Posted October 26, 2017 by Drew Bagay in Comics

LET’S TALK KOMIKS: Patricia Ramos on Her Book ‘Ang Alamat ni Niña Gigantes’

Illustrator Patricia Ramos has been making the rounds in the local art scene for some time now. In a few days, she will be launching a new children’s book titled Ang Alamat ni Niña Gigantes, and so we caught up with her to talk about her art background and the book.

Nina-Gigantes-coverFlipGeeks: First, tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Patricia Ramos?

Patricia Ramos: Hi! I’m Patricia Ramos, a graduate of the UP Diliman College of Fine Arts majoring in Visual Communication. Currently, I’m a freelance illustrator and an art teacher. On the side, I also love to tell stories whether it’s through writing or occasionally, through spoken word.

When did you start doing art?

I started doing art since I was a kid! I grew up on comics, cartoons, and anime – Disney, Dreamworks, and Don Bluth – and most importantly on children’s books.

Who are your artistic influences?

I’m influenced by children’s illustrators, comic artists, online artists, and Filipino artists. Off the top of my head, I would name Beth Parrocha-Doctolero, Elbert Or, Borg Sinaban, Robert Magnusson, Heather Campbell (aka Makanidotdot on tumblr), Emmy Cicieriga, Hannah Buena, Tony DiTerlizzi, Brett Helquist, Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa for their work on W.I.T.C.H., my classmates and professors from UPD, my family (particularly my titas who always had coloring materials that I could borrow), and so many more I couldn’t remember.

Tell us about Ang Alamat ni Niña Gigantes

Niña Gigantes is the story of a girl who grew too big for the world around her. When she’s 12 years old, she’s given the choice on whether to use this “power” to help her town. (It’s also written in only English, despite the Filipino title being the bigger one on the cover.)

Why did you choose to write the book in English?

I write primarily in English because I’m more comfortable with it. It just so happened that my younger self drew the cover beforehand with the Filipino title and I couldn’t edit it, but we haven’t had the story translated yet. Perhaps on a future print run!

Is this your first book?

I’ve made a few ‘zines and comic books before, but it’s the first children’s book I’ve finished and had printed at a press.

How did you conceptualize the character of Niña Gigantes? 

I call Nina Gigantes a semi-autobiography because I drew from the experience of being a tall Filipina to create her character and her whole story. The age isn’t too accurate, but I thought of someone I would have read about when I was younger – a pre-teen heroine who had a say about the world around her.

How did you come up with the idea for the book?

It actually came about from my plan to finish a book by the time I turned 20. Like I said, Nina is a “semi-autobiography” so I had to summarize that childhood perspective of being tall and feeling weird or different because of it. It also helped to think about my own personality, being a pacifist and an introvert, to influence how the character acted and plot came together.

Why did you choose to do a children’s book? Are you a fan of them?

Yes! I love children’s books in general, whether it’s picture books or chapter books because they were and continue to be a huge influence on my art and now, my line of work. I remember the reason I chose to make a picture book for the occasion of getting a book done was because it was the best thing I could “publish” by my 20th birthday, haha. That, and because it was my dedication to why I got into art in the first place. I’m giving back to the industry and hopefully for future kids, and with my artistic personality – equal parts words and pictures – into the output.


How did you find the process of doing a full book? Were there any obstacles you didn’t foresee?

I told you how I wanted to publish a book by the time I turned 20, right? I finished writing Nina when I was around 19. It took me a year to draw everything, another year for me to look for a printing press, another half for my editor to finish it, another half for it to be printed. I’m turning 22 this year, just to put all that into context. Long story short, my academics and other activities were the first obstacles.

This is also my first self-published full book so I had to scout a printing press, ask my friends to edit the book for free, and now market it on my own. I also made a lot of mistakes during production, to which I owe some of the delay as well. It’s really tiring and takes way, way more time than it could’ve if I’d just pitched my idea, but it’s also very educational and brought a lot of experience with it, so I can’t say I regret choosing to self-publish.

As for being able to finish a full book, it’s greatly satisfying. At this point, I’m just excited for the book to get into readers’ hands, and also so I can move on to more projects.

Now that you have a published book, do you plan on doing more?

Of course! I have probably a billion stories I want to finish. I have ideas for graphic novels and comic series and books that are waiting to see the light of day. Sadly, I’ve yet to complete any of them.

Aside from the Niña Gigantes book, do you have any other projects you’d like to share?

I’m releasing a board game called Talinghaga, based on my undergraduate thesis, in the near future. It’s kind of like Scrabble, except it’s in Tagalog and uses the baybayin script. After Nina Gigantes, I’m hoping to start on some of the many projects that are collecting dust and hopefully those won’t take another 3 years to finish.

The official book launch for Ang Alamat ni Niña Gigantes will be on Saturday, October 28, at Fecha de Cafe. You can check out the official Facebook event for more details. For the latest on Patricia Ramos’ works, you can follow her official Facebook page. Furthermore, a trailer for the book is available, which you can watch below.

Drew Bagay

Drew is a lover of comic books, movies, and all things pop culture. He enjoys crime/thriller/noir fiction, playing the guitar, and taking long walks. He also doesn't like talking in third person.