Tuesday, 10 June 2014


"DREAM, LITTLE DREAMER" CONTEST
To her the "Dream, Little Dreamer" Lullaby click here.
***PLEASE NOTE: BECAUSE OF LACK OF INTEREST I'M POSTPONING THIS CONTEST UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE THE CONTEST TO CONTINUE, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.  I NEED AT LEAST 10 INTERESTED PEOPLE TO PARTICIPATE.***

Have you ever wanted to own original Mili Fay Art artwork?  Well, here is your chance.

What you can win:

Original final-ink sketches* and a grand prize: ORIGINAL WATERCOLOUR ILLUSTRATION (valued at $300-$500) from the upcoming "Dream, Little Dreamer" picture book.

How does it work?

As I'm illustrating I will come up with a series of questions that I will post as a comment underneath this blog post.  Be the first person to answer correctly and you will win the final-ink sketch for that question.  You will also be added to the draw for the GRAND PRIZE.  At the end of the project (when the book is published and ready for sale), in real time, on Google Hangouts, I will draw the winer from a bowl.  The winner will be contacted by e-mail address provided and will be asked to claim the prize.  If the winner does not claim the prize within two weeks, a new name will be drawn.

Who is eligible?

Everyone, but please note:  free shipping is only available in Canada and US!  Kids make sure you get your parent's/legal guardian's consent.  If you win I will require your address to ship the wining sketch to you.

RULES:
  • You must have your parent's/legal guardian's permission if you are under the legal age for your country.
  • DO NOT SHARE PERSONAL IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION.
  • You can post as many answers as you like.  The first correct answer wins.
  • You can only win an original final-ink sketch once.
  • Be kind and courteous, and DO NOT SPAM!
  • I can change the rules and cancel the contest at any time at my sole discretion.
  • If there are two or more likely winners, another question will be asked of the potential winners.  The first person to get the answer wins.
You can follow the progress of my work on Pinterest.

Prize Samples:


Final-Ink Sketch

Possible Watercolour Illustration Prize


* Final-Ink Sketch is a sketch I trace onto watercolour paper to create the final painting.

Friday, 6 June 2014

UPCOMING APPEARANCES


There are no general public appearances scheduled for 2016.  If you wish Mili to appear at your school, library, or other institutions, please contact us.



PUBLISHING RESOURCES

Resources Mili Fay used to publish her book.

Learn About Publishing

Self Publishing in Canada: A complete guide to designing, printing and selling your book by Suzanne Anderson.  This book focuses on getting your book ready to publish in Canada (step by step), with some tips on what you can do after.  You can also purchase a new edition e-version from her site.

I have recently discovered a UK website with a lot of useful publishing information: www.stinkyinkshop.co.uk/book-publishing-guide/At the time I was reviewing the site, some of the links did not work properly, and there is not enough information about publishing a book by yourself--the site concentrates on services that can publish for you. Nevertheless, it does contain a lot of useful information.


Canadian Government Sites You Should Know

The Canadian ISBN Service System Find out all about getting your free ISBN in Canada.
Cataloguing In Publication You will need to get this for your copyright page.

Marketing
Start marketing before you finish your book!

D'vorah Lansky's site is geared towards non-fiction books, but fiction authors can find a lot of useful information.

Sandra Beckwith gives you an idea where to start.  She also always suggest other resources you can rent or purchase to expand your knowledge. 

If you do not already have a product, this book explains how you can research the market to find a niche that is trending. There are some useful pointers on market research that you can apply if you do have a product, but that is not the focus of this book.

Printing Company Mili Fay Used



*****

I will add more resources as I come across them.  I hope these few gets you off to a good start.  If you know of another great publishing resource, please let me know.


Join Mili Fay Art Fan Club






MILI FAY ART FAN CLUB

Mili Fay Art Fan Club is for those of you who love Mili Fay Art.

