Using ADOBE FRESCO for fashion illustration

Let’s look in to Adobe Fresco app for freehand fashion illustration on the iPad or any tablet is one of my favorite media for fashion illustration .

It’s also simply one of my favorite art forms! I love fashion design and illustration (I graduated Parsons in 1995 and teaching there since 1997- fashion sketching and design are essential in my life!) and no matter how many click-y, mouse-y, high tech apps there are out there, nothing can compete with the FLOW and ENERGY of FREEHAND fashion illustration.

CLICK THE IMAGE to see timelapse replay!


Adobe fresco app fashion illustration laura volpintesta, Fashion Illustration Tribe

(The above fashion illustration is from FASHION SKETCH GROUP. we meet every week on Tuesdays 2-4 PM EST IIt’s a zoom fashion sketching session (join us!). It’s an open-ended, free form session where I curate fashion looks and great music and we sketch however we want, poses ranging from 30 seconds to 20 minutes. The sketch/es on this page are from last week’s sesson where I decided to use Adobe Fresco app on my iPad Pro with Apple pencil. The finished sketch is above.


Below, you’ll see different versions of this illustration where I remove or isolate different layers within the app. (the last image on this page shows you what layers look like- in the bottom right corner of the image).

One of the reasons I used Adobe Fresco that day in sketch group is because even though Tayasui Sketches is my favorite app for fashion illustration, Adobe Fresco records and exports a timelapse video instantly, which is fantastic for sharing on social media (instagram, my fave) . 


For the past few months, I’ve been working exclusively with markers, charcoal, gouache, and pencils. So switching over to digital felt good just for the FRESHNESS of using something different.. I still used my drafting table with the tilted surface, same as I do for paper sketching, and I also remained standing while I worked, which I always do because it keeps my whole body active in the drawing process!

Another thing about using apps for fashion illustration: if you are new to drawing apps, PLEASE consider starting by sketching with your finger rather than the Apple Pencil! Some styli aren’t so bad, but the apple pencil stylus is very slippery can that can be off-putting and disorienting. I am someone who likes to feel physcial and grounded in my artwork, so the only way I was able to transition to iPad illustration for fashion was by using my finger at first. It slowed things down and felt comfortable. As someone with 3 decades of fashion illustration in my pocket, I was incapacitated when I tried to draw on glass with a plastic pen, and so imagine beginners??? (ps make sure you get the paperlike screen film to add a paper like grittiness to your tablet/ipad screen that makes it better to draw on!) Also, try Sensu brush stylus for a unique and wonderful feeling.


art supplies for fashion illustration

Adobe fresco app fashion illustration laura volpintesta, Fashion Illustration Tribe

In the image above, you can see only two layers of the fashion illustration: The pencil base, and the colored pencil patterns over it.

One thing that really trips up beginners to these apps too is the OVERWHELMING number of tools and options ! When all we really wanted was art supplies! This is another reason why Tayasui Sketches is my favorite app: the smoothest interface around, plus textured papers and NO boxes to click. That said, once you are using an app like Adobe Fresco, Procreate, or Autodesk Sketchbook Pro….. MY SINCERE ADVICE TO YOU (and I can hold your hand and coach you privately on this if you need it- DM me on instagram to book sessions !) is to stick to one or two tools , period!


What do I mean by that?

Well, between brush/tip SIZE, opacity , and color, you have all the range of expression you need for a gorgeous, stylish, and detailed fashion illustration. So imagine, look here below I show only black pencil and colored watercolor. Above, you see nothing but pencils!

Granted, it was easier to get all of these line qualities using the Apple pencil because it give a gorgeous ,smokey, thick stroke when you use it on its side, but I promise you that even if you were sketching with your finger you would make a beautful fashion illustration with your finger!


Adobe fresco app fashion illustration laura volpintesta, Fashion Illustration Tribe

Adobe Fresco: finger sketching on ipad

I know it sounds strange that I recommend finger drawing, but think about it. the skin moves slower than plastic on a glass screen. and even though our fingers are SO BIG to be drawing with, its easier than you think.

Because you can ZOOM IN by spreading fingers on the screen, to do any fine detail work such as facial details!

You can zoom in or out at will as needed, but I usually suggest mapping out the whole shape of your sketch in general before zooming in on details so that you can get a feel for the whole propotion of your fashion sketch. And if you draw a nose you don’t like, for example? Just tap the screen with two fingers to “undo” as many steps back as you want in your history.

fashion sketch group weekly PM edition with Laura Volpintesta


using layers in adobe fresco app

It’s fun (and useful) to separate our work into layers: pencil on one layer, paint on another, the print on another, the colors of the garments, skin and hair on another, etc, etc. I like to do my illustrations this way so that I can play later by making certain layers invisible or invisible at will.

That’s how I arrived at this totally cool effect below, by eliminating the pencil sketch layer that I based the whole illustration off of!

What do you think of that? I loved the surprise of feeling like ‘I did that, but I didn’t do that”…. it showed me new possibilities in my own voice!

Adobe fresco app fashion illustration laura volpintesta, Fashion Illustration Tribe


Look at the edges of the illustration below:

that’s what the Adobe Fresco screen layout looks like!

SO MANY DARN TOOLBOXES.  ON every edge of the screen.  It can stress you out for sure and that’s why I love to work with you to minimize and be aware of just the essential very few tools that you’ll be needing to start making beautiful fashion illustrations  with Adobe Fresco App.

Just a pencil and a wet brush, and you’re set! And to know how to open , save documents, zoom, do, undo, and export. EVERYTHING ELSE IS EXTRA!!!!!! Don’t let all of these options bog you down and take away the flow and playful, instinctive essense out of your fashion drawing! Okay??



Adobe fresco app fashion illustration laura volpintesta, Fashion Illustration Tribe

I hope you’re feeling encouraged to try the app! I’ll link a video here as well tonight so you can see it play out in timelapse.

Visit my homepage to join a class today, or DM me in instagram to set up your coaching sessions!





Laura Volpintesta, author, fashion designer, illustrator. Author the Language of Fashion Design, Professor Parsons School of Design, Crafsty instructor and founder, Fashion Illustration Tribe.

Join me for a journey!

LEARN how to use ipad apps for fashion illustration while learning to draw faces and then apply to fashion illustration and design sketching!
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