3 best apps for fashion illustration by Laura Volpintesta

3 Best Apps for Fashion Illustration

Digital fashion illustration with apps: fashion designer Layana Aguilar by Laura Volpintesta
Tayasui Sketches app illustration by Laura Volpintesta

3 Best Apps for Fashion Illustration

Apps for fashion illustration Tayasui Sketches by Laura Volpintesta Stella McCartney

(My 2 above Illustrations using Tayasui Sketches

Here are my discoveries about the 3 best apps for fashion illustration— IN MY EXPERIENCE–to share with you so you can fashion sketch on your iPad or Android device! (videos included below)

All of my recommended apps are available on Google Play and App store, so 3 best apps for fashion illustration are available for both operating systems, iOS and Windows.

Personally, I first started illustrating digitally a few years ago using an iPad MINI with apps for fashion illustration in 2015 after resisting them for a long time and was thrilled with the results. 

I’m a classic gouache and pencil, Parsons-trained, old-school fashion sketcher and illustrator, and I only wanbted to experience rich texture and grit on my ipad that would feel as closely as possible to working organically on illustration paper with wet gouache.

Though I now use iPad Pro for fashion illustration and art, it really hasn’t changed much in my approach… just a larger screen)

*** psssssss…you can learn to draw and paint right away in each of these beautiful apps in my ABOUT FACES digital course.****


For the classic artist, freehand fashion illustration feels the most natural and organic like gouache and pencil on your digital device when you use Tayasui Sketches… a VERY affordable, and VERY flexible app for fashion sketching with tools that many other apps don’t have, such as

  • various paper textures,
  • infinite paper colors,
  • access to text, and textures patterns
  • VERY easy to access and select tools menu interface
  • a viscerally textural feel (if and when you want that like I do) that really looks and feels like gritty, sensitive pencil, watercolor, brush pen, ink etc. It even has sound effects if you want them on!
  • It also has various “sketchbooks”… like little moleskines that you can use for different purposes and put labels and titles on them!
  • You can easily share your work via social media or export to photoshop,  if you want to, and you can also RECORD YOUR DRAWING PROCESS with or without sound, and play it back later!

I’m someone who always strives to keep the tactile look and  feel of real art supplies in my digital fashion illustration, and that’s why Tayasui Sketches Pro app is my first choice of apps for fashion illustration.  I also recommend it to you because it is clean, easy, intuitive, natural, a total joy to learn.

Here is a step by step example of one of MY VERY FIRST fashion illustrations “growing ” in Tayasui Sketches app.


I want show you the soft grittiness of the pencil and range of light to darks. I like to sketch first in light pencil, then follow up with ink pen and paint over that. (see?)


Tools I used:

Here you can see I used an  alternate paper color, and the watercolor  (used on the skin tone) tool’s texture and also the sheer, smooth marker tool i used for the yellow fabric.  A black “felt tip pen” tool is used on all of the lines. Most apps for fashion illustration have a great black brush tip ink pen tool.

apps for fashion illustration

I added white highlights for “pop”  by using an opaque white over the base colors and marker tools to add the African/ Ankara print motif and colors (I actually usually use colored pencils for that instead now). Notice I was able to choose a color for the background/ paper color! (creamy)

THE sketch in the video below

was done with the same app, also using pencil, marker, brush pen and watercolor tools. And no mess! totally portable! Colored paper, colored pencils, everything I want, right in my iPad!

AND? no stylus required…… zoom features mean I can work with my finger if i want (I like to) and still get details like the face, etc.

Dive into learning and creating with these tools: Join ABOUT FACES now!<<<<

***NOTE: update 9/2022 Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Draw have been discontinued, combined, expanded, and replaces with ADOBE FRESCO.   So I’m going to insert some samples right here of ADOBE FRESCO to show the kinds of result it gets:2

3 best apps for Digital fashion illustration with apps: fashion designer Layana Aguilar by Laura Volpintesta

The fashion Illustration above of a Layana Aguilar dress was done with Adobe Draw app- see the clean, slick, vector image stye and brilliant color of it. ***Now these same tools and capabilites have been moved into Adobe Fresco.

