Holidays’ Edition: Gift Ideas for Yogi

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Starting this week, and every Thursday until the holidays I will be sharing gift ideas for the people you love. Let us begin with one of my favorite collections: The Afro Yogi Collection. It was inspired after my yoga retreat in Goa India. It features Black Yogi and is meant to promote yoga within the community and normalize black natural hairstyles! Please click on the link below to be redirected to the page!

1. The Wearable

black yoga illustration christmas tshirt
Lotus Position Sweater for the Holidays

2. Laptops, Cups and More

Final Words for this Week

Mix and Match! Get Yourself of someone you care about a bunch of notebooks or a T-shirt with a matching notebook and a cup etc… Please find all the Afro Yogi Goodies on my website (Gift Cards Available – just NOT for the notebooks). Let me know if I can help.

Take care and Happy Holiday Shopping!!!

Seyes: the French-Ruled Notebook (and Your Cursive Handwriting New Bestie)

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Every year or so when I travel to France, I purchase several Clairefontaine French-Ruled notebooks. Unfortunately, I sometimes run out of them before I get the chance to go back, so I had an idea: why not create my own?

But what is French-Ruled Notebook anyway? Storytime…

Seyes Grid, also known as “Grand Carreaux” (large square) and commonly called French-Ruled in English, is the standard lined paper used by students in France. It is as commonly used as college-ruled paper in the USA and consists of an 8mm x 8mm grid, with lighter or thinner horizontal lines spaced 2mm apart inside the main grid. This is how French kids, myself included, were taught how to write.

Seyes Paper – Grand Carreaux – French-Ruled Specialty Paper

For many of us youngsters, this was a painful experience: imagine spending hours writing lines of letters using fountain pens – being judged on our hand dexterity – and graded on our performance… Scarier than Freddie Krueger for some! In elementary school, there was this girl named Laurence – she was so perfect – her clothes always matched her shoes and the bows in her hair. Everything about her screamed excellence. I could have been jealous of all that, but 9-year-old Daphné was really envious of the praises she gets for her cursive handwriting! As much as I was practicing and confident of my own proficiency, I never got more than 13/20 – Bs. It was crushing my little heart…

I kept at it (I did not really have a choice) and today – away from elementary-high school pressure and years of practice – I believe my handwriting has become pretty decent! If I may say so myself!

cursive handwriting on french ruled paper

A few years ago, a friend of mine known online as the Handwriting Artist started posting about her Calligraphy practice. Until then, it never occurred to me that writing cursive was “a thing” until I talked to a few of my American friends and the latter informed me that their kids who were not even required to learn it in school passed a certain grade. I guess things change, and there may be legit reasons for it. I still think that would be something positive to have in your arsenal. In an article published in Trends in Neuroscience and Education, Neuroscientists Karin Harman James and Laura E. Engelhardt link cursive writing to quicker reading acquisition. It is a good enough reason for me to teach it – although I can also understand that sometimes priorities may be elsewhere in the classroom.

My Own Specialty Paper Notebooks

Here are some original cover designs I created for my Seyes notebooks. Composition notebook size 7.5×9.25

Next, I wanted to keep it simple with these square-elegant notebooks with a very minimalistic cover. I played with the colors (8.5×8.5in)

Of course, I do write on college-ruled notebooks but there is something nice for me, a piece of home, in writing on seyes paper. It binds me with part of my French culture.

For more French Paperterie click here. For other notebooks, please click here

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Aesthetically Yours: In Love with Symmetry, Patterns, and Colors!

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Let’s talk about symmetry today – not physical and individual symmetry, but in art, shall we?

The Things We Love

Scientists, along with artists (who are scientists too – don’t get fooled) have demonstrated time and time again that people have a universal aesthetic preference for symmetry. I have always loved patterns and symmetry myself, and I think anyone that knows my art can see these influences.

When I started my artistic practice, I created a couple of Abstract art collections based on symmetry. I call the first one “Chromatic Ecstasy” – the other one “Collection 2”, which I absolutely love.

Chromatic Ecstasy #12
Collection 2 – Mister Cat

Since the beginning of the year, I have been creating other amazing works influenced by it like “Sacredly” and my Larger Scale “Dotted.” paintings, both series inspired by Sacred Geometry (for close-ups, check Sacred Geometry 100 & Sacred Geometry 101)

My Process

Recently, I have been playing with patterns while creating covers for my new notebooks.

I have been using tiny doodle illustrations I have made in 2018 (one of them is my logo, below) and rearranging them into patterns.

