Local Women Making History: Rosaura Unangst
By Maria Hill
I first discovered Rosaura the same way most people do, through her Instagram account. It is a color saturated gallery of her amazing illustrations and hand lettering. There was something else I appreciated about her account, it was infused with personality. Soon after following her on Instagram I had an unexpected run in with Rosaura at a mutual friend’s Halloween party. It is a strange moment to be in close proximity of someone that you only know from their online persona. I didn’t want to come off stalkerish but I also wanted to let her know how talented I thought she was. I took a deep breath, smashed down my awkward introverted tendencies, and struck up a conversation.
Since that day she has become a great friend and professional inspiration. I have enjoyed every minute of watching her Sacramento-based company grow. Recently she took a break from her busy schedule to talk with me about her passion for art, owning a business, and future projects.
MH: How did you first get into illustration/calligraphy?
RU: Art has always been a part of my life. My Dad and Grandfather were artists and my Mom has a piece of paper from when I was in kindergarten that states “I want to be an artist and work at McDonalds.” Even then I thought that making art wouldn’t pay the bills, haha!
The first piece of artwork I sold was in high school. I painted a picture of Venice, Italy that I intended to give to my aunt as a gift after the school art show was over. One day I was called out of class to the Principal’s office and she asked me if I would sell the painting to her. I explained that it was a gift for my aunt, but then the Principal offered me $100 and it was a done deal. My aunt has still gives me crap about selling it!
I continued to paint throughout college but never really thought of it as a career path. After I graduated I knew that a 9-5 job was not for me so I opened my first Etsy shop and started applying for jobs. One of the moments that made me realize I should be following my passion for art occurred when I was working as a caregiver with a woman who had been debilitated by cerebral palsy. Before being diagnosed she led a vivacious life full of travel and one of her favorite places was the beach so I painted a beach mural on a wall in her room. Soon after that she asked if she could try painting and I watched this woman who could barely hold utensils on her own sit and paint a jellyfish for four hours.
I dabbled in a few artistic jobs here and there after being a caregiver, including a sign artist at Trader Joe’s. After I got engaged to my husband I knew that I would create all of the invitations, RSVP cards, etc and joked that it would be my first portfolio sample for my own business. That experience was a game changer, I knew illustration and stationary was the kind of work I wanted to do every day.
Since then I have thrown myself full force into helping couples illustrate their love stories.
MH: How would you best describe your style?
RU: My work has a very color rich aesthetic. I also don’t sketch, trace, or use rulers. Almost all of my work is freehand, it feels more natural and gives the finished illustrations a sense of movement on the page. At the beginning of a new piece of work, I map it out in my mind’s eye and then just let my creativity and muscle memory take over.
MH: Your work was recently featured in a blog post on Vogue.com how did that happen and how did it feel?
RU: Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea (the bride) actually found me through Instagram. She is an art and creative director for major fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands and I was the second person she had commissioned to create her wedding stationary. I had a great time working with her because the wedding incorporated a lot of different themes that were fun to bring to life in my illustrations and paintings. Obviously it was awesome to get a shoutout in Vogue! To view the post click here.
MH: What is the meaning behind the name Pigment & Parchment?
RU: Pigment because most of my work has a heavy emphasis on color and Parchment because it is the receiver of the color, like a yin and yang relationship. I honestly picked the name not really having a clear vision of where my company would end up. I wanted something that would translate to all of my artistic interests though so I would not have to keep rebranding myself.
MH: You are also a co-founder of Fresh Bash, what is Fresh Bash and how did you get involved?
RU: Fresh Bash is a community of design focused event vendors from around Northern California that we brought together to collaborate as teams. The thinking was that if we brought together professionals from different communities it would lead to innovative and fresh ideas. This year for the inaugural Fresh Bash that happened in February there were four design teams that collaborated on creating four different wedding installations to be featured at the event. The goal was to bring the wedding industry together with an interactive environment. So instead of a traditional cocktail party we had fun activities like a donut frosting station, stationary making, and photo booths. We were so proud of how the event came together and we can’t wait to start planning for next year!
MH: Favorite places in Sacramento?
RU: Petra, Centro happy hour, Red Rabbit, Vic’s Cafe
MH: Do you have any advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs?
RU: Do the hard work to learn how to love yourself. Find confidence in your voice, without it, no one wants to hear what you have to say. Your inner monolog affects everything, don’t be a terrible person to yourself.
Rosaura also has an exclusive free printable available for GOTG readers, that she created during our interview. All you need to do is save the image below to your computer and print! We love this reminder to work hard and be confident!
Photo Credit (all Photos): Madeloni Photography