I’m passionate about every aspect of the fashion arts from fashion sketching to draping, patternmaking, construction. That’s why I teach ALL of it. For the topic of Fashion Sketching, today I’d like to share some of the variety of art supplies that I commonly use during my live zoom sessions in Fashion Sketch Group. (you can join us!)

Gouache fashion sketching floral dress 
Fashion Illustration and Art Supplies Laura Volpintesta
The above fashion sketch uses these art supplies: Ebony pencil (dark and sensitive for design details, seams, and the texture of the hem), a wash of gouache to render printed silk, and the skintone and its shadow, hair and lip, on Sketch Paper, which comes in as a white flower on the dress itself!

(I’ll use spontaneous sketches from our sketch sessions as examples. All poses are 5-15 minutes, specifically to give just enough time to capture the essence and the energy what’s in front of us)

Within any time frame, it’s useful to prioritize from among the following (as we also do in Model Drawing Magic course):

  • capture the sweeping movement of a gesture drawing base
  • anchor the balance of the pose’s flow
  • map out the proportions of the figure
  • state the shape of the garment’s silhouette (as well as that of hair, accessories
  • observe and articulate design details
  • use lines and edges to communicate drape of the fashion fabric
  • summarize color/ pattern/ texture story
  • tell an emotional story or feeling of fashion and style
Rib knit sweater and pleated skirt in gouache and pencil. 
Fashion Illustration and Art Supplies Laura Volpintesta
This sketch still shows the traces of a soft gesture done with the Ebony pencil behind the paint. Gouache from pans or tubes has a richer, velvety opacity that watercolor doesn’t. ESPECIALLY as here on Bristol Vellum, which brings out a whole different quality from the gouache than sketch paper does. I used white colored pencil for the polka dots on the skirt, and a wash of red-plus-black to create ribbing texture in this sweater.
Design markers and ink pens for fashion sketching. Fashion Illustration and Art Supplies Laura Volpintesta
This sketch uses markers instead. On marker paper, which eliminates bleed-through and extends the life of your design markers by absorbing less of the ink into the page so you have more for your fashion illustration! This marker had a chisel-tip that you can tell by the broad, square strokes in the pink dress. I used a ball-tip ink pen (probably Precise Vision size 5 or 7) which you can see if you zoom in. I usually use waterproof to avoid bleeding line, but I see bleeding line throughout the torso.. and I LIKE IT :)! The fine tip ball pen also helps me articulate tiny facial features quickly and easily.
Gesture drawing with gouache and pencil. Fashion Illustration and Art Supplies Laura Volpintesta
I’m sharing the loose, free expression of this piece to remind you and encourage you to dive into the feelings and the experience of expressing details, with a sense of playfulness, curiosity, and bold adventure. Here the sketch paper, being so thin, wrinkled up against the wet wash of gouache, soft graphite expressed lines, seams, contours, shadows, and edges. I used the delicously sloppy oil pastel for white highlights. NOTICE that pencil lines and paint edges don’t have to match up like a coloring book! Let them have a more complex and varied relationship!

Pure silhouette gouache fashion sketchihng. Fashion Illustration and Art Supplies Laura Volpintesta
I included this fashion model drawing sketch study to show a gouache fashion illustration that focuses HEAVILY on silhouette. The lines are almost all simple edges of shapes, the shadow on the floor is a shape, the dress is a single shape, and the vague construction details of her dress are also done with the fine tip of a paintbrush toned darker than the dress. The hair is a single shape, and the straps of the shoes are actually negative shapes showing the paper.

I hope that this page showed you some of the ways you can bring art supplies to a live sketch session for model drawing and fashion sketching studies, to integrate and enjoy the skills of capturing fashion design and silhouettes to tell stories that have emotional meaning and expression FOR YOU, BY YOU!!!!

We meet every single week in Fashion Sketch Group. Join us weekly, and back it up with a course where you can go step by step deeper into model drawing and design sketching.

Fashion sketching and model drawing online zoomfashion sketch group weekly PM edition with Laura Volpintesta
Scroll to Top