Custom Pet Sketches



The past few weeks I've been filling orders drawing one pet pup after the next and I want to share a few of my favorites here with you. Fashion illustration has always been my focus and I have to admit I was a little hesitant to commit to drawing something so different, but these darling dogs have charmed my socks off! 
(Drawn above: Gracie, Poppy, and Henry & Berkley by Brooke Hagel) 
In the past I would only occasionally draw a pet if a custom commission client requested it and until about a month ago I'd drawn maybe a half a dozen dogs, ever. But when I teamed up with IfOnly and we began brainstorming fathers day custom commission ideas, drawing man's best friend and offering dads ands dogs was a no brainer. Sometimes its refreshing to try something new and step out of your comfort zone. I'm so pleased I did and with the outcomes of all these delightful dogs. I hope they and their owners enjoy their custom illustrations as much as I enjoyed illustrating them!

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Sketches Inspired by Resort Collections



If you follow me on Instagram (@brooklit) you'll know that over the past few weeks I've been busy sketching some favorite designer looks inspired by resort 2016 collections. I've always loved the resort season collections, which are shown mid way through the fall and spring shows. Since so fewer pieces are shown designers have to keep their designs focused and concise. They also remind me of mini collection projects I'd design back in college. Each piece needs to serve a purpose, be well thought out and fit into the overall theme of the collection. Unlike fall and spring collections which can have as many as 120 pieces with both "filler" pieces and more avant garde looks that are solely for a dramatic runway moment, resort can have as few as 15-20 pieces.
The first collection I've illustrated here is Marchesa, consistently flawless, feminine and always a favorite of mine. This Moroccan inspired Resort collection featured a bounty of embroidered flowers inspired by Moroccan tiling, with intricate laces and a beautiful color palette of blush pinks, coral, black, white, gold and navy. In rendering this collection I chose the silhouettes I liked most that were also comprised of the laces and full floral embroideries that made the collection so exquisite and I enjoy rendering. The two to the right were two of my favorites both within the collection and in the outcome of the illustration. Theres something about sheer fabrics, like the v-neck white lace jumpsuit and peach organza bell-sleeve dress that make them so chic.
Rachel Zoe is next. Black and white is an eternal favorite of mine, along with much of the New York fashion set and her Resort 16' collection combined them beautifully with shimmer, embellishments and luxe fabrics. My favorite pieces to illustrate (shown above) were the ones that used beaded fringe, black and white stripes and chevron, and combinations of leather and suede. I illustrated these girls very elongated and stylized. This is the fashion illustration style I favor most however rarely use anymore since clients tend to prefer a "healthier" girl. To me though this is the epitome of fashion illustration. After completing these sketches I really want to keep along this vein and try to do more in this style, at least when drawing for myself, where I'm the sole opinion that needs to be taken into account.
Last up is Elizabeth and James by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. This collection, in my eyes, was the for the quintessential "cool girl." Another classic palette of black and white featuring loose and slouchy dresses, wide-leg trousers and tailored blazers. They played with proportions and volume and put together a strong resort collection. Surprisingly the pant looks were my favorite to illustrate of the all the pieces, as show above middle and below.
For design students looking for mini collection inspiration or to the fashionphile looking to explore new designers I suggest browsing through the resort collections, always a hit in my book.

Donna Karan | End of an Era



(Above: Donna Karan fashion sketch, Donna Karan RTW Spring 08')
Last week Donna Karan announced she was stepping down as chief designer of her namesake company Donna Karan International and I can't help but feel its truly the end of era. As a huge admirer of her work since my pre-teen years it shouldn't come as a surprise to me how much the news has effected me. In my early days of studying fashion design at FIT I'd often be assigned market research reports and store visits and my first stop was always the Donna Karan Collection store. I'd study the slinky gowns, chat about the collection with the staff and always ask for a lookbook to take home to study and often add to my mood board wall. (This was before photos from the collections were available at your fingertips online.)
(Above: Esther Canadas shot by Peter Lindbergh for spring 00' campaign, Donna Karan shot by Ruven Afanador, Donna Karan RTW fall 99')
Karan has always had a remarkable understanding of a woman's body. Along with sophisticated color palettes in luxurious stretch fabrics, and unique knits, made her consistently my one of favorite designers. Her luxe New Yorker esthetic alway came through in her ads which were regularly shot by the fashion industries top photographers and featuring the most sought after models of the moment from Iman to Esther Cañadas to Kate Moss and most recently Karlie Kloss.
(Donna Karan campaign shot by Patrick Demarchelier featuring Karlie Kloss and Donna Karan Atelier sketches for Anna Kendrick) 
I met Karan once, it was 1999. I had just began studying fashion design full-time and the meat packing district was beginning to become a shopping mecca, you still had to walk by hanging carcasses lining the sidewalks to get to stores. Those days are since long gone, now its one pristine luxury shop after the next. I was walking around with my dad and asked if he'd mind if we stopped by the new "it" store, Jeffrey. I walked in carrying my favorite black leather bag by Karan (also my very first big ticket bag splurge) and who do I spot but Donna Karan herself shoe shopping with her daughter! Needless to say I was completely starstruck! My dad being my dad made me say hello and introduce myself but its honestly all a daze. I just remember being excited to have been holding my Donna Karan bag at the time. I rarely get that starstuck. So far its only been her and Sarah Jessica Parker that I've managed to embarrass myself meeting. (To SJP my first words were "it's you!?!" So embarrassing! Cut to a few months later though and I found myself working as a wardrobe intern on the set of Sex and the City.) I digress and seem to be going off on a tangent but I felt it was important to take a moment here on Fabulous Doodles and write about how important Donna Karan has been to me over the years and how sad I am to see her stepping down. I don't mean to eulogize her here, I realize she's not gone-gone but Donna Karan and her brand truly made a mark on me, my design sense, and the fashion industry.