My Logo

It is has been hella fun and honestly, I am looking forward to creating more! Here’s an example of what I have done:

After creating on paper then digitizing my art (I have a hard time with the iPad still and am not versed in creating directly on procreate), I arrange them into a symmetrically aesthetic item in illustrator mainly using the Rotate Tool (R), the Reflect Tool (O). I finish by picking colors (at this point, I don’t bother too much with the “right colors”, as I usually end up looking for different palettes) – In the past, I created my pattern manually with eh Move Tool (Shit+Command+M) – but this time I used the “Pattern Tool” from Illustrator. Here’s the result:

It personally reminds me of ornamental Rococo and Baroque designs we used to have at my grandmother’s house when I was a kid. I call it “Modern/Pop Rococo” or Baroque-ish. What do you think? For me, it further confirms my attraction for this type of comeliness.

Here are some I have published on Amazon (paid link). I will continue to create and post all my notebooks on my “Notebook on Amazon” page here.

more in the following months so stay tuned~

Click on the icon to be redirected to the page of your choice (paid links)

7.25×9.5, 120 pages

7.25×9.5, 120 pages

7.25×9.5, 120 pages

7.25×9.5, 120 pages

7.25×9.5, 120 pages

6x9in, 120 Pages

6x9in, 120 Pages

The Power of the Mantra: #iAmEnough

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Pic by Derrel Anthony, Bed Stuy 2015

A few years ago, on this very same blog, I posted a poem called #iAmEnough. I can’t exactly recall how this particular poem came to be, but I know I was challenging the notion of “being put down”. Put down by others, by society, by ourselves – based on others and society’s opinions.

By writing this ode to myself, I was channeling my inner compassion and eventually invoking radical self-love. I have to say it is not always easy to do so. For me, It started by deconstructing years of oppressive thought patterns and judgemental views towards who I was and was supposed to be. This theme of self-acceptance and growth prompted several of the poems I wrote in my first opus published in 2019.

I find it powerful to proclaim “being enough” in a world that strives for perfection and constantly belittles who we are, especially as a woman of color – or any other marginalized group for that matter. Over the years, I came to the conclusion (I am sure many others did) that Shame is the Tool of the Oppressor. This statement helped me more than once to reassess and recalibrate situations I go through on a regular basis. Reframing experiences has been a great way for me to understand myself and others’ behaviors – or at least tried to.

In that sense, #iAmEnough is simply is a way to celebrate yourself – and others, a self-love statement. A mantra to be sung anytime life gives you lemons and you rather have lemonade. So say it after me: I am Enough (and so are you)

Daphné Mia Essiet © All rights reserved.

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That French Girl with a Ukulele: From Hawaii to New York

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daphne essiet with ukulele in uke store

I consider myself to be a “Renaissance Femme” (=woman in French). I create beautiful visual art, write poetry – but I also compose and perform my original songs, and when it comes to my music, I was often asked why I picked up the Ukulele instead of a Guitar. I like to believe that I did not pick up the Ukulele but instead the Ukulele picked me!

I used to travel extensively as part of my corporate job. At first, I was a bit bummed that I could not make music the way I wanted to but when I realize how privileged I was to travel technically “for free”, it soothed me a bit.

Discovering the Ukulele

In December 2015, I ended up spending a week in Hawaii for work. My assistant at the time did not take into consideration that coming from Australia, we would cross the international date line (the imaginary line that runs along the Earth’s surface from the North Pole to the South Pole in the middle of the Pacific Ocean) – and although we boarded our flight on Saturday evening in Sydney – we still arrived there on a Saturday morning in Waikiki airport…

back to the future marty
Non de Zeus!

She also thought we would be tired because of jetlag (we kinda were… a bit), so she did not schedule our first meetings until the following Tuesday. (Yay)

Needless to say, we were THRILLED when we realized this (which was last minute – as we were boarding the flight). I had work reports to write and emails to answer, but you better believe it that despite being tired I knocked it all off during my 10 hours of flight so I could go to the beach and explore the island right away.

One afternoon, I walking around close to the hotel we were staying in, and I stumbled upon a Ukulele Shop that was giving daily free 30-minute classes. I thought to myself: “that would be a fun thing to do” and I decided to take advantage of this opportunity to assiduously attend every one of them and acquaint myself with this new instrument. I ended up going to the classes every day for almost a week.

It was me, in the middle and the Japanese tourists hahaha

Deciding to Get a Ukulele of my Own

When I returned to New York, I decided it would be a great idea to purchase one: it was small and lightweight enough to carry it while on the road – and would be an excellent way to finally arrange all those songs I had been writing over the years.

Since I couldn’t take classes, I started to watch Youtube Videos and learn all the chords and fingering so I could work on my own compositions.

