The Breakup Hair Handbook is part style guide, part catharsis, part feminist manifesto. Hair has always been a bit of an obsession of mine, and as the years passed and I experimented with unusual styles, I experienced a wide range of reactions from those around me. More "traditional" individuals were disapproving when I strayed from standard feminine styles and opted for closely cropped hair. But on the other side, many women expressed to me that they had always wanted to try a similar style, but just weren't "brave" enough. Of course, I felt like everyone had a right to embrace their own personal style, and was saddened that fear so often played a factor in how women made choices about their own appearance. Giving impromptu pep-talks to this effect became a frequent occurrence.
And then, I went through a significant breakup. Although I already changed my hair often, I still felt that age-old urge to transform myself after I had ended a chapter of my life, and for better or worse, was now starting a new one. I felt like a different person, and I wanted to look like one too.
This experience made me reflect on how often "breakup hair" is portrayed/discussed as something concerning, a sign that a woman is unraveling. Yet in my own experience, this act had been extremely positive, a symbolic gesture towards the very real changes I was making in my personal life. Once again, I was confronted with all of the ways in which societal pressure discourages women from straying from the status quo. As an aspiring illustrator, I'd been looking to start a big creative project, and was exploring my love of fashion and hairstyles in my artwork at the time. One day I realized that my "get the hair you want!" pep talks, my experience with transformative "breakup hair", and my style-focused artwork might be interesting subjects to explore as a book.
The Breakup Hair Handbook is organized by different hair changes you can make, five chapters on haircuts and four on color. The peppy tone of the writing is intended to make the reader feel like they have their own personal cheerleader, someone telling them that they ARE in fact, brave enough. And throughout the chapters are also humorous musings about the experience of processing and grieving the end of a relationship.
As a graphic designer, I'd had training in book/magazine design, so it seemed only natural that this illustration project turned writing project would also turn into a design project. I defined a color palette, grid structure, developed a rhythm for the content, and even created all of the fonts based on my own handwriting.
This book has been integral in helping me develop my illustration style and clarify my "voice" as a creative. After years of writing, illustrating, pitching, and then waiting, I am so excited to see it released into the world January 2021!