Monthly Archives: April 2016

Warriors of Virtue Chapter 02 Cover Art Illustration

After illustrating the Warriors of Virtue cover digitally with Cintiq Companion and Photoshop CS 5, I’ve decided to illustrate all the colour illustrations with Cintiq rather than traditionally in acrylic as I’ve initially planned.

I have two reasons for changing my mind:

  1. I feel that having a digital cover, acrylic chapter covers, and ink illustrations may be too much diverse media for a single story.
  2. I’m trying to learn to paint digitally and I feel these illustrations will be excellent practice.

I will have to repaint my illustration of the wizard Cornelian walking to the Empyreal Castle. I wonder what it will look like as a digital painting. For now, let me share with you my step-by-step process for painting Chapter 02 Cover Art.

Warriors of Virtue Chapter 01 Cover Art

Warriors of Virtue: Chapter 01 | Cover Art – Cornelian and Artemis on their way to the Empyreal Castle.

Please note: The following blog post will be the last blog post to include the recorded step-by-step videos. I will continue to record my illustration process, but I will share them only with the Mili Fay Art Club Members, so if you wish to continue watching these videos for free join the club below.

Warriors Of Virtue Chapter 02 Cover Illustration

I begin every illustration by rereading the whole chapter or section of the book I’m illustrating. As I read sometimes images will stand out in my head. These are the images I will turn into illustrations.

I write down the text that describes each illustration. Usually, the text leaves a lot to the imagination. I do a lot of work inside my head, but once I have a rough layout in mind, I begin to create quick illustration sketches known as Thumbnails…

Let’s try something different.

Rather than writing about my illustration process, this time I have included little notes within the videos themselves. If you would like me to continue describing my process in the blog post instead, let me know in the comments.

In this video series I show you how I work my way from a sketch, to a tonal study, and two painting — two paintings, because I did not like the result of the first.

If you are having trouble viewing this playlist you can find it here:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLVFkpVv04ZbqCunT59tuCpaqozMzkG2O

WofV CH02 Cover Art

Warriors of Virtue: Chapter 02 | Cover Art – Sugarplum asleep within the sowing basket.

 

If you have any question, do not hesitate to contact me.

Cheers!

Mili Fay

Join Mili Fay Art Fan Club. For a limited time you will receive a Beta version of Episode 1 of Warriors of Virtue. I only write to keep you in the loop and to send gifts. I hate spam and will never share your e-mail address.

 

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Mili Fay--Portrait by Catia Da Costa of CDC Photography

© 2014 CDC PHOTOGRAPHY

Mili Fay, a Toronto-based artist, classical animator, illustrator, writer, and singer, is an award winning graduate of Sheridan College and Art Instruction Schools. In November of 2011 she created Mili Fay Art determined to support the world one artwork at a time.

Her latest published work is Animals In My Hair; a story about a boy who goes for his first haircut only to find endangered animals falling out of his hair.

Currently, Mili is working on her first ever illustrated Fantasy novel, Warriors of Virtue, about a reluctant princess who must prevent a war with the dragon-people, while keeping her mission a secret from her over-protective mother.

Join Mili Fay Art Fan Club to stay in touch with Mili Fay and to be the first to find out of her upcoming books and artworks.

Posted in Digital Painting, Uncategorized, Warriors of Virtue Tagged , , , , , |

Warriors of Virtue Fantasy Series Cover Art and Back Cover Blurb

Warriors of Virtue Episode 1 Cover Art

I’m working on the back blub for the fantasy series. It is difficult to choose just what to write. If you read the following, would you read the book or put it back on the shelf? What is good about this back blurb and what is bad?

Introducing Mili Fay’s first ever fantasy series, Warriors of Virtue

After a hundred and fifty years Cornelian believed Dragon Lord Malachite was dead in his granite prison, but miraculously the King of the Dragon-people escapes. It is up to Cornelian to reawaken the Warriors of Virtue, but has Malachite escaped too soon? Can three sheltered teenagers stop a madman who has demolished armies and nearly destroyed the Land of Ardan in his quest for vengeance?

All Lauraliee Lumijer ever wanted was an ordinary life. At sixteen she accepted that Fates decided she will serve better as a Princess, and not just any princes at that, but the future Queen of Ardan! Now, Cornelian tells her that she, her cousin, and sister have been chosen by Mistress Nature to become Warriors of Virtue? Each will be granted power over one of the elements, then sent on a mission to retrieve Dragon Lord Malachite’s Blood Ruby from the Lonely Ice Mountain to prevent war. All they need do is avoid dragon-people, a score of other dangers, stay alive, and–oh yes–keep the mission a secret from her overprotective mother.