My First Ukulele Performance

In September of 2017, my travel load decreased tremendously. I decided to take this opportunity to register for a poetry class at CCNY and perform poetry for the first time to a live audience on December 6th.

I was excited about my performance, my good friend Tiffany thought I should start singing live again. At the time she was putting together a showcase and asked me to participate. I hadn’t sung publicly since 2015 but I thought “why not”? I agreed without really putting too much thought into it. When she give more details I found out I would be part of a few other acts at this club called Nublu in the Lower East Side of Manhattan my insecurities started to flare up: what if I wasn’t good enough? What if people did not like my songs? Yes, I was spiraling out of control but I had given my word and I could no longer back out at this point.

For the six weeks, I practice like I had never before, prepared in between set transitions material, and even rewrote a few lyrics. I was initially planning on hiring a band, but Tiff insisted I do a solo 30-minute solo set voice + ukulele. I didn’t feel ready, but she was very convincing…

poster of Daphné Essiet show at Nublu New York on January 16th 2018
Poster I had created on Photoshop with pics by Brianna Rizada

On January 16th, 2018 – I had a brief 30-seconds soundcheck then I performed: I was a nerve wreck. Fortunately, thanks to one of my superpowers “being able to fake it big time” nobody seem to notice, (although I was shaking throughout the entire set). Here’s a video of that night. You can see more on my YT Channel

I was terrified…

This first solo show was a proud moment and I promised myself to perform at least once a month from then on – which I did! Over that year, I practiced consistently, trying to book shows around New York as well as in Paris and Flic en Flac (Mauritius) where I was vacationing.

daphne essiet at silvana
pic by Brianna Kilgore
daphne essiet performing in Flic en Flac Mauritius concert
Daphné Essiet at Silvana in New York
Silvana Harlem, pic by Louisa

So What Now?

Before the first locked down, I was really planning on touring: I wanted to put together a set mixing poetry, art, and music in intimate venues and libraries. For now, I am focusing on my other passion and even use music as inspiration for my projects, such as this awesome Ukulele Tab Singer-Songwriter notebook – the one tool I have been looking for but never found to purchase!

I still want to perform and I believe that when the time will be right, things will come together as they should. So Stay tuned ~

in the grass in Central Park

More about me here

Books, TED Talks/Videos, Podcasts, and Youtube Channels I Like

assorted books on shelf
Photo by Element5 Digital on

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I love to learn new things, and the more I do, the more I realize how much there is to learn. It is a bit overwhelming… So I thought, if you are like me, you may like some recommendations, books I read, podcasts I listen to, videos I watch, etc… I find that word of mouth is a great way to discover things I never thought about! I tried to put the link almost everywhere so all you have to do is click!

Books are my first choice when it comes to improving myself. Over the years I have read several ones that I would recommend if you want to put yourself in a very positive mind space (yes I had to go down my Amazon History to remember some of them). Here are a few:

I also love biographies because they teach you about what kind of struggle someone may have been through before becoming who they are – and I find it inspiring. This past month I read Kamal Haussman Time Bomb read Alicia Keys: More Myself and about to read Mariah Carey The Meaning of Mariah Carey. I can also recommend Trevor Noah Born a Crime and Michelle Obama Becoming, just to name a few!

Youtube Channels:

I always loved listening to Ted Talks/Videos; here are some of my favorite:

I also love to listen to podcasts about self-improvement; here are some of my favorite ones:

Finally, I am a great fan of constant learning. Over the year I have found so many resources online from Youtube and to Free University Websites such as MIT or Harvard ranging from all topics  – and the great part is that all of them are FREE!

I also subscribed to Skillshare. For those who do not know, it’s an online learning community with thousands of classes in design, business technology, and more. I love the platform and there are so many tutorials I take on different topics. It is really helpful for me at this point and I thought it was an investment that would serve me. 

Feel free to share your link in the comment section, especially podcasts and vids!

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Alicia Keys Biography + the Pyramids of Giza with a Twist…

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Original Drawing – Gold pen-touch by @sakuraofamerica and Acrylic Paint on 6 ply black paper 28in x 22in

The shape of a pyramid is thought to be representative of the descending rays of the sun, and most pyramids were faced with polished, highly reflective white limestone, in order to give them a brilliant appearance when viewed from a distance. (Wiki)

I’ve drawn the Giza Pyramids last year, during the first lockdown. I don’t know what prompted this, but I felt drawn to do it (pun intended). I had a large black paper and gold paint/pen and execute this drawing in a few days. Someone said the sky reminded them of Van Gogh Starry Night. I can see this – probably unconsciously channeled the masters’ spirit.

