Creation of a Cover Character - A'mara Books & Viking Visual Art Tutorial

It's time to make another cover image! Time for the graphic artist in me to come out creating.

First Stage - know what you're doing!

Although it sounds simple, it's not always easy to figure out that one scene that will best illustrate my book. Add in that the fact that I'm not a professional at this, I have to make sure it's a scene that I think I can illustrate myself. (Note: a good cover will cost at least $600 to order - and that's assuming you can get them to truly see what you do!)

For this book, I've decided to illustrate the fight scene between Jessten Sipper and Laisen Toban. The most obvious point is when they are in a bind. The posing for this is going to be fun too, but that's not today's project.

Today, we're going to create my character, Jessten Sipper.

Second Stage - Creating the character

I am using Daz 3D Studio with Daz clothing, etc.

I'm going to start with my Victoria 6 character. She's the only Victoria model I have, and despite the newer Genesis models, I prefer the feel of Victoria. She's more anatomically accurate and just has a nicer feel when modeling.

Here she is, just as Poser made her... (with some 'extras' added in from Photoscape to avoid an NSFW tag with this today.)

Note: I can never remember where she is in my library, so I use the search function... and there she was.

I've found that Victoria 6 works really nicely with Genesis and Genesis 2 clothing, so that's what I'm going to be using today.

I'm not going to take you through every piece of clothing I tried on her, but I tried quite a few things until I was happy with what I'd found and how it fit on her.

Eventually, I settled on these Persian Pants - made by Daz. Clicking on the Materials folder, I opted for the deep green ones.


I like these pants because they are loose-fitting, probably about as comfortable as Jessten's going to get in her tournament.

Next, I will find a shirt so I don't have to use these silly stickers to cover potentially-offensive bits.

I opt to go to Daz's Journeyer set that was released with the original Genesis figures. It's a nice set with pieces that are usable for many different purposes.

However, when I first put the shirt on my Victoria 6, we had a slight problem...


Fortunately, the software is very clever and knows it has to be "fit" to the models, so I indicate that this one is from Genesis, and it is a shirt.

Now, it looks fine! No more silly circles.


Next, I add the other bits of the Journeyer outfit that I want to use today... the bracers to protect her wrists from wayward hits (I'd like to find her some gloves somewhere...) and a sash to add a little elegance and tie the whole outfit together.


Before I add my final two pieces of clothing (I should have added the boots already, but I hadn't...) I know that the cloak she needs (for her A'mara outfit to be complete) will conflict with the Journeyer shirt. So, I check to see whether the offending pieces can be easily removed.


We're in luck!
In the surfaces tab to the bottom right, I can change the opacity of the collar and the shoulder pads, bringing them both down to "0" - hence, invisible.


Now, it's easy to add Dragonbreath's cloak. I've put the "woodsman" material on it here just so it looks nicer than complete white. (Nothingness white, not fabric white.)


On this cloak, it's important for me to have the morphing cloak (marked with M) - so that I can put her hood down
I also used the cloak's parameters to lengthen the cloak to 200%.

Next, I changed the colors. A'mara cloaks have colors to represent their home country. Jessten is from Irola, a cultural no-man's land, so her cloak is black. Except the clasp is made from Material (woven from the silk of the firefly moth) - which is always a purply color, so I was able to use the surfaces tab and select the "tie-down" and clasp to turn them an appropriate color.


This surfaces tab is one of your best friends as you can use it to change the colors of any of the pieces you've added. I decided I liked the color of the Persian pants, so made everything match them.


The final two things for Jessten.
First, I used the Charm hair (Genesis 2) and used the materials to give her a good hair color. All A'mara have red in their hair somewhere, though not always prominent.

This is where her race comes to play. Jessten's father is from Çtaráña, her mother is X'lean. Neither are a fair skinned race - which is the default on the characters. To change skin tone, I click on my character in the Surfaces tab - then use the "diffuse" and "opacity" colors to change her skin tone.

(Note: I actually need to go back and fix that as Jessten's father would have given her a bit more olive to her skin tone.)

Some of the skin color stuff is hugely trial and error! I presume someone out there has Daz skin color files to sell you, but I'd rather figure it out for myself.


I'm reasonably happy with my character now, so I'll leave her for the moment and work on the other person for this scene... (but not today.)

All work done by myself on: Photoscape, Gimp, Krita, and/or Daz 3D Studio
Cross-posted on: Steem, Whaleshares, WeKu, Hyperspace
Other parts of this tutorial:

Past tutorials:

Photo salvages:

Droplet, Bellis Daisy, Baby Blue Flowers, version 1, version 2, 2-Spot Ladybug, version 1, version 2, Bridge Over River Kennet

Coloring Tutorials & Mini-tutorials:

Zen colouring #43, Zen colouring #39, Zen colouring #38, Zen colouring #37, Zen colouring #36, Zen colouring #35, Zen colouring #34, Zen colouring #33,

Butterfly Colouring #11, Butterfly Colouring #10

Miscellaneous Artwork:

Pumpkin Patch Harvest, Painting Wooded Easter Eggs

Lori Svensen
author/designer at A'mara Books
photographer/graphic artist for Viking Visual
verified author on Goodreads
find me on Twitter
blogging on: Steem, Whaleshares, WeKu, Hyperspace

Discord Link


Join us in the Official Whaleshares server in the text channel "the-phoenix-project"

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