Celebrating 10 Years of Fabulous Doodles Blog



Ten years ago today I hit publish on my very first blog post here on Fabulous Doodles! I had no idea back in 2009 the doors that this blog would open for me and the fashion illustration career I would build with this blog at its roots. I realize I sound corny and sentimental here but I can't help it. I'm actually getting choked up sitting here thinking about where I was when I started and where I am now, both physically and in my career. I started Fabulous Doodles because I was working as designer in corporate America and I published the first post sitting at that very corporate desk at lunch. Although it was a creative job and related to my field of interest it was corporate America. I hated the people I was working under, the 9-to-5 lifestyle, the corporate environment, and I really missed illustrating so I began to draw again. At the encouragement of friends I started blogging to share my sketches as well as feature designer sketches and work I found inspiring. I thought it could be a good creative outlet.
Jump ahead ten years and now instead of sitting at a corporate desk "doodling" I've built a fashion illustration portfolio and website (BrookeHagel.com) with a dream list of luxury clients in the fashion industry I've illustrated for including Burberry, Chanel, Dior, Ferragamo and Vogue. I used to have "illustrate a book" on my bucket list and over the past ten years, due to this blog, I now have more than twenty books under my belt. Its surreal to me looking at that "shop books" page of my site! And to top it off I'm writing this post from my new home office/studio in an apartment I love.
It wasn't always easy. It's not like the blog was a huge success from the start and I just up and quit my 9-to-5. (As you probably guessed if you took a look at that first post!) In actuality I lost my job in the recession. Promptly freaked out, didn't know how I was going to pay the rent. I took odd jobs, babysat, did what came my way but I kept blogging and the fashion illustration opportunities kept coming. Until eventually I no longer needed the odd jobs. It turned out that my corporate 9-to-5 was my last full-time job working for someone else and I've been working for myself ever since. The first few years it was rough and even the middle years I wasn't always comfortable with the freelance life of quiet-slow summers where not much or no work came in and insane holiday months but I've learned how to ride the freelance wave sort of speak and I'm okay with it now. I've learned to save, to budget and to manage my time and fluctuating income.
Theres a lot more to learn and a lot more I want to accomplish, more clients I'd like to work with and continue to work with, more products I'd like to see my work on, and more industries I'd like to have the opportunities to collaborate with. I'd also love to see my social media reach grow, become "verified" on Instagram, a featured grammer, and hit six figure digit follower counts but thats an ongoing struggle. Some people lucked out and blew up at the beginning, were featured early on, or just really know how to play that game. For me it's a struggle but I'm trying. Opening up and sharing is hard. Its hard to put yourself out there to strangers and share photos of yourself (like I am here) and videos. To be vulnerable, and authentic and not curate and perfect every post before sharing it. I know thats what people relate to and connect with but its hard for me. Its something I need to work on. Anyway, I digress. Today's a celebration. Ten years of Fabulous Doodles! Ten years of building my business and working for myself! I have a bottle of Perrier-Jouet champagne I've been saving from working on a project with and I think its time I popped that bottle, poured myself a glass and celebrated. And if you know me, there might just be a piece of cake with it! Cheers to you, my Fabulous Doodles readers!

Ferragamo Fashion Illustration Invitations



Custom fashion event invitations have always been a part of my business but over the past year and a half or so Salvatore Ferragamo has become one of my best clients and for them I've drawn many. Rarely does a major holiday pass where I'm not hired to sketch for Ferragamo and with that often comes illustrating a new custom event invitation. Since we've done quite a few now I thought it would be nice to take a look back and feature some of my favorites here on Fabulous Doodles. Each illustration is inspired by a look from the current seasons runway collection that the corporate team sends along. Occasionally the look is shown on a model but sometimes it is sent to me as isolated pieces photographed individually. I then interpret the pieces into a stylized sketch and photograph the sketch on my desktop for the Ferragamo design team to use on the invite layout for an designer studio vibe.
Its been great to have these sketches and invitations both to share on social media with my followers to let people know of the upcoming events, as well as to have the sketches to serve as examples beside me framed at the events as a sample of what it is I am there doing. I always have framed samples at my live-sketching events but this way it is 100% on-brand and representing the most recent Ferragamo collection.
I hope you've enjoyed this round up of my Salvatore Ferragamo invitations as much as I enjoyed drawing them!