As a member of the Fan Club:
  • you will receive gifts and discounts on Mili Fay Art Products and Services. 
  • you will have many chances to participate in contests to win great prizes.
  • you will be notified of art tutorials, upcoming signings and markets, and any other online or offline events before any other Mili Fay Art social site.
  • you may join a Facebook Group to connect with other fans, share ideas, ask questions, and more.
  • you will have a front row seat for anything Mili Fay comes up with next.
  • every time a  new book is about to be published by Mili Fay Art, you will have a chance to get a FREE copy!
  • you will have FREE access to all of Mili Fay Art signing events and can skip the line-up.

Sign-up Gift:

A link to an ever-growing Playlist of Time-lapse videos where you can watch me create digital artwork from scratch. Below is a sample time-lapse video:



Fan Club Rules:

Fan Club rules are simple.  Be courteous and considerate, check your e-mail account, and participate in a club activity at least once in 3 months.  Individuals who do not participate will be deleted to make room for those individuals who do.

If you review one of the books, please post your review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. The few minutes of your time it takes to write a review, makes a lifetime of difference to an author.





If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions on how I can make the Fan Club better, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Cheers!

Mili Fay


Updated: August 3. 2016

Part 06: Mili Fay And The Picture-Book Marketing Challenge

June, 2013.

Mili Fay: "After 5 years of toiling, my book, 'Animals In My Hair', has finally been published.  I am at the top of the world!  The hard part is over.  All that is left is to let everyone know that this brand new marvel of literature exists! 


How hard can that be?"


May, 2014.

Mili Fay: "It is not only hard, it feels impossible!"

*****

I know I have a great product.  I know this, because "Animals In My Hair" has been flying off shelves at markets, and the people who have not bought the book have actually apologised that they did not have the money to purchase it, or that they do not have children in their lives to gift it to.

So, the book is not the reason why I am struggling.  The reason is that I have no clue how to get my book in front of parents and teachers who are my target audience: Marketing.

I have done my research.  The problem is not that there is no information on marketing--there is TOO MUCH information!  

A month ago, I felt crushed by piles and piles of information (most of it useless.)  I wallowed in it.  I was buried in it.  I was slowly being flattened by it.


I've been crying for help for what felt like forever and no one has been able to hear me.

Then like a ray of sunshine that pierces and melts the fog, Sandra Beckwith's newsletter led me to D'vorah Lansky's Book Marketing Challenge.  

Now at the very end of the challenge,  I have a clear path (with supportive signposts) that will lead me to the kind of success I have always dreamed I'd achieve.


I cannot share just one thing I have learned; it is not who I am.  What I will share with you is the tools I have found most applicable to the picture-book/fantasy author like me.

The first week of the Challenge we were supposed to create our author's platform.  Well, in my case, my book is just a tiny part of a greater entity called Mili Fay Art.  Last year, I have finally established Mili Fay Art's platform and have supported it with the vision statement: "Together we support the world one artwork at a time." 

Instead of creating a platform, I have learned about creating effective blogs, have decided to really get involved with Amazon and Goodreads, and have also discovered something called a Facebook Fan Party--which I think is the best way to get more Likes for my Facebook Page.

The second week was all about becoming friends with our audience.  I am intrigued by list building through giveaways (I have been giving stuff away since the beginning, but have not asked anything in return).  I have created my first giveaway, a PDF Colouring Book from the outline scans of some of my most popular pieces of artwork.  At my last market I have let people know that they will be getting this book if they sign up for my newsletter and the signup sheet was 200% longer. 


You can download the picture book here

Cathy Demers gave me a great idea for creating a show showcasing my very talented friends once a week as part of my "Art: Help!" blog.  Thank you, Cathy!  I may not be able to connect with "Animals In My Hair" audience in that way, but I will reach a lot of artists and fantasy lovers who I know will love my novel, "Warriors of Virtue".  Besides, I will chat with some of the artists I have admired for years.  What could be better?

Third week was not my week.  I do not want to teach the subjects and themes that I use for books.  My books are fantasy, and there are people out there more qualified than I to teach on the real subjects I touch upon.  However, I did have a major brainstorm as I listened to the Kindle Ninja (I find Kristen Eckstein a bit scary to be honest).  