As a child, I always wanted to travels: far away pacific islands, Copa Cabana and The US were on the top of my list, and Egypt which was technically so close to me (I grew up in southern France) never was destination that interested me. Even after reading one of my favorite books The Alchemist by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho I never thought of going to Egypt, not completely sure why.

Landing in Mexico City

Fast forward to 2015: I was traveling to Mexico City on business, and one member of my team suggested we go see the pyramids. I feel a bit ashamed to say that I did not even realize there were pyramids in Mexico. I recall Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Ted Talk on The Danger of a Single Story. I imagined Mexico literally the way it is depicted in Arrested Development.

It never occurred to me that Mexico City could resemble European any other way: to my surprise – downtown Mexico City felt much like many European Capitals I had visited, with of course more colors and flavors as well as delicious Mexican street food and delicacies.

On our last day off, my team members and I had the hotel arrange transportation for a last-minute impromptu visit to Teotihuacán. On our way there, one of my friends, said that one of her goals was to visit all the pyramids in the world. I have to say, once again, I was unaware “this was a thing”. I was so grateful to be a part of this journey to the Mexican pyramids, and also to find out new things I could look into as soon as I would get the chance to!

This was such an amazing experience, and I will be forever grateful I had the privilege to see it for myself. It also sparked an interest for these amazing structures built centuries ago.

A few weeks ago I read singer-songwriter Alicia Keys’ autobiography. I absolutely love to learn about people’s stories. From Maya Angelou to Trevor Noah, Tiffany Haddish, or Kamal Haussman, I find inspiration to retrace the steps one took in the quest their Personal Legend. It tends to make me reflect on my own life and gives me the courage to keep on working on my projects.

This particular biography also made me revisit the repertoire of a great artist, this time with the “how” it all came to be.

alicia keys biography book cover
Alicia Keys Biography is AMAZING and sooooo INSPIRING

In this book, she talks about how Egypt, a country she went to several times and found spirituality – impacted the way she relates to the world.

It did spark something in me that makes me want to find out more about the ancient Egyptians, the Kemet. Hopefully, one day I will finally make the trip and see it for myself.

Meanwhile, I will keep at contemplating at my Giza Pyramids.

daphne essiet holding her drawing of the pyramids
This is how it would look in your living room – Mockup by Saatchi

Find the complete collection here

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Reflecting on The Afropean-Self: How Moving to New York Allowed me to Emancipate Myself from Expectations

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Michele Obama wrote “Becoming” and Alicia Keys “More Myself”, and over the years women of all ages and life paths have been uncovering their genuine selves. It is a sentiment I am myself familiar with and have been seeking for a long time: a quest for authenticity.

I often tell people that moving to New York allowed me to emancipate myself from the strong societal pressure and expectations I was feeling in France. Not that France is a bad place to live, but it was not an environment for me to thrive at the time. I did feel silenced and expected to be someone I was not. Of course, it took a long time to even realize how significant and life-altering this move had been, how the cultural shift impacted how I showed up in the world: moving to New York allowed me to distance myself from who I thought I should be and procure me a safe space to explore who I truly was and why: how infinite possibilities could be.

At this point of my life, I feel more “aware” even tho I know there is still a lot of work to do: I am still figuring this out and struggling to “undo” all the programming that has been done to me. Letting go of self-criticism and judgment is the hardest part – as well as forgiving yourself. One day at a time. It is a daily hustle and a mindf* – mainly because I want to remember how much I have accomplished and overcome without letting my trauma pull me to the past and prevent me from being present and/or planning for the future. It is a balancing act for sure.

Six years ago, in 2015 I wrote a poem titled “#MergingIntoMyself”. I can frankly say this is one of my favorite poems from my poetry book. Although I have come a long way, I am still on the path of improving myself, healing my ego, and building my legacy.

I am sure I am one of many going through this journey of self-improvement and for that reason, I thought created a series of notebooks and gratitude journals, titled “Shine Bright”. These journals come in two different illustrations I created years ago and at the back of the cover, you will find a poem I wrote. That is how one of them look:


For more notebooks, scroll down (paid links)!

Hear it in my voice:

Reciting my Poem “Merging Into Myself”

I long to be Free.
Free from my fears.

Free from the imaginary boundaries I inflicted mySelf.
I long to be mySelf.
The woman I’ve always meant to be

Phenomenal woman, that’s Me.

The one who will own her flaws and recognize them as the most enticing part of who she is.

The one who will appreciate them the way they deserve to be.

I long to be aware.
Aware of Reality

Fully aware of the Love I’ve been the recipient of all along.

That Love that has been kept away from my heart by the fear of being rejected.

Every day, I look at mySelf.
Every day, I’m one step closer.
Every day, I am grateful for the joys and the pains and the hardships I’ve been subjected to.

