Book Covers as Makeup Looks!

Last month, the wonderful Sil (@thebookvoyagers) posted this REALLY COOL thread of makeup looks that looked a lot like romance book covers, and as a baby makeup enthusiast, I thought it was awesome! The colors almost perfectly match all of the book covers, and of course, she gave credit where credit was due.

So in the same vein, I decided to come up with a few makeup looks based on some of my favorite #romanceclass covers! I had a lot of fun creating these looks, and of course you can’t really see the eyeshadow because argh, hooded eyes, but you get it, right??

Clicking on the book titles leads to the Amazon page where you can purchase them. You can also click on the right side of the photo to see a second photo (and a better look at the eyeshadow huhu)


Like Nobody’s Watching - Tara Frejas

One of my favorite #romanceclass heroes and books, Pio Alvez and Audrey Alonzo engage in a fake dating arrangement when Audrey’s ex brings a new girl to a company party. Of course there are feelings involved. I love the blues and teals and that now signature look on Pio’s face, and I thought I would bring it to my inner corners so it wasn’t too overwhelming. And I’m using my favorite lip gloss—ELF Plumping Gloss in Mocha Twist, so I’m really happy with this. I can even see myself wearing it out, maybe?

I also made a video of this look!

One Night: Compilation - Bianca Mori

Bianca Mori writes about the lush rich world of the de La Reds, and I broke out my fancy Fenty lipgloss in Fussy for this look! Consuelo wears a gorgeous emerald green dress for the evening’s festivities, and I used that as inspiration for my look!

How She Likes It - Carla de Guzman

Hello magnetic lashes! I had to go all out for the book cover look for How She Likes It, just because Isabel is the CEO of a cosmetics company, and you can’t go all out without false lashes and a deep red lip.

Designing the Cover for Stealing Luna

When I set out to design the cover of my book, Stealing Luna, I was terribly excited by the prospect. The book has a lot of visual cues to take from —it’s set in Barcelona! There’s a painting! It’s a romance! all of which I can kind of pull from. I was also redesigning the cover for The Queen’s Game, so they needed to match.

Crack open any book by a famous lettering artist (I highly recommend Jessica Hische’s In Progess) and they’ll talk you through their process for designing any piece of major lettering work. I’m a lazy person by nature, so I might have skipped a few things and went straight to my design program, but it still helped.

The first step is to list down a word cloud relevant to the work you’re doing. For Stealing Luna, it was the following:

  • Barcelona

  • Juan Luna

  • Romance

  • Burnt Sienna (it’s the color of Barcelona in my mind)

Then I considered to my usual personal style, and the current style of the Queen’s Game which was:

  • Personal photos in the background

  • #romanceclass covers photo

  • Specialized lettering title

  • Bold color!

  • The Queen’s Game had roses on the cover (which I know, weird, should have been sunflowers, but roses and red felt more royal to me)

So I had a very vague idea of what I wanted to do from there. I had an illustration of gardenia flowers in my Procreate app that had no particular purpose, so I thought it would be nice to incorporate that to the cover, so it could be somewhat similar to The Queen’s Game cover.

The second step in the process is to sketch things out before you lay them out on your digital app, but I decided to skip all of that and did all of my testing on Photoshop instead. Ah the fun of working for yourself, haha.

The Background

Here’s the little inspiration mood board I had for the cover, which I turned into a postcard for those buying future print copies of Stealing Luna.


Taking that, and color inspiration from the Juan Luna painting that the characters were going to steal, I chose the blues from the seas of A Do Va La Nave for the background, and the pink/orange tones from my Barcelona photos for the title. The background photos of the street and Park Guell that you see in the cover are from my personal travel photos, which I always enjoy taking and using on my covers.

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Then it was just a matter of editing the photo I purchased from the #romanceclass covers catalog. Gio’s shirt was too light so I needed to recolor it to match the background a bit, and I closed the distance between him and Rachel. Then there was making sure their hair still looked like hair (so hard to crop, honestly), that everything looked properly spaced and the shading didn’t look weird.

