Fashion finishes what they begin, by providing a public which, by looking at their work, brings it to life. And they in turn contribute to the public's grasp of fashion by a subtle exaggeration, a slight caricature, again a concealed idealisation, of a different kind from that possible to the camera. Eric, more obviously than the others, seems to take the clothes as his starting point, choosing model, pose, and background always with the idea of heightening the significance and impact of the fashion. These drawings are portraits of clothes. The two ideas which emerge, therefore, are draughtsmanship and fashion sense. How can these be developed, and which is the more important Here I can only repeat what I have told hundreds of students by word and letter. Concentrate on learning to draw and let the fashion take care of itself. You'll not learn to draw in as many years as it takes months to develop fashion sensewhat's more, fashion registers more completely on the trained sensibilities of the draughtsman, once his resistance is broken down, than is ever possible with the hopeful beginner. The place to learn to Draw is the Life Class and it's better to have no masters at all than bad ones. Go, if possible, to three different classes under three different men. In this way, you will put your masters in competition with each other, and incidentally, will avoid picking up surface mannerisms from any one of them. Put in 90 per cent, of your time in these classes spend the rest studying the history of art from museums and books. When you've been doing this for two or three years, you'll probably find that you are no longer interested in fashion. Art schools have a way of damping down all worldly interests. If you are, however, come along and let us see whether you are becoming any sort of draughts man." Calligraphic draughtsman in colour Here is a superb example of the calligraphic draughts man whose use of mediawhether chalk, wash, pen or paintcombines freedom of pace with a concealed precision. His work can flare into bursting bravura and yet keep intact the essential fashion quality The work of R. B. W." Count Rene de Bouet Willaumeztopped the poll in a recent vogue questionnaire to discover the American reader's conscious reaction. 142

Commercial Art / Art and Industry en | 1940 | | page 20