I’m emerging and


Poem originally posted on this very same blog.

Excerpt from my poetry book On Love and Lust and Everything in Between.

Do You Like Notebooks or People Who do?

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“Write it on real paper with a real pencil and watch shit get real” Erykah Badu

I have always loved to write on paper. There is something special about using a pen and documenting your thoughts and feelings, at least for me. I do not do it daily, but I have dozens of pads around the house, and probably in my storage, filled with how I felt at some point or another.

Photo by Pixabay on

When I started to create my illustrations a couple of years ago, this was one of the first things I wanted to make: notebooks featuring my art. At the time, I looked for months into suppliers: unfortunately, I neither had the funds nor the space to store the eventual purchase of dozen of notebooks. Plus, I already had so many different ideas, that I could not pick one… I put that idea aside for the time being.

A few months back, I was watching TikTok videos (of all places) and realized that I could create that type of product with Amazon as a supplier. I was already familiar with the platform because this is where I self-published my first paperback poetry book back in 2018 titled On Love, and Lust, and Everything in Between – 123 written pages where I poured my heart out in 3 acts, + essays (I am very proud of my baby).

Here is a little video one video I produced of one of my poems:


By the time I find out about this new opportunity, I got extremely excited about it. My first project was actually a Ukulele Notebook for singer-songwriters. On top of writing poetry, I also write, compose and perform my original songs (check them out on my Youtube). In the past, I used regular notebooks with on one side my lyrics and another page the chords, but I always thought it would be kinda neat to find a product with all the features I was looking for: so I did it!

I also wanted to work on a regular notebook, so I used my Afro Yogi illustrations for the cover and created the inside with blank lines.

I have to say, the first samples I ordered were not the best: it took more research and trips to Target and Marshall’s for “inspiration”, but I finally created a product that I love and am proud of.

I always try to feature my logo on the cover and a few times within the notebook, as well as my information in case someone gets gifted one of my beautiful cahiers and wants more! Some of these notebooks also feature poems from my poetry book

Over the months, I have added diary, logbooks, manuscript papers notebooks, gratitude journals, and 52-weeks planners.

I have almost 100 paper goods at this time categorized in different collections, and that is why I really wanted to create a guide so if you decide to purchase them – maybe for the approaching holiday season (is it ever too early to start Christmas shopping?), you know where to go. *Click on the collection name in order to be directed to the collection page and click on the other links for additional information on the products in the description.

The Grace Jones Collection: I start with this one because this is the BESTSELLER – Obvi… There are 3 formats, please check for details by clicking on the page.

Grace Jones illustration

The Afro Yogi Collection: A collection of diary, yoga logs & gratitude journal. Features Black Yogi and is meant to promote yoga within the community + normalize black natural hairstyles

Musicians Collection: Manuscript paper notebooks and fret notebooks featuring illustrations of instruments, musicians, and instrumentalists.

Afro Fairies Collection: Created to promote a healthy and broader representation of Black and Brown children through imaginative and magical characters. (Sketchbook, Primary Notebook – to learn how to write, and college-ruled notebooks)

French Papeterie: French ruled or Séyès paper is the standard lined paper used by students in France, as commonly used as college-ruled paper in the USA. French-ruled paper consists of an 8mm x 8mm grid, with lighter or thinner horizontal lines spaced 2mm apart inside the main grid. Great for those who would like to improve their handwriting, French ruled paper, or Seyes ruled paper, could be something to help you out. Use this ruled paper to practice handwriting skills. Become more proficient at letter formations, size, and spacing.

Afro Dancer Collection: features Black dancers wearing large afro celebrating Black hair in all its glory and is meant to normalize black hairstyle in all its form.

CROWNED Collection:Celebrating Girls & Women of Color One Illustration at a Time“. Created in honor of Women History Month and the CROWN Act passing in California in 2020. It features figurative drawings of black women with different hairstyles.

Please check my Notebook on Amazon Page for More and Updates

For those who live outside of the US, please follow those links to avoid paying shipping fees:

Canada click here
France click here
UK click here
Japan click here

Other countries, holla in the comments!

Thank you for your patience and feel free to leave a comment should you have any questions ❤

Daphné Mia Essiet © All rights reserved.

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On Texturism: Bodacious Mane, Big Hair Don’t Care

“What we need right now is more women who have detoxed themselves so completely from the world’s expectations that they are full of nothing but themselves. What we need are women who are full of themselves. A woman who is full of herself knows and trusts herself enough to say and do what must be done. She lets the rest burn.”

Glennon Doyle, Untamed

I am so grateful for the abundance of vocabulary I have learnt over the years so to articulate the way I feel.