Previous posts including Donna Karan:


She's a Sketch: Photographer Illustration



Recently I found inspiration at a party I attended with my friend Lindsay for La Maison du Chocolat. Lindsay was running a little late and I decided to people watch outside as I waited for her. I stood to the side as the event photographer snapped photos of guests arriving and posing on the step-and-repeat, all the while admiring her look. From her Tibi-esque ensemble to her on-trend laced up summer sandals and sophisticated but simple pulled back hair, pretty makeup, and sweet smile, she was a walking sketch! At least to this fashion illustrator.
Once Lindsey arrived and it was our turn to be photographed I introduced myself to the photographer, Kelly Taub, and asked if she would mind pausing a minute to pose for me. I explained I was a fashion illustrator, loved her look and was eager to put it to paper. The very next day as I worked on the illustration I was so excited about it I decided to share the work-in-progress via Instagram. I posted a close up of the initial pencil line drawing and a sneak peek while applying finishing touches. Now I'm happy to share the full illustration, and Kelly can officially say: "she's a sketch!"

"She's a sketch" is something I used to write about here years ago when I first started Fabulous Doodles. It's a phrase/title that my friend and designer Renaldo Barnette and I always say to one another when we spot a girl with either an impeccable fashion sense and sketch-worthy ensemble and/or exquisite fashion illustration proportions or facial features. I haven't done one in ages but I hope you enjoy it! When inspiration strikes you have to go with it, and I'm so happy I did.

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Gift Custom Family Illustrations | Brooke Hagel & IfOnly



I'm so excited to announce that for the next few weeks I've teamed up with IfOnly to offer custom family illustrations just in time for Fathers Day. IfOnly is an emporium where connoisseurs shop for one of a kind, extraordinary experiences and gifts for good with hundred of top luminaries. A portion of every gift benefits a charitable cause! I've chosen Hilarity for Charity, a charity near and dear to my family that was founded by my cousins Seth & Lauren Rogen. They're leading a movement to inspire change and raise awareness of Alzheimers disease among the millennial generation.
These custom sketches are available within just days for a limited time, leading up to Father's Day via IfOnly. You simply place your order on IfOnly then send their incredible concierge team your photos and any art direction you want me to have and within a few days your custom illustration is drawn and in the mail. I'm sketching every family member, from dad alone with his fishing pole to whole families, to vintage inspired wedding illustrations from your parents or grandparents wedding (check out my stylish parents circa 1973 atop this post!), and even the family dog!
I've already been filling orders and sketching away for about a week now and I'm really loving the outcome so leading up to Father's Day I've decided to share sneak peeks at some of the commissions over my Instagram feed. Sketches in progress include a dad preforming alongside Snoop Dog, a young NYC family of three, more precious pups and a even a grandpa!

I'm really excited about this collaboration with IfOnly and hope in addition to giving dads custom keepsakes I can also help to raise a little money for a great cause. You can check out all my IfOnly custom illustration offerings here and visit Hilarity for Charity to learn more about my funny family making a difference in the fight against Alzheimers.

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Book Signing | Chloe by Design Balancing Act



For the second consecutive year I'm heading to Book Expo America for a book signing of my latest illustrated book in the Chloe by Design series, Balancing Act. Free advance copies of the book will be given out and I along with author Margaret Gurevich, will be meeting, greeting and signing. Last years signing was a huge success and even landed me a little feature in Publishers Weekly! Hopefully this years will be just as fabulous if not better. Here are all the details, if you're in New York I hope to see you there:  

 Jacob Javits Center 
655 W 34th Street NY, NY 10001
Book Expo America, Capstone booth #2929
Saturday, May 30th, 2015 
2:00pm-3:00pm

Chloe by Design Balancing Act is available for pre-order now on Amazon. Leading up to its release later this summer I'll be sharing sneak peeks of pages my "Chloe" fashion illustrations, so stay tuned! 

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