An Interview With Jerome Jacinto

In the last few months, the promotional and cover art for The Sons of Masguard has been getting a fair amount of notice. Ooohs and ahhs are becoming more and more frequent at signings and afterschool events -- enough so that it's bordering on the bizarre to realize I've yet to properly introduce you to the wizard behind the curtain.

While anyone who has followed the series from the beginning knows that I've been working with my own illustrations for quite some time (and I can't thank you enough for having been so marvelously supportive), it doesn't shame me at all to say that my artistic abilities weren't up to the task of bringing this series to life with the richness of texture and detail that was in my head. I adore these characters and -- regardless of whether or not it might be indicative of a very unlhealthy mental condition -- I wanted more for them than my untrained pen could give.

So I went hunting.

Did you know the internet is full of insanely talented artists? Seriously. FULL of them. And in that digital sea of skill, I found this:

Tea Time and Ale
It was the browsing equivalent of being stopped in your tracks by a mountain of manna from heaven. The artist's name was Jerome Jacinto (known to followers of Deviant Art as Chichapie) and his stunning online gallery had me at upright armored animals

One year later, this master artist has provided the series with some incredible visual appeal, as you can see:

The Rook of Corin (The Sons of Masguard - Book Three)
The Mosque Hill Fortune (The Sons of Masguard - Book One)

So it is an honor and a privilege to have him HERE for an interview. Enjoy, and be sure to check him out on Deviant Art, Twitter, and in the phenomenal game design of Pocketwatch Games' upcoming LEADtoFIRE.

Could you tell us a little bit about you?
Hi, my name is Jerome Jacinto. I'm from the Philippines. Art is my hobby as much as it is my profession. I'm also a parkour practitioner, martial artist, and someone who enjoys videogames.

When did you first realize that art was something you wanted to pursue?
It was around mid high school. I realized that I have what it takes to push it forward to greater heights.

How did you find your style?
Well, to be honest, I went through many different styles in my artistic pursuit. I think it's proper to say that I did not 'find' it like it was an instantaneous moment of realization, but more of a very slow and thorough process of years of experimentation, observation and research.

The styles I decided to go through before was more or less the product of the times. At one point, my art looked incredibly inspired by mainstream anime because it was popular at the time. A year later, I decided to go mainstream western comics, such as marvel/DC because I knew a career in mainstream comics pays well. I came to the point that I wanted a visual style that isn't majorly copied, but more of a product of extensive experimentation as mentioned above, and insiration. That's how I got to where I am now.

What are your preferred mediums?
In no particular order: Watercolor, Gouache, Inks, and Digital.

Is there a particular piece of artwork that you’re most proud of?
Well, these :)

The Goblin Photobomb

Beyond the Western Deep


Contest Entry

What is it like within the artist community? Are your fellow painters supportive, competitive?
I guess that really depends on what part of the community you're in. Where I used to frequent, they are both supportive and competitive to promote challenging yourselves and others. We prefer constructive criticisms above all, but praises can't hurt in small doses, we sometimes need moments of respite after all :) One principle that I follow nowadays that I'm sure other committed artists can understand, is "Don't be the best, be better".

Places like Deviant Art, where your gallery can be found, house an extraordinary level of talent. They also seem to turn the illustrative process into a fairly social experience. Does the constant exposure to feedback help or hinder your process?
It goes both ways actually. Initially, I enjoyed the back pats I receive from viewers, which I do still at present. Most of the time, those are what I recieve. But I realized I needed professional and constructive criticism to move forward faster, and to gain a better understanding at what I'm pursuing.

That's why whenever I receive a good, long and thorough critique of anything I do, I treasure them the most.

Has this changed the way you do things?
It has, in a double edged sword kind of way. Because of it, I'm reliant on others' feedback. But what if there's no one around to give you feedback? That's when I realized I needed to have the quality of being aware of the state of my own work.

Do you think the proliferation of artistic software has made painting more accessible?
Yeah definitely. While it definitely does not compare to the physical feedback you get from actual traditional painting, it does offer convenience when it comes to equipment.

What obstacles have you had to overcome in order to get to where you are?
Lack of time, physical and mental exhaustion. Distractions of course.

Who was your biggest influence when you began?
Too many to count. But I guess the one artist that got me started on this road was the late Frank Frazetta.

Who most impresses you in the field today?
Paul Bonner, Juan Jose Guarnido.

What is it about your job that most excites you/gets you out of bed in the morning?
To put my ideas into a visual treat. :)

A Scone Moment
Any current or upcoming projects that you can share with us?
I'm currently doing majority if the art assets for Pocket Watch Games' upcoming title "LEADtoFIRE" and some card art for League of Geek's "Armello".

If you could work on any project in your field, what would it be?
I haven't put much thought on that really, since I just flow along the tides and take what I can. I do like to get involved in some work involving Magic The Gathering.

And lastly, because this is a required question of all my guests… ninjas or pirates?
Can it be a hybrid of both? I revere the inhuman traversal mechanics of ninjas and adore the thrill seeking life of pirates. :)

A Book That Changed My Life

*Written by Vivienne Mathews and Originally posted on Support Jarrett by visiting his Blog or following him on Twitter.*

Today, my favorite song is “93 Million Miles” by Jason Mraz.

Not only is it sentimental, optimistic, and of the perfect pedaling rhythm for any cycling playlist, it also makes general cosmic distances (like the 93 million miles between the earth and the sun) easier to remember.

Strangely, that’s not something you can say of many pop songs.

I say “today” because yesterday my favorite song was “Elephants” by Rachael Yamagata. Ask me tomorrow and the answer is as likely to be a wordless tune from some obscure television show as it is to be anything written by Puccini or Dr. Dre. Media is a marvelous thing that way. Be it music or art or literature, it grows and changes as often as we do. Something you heard ten years ago may tomorrow become the most meaningful thing in the world for no reason at all and you’ll never have to make excuses for it. That’s why I can – with the honesty of Abe himself – point to Watership Down, Tale of the Firebird, and any number of Trixie Beldens, Nancy Drews, or stints through the Hundred Acre Wood as being THE story. The one that meant the world. The one that changed everything.

Heart of Darkness is no exception to my casual use of terms like “most-loved” and “life-changing.” A school assignment, I can confidently say I never would have sought out Joseph Conrad’s adventure through the African Congo on my own. But it was so rich in subtext that I didn’t complain about it nearly as much as teenage me was capable of complaining. Quite the opposite. Heart of Darkness gave me something unique because it was the first time I truly enjoyed the study of a book. Every sentence became an adventure to uncover what was lying underneath. And that sense of adventure was of course mirrored by Mr. Marlow’s trip into the unknown.

You could say that this doesn’t really measure up to the idea of “life-changing,” and you’d be right. But Heart of Darkness led me to Lord Jim. Which led me to Moby Dick. Which led me to Master and Commander. Which led me to the realization that maybe I had a thing for boats, hard-headed captains, and flights of fancy. Before I explain how I now write about all of these things (albeit in anthropomorphic form) in The Sons of Masguard – which is nothing if not proof that every book you will ever read has the power to be influential – you should know that Googling “psychiatric help for nautical obsessions” is less than helpful and inexplicably leads to an article about Captain Crunch.
My point certainly isn’t that everyone is as fickle as I am (honestly, I’m already on my way to changing that first song to “Weird Beard” by the Mad Caddies) or that there is anything wrong with Captain Crunch. But we are complex creatures who can never say for certain just where we’re going to end up. This unpredictable life is full of life-changing books, songs, poems, and paintings, if only we’re willing to let them find their meaning in their own place and time. Who knows? That reading assignment you’re groaning about today may one day be the reason you get to eat something more than the breakfast cereal at the wrong end of some poor schmuck’s midnight research.

That’s right, universe.

You fed me a flawless classic with widespread appeal and were given a snarky series about otter pirates in return.

You’re welcome.

The Dangerous Life of the Honey Bee

 I am so, so excited to announce the release of my latest picture book, The Dangerous Life of the Honey Bee. A labor of love if ever there was one, I hope that young entomologists and apiarists will find the images as entertaining as my cat found the cursor throughout the illustration stage. (A quarter for every time she swatted the screen would cover years of printing costs.)

According to the blurb, this book describes a handful of the threats the average honey bee must face as she struggles to support her hive. I can't verify whether this is true. Rushing to complete it before NaNoWriMo came knocking may have left me a little fuzzy on the details. Even so, I'm weirdly glad to have my name attached to it.

It's currently free-to-read via Kindle Unlimited and -- from Monday, December 15th through Friday, December 19th -- will also available as a completely free download to you, your children, your children's children, and that one squirrel who stole your Kindle while you were chasing your children's children across the park.

If the holiday season has you feeling particularly generous, I hope you'll consider leaving a review. Allowing your toddler to chain paste a series of smiley-face emotes into the review window would be equally awesome.

