Lesson XVIII – TO PLACE A DRESS ON THE FIGURE

FITTING A COSTUME ON THE FIGUREILLUSTRATING A COSTUME

If the student is able to dress up the dummy form and understands the figure in the last lessons, he will have no difficulty in understanding this lesson. This figure is slightly different from the last one as it is walking. As the weight is divided equally between the feet, the line of support falls between them. The figure may have the legs crossed in walking and the weight be solely on one foot. Be careful to poise the figure correctly.

When drawing a figure with the legs crossed, do not draw the far foot straight across the paper; bring it slightly forward. Try to draw possible positions.

No matter whether you are designing a costume or illustrating one, the knowledge required to place it on the figure is the same.

So far nothing has been said about original designing. Lessons XXIX and XXX are devoted to this subject.

An original drawing is one that has been made by using a picture as a guide and changing it enough to make it your own. On this figure may be placcd any costume.

An illustration, which is an original drawing, is placing a given costume, which has been designed by someone else, on a suitable figure which will show the costume to the best advantage.

A house may have one designer who decides how the gowns are to be made, and many illustrators who put these designs on figures ready for reproduction. When illustrating a costume, you will have either the gown itself, or a sketch of it, to work from. In either case pick out
a suitable figure, one that will show the costume to the best advantage. In the beginning you will find it hard to render the costumes from the costumes themselves, but if you practice taking one figure and another dress from the fashion papers, putting them together understanding, you will easily see how all principles apply. Pick out the dress first, then a proper figure on which to place it. If an evening-dress, find another evening dress figure in the same position (as nearly as possible).

For a suit, use a suit figure, etc. Use the lines of the suit on the figure, as they fit the figure, and place the given suit on these lines.

In the dress illustrated the right-hand should not rest on the hip, which would cover the design, nor should the left hand be placed on the chest.

If there is something particularly attractive under the arm, put the arm up, etc. When illustrating a costume be careful to show both sleeves.

Many figures are drawn in a normal standing position, such as some of the pattern houses use, while some houses require the “swingy” kind, like the illustrations in the newspapers or the catchy advertisements. Learn to draw the up and down figure, then try the swingy kind.

The figure in the illustration is swung slightly.

When the skirt is swung out as if the wind were blowing it, the center line and lines of fullness will also swing.

See how much easier the lines of this dress are than the ones in Lesson II; still we have the XX lines, also the X’s and the O’s. When a leg is extended, there are two XX lines near it, but do not draw them continuous with the leg. Note how the XX lines fall both ways and how sometimes X and 0 run together. Now that you understand what the lines mean, you must study carefully the illustrations in the fashion papers and copy the lines of artists.

See Lesson XIX for pen lines and Lesson XXVI for textures.
If the student practices this lesson faithfully, applying it on onginal work, he will be ready to draw figures on bristol board, ready for pen and ink. Copy the lines used by other artists, studying them carefully.

If the student finds his work is untidy, he may transfer the drawing to a clean sheet of paper. This may be accomplished by making an accurate tracing on transparent paper, with a hard pencil. Place this tracing over the clean sheet in the same position, fastening it on the board at the top, only. Take a smooth piece of paper about five inches by seven inches, and after rubbing it solidly with a soft pencil, place it face downward between the tracing and the fresh paper. Mark over the lines carefully with a hard pencil. The tracing paper may be lifted to examine the work without disturbing its position. Redraw carefully.

Study illustrations of costumes and see how others treat their work. Considerable dark in a picture looks attractive; bear this in mind when making a drawing, but when representing a costume, be accurate. If the costume is all light, place the dark somewhere else; on the hat, shoes, parasol, background, etc. When these darks are attractively distributed over a drawing, it is called “ good spotting.” In a layout good spotting holds the drawing together.

Place all darks so that the eye will be
attracted equally to both sides of the picture. Keep the sizes and shapes consistent with each other. A large dark will balance several small ones.

When illustrating a costume, pick out a figure which will show it to advantage; one that will tend to induce the customer to buy the costume. Three things must always be kept in mind: good style, good drawing, and good technique.

Good style is important because if a costume appears expensive, other poor points may be forgiven. If you can make a twenty-dollar suit appear.like a fifty-dollar one, your services will be in demand. You will find this easier to accomplish if you select a stylish figure for your model.

Good drawing is necessary, for one can not draw a stylish figure if one does not know how to render the figure and the costume correctly.

Good technique in expressing the materials of the costume is necessary. If the costume is made of thin material the fact must be clearly brought out, and similarly if the material is heavy.

Many costumes, whether light or dark, are illustrated in outline only. If it is desired to use shading or textures, much thought should be given. Obtain a good outline, use the proper lines to denote the material, then fill in gradually with lines for shading which accord with the outline. Fill in gradually, keep the whole drawing going and do not concentrate on the shaded places.

The lines for shading should follow the form and help to mold the figure which is underneath. Lines placed close together form a shade. Keep places which come toward you light; for example, the bust, line of the leg, top of the arm, etc. There is usually a dark and a light side to every drawing, but do not make the figure so dark in one place that the general build of the whole will be lost.

Make your people “ put on airs.” When illustrating a hat, decide on its most attractive side. Make the hat expensive looking, even if it is a very cheap one. Do not stint on ribbons and bows; make them full and attractive. Hats should be shaded to bring out the charm— there must be a light and a dark side. Represent the material the hat is made of —whether straw, silk or velvet. Keep the technique of these, placing lines closer on the dark side but do not be mechanical. A “ sketchy effect ” for a hat is attractive.

Shaded back-grounds, circles and other shapes, behind hats lend enchantment.
Illustration work cannot be mastered until the student is further advanced. This lesson may be referred to from time time as the student progresses. It is well in studying to adopt the practice of first building the outlines, then inking them in and erasing the pencil lines. The shading lines may then be placed in pencil and inked in.

Illustrations are often done in a sketchy manner, many lines being used. Well connected lines are advised until the student understands the meaning of all lines.

Some houses like sketchy work, while others do not.

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