Unicia R. Buster is a creative force and author of “Finding Your Picasso”, “Coloring Curls” and “U.N.I.C.I.A.: The Unique, Natural, Idealistic, Celebrated, Illustrious Art of African-American Hair”. Check out her website here!
What’s great about Unicia’s work is the celebration of African American women’s beautiful natural hair- each illustration is hand drawn by the artist. We asked Unicia some questions to get to know her better. Get to know her with us!
Tell us about Finding Your Picasso and your coloring books (which Vanessa is a HUGE fan of)
While working at VCU Health in the Arts in Healthcare department, I saw a need for diversity in adult coloring books to provide to patients that I saw who were majority African-American. After creating the first coloring book “Coloring Curls: An Adult Coloring Book Celebrating Natural Hair,” I provided 20 free books to patients in the ER and my department purchased 20 more. The popularity of my first book prompted a second book. I’ve sold about 1,200 books between the two. The theme of both came from doing a daily creativity practice for a year. I decided to do Afros because it is a common theme in my work which stems from creating art that showcases the beauty of natural hair, something that had been negatively portrayed in the states. “Finding Your Picasso” began as an extension of my artwork of African-American hair. I began doing research on the beauty industry as it related to hair which led to research on the beauty industry as a whole (from plastic surgery, make-up, and dieting, to bleaching, tanning, etc.). I wanted to do a motivational book that would empower women to feel beautiful. After looking at quotes and reading stories, I decided the book would be more useful as a journal book with weekly activities. I approached beauty from my personal perspective as an artist and through my journey of self-discovery. The book is divided into 8 chapters that are introduced by a short story. Each of the 52 activities includes an inspirational quote about beauty.
What inspires you to write and publish?
My experiences in life and people I meet inspire my work both visual and literary arts. Publishing gets my work out to a larger audience and makes the price more accessible.
How will people who can’t make the event find your work?
My books can be found on Amazon.com or people may email me directly if they are in the Richmond area at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Finding Your Picasso”
“Coloring Curls 2”
“U.N.I.C.I.A.: The Unique, Natural, Idealistic, Celebrated, Illustrious Art of African-American Hair” (a portfolio of my art)
My artist website is https://uniciab.wixsite.com/artwork which has links to my books and artwork.
What is your favorite childhood book? What is your favorite book now?
As a child, my favorite books were The Berenstain Bears by Fred and Jan Berenstain. As a preteen and teenager my favorite books were “The Silver Kiss” by Annette Curtis Klause, pretty much all books by Christopher Pike, and Anne Rice, and poems by Langston Hughes. As an adult, the most recent favorites are “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tatty and “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd..
How long on average does it take you to write your books?
“Finding Picasso” is my first “written” book as the other two were all drawings. I worked on it from 2008-2018. The coloring each took a year.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Step 1: Write as if you were writing in your diary and just let it flow.
Step 2: Keep writing and get all of your thoughts, ideas, and topics down.
Step 3: Research your topics and/ideas looking at what is already out there on your subject.
Step 4: Talk to others about your subject getting various viewpoints, opinions, etc. Just strike conversations, no need to go into details about your project/book.
Step 5: Create an outline as an initial guide.
Step 6: Go back over your earlier writing and research notes and see what should fit where.
Step 7: Write to fill in the gaps and write some more.
Step 8: Fine tune your outline because by now you probably will have other ideas. (This will end up being your table of contents.)
Step 9: Write some more and rewrite.
Step 10: Edit, edit, edit, edit, and edit some more. Allow a few trusted people and a professional editor to read your work.
Step 11: Ready for the layout of your book.
Step 12: Give one final look over and publish.
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Check out Unicia’s work on amazon!