Digital fashion sketching with Tayasui Sketches app

There aren’t many apps I enjoy as much as I do digital fashion sketching with Tayasui Sketches app.

It’s without fail my number one choice for any beginner or pro getting started with digital freehand fashion sketching on an iPad or tablet.  (Tayasui Sketches App isn’t any the less for being a super app to learn on.)

I tried many apps before I realized how unique Tayasui Sketches App was and I love to share that with anyone who wants to create a fashion illustration that feels just like classic gouache and pencils technique on a gorgeously textured paper, the way we learned at Parsons School of Design back in the days before the screens took over the visceral , tactile experiences of creating with our hands and bodies.

African print fashion illustration about Laura Volpintesta
fashion Illustration by Laura Volpintesta using Tayasui Sketches app

Come join me on my Digital Fashion Sketching Odyssey….

FIRST AND FOREMOST:

You all know that I am OBSESSED with analog: art supplies, pencil and paper, clay, earth, mess, texture, fabric, skin,touch, crumble, wrinkle and smudge. My private Soulful Fashion Foundation Immersion Intensive program is totally electronic-free (mmmm except, of course, that it takes place on the web…..), and is focused around watercolors (gouache) , papers, pencils, croquis book,  fabrics, collages, samples of stitches and embellishments, trims, etc….

A classic Earth sign (Virgo), I was technically and  internet illiterate for as long as I could get away with it.. .

  • When Parsons School of Design Fashion Design department  asked me to develop their first online fashion studio course in 2007, I resisted because I didn’t use social media or the computer for anything except email. . I felt unqualified technically. Their digital learning team brought me up to snuff.
  • When I started writing my book in 2012 I got on Facebook for the very first time to hook up with former students whose works I wanted to feature in the book.
  • When I signed up with Marie Forleo’s B-School to learn how to set up my business so I could be near my kids and keep teaching after being bullied into leaving after I had a baby, I started to learn social media and marketing from practically zero. I built my own website. Two years ago (2013)

Can you relate:

There is an identity crisis that looms over me when I tackle something so foreign, where I know I have to learn new skills!  It’s good for me to stay in touch with this energy, because it keeps me on the same page with my students, who are also freshly embarking on something new.

PLEASE NOTE THAT I don’t recommend that people ONLY use the iPad or digital to learn to draw, because the paper and paint stage is such a beautiful experience that informs everything that I do when I pick up a digital device.

So NOW: I had been avoiding digital sketching for fashion illustration forever.

So here’s the first step to what I learned about digital sketching for fashion illustration when I finally fell in love with it.  

First, I spilled coffee all over my Macbook.

When I took it in to fix it, I got an iPad mini, with money my 13 year old son lent me from his Youtube earnings (I had just been laid off and had a little baby). 

I got the mini because I run an online VISUAL business, and you really can’t do that out of an iPhone 4!! (of course you can). I AM IN HEAVEN. I can finally see what I”m posting on instagram haha!!

I found a beautiful photo on Pinterest of this outfit by StudioOneEightyNine.com, a company started by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah (They recently posted my illustration on their instagram with a shout out. I am SO EXCITED!!) I sketched it using Tayasui Sketches app with the goal of recreating as closely as possible the experience of illustrating with gouache on watercolor paper.

(if you love Prints or African Fashion Design, come follow my boards!!) Or follow all of them.

Handmade Batik Print "Aggie " outfit by StudioOneEightyNine, Studio189 made in Ghana

Stunning look, right?

Well, depends on your taste, you know I LOVE rhythmic patterns and handcrafted things.  (On some level maybe I recognized, without realizing it, that the pieces were from Ghana. I used to spend a lot of time around Ghanaian fashion in NYC.)

I loved that there would be a challenge to create the batik, printed effects by digital fashion sketching with Tayasui Sketches app.  And the thing that has always bothered me about digital  fashion drawings is the degree of flatness and smoothness that is in the medium.  It feels cold to me.  This look gave me something to really sink my teeth into :0)

Here is my  finished fashion illustration with the batik fabric rendered :(i’ll break it down into some steps for you)Digital fAshion sketching with Tayasui Sketches. ensemble by Studio189, studiooneeightynine, Ghana made, illustrated by Laura Volpintesta, fashionillustrationTRIBE, fashion illustration, fashion school, African fashion

So here is some of my process:

I sketched from the photo on Pinterest in my Macbook using the Tayasui SKETCHES app on my iPod mini also using the 53stylus. ( I don’t use that stylus anymore and I really never liked it. It’s too “sticky” and big. Now I use Apple Pencil, or my finger.

I have downloaded and have been testing lots of digital apps for fashion illustration, but there is no way I will recommend any other app for starting to draw.  I SIMPLY CANNOT SAY ENOUGH about how awesome the Tayasui SKETCHES app is.

