Secret Weapons

Every so often I receive an email asking what art supplies I use and which brands I prefer. I answer all emails and try to be as specific as possible, but I thought maybe it was time I blogged about it. Maybe your interested and just haven't asked me, and if not, at least in the future I can just refer inquiring minds to this post. So without further ado here are the top products I absolutely could not live without. (As far as illustrating for my etsy shop goes! If we're talking desert island or beauty essentials that's a different post for a different blog! ;)
First and foremost are the Prismacolor pencils in cool gray 90%. I use this pencil on EVERY single illustration. Black can be too harsh, especially when outlining the figures and drawing facial details. These pencils (I pluralize that because I usually have anywhere from two to ten of them on my desk at one time) are an essential must have, at least for this fashion illustrator. It's my finishing touch tool, that I outline with, add the facial details, and all the clothing seams and trims.
Brush-tip markers are next. Sometimes people are surprised that my illustrations are all created with markers and pencil. I'm pretty sure the reason for this because of the amazing watercolor and painterly effect of the brush tip markers. With a brush tip marker you can create a multitude of effects to render fabrics, hair, and skin.
There are two brands that I use. One is the Copic Sketch double ended marker (shown above.) One side is a broad and blunt 1/4" slanted marker tip, and the other side is saturated brush tip. These markers are definitely on the pricey side at $6.99 each, but once I started using them (just a few years ago) I was hooked. I have every value of warm and cool grays for all my bridal illustrations as well as about 8 skin tone options. And of corse all the colors I use for clothing, shoes and accessories.
The second brand of brush-tip marker I use are the Staedtler Mars Graphic 3000's. They are also double ended, but with these one end is a fine tip and the other is the brush. I've been using these to render hair ever since my college days and feel that they're really the secret to my success behind some of my most popular fashion illustrations like Vogue, Hostess, and Lily.
The last "secret weapon" I'd like to share with you is probably the biggest surprise as I do not use it for what it's designed to be used for. Drum roll please...Its a white out pen! No, I do not use the white out pen to fix any corrections in my artwork. The white out pen is used for all my sequins, beading, pearls, and sometimes as that little sparkle in the eyes. The way to pull off the beading or sequin effect correctly is to first create a shadow for the beads or pearls with a black dot made with a Sharpie marker. (I love the new retractable Sharpies that are offered now.) Then you dot over the black with the white out pen and viola, you have your glitz and glam! You can check out Allie's necklace, Carrie's dress (a sequin leopard print fabric) or Kabuki's beaded gown to see the final result.
I hope you enjoyed this little trip into my tool box! Now maybe you'll look at fashion illustration a little differently!?!?

(The adorable pink scissor print paper is a purchase from the Martha Stewart Craft Sale!)

Leave a Comment

Roci said...

Hi Brooke, I think you are a great fashion illustrator!!! Thanks for posting about your secret weapons; I love the title! Who would a thought about the white out pen! Great post!!!

Keely said...

Thanks for sharing! I have another Q for u. What kind of paper do you draw on? Do you do a preliminary sketch on thinner paper and then put the final on a britstol?

Erin @ SYL: Slipcover Your Life said...

I had no idea that's how you made beads, etc in fashion illustrations! Def. learned something today!

Bee Bee said...

I wanted to thank you for sharing your experience and the tools you use. I have always wondered how you created those beautiful drawings. I use colored pencils and markers on mine, too, but not the same brands that you use. And you're right black does make the drawing looks very harsh. I wondered what was the best color to use to outline the fashions, and now, I've learned from the best. Thank you so much, Brook. I really appreciate it.

Brooke Hagel said...

Thanks for all the feedback everyone! You made my day! :)

Kiki-No, when I'm working on a sketch for myself (and not a client) I no longer do preliminary sketches. But in college I used to first do a sketch on tracing paper, work on it and fix it up then transfer it to Bienfang Graphics 360 marker paper. These days I just use a sketchbook or copy paper I have lying around. If your starting off though I'd suggest using marker paper.

Erin- Wait till the next one, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve! I didn't spill all the beans in the post. ;)

Tiffaney said...

WOW-- you read my mind! I almost emailed you last week with this exact question, and can't thank you enough for sharing this information. Your drawings are absolutely gorgeous and inspiring!

Sierra said...

Just came across your blog land from Absolutely Ladylike's blog and I am in love with your Etsy shop and illustrations! Especially because I love fashion, you are very talented.

I will certainly be back and please pop over my blog land if you are interested in a Perricone giveaway. Have a great day!

Ashley said...

Wow, I use those same watercolor markers by Staedtler and I must say you have incredible talent! I've been drawing my whole life, but never really tried to be a serious artist. So, I feel my art is slightly juvenile and now I am trying to push the envelope and really develop successfully as an artist. I came across your article and it is really helpful to see what tools are best. Thanks!

jeofferson said...

i'm quite envious with all your creations. it's very inspiring. i myself do some fashion illustrations but its just a hobby, no training of some sort. and just looking at your creations, the details and colors, mine would just look so amateur... LOL... hope someday i can create something close to what you've made.