I decided to go with using a real person photograph instead of going full on illustration for this cover because at it’s core, Stealing Luna is a romance book, and I wanted to highlight that by the way Gio and Rachel were looking at each other. So intense, and sexy as well!

The Title

When I was doing my research for Stealing Luna, I looked up a lot of Juan Luna’s paintings and found myself staring at the signature. Luna used to sign his name on his paintings a very particular way—he would sign with Baybayin symbols “bu la”, which translates to ‘moon’ in his native Ilokano, and of course, his last name. Then he would write the ‘u’ in his name with a ‘V’, which I found particularly interesting.

Matching that with Art Deco-esque designs I saw while looking though Louise Fili’s Grafica del Calle (a book full of shop signs from Spain), I came up with a few sketches for the lettering.

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The original plan was to make the letters white, to match The Queen’s Game, but I wasn’t too big of a a fan when I started doing the cover on my iPad. I had a little timelapse video of me doing the lettering, you can see me going through the stages of considering each of the designs I sketched on the laid out cover. Let me tell you, it was a STRUGGLE.

I ended up ditching the LVNA idea for the sake of readability, but maintained the impression of how he did his signature—in all caps serif.

And, I think that’s it? Among all the covers I’ve done, Stealing Luna is one of my favorites, and the response has been phenomenal! Let me know if you have questions about my design process (wow), or if you need a cover designed, I’m game for that too.

Just…I really like using real people on my covers, and I’m working to make sure that my one last illustrated cover straggler (ahem, If the Dress Fits) gets with the program. I’m really excited to get started on that cover as well!

What I Know For Sure About Love

Hello, yes, I’m still here! I’ve been a little pre-occupied with YouTube lately (which you can follow here!) . If you want to hear the sound of my voice, you can go there.

Last month, Aurora Suarez, Life Coach and founder of Write Away PH (an amazing writing retreat!) , asked me to write a quick little essay about love for February. I thought I would share it here, just because. :) Aside from me, letters from Mina V. Esguerra, Bianca Mori and Brij Bautista were featured, too.

Aueeie sends lovely, heartfelt messages like these to her subscribers, so if you’re into that, sign up to receive a joyful little note here.

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What I Know For Sure About Love

Love to me is cinematic. 

I grew up with a box set of Audrey Hepburn DVDs and I always remember Willam Holden walking Audrey Hepburn through every important moment in the romance. Everything from the quirky meet up to that moment where "two enormous, highly-paid heads come together for that ultimately inevitable moment, the final, earth-moving, studio rent-paying, theater-filling, popcorn-selling kiss."

Movies taught me that love can be magical, it can lift you up from the ground and make your foot pop up behind you. After writing my own books on love, I still think it’s true. It’s why I love reading about grand gestures, I love reading happy endings.

But what I didn’t learn about love until recently, despite never really having been in a relationship myself, was that I deserved it. I didn’t have to be a glossy actress with sultry eyes, I didn’t have to have porcelain skin or a tiny body to get love. It can happen to anyone, certainly to me.

And I learned that from reading romance. Kissing books. Bodice rippers. Books that have made me laugh out loud and cry, books that have made me question everything I know about how I live my own life. Here I learned that love can be funny and full of passion. Love will always have a happy ending when you were willing to give it a shot. 

So really, I know nothing about love. Nothing that anyone would consider "real." But I believe in it, with all this big body can afford, and I believe I deserve it. 

Excerpt: Your First Pancake

So one night in April, some of the #romanceclass writers and I were talking about tropes. You know, how some guys fit certain tropes? We talk about that. We like talking about that. Then discussions turned into ideas, and ideas turned into this little thing that we announced in October.

(And yes the STD says January but no, it’s not January)

One wedding. Six Couples. Different tropes. All fake dating. Let’s see what happens!

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In case you missed it, Mina V. Esguerra posted an excerpt of her story, Thirst Date, on her blog (here!), and now you’re here reading mine! I’m calling this Your First Pancake, and that’s all I’m going to say about it for now.

Your First Pancake (Excerpt)

“Why am I being invited to a strangers’ wedding?”

