Monthly Archives: November 2015

Schoolism: Pictorial Composition Week 04

Our assignment for Week 04 is to create 6 original compositions with clearly defined focal areas, with the following restrictions:

  • 3 in colour, 3 in value only
  • 3 no people or characters
  • 1 no character or manmade objects of any kind

I confess, it is not easy to think up original compositions, because there are so many options. Even though I’m limiting myself to scenes from my fantasy novel, Warriors of Virtue, I still find that there are too many scenes I can choose from.

I would like to draw scenes from the first novel, but this morning as I was thinking about what I could do, a scene from the fourth novel entered my mind. I will not reveal too much about it, because it would spoil the story for those of you who would like to read it, but the scene itself is happening inside a forest. It is also inspired by the incredible fogs of Belgrade that I do not remember ever seeing in Toronto, Canada. I’ve read about London fogs, but I doubt that these are much better. Last night I stepped onto the balcony, and was shocked to find a cloud of white in front of my face.

The artist in me is fascinated by them, and I wish I had gouache or acrylic so I could attempt capturing them. As I was walking today near sunset, I kept wishing for my camera (though I doubt my camera could capture the majesty). The approaching fog took the sunset colours and dispersed them, making the whole world golden, pink, and violet. It was breathtaking. I kept humming La Vie En Rose as I was walking on a busy street filled with rush-hour traffic. ūüôā

But let me get back to the assignment. We are supposed to create focal areas via contrast. Apparently all visual information can be interpreted by hue, saturation, value, and then texture and edge (which are components of the first three). It is natural for all of us to create contrast with value, but is it possible to use other contrasts to tell the story?

Fowkes suggest that there is. In his comments he kept insisting on us trying to crate hue contrast. This is what I attempted to do with this image, though after I placed it in grayscale, it still had some value contrast. I also tried to use texture vs. lack of texture, repetition (active vs. passive), contrast of local value, saturation, and lost and found edges.

Do you think I succeeded?

Schoolism: Pictorial Composition Week 04 Assignment--Image 01

© 2015 MILI FAY ART | Concept Art: Warriors of Virtue. A character in the forest, while fog shimmers around her.

What kind of mood do you get from this image?


I have finally finished my assignment for Week 04: Pictorial Composition. Here is the result:

Schoolism: Pictorial Compositon Assignment 04

For the second image, I decided to play again with the hue contrast to create focus. This time, I believe I succeeded.¬†I’m still struggling with deciding how much time I should put into each image. For the lady bug, I decided to use pattern brushes, and not bother with realistic colours at all. I had the idea as I was¬†walking in the city and saw a pile of leaves on the pavement.¬†Of curse the leaves were the¬†fallen warm-coloured leaves of fall, but to make the contrast with the lady bug I had to make them green.

The third image is romantic. Somehow, I always associate romance with purples–the twilight colours. Here I used the X-marks the spot–everything leads to the kiss. I also used local colour with no shading, repetition, path¬†(the sweep of the balcony). The¬†male character is about to finish his transformation from a dragon into a human. I thought about adding sparks, but in the end I felt that may be¬†overkill with the roses. What do¬†you think?

Fourth image is one of the classic comps of move magic. The foreground character is looking to the background character who is the focus of this scene. He is further framed by the door in such a way that the lines almost suggest prison bars. The character in the foreground is blurred, while the focus is sharp on our leading man.

In the fifth image, the ducks are the focus. Initially, I envisioned a scene of rapidly moving river, hitting against a rock (The Little Mermaid style), where the rock would be the focus. Then the image got away from me. I was too tired to muster enough energy to create such powerful energy. You could say that the main tool I have used for this image is spot-lighting and empty area. I’m not very happy with this image, but sometimes, I just have to let things go.

The last image is a scene showing Emerald Lake, the home of Ness and Nessus in my novel Warriors of Virtue. I have tried to show a panoramic view with curvilinear perspective. Obviously the willow tree is the focus (though I apologize for the poor drawing of it). If you create a little thumbnail window with your hands (or paper) and drag it back and forth across the image you get a sense of someone looking left to right (or right to left) on the shore. The foreground blurred branches of some blossoming tree block our eyes inside, so they do not slide out of the picture. The value contrast and everything pointing towards the willow tree make it the focus of the scene.