"Warriors of Virtue" is my masterpiece.  A massive fantasy story about a reluctant princess who learns to be a Queen.  It really is massive.  The first book out of the planned five-book series (and one novella) is 600 pages (slightly over 100 000 words, which is not an unusual length for a fantasy novel).  I have envisioned the whole book illustrated with sketchy ink illustrations, and one beautiful, full-colour illustration for every chapter.  Just thinking of the amount of work that will take makes me slightly ill.

After listening to the Kindle Ninja, I have decided to publish the whole book in individual chapters.  My plan is to offer the first chapter for free, then to raise the price when the second chapter is published and offered for free.  I hope in this way to create a loyal following who may eventually help me achieve best-seller status with the printed version of the book.  My future fans may even help me Crowdfund the project.

Crowdfunding is what we have discussed in week four.  A week where we learned the importance of press releases and book reviews.  Both of which I will be working on as soon as the Challenge is through.

This last week we have been learning about Virtual Book Tours.  As someone who loves to write and share what I know, a VBT is what I am looking forward to the most.  Somehow, I will have to figure out how to get in touch with relevant mommy-blogs, and teacher sites (or I may spend this year doing actual tour of Toronto schools and Libraries--if they'll have me).  I did have this idea to contact haircut blogs for children, and share funny haircuts I have had throughout the years.  I also love, LOVE, Once Upon A Sketch blog run by Norman Grock.  I would dearly love to write them an article about my watercolour technique.  People marvel at the clarity of my colours and the secret is all in the...

;-)

I am also intrigued by a Review Crew, and will be setting mine up soon.

I'm also planning on starting a review blog as a result of being part of this fantastic Children's Picture Books group on Goodreads, with a weekly article about outdoor games that will keep the kids active and away from TV.  If you know of any old games that may be fun and are willing to share an article for this new blog, please let me know.

The Book Marketing Challenge sparked so many ideas that I am not sure where to start first, but the above are some that are bouncing around my scull more frequently than others.

Lastly, I want to give a big virtual hug to everyone reading this blog, and to all the participants of the Book Marketing Challenge Group who have welcomed me with open arms.  I hope we will stay in touch for years to come.  If you are ever in Toronto I would love to meet you all in person and share with you my favourite haunts.

My June 2014 Challenge is to fully illustrate my "Dream, Little Dreamer" lullaby (you can hear me singing the full version on a YouTube video here).  If you have kids, or if you just like children's art, you can follow my progress on Pinterest for a chance to win original sketches and a watercolour painting.

First Illustration: "...or a chick in its pen..."
If you'd like to keep in touch, and get more artistic freebies (such as greeting cards, art prints, colouring books, Kindle Books, etc.) and discounts on portraiture and Mili Fay Art products, become a member of the Mili Fay Art Fan Club.  You can also join Mili Fay Art's brand new Review Crew where you may get all of her future books for free.  Details coming soon!

Join Mili Fay Art Fan Club and/or Review Crew:

* indicates required
Mili Fay Art
Email Format


Good luck with all your endeavours!

Mili Fay
"Together we support the world one artwork at a time."

P. S.  I will go into more detail as I follow each marketing step, so make sure to tune in from time to time. :-)

A Proud Member Of:

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Part 05: Mili Fay Takes On A Book Marketing Challenge

Date: May 2, 2014


Now that my book is published and looking perfect, my greatest struggle is getting it in front of my audience, a.k.a. MARKETING.

I'm all over the Internet, but though I connect with other authors and artists, I'm not reaching the people who want to buy my book.

How do I know who these people are?

I truly believe that everyone would love my book, but not everyone NEEDS my book. To find your audience you need to know who falls in the second category. By going to markets and fairs I have discovered that people who purchase my book have young children in their lives; they are parents, grandparents, teachers...

So, I should be targeting mommy blogs, baby and children's stores, schools... But how do I reach people without coming across as a self-serving creep?