Diamond Pendragon is thrilled his father is alive, but he is not convinced a war to remove all humans from Ardan is in everyone’s best interest. Admittedly, since his father’s imprisonment, Diamond ruled the people in his kingdom far away from humans. He ignored Queen Dragana’s kind invitations, and those of her predecessors that attempted to welcome his people back into Ardanian society. Nevertheless, humans could not possibly be as bad as his father declares? If only he knew more about them…

Warriors of Virtue is for all who love an adventure-filled journey, but be advised: Warriors of Virtue contains some disturbing content and may not be appropriate for children under 13.

Join Mili Fay Art Fan Club. For a limited time you will receive a Beta version of Episode 1 of Warriors of Virtue. I only write to keep you in the loop and to send gifts. I hate spam and will never share your e-mail address.

 

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Mili Fay--Portrait by Catia Da Costa of CDC Photography

© 2014 CDC PHOTOGRAPHY

Mili Fay, a Toronto-based artist, classical animator, illustrator, writer, and singer, is an award winning graduate of Sheridan College and Art Instruction Schools. In November of 2011 she created Mili Fay Art determined to support the world one artwork at a time.

Her latest published work is Animals In My Hair; a story about a boy who goes for his first haircut only to find endangered animals falling out of his hair.

Currently, Mili is working on her first ever illustrated Fantasy novel, Warriors of Virtue, about a reluctant princess who must prevent a war with the dragon-people, while keeping her mission a secret from her over-protective mother.

Join Mili Fay Art Fan Club to stay in touch with Mili Fay and to be the first to find out of her upcoming books and artworks.

Posted in Uncategorized, Warriors of Virtue Tagged , , , |

Designing Warriors of Virtue Cover Art Part 16

(A.K.A. Schoolism Pictorial Composition Week 05)

Video 16: If you cannot see the embedded video: https://youtu.be/zVpSDdl3AJU

You can find out more about the Warriors of Virtue fantasy series by clicking on the link.

Iridescent Capes

On DeviantArt I found this wonderful tutorial by Chrishanhah on creating iridescence. After painting the iridescence as suggested, I decided to use the Magic Wand tool to select the inside of the capes that are to be made iridescent. Then I reversed the Selection, and erased the iridescent layer so that only the inside of the capes would be covered with paint. At the beginning of Video 16 I follow the steps suggested in the tutorial, but I got stuck in Part II. After applying different Blending Modes to the image, there were 4 I liked.

It is at this point that I reached out to the Social Community. I asked everyone who saw the post to tell me which blending mode they preferred.

(A Blending Mode allows the user of Photoshop to change the “blending” of the active layer. It can be found in the Layer’s Palette. I do not really understand the terms, but I think they have to do something with photography. In general, I just experiment with the effects and see which one I like.)

Blending Mode Question

Which Blending Mode do you like?

A friend of mine suggested I should use Colour Burn blending mode, but add some bright lights from the Hard Light mode. She was right. It ended my qualms about the work, and it made it look much better than I thought it would.

After finishing the iridescence of the capes, I had to fix the shadow. Then I move on to adding lighting to Lord Malachite’s eyes, using the same approach I used with the warriors.

Painting Stars

A while back, because I did not like the provided Photoshop brushes, I created my own star brush. I found several images of the Universe on Google, and I used these images as reference for adding stars around the warriors. In the story, when the chosen humans become Warriors of Virtue by merging their spirits with those of the elemental spirits, they are in a chamber which is flooded with the “illusion” of them standing in the middle of the Universe as they take their vows. I have chosen this scene for the main cover, because I feel that it introduces the characters and gives the audience a glimpse of what the book is about better than any other individual scene. However, looking at my cover up to this point, I wondered if adding stars may make the work too busy. In the end, I decided to add the stars, because I find it irritating when the cover art does not represent the scene from the book truthfully. Recently, I read a book where a girl wore a red dress in the story, but they made the dress purple on the cover. Artistically, I get that the Art Director wanted to keep the book visually separate from the first book in the series, but I don’t think the action was necessary. I would have bought the book even if she wore the red dress.

If you are reading this, I’m curious to see your thoughts: Do you find the discrepancies between the artwork and the story irritating, or do you not care?

An interesting thing about stars is that they are not all the same colour, so I decided to add colours from the elemental powers in the image. I added each star manually. I did not use a pattern brush, because I find patterns jarring. Then for the bigger stars I went back in and gave them a brighter center.

Adding The Title

Oy vay! I do not like adding titles.

