Category Archives: Ryerson Digital Publishing

Welcome 2017! New Projects, New Artwork, More Fun!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I have so many exciting plans for 2017 that I do not know where to begin… Well, actually I do; I need to finish the projects I began in 2016.I do not know if you’ve noticed, but I get sick a lot. On average I get sick 11 times each year! At the end of 2016 I have been sick almost all of November and half of December. Crazy! I know! Consequently, I’m a bit behind in my projects.

However, 2017 has arrived, I’m healthy and ready to draw, write, publish… The only thing I cannot yet do is: sing. My voice has not returned after my last bout of flu. The high-notes are just gone.

I’m sorry for neglecting this blog. I have been active on other blogs and social sites, but for some reason, this blog — my home base, my favourite blog — slipped through the cracks. If like me, you have not visited artofmili.ca in a while, you may notice that the site has been updated. This past week, I have been doing some New Year’s Cleaning in preparation of moving forward with 2017 projects.

So, what have you missed.

Commissions and Portraits

I may be able to create some commissioned artwork in 2017. Do you need an avatar, an original book cover, a portrait… For more information, check out the new Commissions Page here. If you are interested in Portraits, see here. Because I’m so busy with my own work, the time to contact me for commissions is now.

WofV eBook and Kindle Templates for Text-Based Books

Warriors of Virtue eBook and Kindle Templates for Text-Based Books.

Finally! A way for authors and publishers to create eBooks and Kindle Books just by copying and pasting their work.

If you’ve followed my career, you know how much I struggled to figure out how to publish digital books. Eventually, I went back to school and excelled at University of Ryerson’s Digital Publishing and Design Course. The knowledge I gained, I used to publish my fantasy series Warriors of Virtue. To help other authors and publishers save time and money, I’ve made these templates, along with a user guide and a couple of checklists, available for sale on Gumroad. You can find out more about the templates here.

The Phantom of the Opera Inktober 2016 Sketchbook

The Phantom of the Opera Inktober 2016 Sketchbook Launch Party Invitation.

I had so much fun sketching my first Inktober Challenge that I decided to do more sketching in the future and to publish my fist Kindle Sketchbook. Find out more about this sketchbook here. I’m planning a fabulous Book Launch Party on Saturday, February 4th, 2017. The Party will take place here, on this blog; mark your calendar and join me for a day of fun, free artwork, books, and games! Now, take a minute, save the above image, and share this even with any other Phantom or Mili Fay Art fans. Thanks!

Warriors of Virtue Epic YA Fantasy Series

Warriors of Virtue Epic YA Fantasy Series Episode 4 should be released February 1, 2017 (Text Edition) and February 15, 2017 (Artist’s Edition).

Princess Sketches and Sketchbook Series, a tribute to Maria Pascual and Walt Disney

A sample of Maria Pascual's artwork.

Maria Pascual has been my favourite illustrator since I was a little girl. This image is from the cover of “Tales of Alhambra” by Washington Irving. I loved this book so much! I lent it, and my friends lost it when they moved to their new home.

Warriors of Virtue Epic YA Fantasy Series will continue to be my major writing project for 2017. However, my major artwork project will be: Princesses. I began my drawing career with Disney’s Aurora and a cast of fairytale and mythology characters. For 2017 I’ve decided to get back to my roots. I intend to create a series of sketchbooks and original traditional artwork featuring Princesses. To narrow down my focus, I’ve decided to recreate Disney Princesses/Leading Ladies in a style inspired by Maria Pascual — the two major artwork influences of my youth. If you wish to be involved with this project and to win some Mili Fay Art Princess swag, follow me on social media. Because of the upcoming movie, the first princess I’ll tackle is Belle, from “Beauty and the Beast.”

Please note, FANtasy Character Designs, and Mini-MEs have been put on a creative hold indefinitely. I may get back to these projects in the future, but for now, I wish to work on the projects mentioned above.

Since this is a brand-new year, if there is something you would like to see from Mili Fay Art in 2017, let me know in the comments.

Until next time…

Cheers!

Mili

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

© 2014 CDC PHOTOGRAPHY

Mili Fay, an award winning artist, trained as a classical animator at Sheridan College, but when computer animation took over the field, she decided that she loved drawing more than animating. In November of 2011 she created Mili Fay Art determined to support the world one artwork at a time. Today, she passionately creates imaginative artwork and stories, always graced with a humorous modern twist.

