iPad sketching

Like (how many) millions of folks, I just HAD to have an iPad. I told myself it would be useful but I am not sure I totally believed it, not  100% anyway. Sure , I read what the the naysayers had to say.  It didn’t deter me. I really WANTED it.

Now, I happily and productively use my device , every single day! One of the most productive things I do with it is draw sketches.  To keep organized here in the design office, we sketch everything we are making and put them all together on sheets we call croquis. I used to draw these with pencil on white paper held over a drawing of a model, so I could easily draw in the same scale and from the same viewpoint every time.  That’s my model on the left.  I’ve used her for a while.  Years ago I used to print the sweater drawings on self stick paper and paste them over her, like paper dolls.  I transitioned to just using the sweater.  You may recognize the sweaters from our Blackstone booklet (#298).

I can still draw over the same model if I want to,  its easy to get a scan of her into the iPad, but while trolling for new apps I tripped across the following method of making a sketch:

1 – I use teen targeted fashion app FashionSketch to make a model and outfit to serve as a base.

2 – Next I apply  the photo editing program Photogene to transform the image into a black and white “drawing” and crop the image.

3 – And then I use SketchBook  to draw a sweater and add a layer of white to erase the lines “under” the sweater.


Just so you know, no one aked me to review my iPad or the programs and I paid for them all.

21 thoughts on “iPad sketching

  1. fascinating! You’ve been designing 30+ years and along comes a cool deivce to make your design work streamlined. Terrific when a new gadget can actually help make work easier – for real.

  2. This is really intriguing! I’ve been thinking more and more about how nice it would be to be able to create digital sketches, and have considered getting one of the lower-end Wacom tablets, because I had thought that the iPad didn’t make drawing very easy. What do you use to do the actual sketching? Your fingertip, or some kind of stylus?

    1. I’ve been using both, but as I admitted above, I keep losing my stylus. It’s so easy to save the drawing , email, or import it into another program on the iPad. I know I sound like an Apple commercial, but it really has been working well for me. Every once in a while I kind of freak out because it doesn’t feel right, or I can’t get the look I want. Frankly, that happens with pencil and paper too. 🙂

  3. Hi Norah,

    Thank you very much for your post. I have been thinking about purchasing an iPad with the drawing function as one of the top reasons for the purchase. I have been holding off until I heard a bit more from those who had used it for that purpose. So, thank you for your post today – it was most helpful!

    Best wishes,


  4. Nora, this is such a unique use of the iPad, you should send your post to TUAW (www.tuaw.com), The Unofficial Apple Weblog. They publish lots of product info/reviews for Apple and Apple-related products (sort of like Gizmodo).

  5. Wow. What a fascinating process. I don’t have an iPad (yet), but I could use the same approach to design sweaters for myself using Illlustrator and Photoshop on which I am expert. Thanks for the great ideas.

  6. I have been resisting the urge to get an ipad, but this certainly puts everything in a new light! I draw on the computer everyday and am used to it, but never thought about it being more portable. Maybe now I can stop worrying about losing my sketchbook if I change to digital!

  7. Oh yes! Thank you! We have an ipad and I’ve been thinking about using it for design sketches. Ours just came into the house last week, so I hadn’t done much research yet. This is perf.

  8. Norah – this is such a great tool – and for most of us working in the industry using illustrator etc – I so agree with you! Loved the additional editors article entitled Tipping Point by Trisha Malcom in Fall Vogue – where she included your comments! I suggested to Vogue Knitting Live that they have someone like yourself demonstrate tech design tools in a seminar!! It would be an amazing and full class!! Barbara

  9. A little late here, but…I have an iPad and LOve it. I didn’t realiZe you could use a stylus with it, very cool! My biggest complaint with it is that you can’t view flash on it, which means that the Berroco slideshows are off limits. Boo! 🙁

  10. Wonderful how you can blend the old with the new. It’s not only a great documentation of your sketches but also time efficient. Thank you for sharing your creative process with us. And continued success with your lovely designs.

  11. Norah- thank you for this information! I just acquired an iPad and have downloaded all three apps and indeed they are going to team up to do just what you describe. It is so good of you to share your discovery.

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