Finally, because the "look inside" option seems to be a bit behind at the moment, it seems as though posting a sampling of the book for budding beekeepers might be the thing to do. Even despite the fact that alliteration almost always annoys.


Find your copy here.

The Most Important Book ~ An International Authors Day Post

If I were asked to describe the father I barely knew, the words that followed (take them as you will) would include references to Ansel Adams, Roger Miller, and Bill Murray. I'd smile as I recalled backyard picnics and homemade ice cream, guitar music and cigarette smoke. He loved animals, collected cameras, and was always ready with a good-mannered joke or a helping hand.

Of course, you'd have to take such rose-colored memories with a grain of salt.

I was ten he died of lung cancer. As everyone who has lost someone is bound to understand, processing grief can be a difficult thing for a child. Even now, it's little more than an uncomfortable series of foggy images without context. More than enough to make me recognize the fallibility of memory.

Six Things My VO Husband Wants Authors to Know About Narrators (And the Audiobook Process)

If you follow this blog, you're bound to be familiar with my husband. I often write about him because, apart from the occasional lost chicken, he's the most interesting thing to wander past my office on a daily basis. If not, all you need to know before diving into this post is that he earns his coin by yarking* into a microphone in a padded room every day. And, yes, he's the sane one in the relationship.

As a professional voice actor, he has been quietly (from afar, via a complicated, years-long series of grunts, groans, and barely-contained bursts of rage) teaching me exactly what to say in a post such as this. So, if you're unhappy with any of the suggestions or confessions listed here, take it up with him.**

1. Narrators don't have to read your book. They really don't.

Reader Alert: This Blog Has a Paucity of Speedos

It never would have occurred to me to warn people of this had I not taken a look at the search keywords responsible for bringing people to this site in the last week.

A rational author might concern themselves more with the fact that as many people stopped by to gaze upon the glorious Virginia Hey as were interested in the next release of the Sons of Masguard, but (being decidedly UN-rational, which is too a word) I was too distracted by the thought that someone came here looking for a person* in skin tight speedos and walked away disappointed.

This Shifty Parrot is the Shiftiest Toy Ever Made (And Will Probably Kill Me in My Sleep... Shiftily)

This past week, my wonderful in-laws invited us to participate in a yard sale. Because we've been antsy to begin work on the unfinished addition to our home (which is currently cluttered with fifteen years' worth of what can only be described as "broken crap"), the husband and I may have shared a celebratory dance before dragging the sea of boxes into the driveway for sorting. (Bonus: this confounded our free-roaming flock of chickens to no end.)

If you've never done this sort of thing, it's a lot like attending a reunion for all of the semi-acquaintances you've made over the years. Sure, you have vague memories of names and places and maybe having bumped into some of these lovely folk at one point or another, but you know as well as they do that a reintroduction is going to be in order. Most of the boxes were so disappointingly typical that we might as well have nabbed them from any curbside dumping location: chipped plates, old hairdryers, a random mass of bobby pins and hair ties, etc.

And then... there was THIS:

#MyWritingProcess -- Blog Tour!

My thanks to the incredible Steven Whibley (author of The Dean Curse Chronicles and all-around awesome guy) for not only bringing this little shindig to my attention, but allowing me to join in on the Q & A festivities. Be sure to check out the many talented authors involved by searching for the #MyWritingProcess Blog Tour on every one of your local library's public computers. Seriously. All of them.

1)     What am I working on?
More than I should be. With the third installment of The Sons of Masguard (thankfully, finally) nearing completion, I'm afraid I'm doing a lot of hopscotching between projects. Ogg and Zogg, the follow-up to Jax and Mack, is on my plate. Along with the kickoff title in The Adventures of Careful Steps, and a nonfiction picture book series about the fantastic life of bees. I'm pretty sure 2014 is going to be the year my rusty and questionable artistic abilities get as much of a workout as my typing skills.

The Sons of Masguard: The Movie

Sorry, no, the movie isn't currently in the works.* That's what makes this the most self-indulgent post on the internet.

A few friends and I were discussing casting choices for our titles, should we ever be so lucky as to land a movie deal. (Which is similar to daydreaming about what we'd do with those mega-million lottery winnings, but way more fun.) Delusional or not, I thought I'd list them online for all the world to see. ("See" is, in this case, pronounced "laugh at.") Because, as McKinley would say, "That's the accommodating sort of repugnant ruffian I am."

Captain Marshall
Voiced by the one and only Benedict Cumberbatch. Because, of course.