Currently, Mili is working on an epic YA fantasy series, Warriors of Virtue, about a reluctant princess, Lauraliee, who learns to become a queen as she defends Ardan from dragon-people (people who turn into dragons).

Warriors of Virtue Episode 5 CoverArt ThumbnailWarriors of Virtue Episode 4 Cover Art ThumbnailWarriors of Virtue Episode 3 Cover ArtWarriors of Virtue Episode 2 Cover ArtWarriors of Virtue Episode 1 Cover Art
“Together we support the world one artwork at a time.”
Also posted in Amazons Kindle Direct Publishing, FANtasy Character Designs, Mili Fay Art Princesses, Portrait Painting, Warriors of Virtue Tagged , , , , , |

How to create a Kindle book from scratch and WofV Episode 1

On November 1st, 2016, after twenty years since its conception, I have finally released Warriors of Virtue Epic YA Fantasy Series Episode 1: Text Edition (WofVE01T) for sale on Amazon Kindle.

Warriors of Virtue Episode 1 Kindle Cover Art

Then, as life would have it, before I could properly celebrate, I got sick. At first I thought it was just the regular kind of cold, or flu, but as it turns out, I caught the Flu From Hell. There were days I thought I was going to die; then, there were days I wish I would die. Two weeks later, I am still not well. I’m better, but I’m not well.

I’m letting you know this as a way of apologizing for my long absence.

And it has been a long absence. Not just these past couple of weeks, but two months+ of absence. The reasons for the long absence is that I have been far too busy to sit down and write a proper post as I was trying to make sure my first episode release was absolutely perfect, while working on the Inktober 2016 challenge for the first time in my life. Add to that the responsibility of being the head of the household for the month of October… Well, all I could manage were short post on Social Media.

Phantom, Erik, ink sketches for Inktober 2016 Day 21.

For Inktober 2016, I’ve decided to sketch one of my favourite books and my favourite musical of all time: The Phantom of the Opera. You can see more photos on Instagram, Twitter, Mili Fay Art Facebook Page, or artofMilica Deviant Art Page. I hope to scan, edit, and release the whole sketchbook soon.

Of course my first release was not “absolutely perfect”. I’m amazed by the fact that no matter how many times I checked, and rechecked, and proofread everything, tiny errors still cropped up. Thankfully, most of you will never know them, because they have been eradicated ASAP.

The most bizarre of these errors was that the cover art for Episode 1 read Episode 2. I have no idea how this happened, especially since the cover attached to the actual Mobi file said Episode 1.

Publishing on Amazon’s KDP

If you have followed my work from the beginning, you know that WofVE01T is not the first book I have ever published with Amazon’s KDP. That honor belongs to my picture book, Animals In My Hair. However, when I created the digital version of Animals In My Hair, I was using Amazon’s Kid’s Book Creator. This is a wonderful program that allowed me to upload a PDF file of my book and visually prepare it for Kindle. I did not have to write a single line of code or markup. The program did everything.

WofVE01T is the first book I marked up then published from scratch.

How to create a Kindle book from scratch?

This question has bugged me since the first day I decided to try out Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), because I did not have hundreds of dollars to spend for someone to do this service for me — especially since I wanted to create many books, not just one or two. I’m also the type of person who needs to know how something is done, because if there are errors that need to be fixed, I’d want to be able to fix them myself and not depend on someone else’s whims. I am not wealthy and I’ve taken quite a financial and emotional risk to bring my fantasy story to light; I could be working and earning a living, but instead I chose to take time off work to share this story with you. I believe in it that much.

At this time, Amazon does not have a program for publishing non-picture books on Kindle. The files that convert best into Kindle books are ePub and Mobi.

I’ve searched for Templates online that I could use, but the templates I found were overly formatted for Kindle books; the universal truth I’ve come to accept is that the more formatting there is, the more likely it is that the documents would not display properly on most devices.

So, I went back to school. I took Ryerson’s Digital Publishing and Design course, and I’ve learned everything I need to know to create a digital book (in ePub and Mobi formats) like a pro.

The steps I took to create WofVE01T Kindle Book

Step 1: I typed up my book in MS Word.

Step 2: My professional editor (who has a PhD in English) edited my book in MS Word and sent the files back.

Step 3: I applied my editor’s edits to my book in MS Word.

Step 4: I copied the 1st chapter of my book and pasted the text into a new Notepad++ .txt file. This got rid of all the MS Word formatting.

