When we are drawing fashion design, what is our goal? Brush tip markers bring a rich drama to the page when we are aiming for drama, mood, texture, expressiveness, and definition.

fashion drawing with Tombow brush tip markers by Laura Volpintesta fashion illustration

The wide range of expressions that com out of a single brush pen can be just what you needed to emphasize layers and folds, pleats, gathers, ruffles, overlaps, or crisp shadows under hems. Brush pens speak the very language of fashion with their ripply magic.


Drawing Fashion Design

is what my Fashion Sketch Group (live on zoom weekly) and courses are ALL ABOUT! This week in sketch group I decided to commit to using my brush tip marker for the entire two hours. That’s what I’ve decided to share with you today.

First of all, what was my tool of choice? I love PITT pens brush tip markers in black waterproof ink for art that I can paint over without any bleeding of the ink into my paint color Because I knew I was working with dry media only this day (pastels), I decided to use a TOMBOW brush (“dual-tip”) without any worry.

drawing fashion with Tombow How to draw cascades, flares for fashion design (circular fflare and circle skirts) by Laura Volpintesta
click to view the youtube short video !

TOMBOW is a water-soluble brush tip marker, so you can’t paint over it when drawing fashion unless you’re planning on it running like a tie-dye effect. Some people use a paintbrush on purpose to create watercolor washes with their markers but I wanted crisp bright lines in this session. THAT’S WHY i used a green pastel to smudge the color onto the dress drawing above- I knew I needed something dry and sheer over the Tombow.

Now as I look at the fashion portrait below, I’m tempted to take a wet brush and add some smokey soft edges to the illustration. BUT I CANNOT because I used marker paper and it will wrinkle up like CRAZY if I wet it because it’s so thin.

drawing fashion design with brush pens Laura Volpintesta, Tombow dual tip
In this image, you can see how powerfully a single brush tip markers can communicate fashion design, beauty and style. Rendering a floral print. tiny pleating on a colar, armholes, silhoutte…. laying hair tone down cleanly and emphasizing facial features and accessories.

The only thick marker-designated paper I know of that is thick like card-stock is this one.

***PRO TIP: USE MARKER PAPER for your brush tip marker fashion drawings

I used two kinds of marker paper during today’s session of Fashion Sketch Group: both were brigh white and sheer. One was Strathmore “smooth” 100percent COTTON marker paper. Even though it says smooth, it actually has a gorgeous texture to it that felt sensitive and “deep” like a fine organic silk organza! The other paper I used was Canson’s marker paper which was MUCH smoother and more opaque bright-white.

I find that the Strathmore and other cotton marker papers I have used are MUCH RICHER quality-feeliing. INDULGE YOURSELF because the paper itself evokes an emotion and well…. quality, period! You want your fashion design drawing to communicate quality, right???

brusht tip marker fashion drawing Laura Volpintesta

By the way, just for fun I used a dark grey brush pen marker instead of a black one. NOTICE how the brush pen can express everything from laying down large areas of deep shadow and graphic shapes, to framing the page composotion and then for fine lines like gathers, polka dots, ruffles, and cuffs! it’s super for sharpening crisp shadows that make your fashion design drawings POP.

Why do I even use marker paper? It lets your markers glide without skipping or drying up

Marker paper isn’t as porous as other papers and resists over-absorption and bleed-through which is infinitely more of a proble with design/art markers based with alcohol and solvents like Sharpie (which i love in various thicknesses for sketching flats, along with Micron pens). Tombow brush pen (watercolor) and Pitt (ink) don’t bleed through paper much anyway, thankfully, and they are fume free.

drawing fashion with Tombow BRUSH tip markes PENS Laura Volpintesta
Finally, from this week’s session, another go on this dress with a different approach. I layered sheer pastels over the brush tip marker to add some of the color of the outfit.

What can you do?

Get a generous brush tip marker like a Tombow, and experiment drawing fashion with it. How does it sketch with a light touch on the tip, or a bold stroke in the side of the tip- and everything in- between! A wide wide range of Dnamics from fine and thin to loud and dark to tell dynamic stories about fashion, beauty, style, culture, and design.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Love, Laura

This post sponsored by my signature FASHION SKETCH GROUP! I just opened a second group: the Afternoon group runs 2-4:15pm EDT and the PM fashion drawing group runs 6-8:15pm!

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