Lately, I have been thinking about “texturism” and how it has been impacting women’s lives, how it historically has affected how others may have treated and behaved around you.

According to an article i read in @naturallycurly – “texturism”, as the name implies, is the idea that your hair texture is an inherent indicator of your overall superiority.”

Hair is the thing I have been the most conscious about growing up, mainly because all the remarks I heard about my own + nobody knowing how to deal with it around me.

the 80s

That is one of the reasons why hair has an important place in my practice, from the Afro Fairy collection, to the CROWNED or again the Afro Dancers.

This bodacious mane collection is another way for me to cope and finally celebrate the type of hair I wished I had seen more represented growing up.

I’m spoiling my inner child with the images I didn’t know I craved.

Hope you enjoy ❤

Find the complete collection here

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Don’t Miss a Beat Jazz Festival in Jacksonville Florida Contest – A Process

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A few months ago I participated in a contest to design an inaugural poster for the Don’t Miss a Beat Jazz Festival in Jacksonville Florida, happening this upcoming July 24th, 2021.

It was one of my first time creating with very specific directives, and I found it fun to do so! I wanted to celebrate women’s contribution in Jazz and that is why drew a lady playing trumpet.

My inspiration is drawn from different places. Fist, her pose is a “clin d’oeil” to Miles Davis’ iconic pose, the background was inspired by the Jacksonville flag, and her hair is the shape of the city borders:

I started by sketching my ideas on my notepad as such than retraced it on my ipad.

drawing of a woman playing the trumpet
I started to sketch my drawing in my notebook

Here’s a little Timelapse video of retracing my idea on my iPad:

Timelapse of the drawing

Eventually I recreated everything in Adobe Illustrator. Here’s my final take on the design! What do you think?

contestant poster of don't miss a beat jazz festival

Although my design was not selected, I wanted to share it and explain my creative process.

Congratulations to local visual artist Carolyn Audije for winning the contest. I had much fun participating.

Daphné Mia Essiet © All rights reserved.

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On Dancing: How Representation Can Encourage Younster to Turn to Dance

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illustration of a woman with an afro dancing with caption "Life is Better when you Dance"
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Representation matters.

When I was about 4-5 years old I was taken to a dance class in my neighborhood. I honestly can’t recall specifically what happened that day but I knew I did not feel like I belonged. I never set foot in this class ever again.

Fast forward years later when I moved to New York, I was often asked if I was a dancer. Maybe it was because of my posture (which I got from walking on a 10cm beam in artistic gymnastics). I honestly thought people were joking around; after all, I looked nothing like the girls I had seen all my life on the cover of Martine et Les Petit Rats de l’Opera, or even the girls from Dirty Dancing.

My legs were muscular a bit like one of my idols, Surya Bonali, but oh boy! do I remember how people used to talk about hers…

Bonaly constantly faced negativity from judges as she did not fit into their norm. Being black did not correlate with their idea of being graceful as characterized by the white feminine body. This clearly demonstrates that the dominant white culture determines who is and is not allowed to be exceptional and that definitions of what is acceptable behavior can change based on who is performing it “(Jackson, 1999).

The way I perceived myself through the eyes of society prevented me from even considering classical dance as an option. I still loved to dance and even created a couple routines for school. In the early ’90s, American Hip Hop pertained to the French media and I thought, maybe I could try that – this may be more “for people like me”.

It took many years and growth to overcome these stereotypes and feel comfortable showing my legs! But I felt a bit cheated that I was never encouraged to pursue the practice of dance.

Of course, dancers such as Debbie Allen and later Misty Copeland paved the way for a newer generation of classical dancers, and dance companies such as Alvin American Dance Theater pioneered Black Excellence, but I never saw them as a kid.

That is specifically the reason why I was inspired to create a series of Groovy Afro Dancers: Just because #RepresentationMatters – and I hope that young and not so younger girls will recognize themselves in them!

More Afro Dancers here and here

*Jackson, R. L. (1999). White space, white privilege: Mapping discursive inquiry into the self. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 85(1), 38-54. DOI: 10.1080/00335639909384240

Dotted Symmetry 101

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There is nothing more satisfying than completing a painting you’ve been working on for countless hours over several days!

I have just recently started to work on larger canvases and I it is a bit challenging:

Well for starter, it obviously takes way longer to paint it. One section at the time, dot by dot, it is a work in progress.

Secondly, you need more space and be mindful to let the paint dry in between section (acrylic dries pretty fast) so it does not smudge.

Finally, it just takes time to see the final result – but it is all worth it tho.

For this piece, I used Golden Fluid Paint I mainly purchased at one of my favorite store: Blick Art Supply Store.

