Shine in All Shades: For Women of Many Tones and Many Forms

Shine In All Shades Adult Coloring Book celebrates and uplifts women of color in under-represented shades. Paired with affirmations and quotes by creative leaders, each hand-drawn illustration represents the diverse beauty of women of the African diaspora.

STL SPEX (Joceline): What experience launched your idea to create your first coloring book?

As a young teenager, my beautiful dark Dominican aunt combed my hair and she stopped and shared, “Aye, Vale, your hair is kinky pero (but) it’s better than mine. Soy negra, soy fea.” I’m black, I’m ugly–– she said to me in Spanish. Moments like these inspired me to take my passion for art out of the realm of depression and anxiety into a space for positive healing and empowerment.

STL SPEX: Who do you create for?

To the woman of color that yearns to see herself, her culture, her beauty, her expressive healing in a world that has grown accustomed to hyper-sexualizing us and painting us in one tone, one form… for you, for us, I create.

STL SPEX: Shine in All Shades took almost 3 ½ years to realize; what was the biggest obstacle you encountered, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest obstacle I faced was rushing the journey, which caused heavy anxiety. Initially, selecting powerful quotes + affirmations and drawing diverse women of color was healing, then the vision evolved. Being so eager to share this book, I pressured myself to create faster–to meet unrealistic deadlines. In order to be true to Shine in All Shades‘ intention, I forced myself to take a step back and revisit this self-care-based initiative with a clear mind and a refreshed heart. 

STL SPEX: What is an affirmation you live by?

“We must reject not only the stereotypes that others have of us but also those that we have of ourselves.” – Shirley Chisholm

STL SPEX: Describe the feelings you wish to instill in women of color through your work. 

Queen, sister, goddess, magic woman… you are creativity embodied. As you take the time to honor yourself: remember that self-care is self-love. How you speak to yourself, treat yourself, and celebrate yourself is wellness. May you find peace, love, and celebration in the pages of the Shine in All Shades Coloring Book.

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