Issue 046 Release!!! Meet Cover Artist Janaina Medeiros

“Capricorn” by Janaina Medeiros

It’s an exciting day here at LSQ, dear readers, because Issue 046 is here, and it’s our biggest issue yet! Clocking in at 20, that’s right, 20 speculative stories, this issue is sure to have something for everyone, all wrapped up in fantastical cover art by the magical Janaina Medeiros. As always, we have both print and digital copies you can snag for keeps.

Before you dig in to the issue itself, take a look below at our interview with our cover artist! Janaina’s work is gorgeous and whimsical, and she gave us a peek behind her artistic inspirations:

LSQ: Please tell us about the cover image “Capricorn.” Is there a story behind this image? How did you decide on all the different elements in this art?

Janaina: I started this illustration without a specific theme in mind. I don’t know why, but at some point this tail appeared, and it reminded me of the Capricorn’s tail. Previously I had thought about making a series of drawings about the zodiac. Something nocturnal, mysterious, and vintage. So with that illustration, I decided to start this project.

I was sure about Capricorn after reading the following description: “the graphic representation of Capricorn is a mixture of horns with fish/snake, which leads us to a deep dive into the soul, followed by a sudden return to the material world, suggesting opposite worlds and full of inner tension.” So I thought the image of the crystal ball would be interesting here. It sees not only the future, but also hidden facts of the present. In their face there’s tension; perhaps Capricorn is analyzing their own soul in this crystal ball. Meanwhile the surrounding foliage is reminiscent of the material, physical world.

“Dama do Horror” by Janaina Medeiros
LSQ: You list your inspirations as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Art Nouveau, and anime/manga artists, and it definitely shows in your gorgeous art style! What do you like so much about these sources? In what ways do you try to emulate them, while at the same time making each piece your own?
Janaina: During my childhood and adolescence, these three main inspirations were always present with me; manga like Rayearth, anime like Sailor Moon, books and magazines with images of paintings by Waterhouse, Alphonse Mucha, and many others. I always wanted to be able to create images that awaken the same feeling that I had when I saw all these things. And I think my style is a combination of all that: the elaborate lines of shoujo manga/anime, a little of the Art Nouveau adornments, and the Pre-Raphaelite themes. I still have a feeling that I don’t know what I’m doing with my art, but for now I think it’s working.
LSQ: I have a personal bias towards mermaids, so I love that they show up frequently in your art! What is it about mermaids that draws you to them? Do you have a favorite piece of mermaid lore?

Janaina: I think what attracts me about drawing mermaids is the idea of living in a kingdom under the seas. This looks magical, and even scary. The ocean is still a very mysterious place.

“Protetora da Espada” by Janaina Medeiros

About a favorite piece of mermaid lore, I always remember the prose “Dona Janaina” by Manuel Bandeira, one of the first texts I remember reading as a child at school. It’s actually a song dedicated to Iemanjá, the goddess of the sea. “Janaina” is one of her names. By the way, other meanings for my name are “mermaid of the rivers” and “queen of the sea”. I think this is all a fun coincidence since I like to draw these themes.

LSQ: Are there any fairy tales you haven’t drawn yet that you plan to depict in the future? How do you decide which stories you want to illustrate?

Janaina: I would love to draw Scheherazade someday, as well as the enchanted beings of Brazilian folklore, like Boitatá, our fire serpent/dragon. And finish the zodiac series, and draw more mermaids, just like stories about the sea, such as Agneta & the Sea King, etc. There are so many stories. I hope some day to be able to finish all this.

What makes me decide which story to draw is just if I connect with it somehow.

LSQ: Do you have a personal favorite of the projects you’ve worked on? Or one that was

“Deirde” by Janaina Medeiros

memorable due to its challenges? If so, can you tell us a bit about it?

Janaina: I recently illustrated the A Dança da Floresta (original title: Wildwood Dancing, book by Juliet Marillier), for the new Brazilian edition published this year by Editora Wish. This is one of my favorite books I read during my teenage years, so having the opportunity to illustrate a story I love so much is amazing. I am very grateful for that. But despite being happy with all that, it was also a challenging project because of the pandemic. My mind was very affected. Making art while the world faces a deadly virus (and also, particularly in my country, genocide caused by the president) has been a strange experience. I hope we can get out of this situation soon.