Here’s your chance to get behind the scenes with fanartists who bring your favorite young adult books to life.
Giovana Medeiros is an artist and full-time illustrator who absolutely loves YA. She lives in Criciuma in the south of Brazil and graduated with a degree in fashion design. After college, she left Brazil to visit Dublin to study English and “do the whole living-abroad-to-experience-life-thing” and ended up falling so in love with the city that she began studying illustration.
“I got really into YA literature not so long ago. My friend Irena Freitas started a book club dedicated to YA, and that was when it really happened. The first book was Vampire Academy, and it ruined my life! I mean, I was so hooked up that I didn’t leave the house until I finished all the books – and then, of course I just had to read Bloodlines too,” said Medeiros. “I LOVE the Vampire Academy series. The characters are so funny and unique. Rose is probably my favourite character – I think her confidence and sense of humour are such an inspiration.”
Mederios’ other favorite books include Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series, the Lunar Chronicles, and anything written by Rainbow Rowell and Melina
“I love the Raven Cycle series! I can’t stop recommending to my friends. I think these books are the perfect mixture of amazing characters, supernatural fantasy, romance and everything. I also love the fact that all the adult characters are equally interesting and exciting, and how, although there are many characters, we don’t get bored of any of their storylines.”
What is it about the authors’ writing that inspired your art?
It is probably a mix of things. Some books I find a lot easier to draw, because they are more visually exciting for me. I don’t work very well with abstract concepts, so when I adapt/draw something is probably something very literal. What usually happens a certain scene is stuck in my head, and I end up trying to draw it. I like to imagine how the characters look, but I always try to follow the descriptions – I always double-check it before I draw them. I LOVE drawing clothes, so I also have a lot of fun trying to translate the info in the text into a drawing. Sometimes is just something silly like “this character’s hair sounds like it would be fun to draw” like Cress.
Are there any other influences you included in your art?
Yes definitely! Other artists, things from the nature, Children’s picture books, fashion, TV shows and movies, people I see on the street, different things I eat…everything is basically a source of inspiration to some extent, and I like to surround myself of all the things I love and make me feel good.
What was the best reaction you’ve received?
Last year I made a fanart of “It’s A Yuletide Miracle Charlie Brown” by Stephanie Perkins, from [the anthology]My True Love Gave To Me. It was funny because I was unhappy with how it turned out, but I ended up posting anyway. Then one beautiful day Stephanie Perkins herself reblogged on her Tumblr, and then Tweeted it! I still have the screenshot of her Tweet on my phone, because that is one of those special moments you want to remember – and I giggle insanely whenever I do. After that I got so many lovely followers, including Rainbow Rowell! That was the best thing. Whenever I see that my fanart reached the fandom is always so nice.
What’s your process?
Usually I start by doodling a scene or a character I find interesting. Depending on how it turns out, I work on it, sometimes I try different compositions. That part is usually on my sketchbook, and I usually do it while I’m watching something on TV.
When I’m happy with the composition I scan it in, and redraw everything digitally. If it is work related, the process is longer, involves a lot of more trying and failing, and trying again, crazy deadlines and lots of tears.
Do you have any tools you like to work with?
I love Photoshop, and that is what I work with most of the time. I worked with a Bamboo Fun Tablet for a good while, but last year I’ve got a Intuos Pro, and I must say it made my life a lot better. When I have the chance, I like to experiment with inks, goache and watercolors. I wish I dedicated more time to work with traditional media, but I only do it occasionally for fun. I also love brush pens, but lately my favorite for doodling is a black ballpoint pen.
What piece are you most proud of?
That is a hard one, because I hardly finish something and think “WOW YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING.” It is more like “WHAT AM I EVEN DOING WITH MY LIFE THIS SUCKS,” but I think my Cress illustration came out very close to what I had in my mind, so I guess that is some sort of accomplishment.
Do you have anything fun that you’re working on or would like to do someday?
I’d love to work more with anything books related and to illustrate a children’s book someday. Last year I got to draw a lot of fairies for Chronicle Books, and [the flashcards featuring them are]coming [out]in March. That was probably the most fun thing I ever got to work with!
What encouraged you to share your fanart?
The book club I am part of was definitely one thing [that inspired me]. It became a great experience to read the book and then discuss about it, it kind of kept the book alive in my head. The more I read, more I felt like sharing my views of the book through my illustration. Sharing on the internet might seem a bit scary at first, but I am a very shy person so I find it a lot easier to share hiding safely behind the computer. And then I feel like Tumblr is a very friendly environment, and I never got nothing but lovely feedback !
What kind of advice or insight would you give to other artists?
DRAW the things you like, and then SHARE IT! You are going to attract amazing people that like the same things you do. When I worked designing prints for textiles, I kept hearing that my drawings were too “childish,” and that made me so angry back then. I wanted to draw COOL HYPE THINGS! But the moment I embraced it that in fact WHAT I LOVE IS DRAWING CHILDISH and fantastical things, and started being honest with my work, nothing but good things came to my life.