I have no idea.

Thankfully, I have just discovered something called a Book Marketing Challenge. It begins this Monday, May 5th, so if you want to get the FREE Silver Pass and check it out: http://buildabusinesswithyourbook.com/access/aff/go/mili_fay

I have just signed up for Gold Membership so what you see above is my affiliate link.

I honestly hope it helps me out, because doing everything on my own is a tad overwhelming. ;-)

I'll blog about my experience, so if you have any questions let me know.

Cheers!

M

Part 04: Mili Fay In Trouble!

Date: April, 2013 (?)

The worst part about starting your own business and working on your own is that there are many things you don't know that you don't know. I am a meticulous person. I have spent years researching illustration and publishing, before deciding to publish a book on my own. I thought that I had a good grasp about business of it all, but the truth is my views were very naive.

When I first decided to publish my own book, I thought that all I needed to do is write the book, illustrate it, and then find a printer to print and bind it. Publishing in reality is much more complicated.

There are registration papers to be filed, legal licences obtained, cataloging, archiving, getting the ISBN... Many, many things, that I gratefully discovered in the book "Self Publishing in Canada: A complete guide to designing, printing and selling your book" by Suzanne Anderson.

So, after reading the book I thought, "NOW, I know it all."

I was wrong.

As I mentioned before, the trouble comes when you do not know what you do not know. It is easy to figure something that you know you are unfamiliar with; that is what research is all about. However, what do you do when you make mistakes without knowing they are mistakes?

You get in trouble, that's what.

In my case I almost illegally used a font that I had no idea I was using illegally.

The main font in my picture book is Jenkins 2.0. I had that font forever. It was in my programs in school, and I've used it occasionally for years. It is my favourite font that mimics hand-writing. It suits the style of my book perfectly. So I figured, "If I had the program then I can use the font."

Wrong!

That font is copyrighted. I had to purchase a license to use it commercially. 

I was lucky, because I stumbled on the copyright notice of the font in a friend's comic book. She used the font, and loving her comic so much, and being about to publish my own book, I decided to check out her copyright page. It was there: "Jenkins v. 2.0" by Ben Balvanz for fontalicious.com. Jenkins v. 2.0 is copyright (C) 1999 fontalicious.com.

"By Mili Fay" is written with Jenkins v. 2.0 Font
The moment I read those words I broke out in cold sweat, my stomach clenched, and I was about to hyperventilate. I saw myself being hit by lawsuits, forced to pay money I don't have, finding myself in jail, being labeled as a "jail-bird" and not being trusted with anything ever again, my fledgling career in shambles, and years of integrity washed down the messy toilet of life!

A bit dramatic?

Well, what do you expect? I am an artist. :-)

It was after I almost gave myself a heart attack, that I reminded myself that my book has not been sent to the printer. I could change the font if I could not obtain a license. It will mean more work, but I have designed fonts before, I could design a font again.

In the end, obtaining the license proved reasonable and easy enough. For my purposes a twenty dollar fee is all that it took.

However, this little episode makes me wonder what other faux pas are in store for me. How many important things are out there that I do not know and that I should know?

I tell myself, "At least one more." That thought keeps me humble. Nevertheless, I also tell myself to stop fretting about such things and to deal with issues when they arise. 

The next time I was prepared. 

A while back, I discovered that I need to do something to the barcode to have funds and taxes and other money things work the way it should. I'm not sure what I should do, but at least I have a question I can ask.

I also discovered that registering the business name, did not handle all aspects of registering a business. So, I'm going to fill out a HST form registration later today.

Life rarely works out the way you plan it should, you have to be ready for all its nasty surprises, and not fret over the past you cannot change. The one thing I have learned from all this is that life makes no sense, and follows no plan. All you can do is deal with it as it comes.

Until next time...

Mili

Part 03: Mili Fay Gets Her CIP And A Vision

Date: April 16, 2013
Reposted From: Mili Fay: An Artist's Struggle To Success

CIP or Cataloguing In Publication according to my research is a voluntary program that catalogues books nationally and internationally before they are published.  This information is distributed to librarians and bookseller.

