vine charcoal fashion illustration sketchbook sketch by Laura Volpintesta
Above fashion illustration study by Laura Volpintesta entirely executed in VINE CHARCOAL. Trenchcoat designed and photographed by TOTEME by Steven Meisel. I used extra soft vine charcoal on sketchbook paper, using the tip for lines and turning it on its side for the background texture/ tone.

on variety and possibility

The purpose of today’s post is to expose the amount of variety of expression that can come out of just two hours of drawing. I do this every single week at a dedicated time in my Fashion Sketch Group for pure pleasure, over the past few years, and it’s incredible how cumulative and satisfying this practice is!

I was very inspired this week by a book I read about a fashion illustrator, Tony Viramontes. More about that in another blog post because there is so much to say! But it really had me super focused and inspired when I logged in to teach Fashion Sketch Group as usual on Tuesday afternoon.

I always curate specific garments and poses for Fashion Sketch Group. Some i choose for the pose, the shadows, or the colors, fashion details, expressions, fabrics, or silhouettes. There is always a reason why I choose, and I have different images every week. My Model Drawing Magic students have access to an extensive library of files for sketching from spontaneously as practice.

The fashion illustration in my sketchbook below is from Aza Designs website. I found them while doing research for my class and was totally blown away by their curation of designs, photography, gorgeous models and rich colorful prints and layers.

This piece was a gorgeous woven madras plaid that created an pixellated ombre effect in warm, spicy colors.

Fashion Illustration sketchbook model drawing using gouache by laura Volpiuntesta
I switched intermittently from gouache fashion illustration to charcoal during this fashion sketch model drawing session…. it’s so delicious to have the freedom to go from color to no color, from wet to dry. It’s this range of sensibilites and experiences that can be so refreshing to the soul and invigorating to the scope of your senses and expressions! the Gouache set of the day was Kuretake’s set.
One of the special characteristics of this set is the colors in its palette- you can’t look at it without feeling happy already, which is a great way to start your day. Also this set of gouache comes with a clear plastic lid/dustcover that has comparments in it so you’ve got the support of a built in palette for color mixing

See what I mean about the cheerfulness of this kit??: (below) it also includes whites and metallics.

Kuretake goauche set for fashion illustration sketchbooks
Kuretake gouache set has a cheerful and extensive set of colors and a gooey, not dry palette feel. Still, I try to remember to wet my paints before I start a session so they can melt a bit before I use them. I love gouache palettes for the convenience and impulse of having all of my colors laid out and ready in front of me, but if the palette is dry sometimes it takes a minute for your paints to soften up enough to lift pigment off of them and onto your mixing palette or paper.
Uniball deluxe waterproof ballpoint pen for fashion illustration sketchbooks
Here I sketched from Steven Meisel’s photography and fashion design for TOTEME again. I used vine charcoal on sketch paper again, and caught the spirit of the floral pattern using charcoal then filled in some finer details of the floral using Uniball waterproof roller ball pen. This gold-barelled pen has been a go-to favorite for fashion illustration from my Parsons student days to 30 years teaching, writing, and designing. And I love that it doesn’t bleed when I paint on it, of course.

When this image came up as photo inspiration, I loved how fluid and liquid the dress looked. That’s why used liquid art supplies. I felt like it was a drop of dew sitting on a flower, or a tear stretching down a cheek. The asymmetrical dress has large blocks of color vertically.

fashion illustratin sketchbook gouache model drawing by Laura Volpintesta
I usually highlight with white or shade with black or the base color +black (join one of my courses, bundles or programs and learn all of the tricks! all of my courses are linked on my homepage) but here I was inspired by the Tony Viramontes book and remembered one of his black dresses being highlighted with hot pink. So I took my leftover bits of blue paint sitting in my palette and used that to create the shadows and facial features, which lends a sort of iridescence to the fashion illustration, And again, this is the Kuretake gouache. I used a lot of different art supplies in this session.
Fashion ILlustration sketchbook page in Derwebnt block graphite by laura Volpintesta
At the beginning of Fashion sketch Group we always emphasize the spirit of WARMING UP. We come into the drawing space with music and get comfortable on the paper by exploring the figure and the space without pressure. Art supplies that aren’t very precise are perfect for the spirit of warmup. I used a very chunky DERWENT graphite block from a set I bought last year. I had become irritated a while back that all of edges of the block had become rounded (which means I can’t get any crisp lines). Actually that is why I LIKE the graphite blocks – because they can’t draw perfectly — but when it’s time for facial features I really need those sharp corners. Fortunately, I had dropped and broken a block and it gave me some crisp new corners to work with!

and so the reminder of the day is that there ARE NO RULES OR RESTRICTIONS in your fashion illustration sketchbook

When you do a specific fashion illustration for a specific purpose, you may have restrictions. But in your free sketching, model drawing group where the whole point is to show up with your art supplies and ENJOY yourself, to experiment, explore, discover and create. Allow yourself that joy and playfull approach to try anything !

fashion sketch group weekly PM edition with Laura Volpintesta
JOIN US NOW and you can start immediately this week! no prerequisites, cancel any time, bring your inspiraition, that’s all!! for extra support, you can add on Model Drawing Magic but not at all required.
Laura Volpintesta, fashion illustration tribe
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