For that type of project I always love to use a matte background and satin or metallic paint. I draw the pattern then I picked the colors as I go, which is one of the most interesting part.

Then, come the execution! Overall, it takes around 1 week from start to finish. In the future I will try to create some videos of the process, in the meantime, enjoy some close up shots 🙂

Acrylic on Canvas, 24x30in, available on Saatchi

close up of dotted fine art painting
close up of dotted fine art painting
close up of dotted fine art painting

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Afro Fairies Mural

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Almost a year ago I was commissioned to create a mural! Just wanted to share with you these picture ❤ This was my first time and it was much fun! It later inspired my notebook collection of Afro Fairies!


Here is my Instagra

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Celebrating Black Francophone Women, from the Caribbean, Africa and France – Part1

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In America, we often celebrate icons such as Toni Morrison, Dr Maya Angelou, Oprah or Angela Davis.

I feel like there is real a lack of Africans, Caribbean and Afropeans women depicted in art, so I decided to create some pieces featuring black and brown women I learnt about over the year, some in school in the USA, on French TV, or simply social media.

Do you recognize/know any of them?

Christiane Taubira

Christiane Taubira is a writer and French politician, who served as Minister of Justice of France in the government of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault under President François Hollande from 2012 until 2016. She was a member of the National Assembly of France for French Guiana (1993-2012) and of the European Parliament (1994-1999).

Maryse Condé

Maryse Condé is a French novelist, critic, and playwright from the French Overseas department and region of Guadeloupe. Condé is best known for her novel Ségou. Her novels explore the African diaspora that resulted from slavery and colonialism in the Caribbean.

Cameroonian author Calixthe Béyala

Calixthe Beyala is a Cameroonian author and member of the Eton people. She published her first book, “C’est le soleil qui m’a brûlée”, at the age of 23 and eventually chose to become a full-time writer.

Cameroonian author and vocalist Léonora Miano

Léonora Miano is a Cameroonian author and vocalist. She published her first novel, Dark Heart of the Night, which was well received by French critics, receiving six prizes: Les Lauriers Verts de la Forêt des Livres, Révélation (2005), the Louis Guilloux prize (2006), the Prix du Premier Roman de Femme (2006), the René-Fallet prize (2006), the Bernard-Palissy prize (2006),and the Cameroonian Excellence prize (2007). The Lire magazine awarded it with the title of the best first French novel in 2005. Her second novel, Contours du jour qui vient, received the Goncourt des lycéens prize, which was discerned by a jury of young high schoolers between the ages of 15 and 18.

Rokhaya Diallo

Rokhaya Diallo, is a French journalist, author, filmmaker, and activist for racial, gender and religious equality. According to The New York Times, she is “one of France’s most prominent anti-racism activists.” She is a BET-France host and has produced and/or directed documentaries, television and radio programs.

Assa Traore

Assa Traoré is a French activist and leader of the Committee for Justice and Truth for Adama. She became the Face of France’s Movement for Racial Justice after her brother, Adama Traoré, died in police custody. 

Maboula Soumahoro

Dr. Maboula Soumahoro is a French scholar whose work focuses on US and African-American studies. Since 2013, she is also the president of the Black History Month (BHM), an organization dedicated to the celebration of Black history and cultures throughout the world. Dr. Soumahoro is the author of Le Triangle et l’Hexagone, réflexions sur une identité noire (Black is the Journey, Africana the Name, La Découverte).

Noémi Lenoir

Noémie Lenoir is a French model and actress. She is known for her work with Gucci, L’Oréal, Next, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria’s Secret, Balmain Paris Hair Couture, and Marks and Spencer. She has been featured in a line-up of the world’s most successful black models by photographer Annie Leibovitz

All art created by me

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Fine Art Close Up: Dotted Symmetry 100

I am super excited to share this new piece with the community!

Some New Fine Art Painting

The large canvas (24x30in) was quite daunting at first, but the process became my main focus. I never really plan what I am going to draw beforehand, just that I would use a grey background (it wasn’t even the gray I was planning on using haha). Then I picked up my ruler and compass and let my imagination run wild.

Every single dot shares similar traits: they are even and have a nicely rounded shape; however, they each carry their own “DNA” which makes them unique!

I love the result and I am looking forward to creating even more geometrical pieces like this one. I totally can see those in an art gallery, a museum, or your beautiful home! Meanwhile, it is in my home 😉

I called it: Dotted Symmetry 100

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Exciting News: I am Making Notebooks

The Amazing Grace collection features a digitized painting of Daphné Mia Essiet inspired is inspired by Jamaican model, singer, songwriter, record producer and actress Grace Jones.


