Designing Warriors of Virtue Cover Art Part 16

by Apr 10, 2016Art Projects, How to...

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

Video 16: If you cannot see the embedded video:

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.