You will often find it on the verso page, just before the title page of a book (or possibly right after).  This page is known as the copyright page, because it contains all the copyright and legal information.  The CIP looks like a bunch of mysterious codes, with author's name and birth year, ISBN number, etc.

My copyright page and title page (verso means left).
The CIP information is on the bottom left corner.

I assume librarians and booksellers need this information to figure out how to catalogue the book.  Regardless, Suzanne Anderson in her book "Self Publishing In Canada" urges us to obtain a CIP, and I have obtained a CIP.

I have no idea how it works in other countries, but in Canada you search CIP Canada in Google to reach a government site that gives you all the necessary information to register.  You will need an ISBN and you must know the price of your book before you can fill out the provided forms.  It takes 10 business days for a government CIP official to get back to you.  In my case it took longer, because of the Easter Holidays, but I have used those 10 days to improve my book.

I thought I would have to wait for some fancy paperwork, but in the end I got the information in an e-mail and was told to paste it exactly on the copyright page, without any adjustments to format, font or anything.

I have done so, and my copyright page is now complete.  (I looked through a bunch of children's books I own to figure out how to present this information as professionally as possible.  I am happy with the result. :-) )

If you have read Part 02 of my publishing adventures, you know that I have used those 10 days to create watercolour portraits for my authour's biography page and for my thank you page.

However, I also had time to have more conversations with my printer.  At one point, I misunderstood the layout designer and thought he wanted me to have 60 pages to make it easier for creating signatures (smyth sewn books are made up of "signatures" separately sewn pages (12 or 16) that are put together).  So there were two extra pages I did not initially count on.  

I do not like blank pages in books.  The verso page after a title page must be blank, but for my book, there is no reason to have other pages blank.

Instead of printing out a blank page at the end, I decided to contact wildlife conservation societies and ask them if they wanted to say something on the last page of the book; a sort of free advertising if you will.  I spoke to Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada (check them out if you haven't already--they do great work), but I mentioned that I intended to raise money to help the Toronto Zoo.  Fearing a conflict of interest they declined my offer, but kindly told me to inform them when my book was done and they will promote it on their page.  I spent days trying to contact the Toronto Zoo.

It was a fiasco.  I sent messages, left a phone message that I'm sure the poor woman on the other line needed an interpreter to understand...  Weeks passed, and there was no word.  I worried that I will have to abandon this noble idea of "free advertising" for the zoo.  Finally, they contacted me, and explained the delay was due to the arrival of VIP--Very Important Pandas--from China.  These pandas are going to be the zoo's main attraction for the following five years, and the media was too busy dealing with their arrival to spare me a thought.

However, they loved my idea of using my book to raise funds for the conservation of wildlife.  The Toronto Zoo does amazing work in reintroducing and breeding extirpated species, and they agreed to give me their statement to print at the end of the book.

So, while I was waiting for CIP I created the zoo's page as well.


More than all this, I have re-affirmed my purpose in life.

I have always liked helping others.  I've given to charities, I bought coffee-shop certificates for people begging on the street, I helped in organizing events, fundraisers...

However, I realized that I can do so much more.  With this talent I've been given I hope to help many worthy causes and organizations.

In the past, I created "Horsing Around" to raise funds for local children's hospitals, now this book is supposed to raise funds for wildlife conservation (Toronto Zoo) and I already have projects lined up that will help raise funds for animal shelters, children with disabilities, community dance programs,...

So, while I waited for CIP, I came up with Mili Fay Art's official vision statement: "Together we support the world one artwork at a time."

This is my dream: to create beautiful artwork that people around the world will love, and to give a substantial portion of my profits to help others.  In this way, I can help much more than if I was just to donate a few bucks here and there when I could. 

I know I can do this.  However, I cannot do this alone.  If you like Mili Fay Art's vision, please support Mili Fay Art by Liking me on Facebook (Mili Fay Art Page; Animals In My Hair Page), following me on Twitter @MiliFay, reading this blog, and sharing the information with others.

