If you look closely, you will be able to see the original lines on the paper which would have been there naturally as part of the sketchbook. Waterhouse would later break up many of his sketchbooks and then gift or sell these items individually. Thankfully, some of the original books still exist in their original form, but most artworks were discovered in loose arrangements that were then sold off in batches at auction. Their arrival into a variety of private collections has made it much harder to document them in any great detail, where as his paintings have been analysed many times over by now. The more complete sketches where detail has been fully formed would ensure a considerable valuation for any of these chalk drawings, were they to come up for sale again in the future. The Pre-Raphaelites themselves have also continued to receive greater interest of late, in line with how artistic styles can fluctuate in popularity from one generation to the next.
This particular sketch concentrates on the head of a girl, leaving very little detail in the rest of the drawing, other than a light background and also the outline of where her right shoulder would have continued in the bottom of the page. Her hair is platted, though elements of that have been left incomplete. Her looks off to our right with a deep focus which is typical of Waterhouse's portraits in both oils and chalk. This side profile allows us to better understand the structure of her face from a different angle, though the artist's models would always have fairly soft, feminine features which he found to be more attractive but also better served the content of his paintings. Some would actually criticise him for not delivering a wider variety of portraiture, but it is always the artist's perogative as to have much variation is to be included within his oeuvre. Waterhouse clearly liked this style and felt comfortable in working that way.
The lines that you can see come from a type of paper known as buff. Waterhouse here constructs the image using both red and black chalk, alternating between the two in order to create contrast and to give the hair an element of auburn tone. Waterhouse tended to use models with either brown or red hair, with some of the women appearing in a number of different artworks. This piece measures 37.5cm wide x 31.1cm tall, making it quite large by the standards of his drawings, but obviously much smaller than his more ambitious and time consuming paintings. Of his work in oils, the highlights would include the likes of Lady of Shalott, Echo and Narcissus and Hylas and the Nymphs and these three are now amongst the most recognisable British paintings of all time.