I confess, while working on this assignment, I have been very tired. Let’s hope the next one inspires me a bit more. Working on¬†Pictorial Composition Assignments¬†is¬†making me realise that I do not want to have anything to do with backgrounds. I’m clearly a character person. However, I hope that learning how to handle compositions and backgrounds will improve my illustrations in the end.

I’m also struggling with digital painting. I completely forgot how to blend, and I’m tired of having to invent brushes to get the textures that I want. Therefore, in the end I decided to forego blending and texturing the images.

Until next time: Cheers!


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

Info Graphic: How to package 2D artwork for shipping?

This is my way of packaging artwork for shipping. Use at will, but remember: There are no guarantees when it comes to shipping!

Info Graphic: How to pack artwork for shipping?

Posted in Art: Help!, Uncategorized Tagged , , |

Schoolism: Pictorial Composition Week 03

Pictorial Composition Week 03 Assignment:“Create 10 original studies using value only. Your studies should be designed for a bold, clear statement. This exercise will help your work pack a punch as you strive to manage complex subject matter.”


After listening to Nathan Fowkes’ third lecture, I’ve begun to develop a insecurity complex.

He shares with us all of these wonderful artworks in truly interesting lectures. I go on to listen to his commentary of other student’s work, just to make sure I know what I’m doing. Everything seems manageable. Then, I begin to draw my assignment… and I’m lost.

I never know how much detail I should include. What is enough? What is too much? Does it even matter?

Questions keep swirling around my mind, because I have this obsession of pleasing my teachers that I’ve been carrying since Grade 6. In Grade 6 I immigrated to Canada, and somehow I thought: “If I was a perfect student, people would like me more!”

Regardless, here I am: an adult and still desperate to please people.

I’m drawing these lessons second guessing everything I’m doing. I berate myself for not taking the colour and light course first, because it seems there is a need for extensive color and light foreknowledge for me to create the assignment as my teacher would wish me to.

Then, Life, that cursed flowing thing that cares not for any woman’s plans, decides to mess with me and here I am: three weeks later still working on the Week 03 assignment.

I just can’t take the stress anymore!

So what do I do?

I give myself a mental slap.

Nathan Fowkes is a¬†knowledgeable artist. I like his lectures, but¬†he is not my God. Why should I please him? I’m taking these lessons to possibly improve my own work. No one is grading me on these assignments. Heck, I barely get any commentary on these assignments. So, I’ve decided to take it easy and enjoy myself. If I want to add in more detail, I’ll add in more detail. If I can create something with less detail, I’ll create with less detail. Am I doing these assignments correctly? Not quite sure, but I am getting my story telling point across and having fun.¬†Since I’m not looking for work in a studio,¬†that is all that matters.

Today, I have finally finished my assignment for week three. I think in took four days of work and three weeks.

All of these images are sketches of illustrations I’m thinking of creating for my novel, Warriors of Virtue. (Except the one of Legolas standing on top of the tree, that one is for FANtasy Character Designs.)

The image of Storm Rock surrounded by lightning and storms is my favourite of the bunch. I’ll use it as basis for one of the cover paintings for sure.

Without further ado, Assignment 03:

Schoolism: Pictorial Composition Assignment 03

© MILI FAY ART | Nathan Fowkes Pictorial Composition Assignment 03

I’ve tried to create moods. Some have less detail, some have more. I tried to make some images graphic, some less so. The style may not be quite as cohesive, because I have not developed it yet, but these images get the story points across… At least I believe so. Also, the font I use for the cover page is just a mock up. Mili Fay will also be lower for the Kindle version. The image here illustrates the possible positon for the print version of the book.

Let me know which of the 10 you like best!




Mili Fay--Portrait by Catia Da Costa of 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 FANtasy Character Designs, Schoolism, Uncategorized, Warriors of Virtue Tagged , , , , |