This past February month, in honor of Black History Month 2022, visual artist Vashti Harrison initiated a Black Hairstyle Illustration Challenge on Instagram #28DaysOfBlackHair – to celebrate Black Hair’s beauty and versatility. I decided to participate (although haven’t completed all entries)
The Idea: Black Girl Illustration
Initially, I created this girl character for a children’s book I would like to develop. I came across the online challenge and thought this would be a great incentive for me to be consistent in my process and a way to come up with different ideas.
In the Black community, hair has always been a way of expressing oneself. In the past years, the natural hair movement has reached mainstream media and more people have become more familiar with it and aware of some of the challenges we have been facing in terms of fascination and discrimination.
I believe that representation matters and because of my personal history, I have always enjoyed and felt compelled to work on art that showcases Black hair.
The Process of Creating the Character
I worked in both Procreate and Illustrator. Because I had already created a multitude of facial expressions for this character, I would focus on the hair, poses, and outfits on the day to day basis.
Once I was done researching and drawing in Procreate, I would export the black and white outline as a PNG in order to digitize it as a “Black and White Logo” vector in Illustrator. Once this was completed, it would be time to “assemble” the hair of the day with the body/outfit, make some adjustments (resize, redraw some things), then expand its appearance and add colors and patterns for a final look.
Finally, I would add the hairstyle using the same font each day (Epicursive Script) and export it to post it on Instagram.
I was also able to repurpose some of my previous work for this project. For instance, I used my Afropop patterns on some of the outfits (I used them on the cover of the notebooks I created for Amazon as well as my interior design collection from my website)
Last Words on 28 days Challenge
This was a fun project, and I plan on completing all the remaining entries at some point as it will not only give me a lot of practice but also a multitude of character poses to choose from!
Stay tuned for upcoming projects!