Step 5: Since the text in an eBook is comprised of XHTML documents, I had to make sure to remove all the characters in the text that would interfere with XHTML markup. All the ; # & ” etc. had to be replaced with their Unicode codes, which can be found online. This was done using the Find and Replace Window. I also used a simple Regular Expression to add basic paragraph XHTML markup to the text. If you have a blog, you may be able to see this markup if you click on the HTML tab instead of the Visual tab for your blog.

Step 6: I created a WofV ePub Template using the basic ePub Template I saved from my classes at Ryerson.

Step 7: I cut and pasted my Notepad++ text into WofV ePub Template.

Step 8: I went through my MS Word document, and added all the text decoration (italics, bold, etc.) to the document in the WofV ePub Template. Then I repeated the process for every chapter, and all the front and back matter.

Step 9: I edited the Table of Contents, the .opf file, and added my cover image (the one I created earlier this year in Photoshop) to the WofV ePub Template.

Step 10: I zipped up my ePub Book using the eCanCrusher.

Step 11: I used an ePub validator to make sure the book was working and then I uploaded it to my iPad to see if it worked visually.

Step 12: Now that I had an eBook (I may wish to publish an ePub version in the future), I went back to Notepad++ and removed most of the formatting from the book, added the ncx file for Kindle’s Table of Contents, removed ePub Table of Contents, then I zipped up another ePub Mobi Book using eCanCrusher.

Step 13: I uploaded the resulting ePub to Amazon’s Kindle Previewer. This program created a Mobi file for me, and also an AZK file I could upload to the Kindle app on my iPad, so that I could preview my book on an actual device.

Step 14: I went to my Amazon KDP account, added the necessary information, and uploaded my Cover Art and Mobi file.

Step 15: I published my book.

What can an author who has no XHTML markup experience do to create a Kindle book?

Before taking the class at Ryerson, I remember my frustration with trying to find a simple Template to help me publish my book on Kindle in such a way that I would know what was happening “under the hood”, so that I can make any changes necessary.

For this reason I took extensive notes and images as I was creating WofVE01T. I also added extensive notes to my WofV ePub Template, then I created a WofV Mobi ePub Template as well. I intend to make these templates and notes available for fiction authors soon. As a self-publishing author, all you’ll need to know to use the templates is how to cut and paste your work.

These templates will not be free. As you can see, it took many hours of work for me to create the templates, and it will take more time to create a PDF instruction file. However, I will also not sell my template for a huge sum of money. As a self-publishing author what do you think would be a fair price? What can you afford? Let me know in the comments.

For a chance to test out these Templates for free, join Mili Fay Art Fan Club.

Note: These templates are for fiction authors only — authors who do not have illustrated books. I may create a Template for illustrated books later on, but for now, these templates supports text, a single chapter-end (or chapter-beginning) decoration image, and the cover image.

To view the ePub, feel free to download the WofVE01T Sample book here. To see how it looks on Kindle, I’m afraid you’ll just have to buy WofVE01T;  it’s only $0.99.

That’s it for today’s post.

Wishing you only the best!

Mili

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

© 2014 CDC PHOTOGRAPHY

Mili Fay, an award winning artist, trained as a classical animator at Sheridan College, but when computer animation took over the field, she decided that she loved drawing more than animating. In November of 2011 she created Mili Fay Art determined to support the world one artwork at a time. Today, she passionately creates imaginative artwork and stories, always graced with a humorous modern twist.

Currently, Mili is working on an epic YA fantasy series, Warriors of Virtue, about a reluctant princess, Lauraliee, who learns to become a queen as she defends Ardan from dragon-people (people who turn into dragons).

Warriors of Virtue Episode 5 CoverArt ThumbnailWarriors of Virtue Episode 4 Cover Art ThumbnailWarriors of Virtue Episode 3 Cover ArtWarriors of Virtue Episode 2 Cover ArtWarriors of Virtue Episode 1 Cover Art
“Together we support the world one artwork at a time.”
Also posted in Amazons Kindle Direct Publishing, Uncategorized, Warriors of Virtue Tagged , , , , , |

Grown Up Cover Art: John Polidori’s The Vampyre

Updated June 12, 2016: I’ve updated the cover art, see below.