If you are looking for perfect gifts for children take a look at Horsing Around and Animals In My Hair.

To pre-order Animals In My Hair contact me through Facebook or info@artofmili.ca.  For more information  see What's So Great About "Animals In My Hair"? (previous post).

Thank you for reading.  Thank you for your support.

Mili Fay

P.S. Next time I will write about my unexpected trouble.


Part 02: Mili Fay Paints Her Author's Portrait

Date: April 8, 2013
Reposted From: Mili Fay: An Artist's Struggle To Success

Because of the surprisingly early Easter this year, it took a bit longer for me to get my CIP information, but in the end that proved to be a very good thing.  Someone out there really is watching over me, and I am much happier with the book in the state it is now than it was three weeks ago.

However, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let me continue from where I left off the last time; I have selected my printing company and I've been waiting for CIP before I could proceed with printing.

Instead of just waiting for the information to arrive, I decided to use those 10 business days to create my author's portrait and to paint my grandfather's portrait (this book celebrates his memory) in watercolour.  Previously these would have been photographs, but I believed that watercolour portraits would look much better with my watercolour book.

So, I pulled out my brushes, set up my paper, found a col-erase brown pencil and began.

Have you ever tried to paint a portrait in watercolour?!!!

I truly understand why most artists prefer oil and acrylic.  The next time I come across an artist who works in watercolour portraits, I will bow down before him/her and celebrate his/her genius. 

When painting with watercolour you have almost no room for error.  One little mistake and hours of work are ruined, and unless you are going to edit the work digitally, there is nothing you can do, but start again, and again, and again...

The accuracy and precision of mixing tones, drawing lines, deciding what should be prominent what should fade--I have never struggled with portraits this much in my life!

To illustrate the horror, I'm going to reveal my shamefully horrible attempts, that will make you wonder if I have any talent at all.


What you see above is the image of my late grandfather.  This picture has been scanned from his passport photo upon his death.  It has been enlarged and printed, and now I've scanned it again, because the original scan is on my nearly obsolete laptop.  This is the image I've used as photographic reference.

(Note: camera distorts an images, therefore when you paint from the photograph, you will have to try to compensate for the distortion.  However, this image is fairly accurate).


The above is my first attempt at watercolour painting.  

It is so distorted! 

My grandfather is almost past the point of recognition.  Believe it or not, it began as a fairly accurate sketch.  Then as I was painting, somehow his chin grew out of proportion.  I was also trying to make him look a bit more cheerful... It didn't work out.  The last horror is they eyes.  I liked the intensity of the dark eyes in the photo, but with the rest of the painting, they look too dark--like two holes.  And I do not even want to mention the eyelashes...  He looks as if he is wearing mascara!

After a good night's sleep, I tried again.


This painting IS my grandfather.  The way I remember him; sad eyes, kind face and older than he is in the photograph.  When I look at this photo, I feel so much emotion.  That is how I know it works.  It is not a copy, but an accurate representation of who my grandfather was.  The eyes still are dark enough to remain the focus, but are light enough that they fit with the rest of the picture.  This is the portrait I'm using, and I'm extremely happy with it.  To original will be sent to my grandmother.

I was so happy with this portrait, that I decided to attempt painting my author's portrait immediately.

Now, you need to know that I do not like to paint and draw myself.  It feels very weird to me.  Whenever I paint, I try to emotionally connect with the person I'm painting, but emotionally connecting with myself...  It's weird.  Also, my vanity kicks in.  I do not think I'm beautiful, but I have the skills to make myself beautiful, so it is very hard for me not to attempt to do so.  Then, I'm not really sure I want everyone on the net see my face.  All of these factors crate an internal struggle that interferes with my work--something I do not have when I paint other people.  When I paint others, I think about how happy they'll be with the job well done, and I try to find their true self, creating a little story about them in my mind.


