New Year, New Goals!

Happy [belated] New Year everyone! Last year was a rough one all around but I'm going to try and turn it around in 2017 and thought I'd share my work related goals with you, since sharing something can be motivation to stick to it, plus they may help some of you as well.

1- Blog! I've been blogging here on Fabulous Doodles nearly 8 years now! Its unbelievable how time flies. When I started it was only meant to be a marketing tool for my then "new" side business selling prints of my fashion illustrations on Etsy when not working my corporate 9-to-5 as a designer for Hearst Magazines. Well, the recession happened, one custom illustration turned to many, as did one live-illustrating gig and now I'm a full-time fashion illustrator with a blog going on 8 years. A few days ago I was looking for an old post and couldn't believe what I saw on the blog sidebar archive. All my posts are listed there by year and for 2016 I only posted 19 times compared to the early years of posting 80+! So that being said, my first goal is to blog more! Blogging is tough, and time consuming but I need to make it more of a priority. My issue has been its permanence and my perfectionist tendencies. Due to this, posts often take hours of photo editing, photoshopping the layout, and writing and rewriting. Often times I work on posts for hours only to never hit the daunting publish button! (In full disclosure here this post is one of them! I originally wrote it just after New Years and only now finishing and publishing it 2 weeks later.) I have to stop getting in my own way and just do it already! The problem is in recent years social media has become so prevalent and easy that posting to Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter have almost replaced the blog. But I have so many client projects and events I've worked on over the past few years that I wish I shared and were here to reference. Blog posts also serve as a powerful marketing tool and expose my work to readers and potential clients who possibly wouldn't have found me otherwise. For example the last post I wrote was about live sketching a bat-mitzvah and I've had countless inquiries since posting it and even booked two new ones for coming weeks. My blogging laziness has to stop and in 2017 I'm going to turn it around and just do it!

2- Take more classes and workshops. I recently took a calligraphy workshop and it was wonderful. (Check out the fancy new calligraphy pen I learned to use above on the left!) I love learning new creative things and improving upon my skills. This year I want to delve into learning by taking workshops and classes in more areas that interest and possibly scare me. I often receive emails asking how to become a fashion illustrator or how to improve their sketches and I always tell people that taking a class, even if only related, like figure drawing or portraits, will only help you and improve your work! Speaking of, I want to take a portrait class to better my ability to capture peoples faces when I'm live-sketching parties and brand events. I also want to improve my digital drawing abilities, take a cooking class or two and maybe even a business or communication course. A few weeks ago I decorated a cookie monster themed cake for a friends 2 year old son's birthday and shared it on social media. I was reminded that back in high school my best friend and I enrolled in a series of cake decorating workshops and loved them! We used to make ourselves cakes that simply said Happy Tuesday to practice our icing techniques. I miss that. Being creative in other areas than what is now my job.

3- Hire experts to help me in areas I don't excel. Being a freelance artist is hard and building my business is challenging. As a freelancer your income is not set and you never really know what your income will be form month to month that it makes it hard to invest and spend on something that could seem like a luxury. There are so many areas I've wanted to improve upon though, and I although I try and figure things out on my own and try to do everything myself its time I took steps and hired people who actually do these things for a living. It's an investment in my business and well worth the cost. Its time! A few examples I've been considering and need to hop on in 2017: hiring a graphic designer and web developer to build a website because although the blog has been wonderful I need to expand and have needed to for some time now. Also a financial manager to help me organize my finances, and possibly a public relations person to try and get me onto some of those "best illustrator" lists I see often but sadly have yet to appear on even though I continually work with top publications.

4- Go after the gigs! Thus far in my freelance fashion illustration career nearly all the work I've had found me, not visa versa. Clients, collaborations, licensing deals, etc, almost all have come about because they approached me. I need to focus on where I want to be and who I want to work with more moving forward. I know many other bloggers who pitch potential clients and press and I need to not be afraid and start doing the same. I need to compile a client list and start reaching out to previous clients to check in, see if they have any potential collaboration opportunities on the horizon and even pitch concepts on how we can work together. I also want to start a newsletter with monthly, or at least seasonal updates to all my clients and customers.
5- Grow my social following. This is an eye roller, I know. Everyone who blogs and uses Instagram for business purposes wants to grow their numbers. I'm currently at 21k Instagram followers which may seem huge, but when compared to fellow fashion illustrators, some of whom started blogging the same time as I, it's seriously small potatoes. I haven't been "featured" by Instagram which is the main problem and since they changed their algorithm and everyones views and engagement has dropped I fear its too late now. That being said I look at my Instagram feed and my top posts of last year (shown above) and I'm proud of my work and photos. I'm also proud that I have never bought followers, sold out, or gained likes because of nearly naked photos of myself. All 21k+ followers are real people who follow me for my talent and not a paid for illusion, as I've learned over and over again many others have done. All I can do here is continue to try my best and post what I'm proud of. Last year one of my posts went semi-viral (image on top left) with over 142k views, so maybe this year instead of one post, my whole following will blow up! (Fingers crossed;)

These are just a few of my goals and of couse if I were to get personal the list would be at least double in size, but it's a start and I'm proud of myself for not only writing it down but posting it! (Check mark next to number 1!) The world seems to be going a little nuts these days and who knows whats ahead in the coming year but at least I have control over where I want to focus my attention and business. How about you, what are you business goals? And anyone in the NY area have any amazing classes or workshops to recommend because I would love to hear about them!

