MILQ Q&A | MEET DANIELLE COX
We have seen the power of representation in animation and mainstream media. There's a coveted connection with identifying with the super hero or beautiful princess on the screen. It's true, the faces you see in books, magazines and even coloring books shape how you see your world and your place in it. Danielle Cox is a millennial black graphic designer that just wanted something she could relate to...she had no idea what everyone else's reaction would be.
M: What drew you into the graphic design world? When did you know this was what you wanted to do?
D: I was your stereotypical artsy kid; I loved art class and was pretty close to my art teachers. I was always doodling, sketching, painting. I wanted to turn my art into a career but didn't know how. My mom introduced me to the world of graphic design, based on a college program, when I was nearing the end of my last high school year. I applied but didn't get accepted. It was hard, but my mom made sure that I still went to college in something else art related (arts & culture), and I reapplied the next year to Graphic Design and got accepted.
Many of our readers are from the U.S; can you describe your experience seeing the representation you wanted growing up in Canada (toys, cartoons, magazines, etc.)?
D: Canada has this image of us being super nice & polite, which is great and true, but it’s not the whole story. People tend to forget that we have issues with representation here as well. Growing up I was made fun of because of my dark skin tone, especially in comparison to my mom’s lighter tone. I wasn’t comfortable with my full lips, and tried to hide them when taking pictures, by sucking them in when I smiled. When you’re young, you don’t realize what you missed or needed you're just happy with what you have. I do remember being excited about seeing Suzie while watching Rugrats, but I don’t remember necessarily wishing to see more people like me. Looking back at things now, I think I would have been more confident about myself, if I saw more people like me.
M: Was your experience in seeing or not seeing representation in your industry what inspired Black Colouring Books? If not, then what did?
D: Subconsciously, maybe, but when I made my Black Colouring books, it was more based on me showing more of what I saw on a regular basis; with myself, family and friends. They turned into much more than I could have imagined; reaching people across the globe and bringing so many smiles to kids' faces.
SOME OF DANIELLE'S CHARACTERS BELOW
M: What is the reaction like to Black Colouring Books? What's the response like from people of color?
D: AMAZING! I'm so grateful for how people have reacted to my work and these colouring books. People of colour have been really excited about the books.
What can we expect to see from BCB in the future? Are we going to see more of your characters on other items in the future?
YES! I'm working on different projects right now, including: tote bags, more stickers, clothing/hats, and a few other things that aren't ready to talk about just yet ;)
SHOP DANIELLE'S BOOKS BELOW!