I started with the pencil tool, sketching out the figure with balance and action. I almost always start by sketching the body like this, and leaving those lines on the page and in my drawing.  They give it life, for me. They also give me a “safe” road map to paint and draw over.

"AGGIE" print batik ensemble, by Studio189, studiooneeightynine, Ghana made, illustrated by Laura Volpintesta, fashionillustrationTRIBE, fashion illustration, fashion school, African fashion

Next, 

I used the digital BRUSH PEN tool.

You can see the brush pen is highlighted in RED in the photo, that shows which tool I am using.

There are settings for the color of the brush, the size of the brush, and whether it goes from thick to thin or thin to thick.  

Notice the gorgeous line variation here. It wasn’t responding to stylus pressure, it is just built into the tool itself.

 Notice that VARIATION OF LINE is GORGEOUS and easy on the eye, and it’s built in to using the brush pen tool on Tayasui Sketches app. A YAY for fashion illustrators!.

Also, thicker lines UNDER things or between layers can indicate shadow and create depth and space. This tool creates opaque lines.

"AGGIE" print batik ensemble, by Studio189, studiooneeightynine, Ghana made, illustrated by Laura Volpintesta, fashionillustrationTRIBE, fashion illustration, fashion school, African fashion

Just like in my analog fashion sketching process

that I teach in my FREEDOM FASHION design program

… I now came in with watercolors: the watercolor brush tool . I laid down my base color for the print, everywhere.

 Every time I remove my stylus an then go back in, the color gets more saturated and rich. on this app, because the watercolor tool is SHEER, not opaque. Gouache paints would have a certain level of opacity to them. (***** since the writing of this article, a gouache tool has been added and i LOVE IT!****)

Also, note that I started with the (digital watercolor) WATERCOLOR PAPER base. See the texture on here? I select that within the app, there is a smoother, non textured background available, but why would I want that ? ;0) I get to choose my paper texture and even the paper COLOR  in Tayasui Sketches app for my fashion illustrations! (see the illustration with the green paper in this post, for example?)

digital fashion sketching with Tayasui Sketches app "AGGIE" print batik ensemble, by Studio189, studiooneeightynine, Ghana made, illustrated by Laura Volpintesta, fashionillustrationTRIBE, fashion illustration, fashion school, African fashion

I used the round tip marker tool (there are other options such as chisel design marker tips in there)  to create the pattern on the shoes below, and the CRAYON tool in white (opaque color) to create the largest batiked motifs in this fashion sketch. It was the biggest motif on the handmade fabric.

digital fashion sketching with Tayasui Sketches app "AGGIE" print batik ensemble, by Studio189, studiooneeightynine, Ghana made, illustrated by Laura Volpintesta, fashionillustrationTRIBE, fashion illustration, fashion school, African fashion

And… you all know I’m obsessed with “framing your work”, so here is an example of how framing and signing affect the image :0)

"AGGIE" print batik ensemble, by Studio189, studiooneeightynine, Ghana made, illustrated by Laura Volpintesta, fashionillustrationTRIBE, fashion illustration, fashion school, African fashion

The next step below was the least fun…..

except that I did my fashion illustration at an ice cream shop, so that eased my pain.

 I went in and added all of the detail with the pen tool of the black part of the pattern. ******If there weren’t a ZOOM tool, it would have been worse, remember my iPad was a MINI.   

In Tayasui Sketches app, you zoom by spreading two fingers on the screen, and you can UNDO actions or strokes by sweeping or tapping the screen with two fingers to the left.

Digital Fashion Sketching with Tayasui Sketches "AGGIE" print batik ensemble, by Studio189, studiooneeightynine, Ghana made, illustrated by Laura Volpintesta, fashionillustrationTRIBE, fashion illustration, fashion school, African fashion

Finally I reviewed my fashion illustration

for any missing details: I found that the batik could look more “crackly ” if I scribbled pencil tool over everything in dark grey. I added a little gold makeup to her eyes to bring the face up more.digital fashion sketching with Tayasui sketches "AGGIE" print batik ensemble, by Studio189, studiooneeightynine, Ghana made, illustrated by Laura Volpintesta, fashionillustrationTRIBE, fashion illustration, fashion school, African fashionBut nothing at all compares to having Studiooneeightynine.com share my illustration on instagram. Especially because I didn’t know they had tens of thousands of followers or were connected to artisans in Ghana… I just liked the pic.  I am so happy for this moment!

I would love to know if this is helpful for you, or if you have any questions.

Are you going to try the app? HUH?

Soulful Fashion Foundation Immersion is in its first week for the Spring session. Are you coming aboard? You will have a tremendous opportunity to find your voice through projects, skills, encouragement, support and community when you join me for the journey.

Don’t forget to connect with me on instagram to ask, inspire, and be inspired!

Much love, always,
Laura