We’re being invited,” Harry quickly corrected her. “Rachel and Gio are my college blockmates. They’re getting married in Cebu.”

“And they decided to invite your neighbor…just because?”

“I may have told them I was dating you, isn’t that hilarious?” He asked so quickly that there was barely any time for breath between words, laughing nervously as Lily’s expression turned from confusion to annoyance. He realized it was also the same look she gave him the first time they met, when she found him with the last stick of Golden Gaytime six months ago.

“What?”

“What?” his voice was oddly high pitched, and he couldn’t help it, he was just a little bit terrified at Lily’s reaction.

“Harry.”

“Lily?”

“Harry!”

“Fine, fine, I’ll start from the beginning,” he said, taking the invitation from her hands before she tore it into shreds. He’d seen her do that before when she was stressed, and he was sure there was some kind of rule against shredding someone’s wedding invitation. “My college friends are great. Really great, really fun people, I love them to pieces—“

“But?”

“But they’re a little…concerned for my lovelife, or lack thereof. So to get them off my backs, I may have told them that I was dating my neighbor, a fun, slightly scary girl who didn’t mind me asking for help with cooking rice, and stole my ice cream every chance she got. Named Lily Capras. So when the invitations came out, they obviously wanted me to bring you, because they want to meet you.”

It had been the easiest lie he’d ever told, telling his friends that the girl next door was his girlfriend next door. He hadn’t been able to help himself, and beyond the tiny detail of them not actually being in a romantic relationship, nothing else he’d told them was a lie. They spent a lot of time together, for platonic neighbors.

“I suppose you told them you flirted first,” she sighed deeply.

“Uh…”

She tossed a wad of tissue at him. “I will punch you. I will punch you in your pretty face.”

“So you think I’m pretty?”

“HARRY.”

“Come to the wedding with me, Lazy Lily. Please,” he took her hands, placing them together so it looked like she was praying. “I need you to be my fake girlfriend.”

Lily gasped, her eyes wide as they bore into his. Fuck, he was a bastard. He knew the exact words to use to make Lily agree to come with him, and he’d just said them to her. Despite her irritation at her siblings, Harry knew that she loved being an older sister. She would never abandon someone who needed her. She loved being needed, and that was what Harry was shamelessly taking advantage of.

This was exactly why they were just friends.

“I’ve never had a boyfriend,” she announced, untangling their hands and immediately put hers on her lap, hiding them away from the table.

“Oh,” he said, and he didn’t know why he felt so utterly crushed. “So get one.”

“Oh sure, because it’s that easy,” she rolled her eyes. “Harry, I want to help you, I really do. And a free vacation in Cebu—“

“Free?”

“How can I say no? But the second your friends see us, they’ll know this isn’t real, because I’ve never done this before. I’m a twenty nine year old spinster—“

“As you keep reminding me.”

“I wouldn’t know the first thing about being the perfect fake girlfriend, is what I’m saying.”

“I don’t want the perfect fake girlfriend, I want you,” he said immediately, and shook his head. when he saw her jaw drop in surprise. “We can treat this like a fake relationship, both ways. I get to tell everyone that you and I have been dating, you can practice your future girlfriend skills on me.”

“You say that like I’m expecting a man to fall on my lap anytime soon.”

“I don’t doubt it. You’re the most caring and loving person I know, Lily. Anyone who doesn’t realize that is an idiot.”

“Now you’re just buttering me up,” she rolled her eyes.

“How am I doing?”

“A little better,” she conceded, placing her arms back on the table, drumming her fingers on the cheap linoleum as she considered his proposal.

Harry realized that this was the most nerve-wracking thing he’d ever done, waiting for Lily to make her choice. He was used to nail-biting stuff—he’d seen the penalty shootout between Russia and Spain at the World Cup and lived to tell the tale—but this was on a completely different level.

If Lily said no, it would definitely drive a wedge between their friendship, because let’s face it, Harry had crossed a line.

If Lily said yes, this could still end in disaster because, let’s face it, Harry crossed a line.

He was regretting stealing the ice cream from her right about now.