I fell in love with Raine Sarmiento‘s work the first time I saw them on a blog post listing local artists (thank YOU social media), and then again when I found out she did the art for Mina V. Esguerra’s Gifted Little Creatures. I knew then that she would be perfect for the book cover of my paranormal/urban fantasy tale Majesty. The end product above should be enough proof that.
I asked Raine if she’d let me get into that sweet head of hers for a short interview and I’m so happy she obliged! She talks about being inspired by dreams, books, and audio books (!), and the importance of doing work that is a reflection of who you are (heart eyes).
When I first looked you up, I was blown away by the artwork in your blog. There’s a predominantly whimsical, almost ephemeral feel to your stuff. Has your artwork always been like this, or would you say that your style has evolved?
Thank you! I could say that it has evolved yes. Back in Fine Arts school my works were always realistic and detailed, and I tried to make my brush strokes as invisible or clean as possible.
In short, the standard that is safe to say beautiful by approval.
When I started out as an illustrator, I used digital media. During the time I wanted to come up with a style that is unusual for me. My works then had flat colors and the features were a bit disproportioned and expressionless. They had lots of lines and swirls, yet I kept the composition very simple.
The themes were light, like dreams I just had, food and music that I like, and what I used to do when I was a little girl. I’m very glad that people appreciated that, even though it didn’t really reflected what I personally am as an artist—which I believe is important.
Through time despite the good feedback these digital works had received, I still felt the need to be more faithful to myself as an artist. I had a lot of holding back with the style in terms of what I naturally do, so it was more difficult in the process, yet the outcome was less satisfying. So I decided to just let go and do what is easier and more fun for me, something that is closer to what I used to do back in school which is the style that you see today 🙂
Is reading one of your hobbies? Does literature inspire you in any way?
Yes! I get a lot of ideas from literature actually. I am a sliced surrealist; I love adding lots of elements in my works. In the process it is like I’m dissecting parts of a story, then putting them up together again, this time as to my own interpretation.
I also find myself more comfortable painting when I am listening to an audiobook. (*Sends her link to romanceclass podcast* – Jay)
How did you come up with your design concept for Majesty? Is the process any different to how you would approach your other projects?
I illustrated the important details like Majesty and Andy’s physical features and outfits, the season and places where a lot of memorable things happened, and the whole story’s tone. I also put symbolisms—which I love doing; the candles in glass jars symbolize the soul that is still present, and the Grosbeak bird stands for the healing of the heart.
A thing that I did new with Majesty was illustrating a ghost! It was quite a challenge and I am very glad that you have me do it.
I really enjoy work which educates at the same time.
Do you do a lot of artwork for book covers? What genres would you love to do book covers for?
Majesty is only my fourth! I did covers for YA books, so my image is still wholesome 🙂 I enjoyed them a lot, but I would gladly accept and appreciate challenges to illustrate for genres, which falls on a bit far grounds.
Maybe covers for non-fiction, narrative poetry, fairy tale, mystery, essay and self help next time. Yeah those would be fun!
Thank you Raine! Maybe I can write some more fantasy so we can do this again, haha.
Find Raine on her blog!