colored penciles

Photo via Flickr/ckmck (CC-BY)

If you can understand it.

Christine Rai lives in Queens, New York, and she loves to swear. In fact, she loves swearing so much, she made a coloring book about it.

Rai told the Daily Dot in an email: 

I wanted to capture that feeling when you learn a new curse word as a child and laugh at how shocking but funny it is to say and use, so the drawings are innocent-looking and unrelated to profanity. It started with me writing out the words against a colorful background..and then evolved into colorful doodles with the words. And at the suggestion of a friend, I began doing line drawings to eventually become this coloring book. 

The project first started as an Instagram account where Rai posted pictures of her favorite international swear words. 

Rai explains: 

I was curious about the origins of Caribbean curse words I heard growing up, so I looked into them. It was fascinating to see a lot of that profanity were loanwords from the British, Dutch, Indians, West Africans, and indigenous South Americans, and that interested me. So I looked into what other cultures found insulting and where their profanity came from. I liked that swear words are accessible to anyone regardless of social status, and its a part of language, universal across cultures, that’s always evolving.

Through the Instagram account, Rai has heard from people in 40 countries representing 34 languages and dialects. Rai began a Kickstarter campaign for the coloring book, where she jokes, "Get ready for all the art and culture and fun your gonna experience with this book." 

The project may seem a tad controversial, but Rai has had a lot of positive feedback. She says even her grandma loves it. 

"I have a lot of people from the U.S. and around the world tell me how it was a happy surprise seeing a swear word from their home country come up in their Instagram feed," she said. Others would see "a word from a language they speak and then send me a couple more words with definitions and nuanced ways they’re used. It’s cool to feel like I’m making a project where people can feel represented, and feel like they can share stories about themselves."

It's a 🌦rainy ☔️Sunday afternoon here in NY. Our prints are a great addition to boozy brunch or cozy days in.

A photo posted by Weekend Squad Inc. (@mycursesincursive) on

Rai's favorite curse word right now is "cabrón," which she describes as Spanish for "male goat." She explains, "It’s also slang for cuckold and has varying degrees of vulgarity depending on the context it's used in. So it can mean anything from 'dude' to 'motherfucker' depending on delivery and circumstance."
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