This is the first picture I decided to use as the reference.  The slick hair worked with the outfit, but here it looks rather flat.  Also I cannot use the shadows which are in this photo, though I do like them.  Then, my nose which is rather long (courtesy of my grandfather) looks even bigger due to the distortion of the lens.


This is my first attempt.  I do not usual swear, but "What the #$%@?!"  How can I paint such a beautiful portrait of my grandfather, and then end up with this.  It looks nothing like me--well maybe my eyes.  The portrait does look slightly like my grandmother, but it looks more like a doll than a real person.  One of those cut-up dolls of the 60s or something.  I wish my skin was that healthy, but it has not looked like that since I was 19.

A complete and total miss.


I've decided that the shadows were at fault, and that painting form that photo would be too difficult.  So, I got my photo from September 2012 (when I was leaner), the one currently found on my Facebook Page and on my webpage Contact Me page.


This is the result of that attempt.

To be fair I was working from screen, but once again, "What is this?!"

It looks like a very slutty version of me.  Completely inappropriate for an author's photo.  What WAS I thinking?  Not to mention the proportional inaccuracy.  Believe it or not, this portrait started out fairly accurate in the pencil sketch, but I must have fudged a line here an there while I was painting, and now it does not look very much like me.  Maybe I was tired.  Maybe that explains the slumberous look in my eyes, and the overall appearance of me rolling out of bed.  (I believe I finished this near midnight.)

The next day, I pulled out another photo.


I like this picture.  It is the traditional author portrait pose.  I look kind, approachable, with a sense of humor.  A good representation.

This is the result of that portrait.


I was trying to create intense eyes--I should have left them alone--this is what happens when you overwork your image.  I do not hate this portrait--though that right eye has the wrong tilt (stupid watercolour, I can't go and fix it, unless I play with the thing digitally).  What I do not like about it is that I look as if I am smirking.  Maybe the shadow around my mouth is too dark, and my lips are slightly off...


This picture I took with a specific purpose in mind.  It is to be the welcome image of my new website (still in development).  I am looking at Artemis (my owl--the one I use as my logo).  I love this photo of me, and so, I decided to give it a try.


This is the finished result, and this is the image I'm using for my author's photo.  Yes, my chin is a bit longer, and my nose a bit shorter--but at least this one looks somewhat like me.  I love the way Artemis turned out, and I believe the whole image represents Mili Fay of Mili Fay Art.

I discovered that the key to painting watercolour portraits is to keep them light.  Once you start painting deep shadows, and rounding the form,... The painting tends to loose that light spontaneous feeling and becomes very... Solid.

What is good about watercolour portraits is their ethereal quality, and the next time I paint one, I will try to remember that.

All I know is, the above picture will serve it's purpose, and I do not want to paint myself at least for another 5 years! 

I will write more about receiving my CIP, and my new-found mission next time.  For now, keep practicing, and if you know an amazing watercolour portrait painters let me know.

Cheers!

M

Part 01: Mili Fay Chooses A Printing Company

Date: March 19, 2013
Reposted From: Mili Fay: An Artist's Struggle To Success


"Animals In My Hair", my first picture book, the one I have spent years working on between other jobs is finally ready for printing!

What now?

You will be amazed by all the things you need to know before you can print a book.  Thankfully, my sister found a self-help book, "Self-Publishing In Canada" by Suzanne Anderson, that gave me (what I pray) is all the information I need.

(When I was researching publishing, I found a lot of books on US publishing, but the one above is the only one I found that deals with Canada specifically.  I'm publishing in Canada, so it is helping tremendously.)

My adventures in publishing began the moment I finished all the illustrations, printed and bound a miniature version of my book.



"Why did you make a miniature version of your book?" you ask.

Because, I wanted to work out any problems the book may have before it goes to printing.

It is a very good thing I did so, because the next step--getting the ISBN number--asks a lot of question that you need to answer before the government issues a free ISBN number to you.  (You can find all the ISBN information you need at The Canadian ISBN Service System.)

After getting my ISBN number, my next step was to find a printer.

