Your Guide

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Laura Volpintesta, Fashion Illustration Tribe

I want DRAW you out of your shell so you can flow and shine freely in Fashion Art and Design! All of the ideas held in your head....I'm here to share the tools, to bring them out onto paper, in an encouraging environment that meets you at your pace. I want you to feel safe to create, growing into your confidence in a playful, curious way, what I'm teaching learning in my classes at Parsons since 1997 . This is where you can discover the MAGIC that lives in your hands, your mind, and your heart when they work together. Where what you feel, think, know and are curious about l as you leads as you develop your unique style / voice to share with the world and explore what's within you.

Questions? Comments? Email me!

About this course

Welcome to SWATCHES TO GOUACHE: Fashion Design and Illustration Process!

I'm Laura Volpintesta, your host! 

Let’s begin with 3 Starter VIDEOS (scroll down)  (there are 28 in total when you join!)

IN this digital course, you can Watch and work along with me as we create a set of unique designs and illustrations! right over my shoulder and listen to all the tips along the way!

Start by watching video #1   and  #2 below to get a taste of my method and course ...

This course lays out an exact process that you can follow yourself.

Repeat the process again and again and again and you'll feel how it becomes a natural, organic flow that lives and breathes in you over time.

Seeing it done is going to save you time and give you perspective on how you can create and present an original collection.

You'll get such a good foundation here!

You will be amazed how having this perspective on the overall process will change the way you approach your work 

It's a total orientation and includes ALL of my tips and guidance as we go throughthe steps!.

I'll include projects and prompts for you to create along with me along the way.




Collect images to inspire your collection. 

Where do you like to collect images and inspiration?

For this exercise,  look for head-to-toe images with nice clear shadows and light, plus construction in the clothes that you can see and understand.

For this project, you'll be "plugging in" your own unique fabric choices, so you don't need to use the colors and patterns you see in the pictures. 

Everything you see you can adjust to make it YOUR style, and create an original set of sketches.

I'll show you how I do that!

  1. How do I choose the images?
  2. What kind of images do I look for?
  3. What kinds of fabric colors, weights, qualities do I look for?
  4. How many fabrics, garments, colors?
  5. What kinds of decisions am I making when I pick them?
  6. How do my photos work with my fabrics?
  7. Can I see details in the photos? Do I feel like I "Understand " them?
  8. WHY DO I LIKE THEM? what do you love, what don't you love.
  9. Listen to your inner voice, your intuition will whisper to you all day long while you do this kind of work!


In this video, 

you get a taste of how I quickly map out figures on the page before I get into any specifics about their body or clothes.   

This helps me with  proportions (which I teach in my other courses).

  1. You'll see how I block/plot/map out a body before I start drawing the clothes on it.
  2. How do I balance her on her feet? 
  3. What do I think and see when I look at a figure? How do I simplify it and see the structure?
  4. How does light and shadow show up in a photo or a sketch?
  5. How do I create a interactive, dynamic layout so there is an exciting presentation?
  6. On the other hand, you may even choose to sketch one model/ pose four times and make subtle changes in design on each one!!

AGAIN, follow your intuition and flow!


Here you'll see how  I go from stick-figure to fully fleshed-out figures. 

See how much easier it is when the basic body is already mapped out??

It does seem like a lot of emphasis on figure drawing, but figure drawing is fundamental , to me, since clothing lives on a body.

  1. Remember though, figure drawing is not a requirement to be a fashion designer! 
  2. It is a top skill for fashion illustration , though. 
  3. Now you can see how those stick-figures become fleshed-out, and three dimensional feeling in form.
  4. I use 8 " grid on my paper to help the propotion to be consistent from figure to figure.
  5. DON'T WORRY this length proportion can work for ANY size, by increasing the width of the components. 
  6. THINK OF IT THIS WAY: our skeletons are all qite similar, but the flesh on the bones can be more varied from person to person.

DO you want to watch this process go from a-Z, into final illustrations? 

We wll sketch the clothing... we will mix paint, match colors to our swatches...

we will render prints, we will shade. We will draw in construction details.

We will highlight and emphasize textures. We will create a completely finished and designed collection on paper in finished illustraton!

You can also use this technique for quicksketching in your sketchbook.


Let's go! You can start immediately when you sign up today, or you can dive into these first three lessons and see how that feels, first!




Nobody has asked yet, but I need to remind you that there are no refunds for my digital products.

Make sure you want to sign up before you do!

I love to work with students who KNOW THEY ARE READY TO COMMIT TO THEIR PROGRESS!!!!