Thus far in my career, other than portraits or the few pieces I’ve done for National Geographic, I’ve never really had an opportunity to work on something that is more adult oriented. Until now. As you may know, I’m taking a Digital Publishing and Design course at Ryerson College. Assignment 3 is to create an eBook using the free text of John Polidori’s The Vampyre. I have finally read The Vampyre, and all I can say is, Mr. Polidori is the poster child for flowery language and run-on sentences. I did not like his misogynism and was baffled by the two letters at the beginning and the end of the story as well as the need for Introduction. The story itself was OK, though I’m sure in the hands of someone like Stephen King it could have been great.

Instead of just creating a plain cover, I’ve decided to use the opportunity this assignment presented to create a cover geered towards adults. The story is not that frightening, so instead of showing the horror, I’ve opted to show the allure of the villain.

What do you think?

The Vampyre Cover Art

The Vampyre by John Polidori – I tried to make him as compelling as he is in the story.

I’ve decided the cover would be more effective by brightening the font and the character’s eye, so I edited the original image. You can see it below:

The Vampyre Cover Adjustment

Can you see the difference?

If you are wondering why you have not received an email with a new Time-lapse video link, it is because I have had the stuffing kicked out of me by QuickFix Appliances, and did not have the time to work on the video as I hoped.

I posted the time-lapse video of The Vampyre, so check the Playlist Link. As promised Time-lapse videos are only free for Mili Fay Art Fan Club Members, so if you are not a member but would like to see the videos join below. I only write to keep you in the loop and to send gifts. I hate spam and will never share your e-mail address.

 

Until next time!

Love,

M

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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, and author, 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.

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

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.

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.

Also posted in Digital Painting, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , |

May The 4th Be With You!

Star Wars day! From the moment I first discovered it, I loved the idea of May the 4th (May the Force) belonging to the movie franchise celebration. As many people around the world, I too have watched the latest edition The Force Awakens. I love that the main character is a girl! Finally. I’ve always loved Princess Leah, too, but I have also felt the lack of other female characters in the series. With the ratio of women usually surpassing the ratio of men in the world, do you not agree that there should be a greater balance between male and female roles in the movies? Even in this film there is only Rey and Princess Leah.

So let this day be a call to sex equality (feminist movement for those of you who did not know): May the 4th be with you!

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens | Rey

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens | Rey

If you’d like to see the step-by-step speed-up video for the above illustration, join Mili Fay Art Fan Club below.

Now that’s out of the way, I have an announcement to make: Yesterday, I went back to school.

I’m studying Digital Publishing and Production at Ryerson. The course is taught by David Ward and Shannon Culver. Most of my classmates are ladies, there is only one gentleman, and somehow I volunteered to be a Class Rep. After Sheridan College I said: “Never again!” But there you have it. It should not involve too much work, and I just could not NOT volunteer when the lady from the CESAR (Continuing Education students Association of Ryerson) was standing right in front of me.

Yesterday, the class mostly involved getting to know each other, getting to know the course and our instructors, and being tested on our computer abilities. I met my row of lovely ladies consisting of Carol and two Irenes.

I have already learned some things: most of the eBook customers are women between ages 35-55 (I never would have guessed this, I believed eBooks were read mostly by students); HTML programming is called “Markup” in the publishing industry (or is it called “Markup” in every industry); and there is a new classification for books–New Adult (YA with more risqué content).

Our diagnostic test was quite a challenge, and boy did I scribble all over it. I think I may have lost my touch for taking tests. I remember my papers were sickeningly neat in high school, but then again I do not think that I have taken a test since high school… In college we mostly submitted work for marking… Maybe in the Animation History class with Kai Pindal?

In the classroom we have MACs with enormous monitors–I think those monitors are way too large. I feel as if I need to move a row away to look at the entire screen at the same time.

Next week we begin studying “markup”. I can’t wait! It looks as if this class will teach me how to build eBooks from nothing, so that maybe I can program my own books with less code, resulting in a smaller file. Since I’m mostly a PC lady, I’ll need to download Notepad++. In class we will be using TextWrangler.

I’ll keep you updated regarding these lessons.

Regarding my Schoolism lessons, I have decided to skip Assignment number 6. I’m not inspired by it, and since I’m not getting marked by anyone, I may as well work on something I need to, rather than waste time on something I feel I know: rhythm and balance.

That’s it for this post. I feel as if I have been sending my words out into empty space, so if you are reading this type a quick comment to let me know you’re alive.

Until next time:

Sayonara!

Mili

Join Mili Fay Art Fan Club. 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, and author, 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.

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

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.

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.

Also posted in Mini-MEs, Schoolism, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , |