To a certain extent, even to an actor or actress who is generally accounted " successful," the stage must be at all times rather a precarious profession, for intervals must inevitably occur between the finishing up of one engagement and the securing of another. On that account I would advise no one to take up the stage if by so doing they are abandoning a certain though, perhaps, small means of livelihood, unless they have shown unmistakable signs of possessing unusual talent, or, on the other hand, unless they are promised regular work for some time to come. Naturally, I do not refer to those fortunate individuals who possess an income sufficient to enable them to live comfortably when engagements are not forthcoming.
I should like here to point out that that indescribable quality, "personality," is assuredly situated very close to the theatrical winning-post. Exactly what personality is, or what sort of personality is needed to "command " success on the stage, it is not easy to explain, but the urgent need exists for it, all the same. " Personality ' is of greater value than beauty either of face or figure to a woman, and better than a handsome face and physique to a man.
By the way, I should not like to say that members of the theatrical profession are more superstitious than followers of other callings, but sometimes I am inclined to think that they must be when I recall the hapless fate of " the stage Jonah" - that is to say, the actor or actress who, somehow or other - and, in certain cases, undeservedly - earns a reputation for always being associated with unsuccessful plays.
I remember a really clever actor who, from his earliest days on the stage, never seemed able to get an engagement in a piece which met with the appreciation of the public. " So-and-so is a clever enough actor," managers were wont to say, 'but he's so dreadfully unlucky, for every piece in which he's billed to appear turns out no good." And so, as time went on, this luckless actor's reputation invariably preceded him, with the result that, when seeking engagements, " the powers that be " used to receive him in somewhat Arctic manner, while an application for an engagement always met with that chilly reply not unfamiliar to professionals, I fear, " Nothing for you."
In conclusion, let me say that for those who possess ability and will work hard there is surely plenty of room, and to spare, on the stage, though, by the same token, I would point out that there is not a square inch of space available for the incompetent. Like all other professions, the stage is very crowded on the lower rungs of the ladder, but " there is heaps of room at the top."
By Gladys Beattie Crozier
It was in response to the growing demand for a school of art devoted to the practical study of drawing for the illustrated press that Mr. Henry Blackburn in 1890 opened his famous "Black-and-White Press Studio." On his death, the school premises were moved from Victoria Street, London, to 241, King's Road, Chelsea, and the school is still very successfully carried on by his successor, Mr. Edwin Norbury, the well-known illustrator and black-and-white artist, who, besides being an experienced teacher, with much art school experience at his back, has drawn for the "Illustrated London News " since he was fifteen. He was one of the original members on the staff of the "Graphic" and "Daily Graphic," and himself actually started the first "Daily Graphic" in New York. He has, therefore, an immensely wide range of knowledge as to the special requirements of the various newspapers and magazines.
The subjects taught in the Henry Blackburn Press School include story and general book and magazine illustration, sketching and photographing for newspapers, designing for posters and advertisements, fashion drawing, humorous drawing, and book-cover and book-plate designing and other decorative work.
The classes at the Norbury Sketching School and St. James's Life School, with which the Henry Blackburn Studio is now incorporated, include drawing from the figure and costume model with special application to its adaptation to line illustration work. Time and memory sketching, out-of-door sketching, composition, anatomy, perspective, and elementary drawing are also provided for those students who require it.
A student of the Press Studio working at an original design tor a poster advertising a seaside resort
A large proportion of Mr. Norbury's pupils are already accomplished draughtsmen and draughtswomen, who have been through a thorough grounding in art at one of the big art schools, and who go to Mr. Norbury for a few months' work in order to specialise in drawing for the illustrated press. This is undoubtedly one of the most paying careers open to women, since good black-and-white work is always in great demand.
It is imperative, however, that the would-be illustrator should have a thorough practical knowledge of the various reproduction processes in common use, and men students are initiated into the intricacies of process reproduction, in so far as it affects their work, by means of a series of printers' blocks, together with the original drawings from which they were made. They are also shown numerous examples of original pen-and-ink, pencil, and black-and-white wash drawings by master illustrators of the day, each one with its process reproduction appended, affording the student an invaluable object lesson in what will print and what will not, and showing exactly how a given piece of work will reproduce.