Andrea Pippins is a an illustrator, graphic designer, author and one of the most talented creatives I know. We met about 10 years ago at a creative meetup lunch that she organized that also introduced me to a few other amazingly talented women I now call friends. Andrea has since relocated to Sweden and last week she took some time chatting with me about self care, empowering women, and her new book “Becoming Me: A Work in Progress: Color, Journal & Brainstorm Your Way to a Creative Life.”
What are your Noire Care practices: Making time for journaling is mandatory in my life, its a safe space where I can say whatever I want and pour out what’s happening. It feeds my soul. Journaling, lighting a candle, lighting some incense and drinking tea restore me. While in Baltimore I used to walk by the water and that was a form of meditation for me. Incorporating those elements in my daily life as often as possible is how I get away from the chaos of my daily life.
Did you grow up witnessing your mom practicing self- care? No I didn’t. My mom was always working and I definitely took that on into my life. I started working at 12. I never questioned it, you work. I had to figure it out on my own.
I’ve learned It’s so easy to get distracted from what you’re suppose to be doing and you can’t look at other people and say oh I need to be doing that because it’s so different from your own path.
What are some things that you would want your nieces, goddaughters, future daughters to pick up about self- care from you? The most important thing I would want to pass along to her is to define what self care is for her specifically. It is different for everyone so she would have to make time to try different things. Try relaxing, traveling, sitting down to read a book and making sure what she enjoys becomes a part of her lifestyle. I thought for a long time I had to do yoga and I have to love yoga and thats the only way to feel relaxed and centered. I don’t love yoga (laughs). I had to figure that out and give my self permission to say yoga is just ok to me.
How do your self- care practices inform your creativity? My practices create the energy I want to put out into the word and my work reflects that. I try to only take on projects that invigorate me, get me excited and relate to my core values.
What would you tell a fellow business owner who says she doesn’t have time to make time for herself? I’ve learned that you make time for things that are important to you and that you care for. There is always time. If you take care of yourself you are not selfish you are self-full. Take 5 minutes, 10 minutes of your day even if you simply ask yourself “how am I feeling? am I ok?”
I created the book for little Andrea who was so hungry for resources and things related to art especially from other women of color.
Was getting up an moving a radical act of self -care? Yes. It was scary. My first book had just come out and
I wondered if it would change the trajectory of my career. I knew it could but it could also change it for the better and give me the ability to expand on an international scale. Then I started to question why am I only thinking about my career, I had to think about all aspects of my life and realized this is an opportunity for me to travel, try something new and follow my heart and experience a new place. I said Yes to myself and said I would give it a try.
How would you tell a young person its ok to say yes to themselves? I want young people to see life as a journey and not as an end goal. I want you to be able to look over your life and say yes I did all of these amazing and it be their definition of amazing. I want young people to have permission to design their life and not follow your parents or cultural norms for what your life should be. Understand that there are no rules.
Your first book was the amazing coloring book “I Love My Hair.” This book is more than coloring, how did this book come about? My publisher and I were trying to figure out what my next book would look like and I knew I didn’t want to do another coloring book. It is really important for me to create spaces for young women and girls to express themselves. So we decided to create something with advice, exercises, tips and quotes that girls can go to and write, draw and color to find different ways to express themselves.
What is your favorite page or section of your book? There is a Frida Kahlo quote that I love. There are also quotes from Maya Angelou, Mindy Kailing, and Whoopi Goldberg that are my favorites. I tried to find and share quotes from women of color.
There is also a section in the book dedicated to studying art and interpreting what you see. I wanted to provide simple steps for looking at art, the book is for 12 and up so easy for teens to get. I wish I had that as a teenage girl. I created the book for little Andrea who was so hungry for resources and things related to art especially from other women of color. There is another spread called my favorite artists and designers, its a fun way to share artist who inspired me while teaching young people about artists they may not be familiar with, people that aren’t often celebrated in the the mainstream world of art.
“Becoming Me: A Work in Progress: Color, Journal & Brainstorm Your Way to a Creative Life.”comes out tomorrow October 11. You can pre-order here.
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Featured image photo credit Danielle-Finney