Party Sketching a Beverly Hills Fashion Themed Bat-Mitzvah with Mindy Weiss

This weekend I'm excited to be working alongside Mindy Weiss again and it occurred to me I have yet to feature the last party I worked on with her! I primarily live-sketch for fashion and beauty brands but from time I do do private parties and this lavish Beverly Hills bat-mitzvah was one of them. Weeks before the event I created a custom illustration of the bat-mitzvah girl to be used on small guest placards. About a week before flying out to LA for the event, Mindy called and asked if I could send the art high res so they could also have it printed on the dance floor. I said absolutely, as they purchased the custom illustration with usage rights for the party and could print it on any and all party pieces they'd like! But when I arrived and actually saw the sketch blown up to about 30 feet I was floored! Pun intended! I've never seen any of my art on such a large scale before and it was surreal. It was nearly impossible to event capture! The photo above was taken by someone atop a tall ladder and its hard to even make out the full image.
In addition to the dance floor, the custom illustration of the bat-mitzvah girl was also pre-printed onto a large sign-in board, guest placards, and of course I was on-site live sketching all the girls for them to have their own custom fashion illustrations to take home. The party took place at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, which my Pretty Woman loving self loved and it was my first time working with and meeting famed event planner Mindy Wiess! She was utterly delightful to work with and get to know. Mindy joined me for dinner and we bonded over event stories and friends we discovered we had in common. I've been to my fair share of bat-mitzvahs but is one I won't ever forget and I can't wait to see what Mindy has planned for this weekends Manhattan fete!

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Burberry | Semi-Custom Fashion Illustrations

If you follow any of my social media you may have noticed over the past few months I've been working quite a bit with Burberry. I wanted to share one particular event we collaborated together on here on Fabulous Doodles. A few weeks ago I live-sketched semi-custom fashion illustrations at a private party for Burberry down in Washington DC. The party was the culmination of their annual general managers conference, where Burberry employees from across both North and South America gathered. Since Burberry has such a rich history and brand identity I suggested doing something a little different for this live-sketching event. Instead of full custom illustrations of each Burberry employee in the party outfits they were wearing as I normally do, I pre-draw fashion illustration bodies of Burberry beauties and beau's in the classic Burberry trench coat. They loved the idea and its exactly what I did!
I pre-drew a man and woman, both headless, and we pre-printed the illustration bodies on paper ready for their customized heads. Since all the party guests were proud Burberry employees and it was the culmination party of their conference, they were all ecstatic to have themselves drawn in a traditional Burberry trench! I have to say it was some of the warmest responses I've had at a private party in a while. Hugs, kisses, and tons of insta-love followed each semi-custom illustration!

I've only done this pre-printed body concept once before, for Viktor & Rolf where I illustrated four different couture looks from their collection and customized party guests heads atop them. Since I can spend time perfecting the illustration before hand, and not under the time crunch of party sketching it has such a nice outcome. And as I said, the guests and clients love it!

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Party Sketching for Gotham Magazine & Lands' End

Tonight I'm heading downtown to live-sketching custom fashion illustrations for Gotham Magazine and Lands' End at their new pop-up shop in Soho. I'll be sketching, while you can be shopping in support of a great cause, raising awareness for breast cancer. Guests will enjoy 15% off all purchases, free monogramming (as shown on my fabulous new classic tote pictured above,) cocktails and custom sketches of themselves! Speaking of the image above, If you follow me on social media you may have noticed I'm a little obsessed with drawing these tiny silhouette people. You can watch a video of this one being drawn over on my Instagram this morning. 
Back to business though, last week I got a sneak peek of the Lands' End pop-up and all the plans for the evening and I can confidently say this is going to be a fun event! I'm also pretty excited to sport my new head-to-toe Lands' End ensemble. (Confession: I've already been rocking the coat since it arrived early last week!)

November 1st, 6-8 PM

Lands End Pop-Up Shop
580 Broadway 
New York, NY

I hope to see and sketch some of you there. (And for you New Englanders, I'll be live-sketching again in Boston tomorrow.) 

Past posts you may be interested in: 

Brooks Brothers Boston Event

I'm so excited to be heading up to Boston again for the second year to live-sketch Brooks Brothers annual BCRF soirée. This time around I was asked to illustrate not one but two Brooks Brothers inspired fashion illustrations as the perfect preppy pair to adorn the invitation (shown above.) Guests will receive 15% off and proceeds will be donated to BCRF for Breast Cancer research.

Wednesday, November 2nd
6-8 PM
Brooks Brothers
46 Newbury Street

It was fun to draw this poised pair with their preppy pops of pink. (Try saying that one ten times fast!) I especially love how the man's suit turned out. I don't draw men too often as I'm quite self critical of how they come out but this one's a keeper.
Hope to see and sketch you there, but even if you can't make it be sure and follow along on Snapchat (@brooklit) and Insta-stories because as usual, I'll be sharing sketches in progress from the fabulous fête!

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Clinique Sketching Event at Bloomingdales

I'm live-sketching custom fashion illustrations today for Glamour Magazine and Clinique, again in celebration of the launch of their new Pop Matte lipsticks. Each customers custom illustration will be sketched in black this time and the only color will be on the pop of color in the lips. Appointments are encouraged but not a must so you can pop by at anytime but I suggest to come on the earlier side if you 100% want a custom sketch.

Wednesday, October 19th
59th Street on 1
1000 Third Avenue
RSVP: 212-705-2879

I've also sketched a special gift for customers who can't get their custom sketch drawn. Customers will receive a set of notecards featuring a few different sketches selected by the Glamour x Clinique team, one of which is shown above on this invite. 

Hope to see and sketch you there! But if you can't make it be sure to follow along on my Insta-story and Snapchat (@brooklit) to see sketches and behind the scenes from the event.