Getting to Know Rachel Montreuil - Undertow's Cover Creator
Meet Rachel Montreuil - Cover Designer Extroidinaire!
Interview Questions Rachel Montreuil
What would you like to do when you ‘grow up?’
There are many artistic positions that interest me (3d, texture, animation, illustration, concept art, comic book art...). My current "actual" job is in 3d art, which I enjoy a lot, so I just hope to keep going this route, potentially specializing in character modeling.
What was your inspiration for the cover of Undertow?
I had some nice reference pictures sent to me by the author so it was easy to grasp what kind of scene Claudette was looking for. I can't think of any thing that was particularly inspirational... I just tried my best to convey a dark, emotional mood through light and color.
What do you like best about the Undertow cover?
Even though people say "don't judge a book by its cover", a cover is almost always the a potential reader sees, so it must be designed to attract and pique its target audience's curiosity. I like to think that I have successfully painted a cover image that is readable and interesting to look at, so that people will choose to go in and experience the book and all the work that was put into its pages!
On a side note, for the image itself, I think the "best part" is the highlight on the neck and chin (lol).
Have you always had an interest in art and when did you start creating your own?
Yes, I've been drawing pretty much ever since I was able to hold a pencil/crayon in my hand. As a kid, I would design my own characters and draw short comics. I also got very into digital art at a young age (going from MS Paint to oekaki and then to Photoshop).
What are your biggest sources of inspiration?
Inspiration can seriously come from anywhere, from any media or from everyday life. It's generally good to keep an eye out for interesting images online, be it pictures, drawings, paintings, etc. since it's so easy to save a bunch of them and browse through them when needed.
What kind of projects do you hope to be working on in the future?
The more variety the better. I definitely want to keep working on games, and also illustration-related side projects like this one. I want to become a better, more versatile artist, and touching all sorts of types of projects is simply the best thing!
Would you like to design other book covers? If so, what would be some of your favorite genres to work in?
Yes, I love all illustration work. I love painting scenes and characters. I guess I have a preference for dark fantasy or modern settings, but I don't dislike sci-fi, western, nor cartoon.
Who is your favorite artist and why?
It's very tough to choose just one. There are tons of great character designers, painters, directors, and I don't think I have just one favorite... As a manga fan, Yana Toboso (author of Kuroshitsuji) comes to mind, with her art style filled with highly detailed clothing and gorgeous characters. I also adore Shinbou Akiyuki's work as a director on his various anime projects at Shaft Studio (very artsy and experimental). Lastly, I must say I very much enjoy Tim Burton's gothic yet cartoonish style he uses in most of his movies.
Who is your favorite author and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I tend to read a whole lot of manga and Japanese light novels, from horror psychological thrillers to shoujo manga. Some of my favorites include Ono Fuyumi's Shiki, Julietta Suzuki's Kamisama Hajimemashita, Obata/Ohba's Death Note (of course) and NisiOisin's Monogatari series. I also like classic English and French literature, but I don't read them regularly.
Give us a top ten list of your very favorite things
2. Anime & manga
3. Animals (My top 5: cats, jellyfish, crabs, goats, pigeons)
4. Gothic Lolita and cyber goth fashion
5. Visual Kei/J-Rock music ( and are my favorite bands!)
6. 3d art/video game art
8. Green tea & jasmine tea
9. Foreign languages/cultures
Tell us a bit about your background.
After high school, I got into a general arts program (mostly centered on traditional drawing and painting). I learned a lot of very useful things there, but my passion lies closer to entertainment art, like video games, TV shows, movies, books, etc. I switched programs after a year and tried my hand at 3d animation instead, which turned out to be a very fun - and challenging - medium to work with. Since graduation, I've had the pleasure of working for TV as well as games companies, and do some freelance both as a 3d artist and as an illustrator.
What is your professional statement, or philosophy, about the projects you work on?
I want to be fair and honest about work-related projects. I hope to always deliver quality work and respect the pre-established deadlines.
Where can others find you to commission you for projects like book covers or other artistic projects?