I would not mind so much if I knew how to keep the letters neat to design my own font in Photoshop, but whenever I try to do this, they look absolutely dreadful. Designing fonts is an art in itself, and though I did have one assignment in school where I was required to design a font, that was one assignment in years of study. I did design a Warriors of Virtue font. As the video continues, I tried to use the provided font, but then I spent quite a bit of time sketching in the Warriors of Virtue font (most of this video is sped up to 8000% original speed. The part when I sketch the Warriors of Virute font I’ve sped up 16000%.)

I sketched it in, was playing around with its placement, when my sister walks through the door and tells me to use a simple font, because the rest of the image is busy.

Bwoom! My mind is blown.

Originally, I was going to have a graphic image of the tree (the one in the center of Warriors of Virtue’s uniforms) on a black background as the cover (a very boring cover), so fancy font would stand out. However, after looking at the image I painted, I agreed with my sister: a simple font will work better.

Not too simple. When I added the plain Arial font (my favourite font—maybe because I am a Libra and Arial speaks to my sense of simplicity and balance), it did not belong to the rest of the image. In spite of my sister protesting all the way, I decided to change the size of the letters at the beginning and end, to create more visual interest. I tried to do the same with my name, but on second thought I decided to keep the name simple. I want the reader to see the image, then the title, then my name.

To make the font fit the image better, I decided to make it look golden, to echo the embroidery of the Warriors of Virtue’s tunic. I did this by adding a layer of gradation above my font layer, then from the top menu I chose Layer > Create Clipping Mask. Afterwards I used the Dodge and Burn tools to make the font look shiny.

I went into Layer options and added Stroke of middling opacity and dark-blue colour I used for shading around the font to make it stand out better from the image. After considering the image, I decided to push back Malachite’s eyes by changing the opacity, so it looks as if they are emerging from shadows. I also made my name less shiny. As I said, I want the reader to see the image, read the title, then my name.

The font works, the image works, but there is still something not quite right with the image. Can you tell me what?

Warriors of Virtue Cover 01

There is something not right with this cover. Can you think of a way to make it better?

I think I figured it out, but I forgot to record the last edit. You can see the final cover image in the following post.

Until then, I hope you enjoyed seeing me create my first digital painting ever from scratch. Thank you for watching and thank you for reading.

Love,

Mili

Join Mili Fay Art Fan Club. For a limited time your gift is the Beta version of Episode 01 of Warriors of Virtue. As always, I only write when it is important or to give gifts. I hate spam and will never share your email address.

 

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Mili Fay--Portrait by Catia Da Costa of CDC Photography

© 2014 CDC PHOTOGRAPHY

Mili Fay, a Toronto-based artist, classical animator, illustrator, writer, and singer, is an award winning graduate of Sheridan College and Art Instruction Schools. In November of 2011 she created Mili Fay Art determined to support the world one artwork at a time.

Her latest published work is Animals In My Hair; a story about a boy who goes for his first haircut only to find endangered animals falling out of his hair.

Currently, Mili is working on her first ever illustrated Fantasy novel, Warriors of Virtue, about a reluctant princess who must prevent a war with the dragon-people, while keeping her mission a secret from her over-protective mother.

Join Mili Fay Art Fan Club to stay in touch with Mili Fay and to be the first to find out of her upcoming books and artworks.

Posted in Digital Painting, Schoolism, Uncategorized, Warriors of Virtue Tagged , , , , , , |

Designing Warriors of Virtue Cover Art Part 14 and 15

(A.K.A. Schoolism Pictorial Composition Week 05)

Video 14: If you cannot see the embedded video: https://youtu.be/cqNWSoopyNw

You can find out more about the Warriors of Virtue fantasy series by clicking on the link.

Video 14

I have never added light using Nathan Fowkes’ technique demonstrated in the Schoolism Pictorial Composition Lesson #5. I was very excited! With the help of a Facebook friend and by taking careful notes, I was able to copy the technique.

I soon discovered that I did not really like this technique for painting light onto my characters. The issue I had was that it coloured my characters with the same coloured light, and the light I wished to paint was cool pure white light that had no colour of its own. I scrapped the light folder and painted light and highlights by manually lightening the colour I picked using the picker tool.

Since the Water Warrior is the lead character in the story, I decided to give her most of the light. I also cheated. I added highlights in a way to help the eye bounce to the character’s face, rather than worrying about realism. As I painted light I considered different textures of the materials. Light bounces differently from different surfaces. Metal has stronger definitions of highlight and shadow, than does fabric. The same goes for the warriors’ leather gloves. I thought about giving them silk shirts, but then I decided that would be too shiny. I think the warriors’ shirts are made of linen, or really soft cotton.

Accidentally I managed to change the opacity on my light layer, and for some minutes I was baffled why my brush refused to paint at full opacity. When I realized this error, I had to scrap the layer and begin the process again!

