Creativity & the Importance of Changing It Up



(Olivia Palermo inspired Fashion Illustration by Brooke Hagel) 
I'm so excited about these new sketches, especially this first one shown above. Lately I've felt stuck in a creative rut. I've been digging out some old tools and trying new things but nothing was doing the trick or "clicking." I revisited illustrating in charcoal and conte crayon, and playing around with fine point pens but that just didn't do it. A few weeks ago I dug out my watercolors in hopes that some paint would invigorate me and freshen up my illustrations, and although I had some fun and came up with a few [Golden Globe inspired] fashion illustrations, it just isn't for me at this time. After accidentally shattering the glass I used to clean brushes all over my glass desk, which then splintered into a million little shards and cut me up to the point where for two weeks it looked like I had been attacked by a cat, I decided to put the paints away. The accident also destroyed a client project I had to then redo, but luckily it just missed my new Macbook! So major crisis averted there.
A week or two ago I finally had a wave of creativity by delving into a new medium, black craft papers with white. I'm not sure if it was brought on by a stack of colored card stock paper that happened to be sitting beside me (waiting to be organized in the revolving mess that is my home office) or that I happened to be on Anthologys website that morning looking at the art of chalkboard artist Dana Tanamachi, but I decided to grab a sheet of black paper, pull up my "She's a Sketch" Pinterest board and try out a sketch in all white. Well one sketch quickly turned into three (shown above taped to my wall) and was hooked! They'd be too costly in printer ink with the full black background to make and sell prints of for my Etsy bridal shop but I'm just thrilled to be excited by drawing again and these high contrast brides were the first step in a developing my new illustrations and new style that I'm so loving now.
After black I decided to try out some of the silver, gray and tan papers as well. I also added more tools to the illustrations to try out different effects. I started with only white pencil and white charcoal but have now added black sharpies, Copics, opaque white markers and colored Prismacolor pencils. I'm so excited and invigorated by these new sketches. I happen to be traveling but I'm eager to try printing these once I'm back in my studio and seeing if I can easily reproduce them and make prints for Brooklit. I especially like the illustrations on the tan craft paper, both in the final resulting look of them and the process of creating them. It feels great to be excited about sketching again.
Honestly its a challenge to stay creative and passionate when your passion becomes a business, and clients want a specific style or look and it can feel really stale and uninspiring. Even though I'm a person who tends to resist change I'm learning that its important to change it up from time to time and try new things, especially in my artwork. In this case it was finding a new medium that's exciting me and livened up my work but it could be any change. A change of scenery, or maybe enrolling in a class and trying new techniques or sketching from models instead of images on paper, a screen or your imagination.

Thank you for all the encouragement. Working solo without a team around you is sometimes tough but every time I tweetedInstagramed (@Brooklit) or texted something I was working on, I received such wonderful feedback and encouragement. I can't wait to continue playing with these new tools and techiniques and see where it takes me.

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Julie DiGiovine said...

Brooke! These are stunning!

Congrats on your beautiful work... so inspiring!

XO

Julie
TheStylishOne.Tumblr.com

Briel said...

I love these, especially the one on the gray paper with the bun! So cute!

Brooke said...

Thank you ladies!!

Toni said...

Fantastic!!! Loving the drawings on tan paper... Well done & thanks for sharing on changing it up...

jason said...

Wow-- I absolutely love the new style! I know how hard it can be when your passion is your business--especially when you're so busy! I find myself in a style rut from time to time, and I love the suggestions for changing it up--been thinking of taking a class or trying something new for a while now-- thank you so much for posting this!

Brooke said...

@Jason, you're so welcome and I'm glad I could encourage you. I've been thinking of taking a class or two as well. Sometimes you just really need to mix it up. . . . Wow, so this is funny, as I typed that a commercial came on teh tv for an art school saying "find what inspires you"! Seems like the universe is with us on this one.