I wanted to have my book printed in Canada, so I searched all the printing companies in Canada.  Again, there were many questions to answer, half of which I had no idea what they were asking about, but research and some very helpful people came to my rescue.

Some companies were quick to respond to my request for a quote.  Some said they will give me a quote soon, but appear to have forgotten about me.  A bunch did not even respond with the simple courtesy e-mail that lets me know they have received my information.

Guess which companies I liked?

Another thing that surprised me is the cost of printing a book in Canada, as well as the lack of traditional hard cover binding.  There were so many printing companies out there that only offered binding of the kind you can find at your local Staples.

As any other publisher I need to have my book printed at the lowest cost possible, with the highest quality possible.  The quality of my book is not negotiable, because if Mili Fay Art stands for anything it is the quality of the current and future products.  If I do not want to have something on my shelf, or wall, why should I expect anyone else to want it?

Another reason I need the lowest cost possible is because I want to use my artwork to help worthy causes.  This book is intended to help wildlife conservation efforts by raising funds for the Toronto Zoo.  (I thought about raising funds for WWF, but they already have so many donors, I figured I can make more impact locally.)  After reading the report sent to me by the Toronto Zoo (I am a proud member), and realizing that they are desperate for non-government funds, I've decided to make them the beneficiary of "Animals In My Hair."  Therefore, if the cost of a single book is too high, I will not be able to raise a substantial amount of money after paying back my loans.  I'm also wondering how much retail stores will charge to carry my book...

At this time, I'm thinking of donating 30% of the profits, with the possibility of the percentage increasing with the subsequent editions.

Lower unit cost also makes for a lower final price, and I want my picture books to be affordable for the average consumer.

Above are just some of the reasons why I decided to self-publish this book.  If I went with the traditional publisher, I doubt that I could raise enough money to purchase a box of raisins.

So, to get back to printing.

I've never had so many e-mails in a single day.  I kept trying to learn as much as I could about all the printing companies so that I could pick the best one.  In the end, one of them clearly stood out.

I chose Sure Print & Design.  Their price is not as low as I expected, but for the quality they are promising I find it highly reasonable.  They promptly responded to my e-mails, patiently explained all the things a seasoned publisher would know, and made me feel as if they would value my business.  (It also does not hurt that they are a 30 min drive away from my location, so that I can save on shipping costs.)

After having my loan approved, and feeling comfortable with my contact, I decided to stop waiting for further quotes and get on with the business.

I was excited.  In a day I would hand my book in and have it printed!

WRONG!!!

Now that I have the unit price, and can therefore calculate how much I'm going to charge/book, I need to sign up for the Cataloguing In Publication (CIP).  I need this legal information to be printed on the copyright page of my book.  To my dismay, that will take 10 business days, which means that I will not be able to send my book for printing until April 4th 2013 earliest, pushing the date of holding my book in my hands to sometime in late May or early June.

However, this may be a good thing.  It gives me two weeks to perfect my layout for the printing company.

Now, I'm going to reexamine copyright.

Wonderful thing about Canada is that if you've created it, you have the copyright.  No need to register.  Reading their page, it sounds as if you really do not need to register, because they are not going to fight for you rights if you register with them.  After all, what does one need to prove copyright?  No one can take my book away from me, because I have all the original artwork and drafts dating back to 2008.

However, I may just pay that $75 to keep it neat and tidy in my records.  Maybe.

More "Mili Fay's Adventures In Publishing" to come.  Until then...

M

Thursday, 5 June 2014

About Mili Fay Art



Mili Fay Art was created in November of 2011 by Mili Fay to preserve the quality and intricacy of traditionally created artwork that has begun to fade with the onset of digital tools.


In 2013 this vision expanded to include raising funds for organizations such as local children's hospitals and conservation of animals, which as of 2014 has helped refocus Mili Fay Art into three services:

Mili Fay Art's commitment to excellence ensures that you will always receive high quality work, professional integrity, and personal attention.

Find out more on Mili Fay Art Official Website.