I carefully added light, and then to finish the form off I added some highlights. I was conscious of the reflected light, but did not bother painting it in. Maybe I will do so in the future, but not at this time.

Below is the final result:

WofV Cover with added light.

Video 15: If you cannot see the embedded video: https://youtu.be/9fwKdDg80NM

Video 15

The next day, the time has come for me to paint magic and glowing light. For this Nathan Fowkes’ technique is perfect, since each magic has a different colour of light. After painting the magic as I did the rest of the painting, I moved on to this special lighting technique. Feel free to pause the video or to contact me if you have any questions.

Nathan Fowkes’ Light Painting Technique As Interpreted By Mili Fay

To add the blue light to the Water Warrior’s magic, I first selected the layer (or group of layers) with the magic. Then I proceeded to create the light layer.

Layers Panel

Layers Panel: Light Folder

Step 1. I have to create a special layer. To create a special layer: in the Layers Pallet click on the half white/half black circle (circled in the image above) then choose Solid Colour. Pick the colour you wish your light to be and click OK. This will create a solid colour layer you can see in the image above (Color Fill 2). Change the Opacity of this layer to about 18%.

Step 2. Fowkes suggests modifying this colour layer to make it look more like light by manipulating it with the Adjustments Panel. Instead of manipulating the layer, I believe the Adjustments Panel allows you to create additional layers, therefore if you make a mistake, you can always delete the adjusted layer. You can find the Adjustments Panel by choosing Window > Adjustments from the top menu bar.

Adjustments Panel

Adjustments Panel

As you can see in the Layers Pallet, Fowkes adjusted the colour layer by choosing the following adjustments:

Colour Balance–allows you to adjust colour by sliding the arrow between Cyan & Red, Magenta & Green, and Yellow & Blue.

Levels–allows you to brighten the colour and make it feel more like light by moving the light arrow closer to the gray.

Hue/Saturation helps you adjust the colour’s basic hue (instead of green, what if you decided you wanted blue light?), and up the intensity of the colour.

Then Fowkes suggests adding another Colour Balance adjustment to bring back more colour to your adjusted layer.

Step 3. Once you are happy with all the adjustments, group them together with the colour layer into a folder. You can do this by selecting all the different layers and dragging them to the folder icon in the Layers Panel.

Step 4. Create a mask for this entire group. With the Group selected, click on the mask icon (one on the left of the special layer creation icon in the Layer Panel) that looks like a gray rectangle with a white circle.

Step 5. Click Ctrl + I (Windows, I think the Mac equivalent is Command + I) to invert the mask. As you do this your light group will disappear from view.

Step 6. Choose your brush tool. For painting light you want a soft brush at low opacity (about 35-40%), since you want to paint your light in softly and gradually. Make sure you colour is pure white, then paint in your light. If you make a mistake, you can just paint over it with the pure black colour. Also, be sure that the mask is selected.

Step 7. Create another folder of light for highlights, reflected light, etc. by repeating Steps 1 to 6 until you have painted in all the light.

*****

As you can see in Video 15, the above technique is perfect for painting coloured light.

WofV Cover Magic and Glow

The state of the cover by the end of Video 15.

If you have any questions, you can ask them in the comments, or if you wish to keep your inquiry private, feel free to contact me.

By turning a Warrior of Virtue’s cloak to the reverse side they become invisibility cloaks. That side is iridescent, so in the next video, I will attempt to paint iridescence onto the cloaks. That should be fun!

Cheers!

Mili

Join Mili Fay Art Fan Club. For a limited time your gift is the Beta version of Episode 01 of Warriors of Virtue. As always, I only write when it is important or to give gifts. I hate spam and will never share your email address.

 

————————————

Mili Fay--Portrait by Catia Da Costa of CDC Photography

© 2014 CDC PHOTOGRAPHY

Mili Fay, a Toronto-based artist, classical animator, illustrator, writer, and singer, is an award winning graduate of Sheridan College and Art Instruction Schools. In November of 2011 she created Mili Fay Art determined to support the world one artwork at a time.

Her latest published work is Animals In My Hair; a story about a boy who goes for his first haircut only to find endangered animals falling out of his hair.

Currently, Mili is working on her first ever illustrated Fantasy novel, Warriors of Virtue, about a reluctant princess who must prevent a war with the dragon-people, while keeping her mission a secret from her over-protective mother.

Join Mili Fay Art Fan Club to stay in touch with Mili Fay and to be the first to find out of her upcoming books and artworks.

Posted in Digital Painting, Uncategorized, Warriors of Virtue Tagged , , , , |