I have always loved paper goods, and particularly notebooks, diaries, and planners. I have been wanting to create some new  I had the opportunity to create some featuring my own illustrations, which are now available on Amazon (and with prime shipping)

Please check my entire catalog here

There are over 60 models, so check them out! Here are some of the categories:


The Musician collection includes 8.5in x 11 (US Letter) manuscript paper notebooks, fret notebook and more and features illustrations musicians /and or instruments.

Check out the collection here

Afro Dancers

list of new notebooks by Daphné Essiet on Amazon Prime
The Afro Dancers Collection feature beautiful dancers wearing large afro celebrating Black hair in its entire glory and meant to normalize black hairstyles in all its form.

Check out the collection here

Afro Fairies

The Afro Fairy Collection includes colorful composition books featuring illustrations of Black fairiesThese are perfect for school notes for children ages 6 through 10 or older.

Check out the collection here

Golden Ladies

The CROWNED: Golden Ladies Collection was created in honor of Women History Month and the CROWN act passing in California in 2020. It features figurative drawings of black women with different hairstyles

Check out the collection here


The Birdies Collection includes featuring colorful birds illustrations for kids and grownup.

Check out the collection here

French Papeterie

“Mon Joli Cahier” is a line of notebooks featuring French-Ruled “Grand Carreaux” paper pages as well asFrench-Ruled “Petit Carreaux” paper pages.

Check out the collection here

Again, check out the full catalog here

If This Was Up To Me

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If this was up to me, I’d spend my life in school. When I say “if this was up to me” I mean if I had the financial means to do so. I have been “visualizing it” and “calling it into existence” – probably not hard enough or too many people are doing the same and I just have to be patient…

I dream about money coming out of “nowhere”, meeting a generous billionaire who wants to facilitate someone else’s life: mine!

All I want is a house, my own house – two stories with a well-lit attic (cause you know I don’t like food smell in my bedroom and I be cooking) – may be close to a lake (like in that last “This Is Us” episode) with a beautiful kitchen with a gas stove – where I can host dinners for my family and friends, a place where they can come spend some time away, a peaceful place – close to nature.

I want a car, doesn’t have to be new – just have to be reliable, with a large trunk and good on gas so I can take road trips if I want to, or get large canvases to my house when I need to.

I want to be debt-free and have enough extra cash to take some leisure trips if I want to or visit my people in France and if someone needs I can give some of that € away.

Also, have access to higher education so I can get the help I want to craft and edit my book.

I want free+great healthcare so I can do my yearly checkups and tune-ups when I need to. That’s all – if this was up to me…

In the meantime, my Venmo is: @daphneessiet

On Frank Ocean “Thinkin Bout You”

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channel ORANGE released on July 10, 2012

The Strings – the Vibe – the beat.

Because “longing” is probably one of the most inspiring topics one can write about. The turmoil of wondering is proportional the indifference given by the object of desire… isn’t it something we can collectively feel in our bones and relate to?

what bout you? : Do you think bout me still, or do you not think so far ahead – cause I been thinkin’ ’bout forever…

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Abstract is my Art: a Poem

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fine art abstract painting in gold and white
Elated Strokes # 309, by Daphné Mia Essiet

Abstract is my Art

It all started with
The grainy sound of
A fine tip pen on construction paper.

It reminded me of
When as a child
I would write with my fountain pen on a blotting paper.

In chaotic times,
drawing the lines
brings me solace.

Abstract is my Art
I mimic life’s intricacy
Yet keep it simple,
It reminds me of myself.
It soothes my soul,
My healing process.

People expect my work to reflect
Experiences of
racism or
sexism or

Yes, it can be challenging
to find peace
In a world you
don’t always feel
like you belong.

From the lack of representation
To micro-agressions
And assaults
The trauma we indure
Serves to normalize oppression
Yet we survi-
val mode
Leads to chronic stress

Headaches, brain tumors
& Alzheimer
No wonder women suffer
twice as much
from depression.

In chaotic times,
drawing the lines
brings me solace.

And activates
My parasympathetic nervous system
Countering the fight or flight
By a world
You don’t always feel
like you belong.

People expect my work to reflect
Experiences of
racism or
sexism or

I give myself a break
And meditate
Combatting my depletion
By Self-consideration

Abstract is my Art
Not to ingratiate myself,
I just allow my hands
To let themselves wander.

Tomorrow, I’ll draw birds,
Or faceless brown bods

Still today
I’ll mimic life’s intricacy
And keep it simple
Cause it reminds me of myself.
It soothes my soul,
My healing process.

It all started with
The grainy sound of
A fine tip pen on construction paper.

Daphné Mia Essiet © All rights reserved.

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