Yes, I’m on Pinterest. Are you?

The link to see my boards or follow me is here.

I share a lot of inspiration, research images, model poses for sketching from ,and boards of different garment details to sketch from or use as design inspiration too. I create these as a resource for students in any of my courses, as well as for pleasure and to keep up on “news” in fashion.  I also share videos and articles there, and some quotes here and there.

After a few years using my Pinterest on and off, I noticed that one pin that i “pinned” about a year ago gets re-pinned almost daily! It’s a wildly popular photo. So I decided to create an illustration inspired by/based on it, although I don’t have the info about the photographer or model, so if you do, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

Here’s the original photo that gets repinned CONSTANTLY:

apparently it originated as a pin from a tumblr account called


Beautiful, right? I loved the primary colors, the head wrap, the beautiful color of her skin, and the bluish highlights of her skin. I always think colors look so beautiful on very dark skin, the way they “pop” visually and contrast. Especially african print colors!

So I created this illustration. I don’t have a step-by-step breakdown for you, but a few images from the process to give you some insights.

I used the AdobeIllustratorDraw app on my iPad mini using the 53paper stylus.

I really recommend playing around with apps like this one because of it’s beautiful interface and beautiful LIMITS!

The colors are unlimited, but there are only FOUR tips/ “brushes/ pens” to choose from!!!! (what a relief, right?)

Until digital sketching becomes second nature, I totally totally totally recommend working with “limited apps” so you can hone your craft without getting inundated with options. As I always say, more choices is not always better!


Laura Volpintesta, fashion illustration, fashion illustration



Notice the tools at the bottom of this above image:

  1. What you see at left in grey is the actual “pen” tip I chose to create my drawing. I used the same tip for everything, I believe. It was like a calligraphy pen tip: chiseled. If you drew in one direction, It would be thin, in the other, quite thick! If you drew a curve, it would give you both. Very dynamic and bright.
  2. Notice the first circle. This is the “size” of the “pen”. expressed as a diameter. If I touch my stylus there and slide it to the left, the size of the tip diminishes, and gets bigger as I go to right. I can adjust my tip size at any time
  3. Bigger tip size for things like large, flat colored shapes. Smaller tip size for details, ESPECIALLY FACES.
  4. I always zoom in for faces details (by spreading two fingers on the iPad screen)
  5. the second circle you see says “opacity”.   Sliding from left or right with my stylus, I can increase or decrease the opacity of my chosen color from full opaque to a very sheer, washed out color. The settings here make me think I took this shot after drawing the face details and contours on her head wrap. (thin black lines)
  6. The circles are black because I had selected black as my color.

Laura Volpintesta, fashion illustrator, fashion illustration tribe, Parsons Faculty


Look at the image above THIS time.  See the selections in the toolbar at the bottom, in the white box?

  1. the pen’s size is larger here (first circle)
  2. the opacity is quite sheer (second circle)
  3. the color is blue (third circle). No color mixing required in digital art, here you get a color picker when you linger with your finger or stylus on the “color” selection circle.
  4. I used the sheer blue for all of the highlights on the skin tone.  Originally I sketched the body in a solid shade of brown, then layered opaque black shadows and sheer blue highlights for form and three dimensional feel. And a beautiful color story!
  5. I added the white of the eyes and teeth at the end, because they were disappearing. I used an opaque white, but could have used an eraser tool for the same effect.
  6. I added orange highlights, both sheer and opaque ones, to the nose, lips, and forehead/cheeks, to give more form and “pop” to the features of the face. The sheer orange gave great highlights to the body, too.

See that? Very few choices, but a lot of expression!

Laura Volpintesta, Fashion Illustrator, teacher, Fashion Illustration Tribe, Parsons the  New School for Design


as you’ll always hear me saying, adding sheer black (in digital illustration) or adding a pinch of black to your base color (in gouache/ tempera/ opaque watercolor/ watercolor illustration on paper) will cause a color to “recede” and go into shadow. the best example of that in action here would be the horizontal strip of shadow just to the left of her arm, overlapping the skin and the colors of the swimsuit.

Laura Volpintesta, fashion illustrator, Fashion Illustration tribe


IN the toolbar above, you can see I have a wide size, medium opacity, and a green color selection.

I can scribble all I want with that green pencil, and will get a flat shape of color out of it (example: the upper left corner near her turban).


If I lift my stylus or finger (whatever you sketch with), and then scribble more, you will get the “transparency effect”… of sheer layers.  See how I have various shades of green in my scribbled background? this comes from layering a big scribble of transparent green over ANOTHER big transparency layer of green.

