Writing Now

Artist Interview: Raine Sarmiento

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.

Faingirling over the WIP. This was the first time Raine posted her work on the book cover for Majesty.

Faingirling over the WIP. This was the first time Raine posted her work on the book cover for Majesty.

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!

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