The Timelapse below shows the pencil and sheer watercolor capabilites of Adobe Fresco (what was great about the now extinct Adobe Sketch app)*

Digital fashion illustration with apps: fashion designer Layana Aguilar by Laura Volpintesta
there is a creamy smoothness to the vector drawing tools available in Adobe Fresco that you can get if you forego the critty textures that I use when pencil-and watercoloring.

Below, another Adobe Fresco fashion illustration imitating gouache and pencil technique, in timelapse.

2. Adobe Illustrator Draw App


3 best apps for fashion illustration

This one is TOTALLY DIFFERENT than other apps for fashion illustration! (*****PLEASE NOTE THAT SINCE THE ORIGINAL WRITING OF THIS POST, Adobe Draw has been shut down and morphed into ADOBE FRESCO APP, also explicitly shown in this article!)

Super smooth, sleek. and slick , there are no textures in it unless you create them yourself.  Just 4 brush tips to choose from, with adjustable color, opacity, and tip size and a fiull tool.  Utter simplicity.

Digital fashion illustration with apps: fashion designer Layana Aguilar by Laura Volpintesta Digital fashion illustration with apps: fashion designer Layana Aguilar by Laura Volpintesta[/caption]

See those super clean,flat color shapes and super fine lines? I layer flat colors to get dimension and texture, as well as form and shadows. It’s a vector based way of creating images, so you can create something like a logo that is transparent grounded. You can also blow up the images infinitely to the size you want without getting pixels.

Finally? you can also select something you’ve created here and make a “brush” out of it that you then use in another adobe app like Adobe Photoshop Sketch, to draw with. Which is really cool!
apps for fashion illustration Adobe Illustrator Draw app, Sketch by Laura Volpintesta


3. Adobe Photoshop Sketch app (now also adobe fresco app)

I love this one! Another of my favorite apps for fashion illustration…..I used to think it wasn’t available for Android on Google play, but I was wrong. It’s now available on both iOS and Google play.  This is the third app that I teach in my about faces course. Adobe Sketch apps for fashion illustration is simpler to use—(fewer tools) yet harder to use (clean, crisp shapes are bolder).

It has a lot in common with the Tayasui, but it’s really so different. It has a lot of different brushes to choose from– some similar to Tayasui and some totally unique to Adobe Photoshop Sketch app. That’s why it’s included in my online course, as well.

My favorite is the acrylic paint brush– it’s very thick and textural looking. It feels and looks gooey and rich, while at the same time you have access to charcoal, pastel, ink brush, crayon, pencil, and so many others.   It’s the same app I used to create this illustration of dress by Natcha Baco, an African fashion designer in Paris.

apps for fashion illustration African Print Fashion Illustration by Laura volpintesta

And don’t forget, it’s always amazing to get the whole kit -and-caboodle. Model drawing, watercolor, color techniques. Learn textures, details, design research and presentation, and work out your own collections! I’ll be teaching you  the tools I teach in my Parsons classes for 20 years.

Because now, it’s your turn! 



4. REPAPER APP. Video example, below! BONUS!

Since the 2 adobe apps for fashion illustration that I recommended turned into ONE, here is a BEAUTIFUL pencil and pastel app for you to discover , including gorgeous rice papers and timelapse recording:


Check out these promotional prices for courses valued at college tuition prices!!! Click on the images above to access the digital course, or the image below to access the gouache/ watercolor and pencil FREEDOM FASHION- SOULFUL FASHION FOUNDATION IMMERSION.

And oh, yeah, everyone love love loves Procreate app for fashion illustraiton, except me! I mean, it’s okay, but doesnt hold a candle to the favorites I’ve listed in this article. But you can check out my Procreate articles around the site here or schedule some private coaching with mjke! 

Go deep with me, and go deep in finding your voice and honing your craft.

Love, Laura

3 Best apps for fashion illustration

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