Similar posts you may have missed:



Live Sketching at a Vogue Office Party



A few weeks back my friends at Vogue called to ask me to live sketch a party up in their offices. Now I've worked with Vogue countless times throughout the years illustrating events for their clients and partners but this time, sketching in Vogue's very own office, was a first!
Throughout the years I've been to Vogue's office many times, the first visit with shaking hands and my portfolio which I recounted in this post you may remember where I actually thought I was going to pass out in the lobby. But in all the years I've been working with my Vogue friends this was actually the first time I was asked to come to Vogue with all supplies and illustrate right there, live, in the Vogue office. And I have to admit it I was a little more nervous than my norm these days, but I shook it off  pretty quickly once I was with the ladies and started sketching.
The party was a surprise for one of the Vogue staffers and having me there to live sketch was part of the surprise. Throughout the party I live-sketched everyone in their fabulous work wear. Normally one wouldn't think of an office party as a place to score sketch worthy looks but obviously the Vogue office was a sketching goldmine of one chic look after the next!
I had a great time and hope to work with my friends more in the coming months. Similar posts to check out of past years events we've come together for that I've highlighted here on Fabulous Doodles:

Giveaway! Custom Illustrated Leather Clutch



Giveaway! Ladies, I have a special custom giveaway for you! I've teamed up with my friend and fellow creative Maayan Hotam of Fontem Handbags to create a stunning, hand-crafted, Italian leather clutch, with a custom illustration of YOU, sketched by me, printed within!!!

To enter simply:
1. LIKE this Instagram post & tag friends in comments. (The more friends tagged = more entires!)
2. FOLLOW my Instagram page (if you're not already!) AND Fontem Handbags Instagram page.
3. SIGN UP here for a chance to win!

The giveaway will run for one week and a random winner will be announced 48 hours after the giveaway closes. Good luck girls!

Previous posts you may have missed:

House of Cards | Final Season Fashion



House of Cards has long been the dramatic home to one of the best dressed characters to grace the small screen, Robin Wright as Claire Underwood. Last month I had the opportunity to preview the sixth and final season of House of Cards not once, but twice! As well as attend talks at the 92nd Street Y and The Wing with Wright, Michal Kelly, show-runner Melissa James and producer Frank Pugliese, pulling back the curtain as to what goes into making this monumental series. Wright's character dons the most pristine wardrobe that is not only tailored to perfection but also magnifies the characters flawless facade. I had the opportunity to ask some burning wardrobe questions about her flawless House of Cards wardrobe, designed by Kemala Harris, who as Melissa James says has “such an eye for not only a flawless wardrobe but such an understanding of character...with such attention to detail. So many of the dresses and stuff she’s [Claire] wearing, she wears with presidential cufflinks, which was entirely Kamala’s idea." She wanted to adapt the masculinity of presidents, and incorporate it into Claire's wardrobe. A wardrobe which is made up entirely of designer pieces that are altered and customized to strategically masculine-ize the character. Robin said jokingly, but not, that one of the things she's going to miss most from the show are the Christian Louboutins and Prada dresses. I sketched the character of Claire Underwood (shown above) in the uniform-esque suit she wears through much of episode one of season six. Even before the cast and crew talks as I watched the episode I was struck by how militaristic and commanding her bespoke suit was with its gold notions, taut fit, and modest cut. 
Season 6 is quite a change from sexy styling of season 5, which I'd also roughly sketched about two years ago (shown above.) I can't wait for what the rest of this final season has in store for us wardrobe wise and in plot twists, with the countries first female President. Robin said "its gonna shock the shit out of you basically!" You can watch the whole 92Y talk (here on YouTube) to hear for yourself all the juicy details. If you do watch, (and this is slightly embarrassing but I'm clearly in awe of Robin and if you've come this far in the post perhaps you are as well.) anytime she looks down to the audience she was making eye contact with me! My friend and I were front row center and concluded that the guests on the stage couldn't see too far into the audience with intense spotlights on them so whenever she'd look down and out at the audience it was right as us! We kept elbowing each other in excitement and the entire cab ride home across town we discussed how charismatic and glowingly beautiful Robin Wright was. It was kind of hilarious that as two grown and heterosexual women we were completely fangirling out!
House of Cards season 6 premieres on Netflix tomorrow, Nov. 2nd, 2018! I'm just hoping I can make it last the weekend and not binge the whole season the first night. And last but not least, I hope to see you at the polls on November 6th. #VOTE

Team USA Closing Ceremony Designs by Ralph Lauren | PyeongChang




Here's a fun fashion illustration sneak peek of the Ralph Lauren designs Team USA will be wearing at tonights closing ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. If you've been a long time reader of Fabulous Doodles you know I'm huge fan of illustrations from Ralph Lauren design team and this powerful pair are no different. The sketches convey movement and texture and are just the right amount of unfinished to look professional with a stylized and artsy air to them. I'm excited to see them come to life on the athletes tonight!

Have a look at past Ralph Lauren Olympic uniform sketches I've featured in the past: