Why you should care
Because who doesn’t love hair and coloring?
The adult coloring book trend shows no sign of slowing, with numerous offerings topping best-seller lists and psychologists touting the mental health and relaxation benefits they offer. But there’s a new breed of coloring books that cater to more diverse markets and let people of all races doodle on drawings they relate to. And one artist is using a natural, everyday theme as the basis for her artistic expression: natural hair.
I Love My Hair: A Coloring Book of Braids, Coils, and Doodle Dos is an 84-page extravaganza of delicately inked designs intended to celebrate women’s diversity and beauty by celebrating their dos. The book showcases everyday hairstyles and accessories in an extraordinary way, with daily chores like hair drying and styling depicted in beautiful pen drawings that will have you reaching for those Crayolas. And regardless of when it was you last picked up a crayon, there’s something for everyone — from complex French braids to clinking beads, from Mohawks to Marie Antoinette’s pouf. Intricate hairstyles are transformed into multifaceted wonderlands, with swirls and bows merging together into unique art pieces.
There are also drawings of Indian bridal braids and hijabs.
Capturing hair is a “fun way to document what I’m seeing or thinking,” says illustrator Andrea Pippins. The coloring book, which costs $11.99, was released on November 10, 2015. Natural hair is the recurring theme, and there is a focus on black hair, which Pippins — who wanted to create artwork that reflected her community — has found absent in the art world. There are also drawings of Indian bridal braids and hijabs, because Pippins says it was important for her to include women who cover their hair, whatever their reasons.
The book’s main message is acceptance, something she practices through her professorship at the Maryland Institute College of Art and her blog, FlyGirls, which focuses on female self-empowerment and provides tips for achieving one’s artistic potential. She’s hopeful that the #naturalhair social media movement will allow all women to achieve self-acceptance and embrace what they have, “loving it regardless of what anyone else thinks.” Yes, you can do this solo, but who doesn’t love a little help?
Natural Hair Rules blogger Tamara L. Floyd says she’s pleased that times are changing and that there are now books in which “girls of color are honored and adorned” — a far cry from her experiences growing up in the ’80s. And Tallulah “Lulu” Marcelin, founder of Los Angeles natural-hair salon I Love Lulu Hair Spa, believes coloring books can help change the perception of natural hair, as it’s therapeutic for girls to see “mirrors of themselves in society.” But Marcelin warns that books alone aren’t enough; the only way to accept natural hair is to wear it in all walks of life, including the home and the workplace.
And with celebrities like Jada Pinkett Smith and Lupita Nyong’o rocking natural style on the red carpet, we’re one step closer to all girls being able to own it. #Bighairdontcare