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I Love My Hair!

Written by in Books, Color & Texture, Create

’Fro Real:
Braids, Coils, Doodles Dos, and Puffs.

Andrea Pippins’ eclectic, and joyous new coloring book
celebrates the natural beauty of the afro.
But the book has a more important message:
Embrace your own identity. Celebrate who you are.

pippins collage

For years, Andrea Pippins’ embrace of her natural locks has demonstrated to her friends and admirers that the natural afro is the way to go. Fun, frilly, doodles, and intricate coils blended into words in funky letters are the key ingredients to this joyful celebration of individuality her new coloring book. The book is a concept that has been marinating in her mind for many years. It is much more than your off-the-shelf doodle book: It delivers a visual and powerful statement about why women of color should embrace their identity by celebrating those things that make them unique.

Pippins’ idea for this book began while working on her MFA graphic design thesis at Temple University. “Our thesis topic was Social Awareness,” she recalls. “This inspired me to focus on the revival of the natural hair movement at the time. I was intrigued by the black beauty industry and the amount of money black women worldwide spend on hair care. My book grew from this fascination and my research into the subject.”

At that moment, Pippins had been natural for seven years, and she loved it. She wondered how the hair products industry would change if more black women embraced their natural coils and went natural as well. How would product makers respond to demand? How would they market natural beauty to African American women? How would that affect the perception of African American women and afro wearers everywhere?

Pippins began to explore these questions visually, and soon after, elements of her work became art prints and T-shirts that she made available on her website. There were many buyers. Random House published the coloring book  I Love My Hair this past November.

afro-puffs

One of Pippens’ favorite spreads in the book is afro puffs, shown above, as she works on it.

The book features not only different hair styles, but inspirational quotes and words, as well as flora and other feminine objects. The designer believes the books can inspire other young black women to embrace their natural beauty by letting their hair spring and coil and do what it does naturally. Since the release of I Love My Hair, Pippins has been on a whirlwind schedule promoting the book, but she says that one of the best things is the feedback she’s getting from women around the world. “A woman I met recently told me that her daughter was excited to see that the author of this coloring book has ‘hair like mine,’” she says. That observation gives her hope that her message of embracing one’s ethnicity and distinction is reaching younger audiences.

flower-in-hair

Pippins’ ideas and work are widely followed on her blog, Fly, a popular venue that explores creative expression and personal style with examples of fashion, illustration, pattern, and other visual elements that catch her eye. Fly is also a generous showcase for the work of other artists. Her day job is teaching at Maryland Institute of College of Art (MICA), but she wears many hats.  She serves as an independent creative consultant and designer for Free People, Nickelodeon, WGSN, and other clients, and was recognized as Dell’s 100 Most Inspiring People a few years back.

To Andrea Pippins, we say, “You go Fly Girl! Keep on inspiring us to value the real and natural over the artificial and cosmetic.”

6a00d834515c9769e201b8d1838553970c-500wi

Pippins loves seeing the finished, colored pages from readers. She encourages them to post their
masterpieces to Instagram @IHeartMyHair.
  1. 01
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    7:29pm
    MS said:

    Loved this!! Thanks for showcasing this book, which I will be purchasing.

  2. 01
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    11:19am
    Kelli said:

    Awesome, several of my friends and I have begun coloring again….this will be a great one to have in our book collection