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My Digital Fashion Sketching Odyssey…….SKETCHES app on ipad, marker tool, laura volpintesta, fashion illustration TRIBE

Laura Volpintesta, Fashion Illustration Tribe.comFIRST AND FOREMOST:

y’all know that I am OBSESSED with analog: pencil and paper, clay, earth, mess, texture, touch, crumble, wrinkle and smudge. My private Soulful Fashion Foundation Immersion Intensive program is totally electronic-free (immmm except, of course, that it takes place on the web…..), focused on watercolors, papers, pencils, fabrics.

When Parsons asked me to develop their first online fashion studio course, I resisted. I didn’t use social media except email, nor the computer for anything else.

When I started writing my book, I got on Facebook for the first time to hook up with former students.

When I signed up with Marie Forleo’s B-School, I started to learn social media and marketing from practically zero. I built my own website. Two years ago.

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.

So NOW: I have been avoiding digital drawing for ever.

My course will still be analog art and design studies, but I am definitely going to keep exploring these media and different apps and reporting back to you.  I know you haven’t heard from me in a long time, well I’ve been “learning this” and really working hard to find out how to spread the word about  my program. Let me know if you have any insights! My spring session is starting now, but the group is very small.

So here’s the first step to what I’ve learned about digital drawing.  And a bit about marketing and relationships.

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 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 big shout out. I am SO EXCITED!!)  Just look how delicious it is!

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

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

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 with digital drawing. And the thing that has always bothered me about digital 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 illustration:(i’ll break it down into some steps for you)"AGGIE" print batik 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 SKETCHES app on my iPod mini also using the 53stylus.  I have downloaded and have been testing lots of apps, but there is no way I will recommend any other app for starting to draw.  I SIMPLY CANNOT SAY ENOUGH about how awesome the SKETCHES app is. The stylus feels a bit big for the iPad mini, but it’s cool. I RUINED MY FIRST STYLUS TIP by using it on the plastic film of my Otterbox cover rather than directly on the glass in just 3 days of light use, so if you use Otterbox like I do in a house with a 5 year old ;0), PULL THE PLASTIC SCREEN COVER OUT!!!

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, used the 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. I don’t think it was responding to stylus pressure,  I think it was built into the brush. I may have to double check that. But as I always say, even if it’s random? VARIATION OF LINE is GORGEOUS and easy on the eye.

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 illustration process, 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, the tool is SHEER, not opaque. Gouache paints would have a certain level of opacity to them.

Also, note that I started with the 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)

"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.

"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 it 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 is a MINI.   You zoom by spreading two fingers on the screen, and you can UNDO actions or strokes by sweeping with two fingers to the left.

"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."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. Now i see what an amazing company they are.  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?

I have one single moms scholarship available. Just complete my free course to apply and email me your results. Visit the scholarship page for info!!

Don’t forget to join the Fashion Tribalistas Facebook group to share, support, ask, inspire, and be inspired!

Much love, always,
Laura