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!

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