ITEM: A Dynamic Home Study Course in Fashion, Drawing and Dress Design, Series One. American Hme Studies, Washington D.C, 1941. 11x8 inches, 54pp. Printed wrappers. FIne condition. Scarce. $45
ref: JF Ptak Science Books Post 1304
Part of our Blank, Missing and Empty series.
Coming on the heels of my posts of autopsies of snowmen and donuts comes this semi-remarkable thing, published by American Home Studies (of 1700 Eye Street, NW, Washington D.C.1), displaying very restricted instructions on anatomy for art students. The drawings really work better in reverse, I think, because you really can't get to the final product from the illustrated series in its how-to sequencing unless you already were finished.
What happens throughout this pamphlet is what we see below--draw a circle, then divide it by drawing lines over imaginary bones, pop in some eyes and lips, and then fill in the rest. Not too very helpful. This is especially so when we look at the image above, which the student was supposed to simply cover with clothing after having added the head. If this was an animated figure, I think I would find it disturbingly creepy.
Things become clear by the time you reach the end of the pamphlet, when you are told that you can detach any page from the work and send it to the D.C. address for correction and advice, for a dollar a page. That's when the real education occurs. (Many others have done this--the two guys responsible for creating Superman started out selling their services in just this how-to way.)
But I guess as a sort-of artist one would need to have something else going on for themselves so far as business goes, because its painfully clear that the maker of this pamphlet had special but very limited talent. I think that the faces given to these women are drawn by someone who does not like them, given their emotional range and all: peevish, dull, bored, haughty, disinterested and, well, dead.
1. The building at 1700 I is gone now, replaced by another building of the many nameless buildings that create the corridors of I and K streets. 1700 I is basically right across the street from Farragut Square, and only a few blocks from Lafayette, which is across the street from the White House. Nice location.