SO REMEMBER THIS TIP: if you want FLAT COLOR and not varying lights and darks like I have here, then you’ll have to do all of your scribbling without lifting your finger or stylus, OR ELSE use FULLY opaque color, not sheer.
Laura Volpintesta, Fashion Illustrator, teacher, Fashion Illustration Tribe, Parsons the  New School for Design

Laura Volpintesta, Fashion Illustrator, teacher, Fashion Illustration Tribe, Parsons the  New School for Design


and at the right, you’ll see my signature.

Always sign your work! Watermark, sign, show up, and OWN your work!!! And share it!

I’d love to see you on Periscope and Twitter(@lvolpintesta),  as I’ll be broadcasting a lot in the upcoming month as I get “back to school”, and also sharing your art in the Fashion Tribalistas Facebook Group!! It’s a place to share and get / give feedback, inspiration, tips, in an encouraging, cooperative and upbeat environment of creatives!

DON’T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE hereon the website to get FREE ACCESS registration to the STEP ONE Fashion Illustration TRIBE Masterclass. You’ll get one hour of video, resources, and get to share your work and ask me questions! I CAN’T wait to share these tools with you— you’ll learn to build a standing figure in proportions that you love and also learn to use designer/ artist art supplies to get you started on your way to expressing yourself creatively and professionally in fashion and design.

Fashion Illustration Tribe Facebook Group Laura Volpintesta






signaturetransparent Laura volpintesta fashion illustration TRIBE


ps.  I LOVE PERISCOPE!  I’ve only done two “scopes” so far, but I’m in love. Not only in creating, but in viewing. Have you heard of Periscope?

  • It links with Twitter (which I almost never use but to share my Pins and Instagram posts)
  • Allows you to livestream from anywhere on Android or iPhone.
  • It’s a free app
  • Connects with your twitter followers
  • Whenever you sign into it, you can see who is “scoping” (streaming) live all over the world via a map, or by searching through the scopes of people you follow.
  • “Scopes” ( your livestream) remain visible for 24 hours before disappearing
  • Scopes are downloadable so you can upload to Youtube, Vimeo, etc
  • Viewers can type in questions and comments during your livestream so you can answer/converse with them
  • Viewers can “give you hearts” to show they like, and thus add “value” to your scope.

But what I love is that, different than a webinar, Periscope fits in with the way I view things and do business.  I’ve seen myself being inspired and not sharing  what I have to share because my hair was a mess or the kids were home, etc.

Periscope thrives on its informality and face-to-face intimacy, spontaneity, and globally.

These are all elements that I adore!  As a nursing, homeschooling single mama who’s a trained birth doula too, ( who embraces and adores all choices that women make— I don’t think other women have to do things the way I do, I just believe that they should have CHOICES), I get a little rattled every time I fee like I have to “pretend” I’m not who or how I am. ESPECIALLY as a mom.

I get indignant when I feel I’m supposed to pretend I don’t have a family.  Because many of us do!

I like shooting video, creating courses and lessons. I like getting the makeup and the lighting better and learning more and more about production—- but I feel weird about spending an hour to get “presentable” when my time is so valuable.

Periscope lets me share as I am.  I am LOVING seeing other people do the same on there.

If your interest is piqued, download the PERISCOPE app for android or iPhone.!  My first Periscope broadcast was a demonstration of  sketching a face.  I plan to scope not only technical info, but lots of pep talks, #tribetalks, #tribetechniques as well.

FOLLOW ME ON PERISCOPE AND TWITTER!!!    my handle is @lvolpintesta….. click here to go right to my account page on Twitter. People you follow on Twitter are automatically recommended to you on Periscope to follow.

I actually can’t Periscope from my very old iPhone, so I use my iPod mini.  That means I can only use Periscope over wi-fi. I look forward to upgrade my phone someday so I can Periscope from anywhere– like New York City!

Yes, I’ll be going back in again on Mondays starting in two weeks…. to teach my Fashion Design and Illustration classes at Parsons the New School for Design.

(It takes me two and a half hours to get there if I take the local train in my town, which is why I transitioned to part-time faculty from full-time after Angie was born and my new boss doubled my schedule but not my salary…)  And THAT is how Fashion Illustration TRIBE was born!!!

That’s also how I got to feel so connected with education and entrepreneurship from home. I love to reach mothers and others who previously couldn’t access the education they. I always get excited for back to school!

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