Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Girl at Midnight

The Girl at Midnight, originally uploaded by margotwood.

Dragon scales for the win! A good friend of mine wrote this book called The Girl at Midnight. That good friend is Melissa Grey. Her book doesn't come out until April 2015, but when Melissa gave me an advance copy of it, there was just no way I was going to wait until April to do a fauxto for it. Especially after I read it and realized I would have the opportunity to test my hand at creating realistic looking dragon scales. Why? Because in her book there's an ancient race of people that have dragon scales. I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself though. There's more about this book you should know:

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

Want to create your own dragon look? Here's how I captured this fauxto:

Step 1: Find a stool, a blank white wall, a bright lamp and a fancy camera, tripod and remote.

Step 2: Position your camera on the tripod, set it to Manual (my new favorite mode after the last YA fauxto) and adjust the settings until you have it right. (Here's what my settings were: f/1.8, 1/50, 800 ISO, no flash, 35mm fixed lens)

Step 3: Sit your fine ass down on that stool and figure out what position you want this self portrait to be in.

Step 4: Get a super bright lamp and put it on the floor and angle it towards your face.

Step 5: Take about a billion pictures until you one that works for you.

It's actually more complicated than I'm making it seem, but I'm feeling lazy and don't want to give away all of my sekrets. Now for the fun part.

There are several ways you could go about creating dragon-y scales. One way is to do it with makeup. I am far better with Photoshop than I am with makeup so I went with the other route which is faking it with brushes in Photoshop. I downloaded a few scale brushes from DeviantArt (thanks!) and then it was just a matter of adjusting the size, placement, color and layering style from there.

All in all, it took me roughly 40 minutes to take the fauxto, and three hours to edit it. While it wasn't the lengthiest editing job I've ever done (Code Name Verity wins for that one) it was probably the one where I had to pay the closest attention to detail. Most of the fauxtos that require faking things in Photoshop are taken from far away and not closeups. This is pretty close up, and since my whole goal was to make dragon scales look natural and real, I had to really hunker down and edit the crap out of it to make it look as realistic as possible.  (CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FAUXTO AT A LARGER SIZE!)

In the end, they probably look slightly more like fish scales than dragon scales, but just shut up Margot and tell the people you love it and think it's perfect. Guys, I love it and I think this is perfect.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Hit me up in the comments below! Or tweet me @margotwood!


  1. Hey! So you managed to pull of the dragon scales somehow! I agree, it kinda does look like fish scales but hey, it's okay. It's perfect, alright? I think spending three hours editing it in the Photoshop was well worth it. Plus, I loooooooove the ombre hair!

    Peace! :)

  2. Oh, and this is @danceempress on Twitter. :)

  3. *I* love it and think it's perfect!! And I really want to read this book!!

  4. The writing in this book matches the greatness of everything else. There were so many quotes I just had to tweet. The dialogue is written so well. The light humor and sarcasm of Echo came across throughout the book. It set a great tone for all the other characters to blend with.