red_satin_doll: (Default)

Click on all images below to view full-size (They don't look at all right downsized. 'tis most distressing.) All artwork by me unless otherwise noted.



redsatindoll_birthdaybannerbyspikesredqueen2015


Gift from my amazing friend and a jewel of this fandom [livejournal.com profile] spikesredqueen for my birthday (Feb 2015, not snaggable)




WingsbyComlodge650x601        

"Winged Buffy" banner, a gift from the fantastically talented and generous [livejournal.com profile] comlodge, (June 2013, not snaggable)
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*My LJ is Hugs Central (mostly.)  Appropriate and consensual ones, of course. Safety and fun are at a premium here, so play nice with one another. Leave the weapons at the door, wipe your feet on the mat, and help yourself to some tea and homemade cookies.
by any other name 700square
...by any other name. (June 2014)



* Buffy is my Big Damn Hero and my #1 HBIC - because she's flawed and human and real. Because she loves deeply; she falls down but still fights, she grieves and endures, again and again. Because she breaks the rules and finds another way; because of her intelligence, intuition and wit. Because in watching her I identify with my own issues and strengths, and have a renewed appreciation for my mom as well.

* Because in talking about her with other fans, in telling my story through her, in voicing my truth, I discover that I'm not alone in my challenges, faults, and grief; that I don't have to be imprisoned by secrets and shame; and in sharing this, I can bring comfort to others. And because at the end of the day, Buffy gives me hope; and sometimes that's enough to make getting out of bed in the morning worthwhile. And because she is just so freakin' adorable, y'all.

 
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bwtdbannertext868x872byredsatindoll2015FINAL.png

Keep Her Safe (alt 1) (March 2015)


* I love intelligent discussion of , and appreciation for , the ladies of the verse and their complex interrelationships  at the core of the 'verse: mothers, sisters, mentors, students, friends, lovers, enemies, allies. The Buffyverse without it's women would be a cold, barren place:  ("that bright optimism that becomes a great, raw wound-red in The Body" - [livejournal.com profile] the_royal_anna ). They bear witness to one another, the hurt one another when they don't mean to, they love even when it's difficult and painful to do so.


* And yes, this also includes Kennedy. No vitriol. No joke.  (Tara would not approve of the hate. A lot of the complaints I've seen about her are suspicously close to those lobbed at Buffy, btw.) Entitled? Yes. Arrogant? Uh-huh - and also loyal, courageous, stubborn and gentle. She's a "queer woman of color..that is allowed to be the hero."

* The Buffy & Tara friendship/connection is one of the most underappreciated aspects of the 'verse IMO. This WILL be rectified. I don't ship Buffy/Tara, but if that's what it takes to get fandom talking about them? A fangirl's gotta do what a fangirl's gotta do. (ETA 2014: I have seen the light of the true religion: Buffy/Tara shipping. I ship those girls so freakin' hard. Now say amen, somebody.)


081cb79e-e513-4fdc-a324-339c063eb76a_zpsc9186e21

My OTF/P (August 2014)


*In fact, let's just say "No bashing female characters, period." There's plenty of other places to do that, if that's your thing. The show's failures in terms of the depictions of women, of female sexuality, the lack of mature female characters, the massive fail in terms of race and class? Always up for intelligent, civil discussion and examination.
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* OTOH, I do reserve the right to bitch about call out their shit criticize objectively analyze and take issue with certain whiny, self-absorbed males on the series and their collective patronizing jackassery. Don't get me wrong, I can understand them, sympathize with them, and so forth. Xander trying to be a "better man" than his father? Even when he gets it wrong? I heartily approve. (I'll still call him out on his shit, though.) It's simple math: Grow up, get real or go home. Also I welcome any and every opportunity to make fun of Angel.  Particularly when penguins are involved.  As well they should be.
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563752_original.jpg

I Walk Alone, another beautiful gift from [livejournal.com profile] comlodge based on her FFL picspam series for Round 18 of [livejournal.com profile] seasonal_spuffy.


 
* I 'ship Buffy&Spike S7 . Love in action is the hardest, most painful and most worthwhile work we can ever do - and IMO it trumps "true love" romantic fantasies every time. (That said, I fully support the right to ship Buffy with anyone you damn well please.) But he is not my central focus here. Nor are any of the men of the 'verse, except in terms of how they serve Buffy's story.  It turns out the protagonist of the "Buffyverse" is some gal named Buffy.  Weird, huh?
red_satin_doll: (Buffy Casablanca Poster v1 poppy wreath)
Banner for [livejournal.com profile] lookslikerain, [livejournal.com profile] whedon_elite Challenge 134 "Levels"; and banner for [livejournal.com profile] slayerstillness Challenge 60.  Thank you to everyone who voted my icon Most Creative! [livejournal.com profile] sweet_lyri won 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, Best Crop and Best Color; [livejournal.com profile] crazycordy and [livejournal.com profile] tempertemper earned Mod's Choice and [livejournal.com profile] teragramm was awarded the oh-so-prestigous* Banner Maker's Choice for her witty and fierce Dawn icon:

Teaser: ss60_redsatindoll_banner400x300_mostcreative_RSD.png



we134_banner2lookslikerain350sq_final_rsd.png     ss60_redsatindoll_banner400x300_mostcreative_RSD.png 1 - 2

#1 - Lens and optical flare light effects by daWiiZ on DeviantArt. The challenge this round was "levels" so I layered two or three light textures over one another, then created the repeat in ipiccy's collage setting. I also wanted a background that would suit the outer space setting of [livejournal.com profile] lookslikerain's Firefly/Serenity icons.

#2 - The base image of torn paper and the grunge overlay are by AmaranthusCaudatus on DeviantArt.  Thank you [livejournal.com profile] teragramm for the link to this resource!

*Who am I making fun of here? Myself, obviously.

Header banners for [livejournal.com profile] females20in20. [livejournal.com profile] mylengrave requested banners from members so that she can switch out a new one every month:

Teaser: OB-BethIMG_females20in20banner990x300_jan2016_RSD.png

All banners 990x300, click to view full-size.

OB-BethIMG_females20in20banner990x300_jan2016_RSD.png     punk-rose-alisonbriebanner_990x300_v1c_RSD.png 3 - 4
Tatiany Maslany, Alison Brie and Sarah-MIchelle Gellar
Jan.png     smgvintagebannerforactressic990x300_v1d_RSD.png 5 - 6
smgvintagebannerforactressic990x300_v2e_RSD.png     smgvintagebannerforactressic990x300_v2b_RSD.png 7 - 8


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A Vague Disclaimer is No One's Friend:
~ DO NOT RE-POST TO OTHER SITES (INCL. FANPOP) OR LJ COMMUNITIES WITHOUT MY PERMISSION!
~ Take what  icons you like for personal use but please credit if used :)
~ No hotlinking!
~ Comments however are appreciated :)
~ Icons with blank space can be personalized upon request, they are not "bases".
~ If you wish to personalize because you have PS and more font or fx options than I do, by all means please ask first.
~ All artwork by yours truly except where otherwise indicated.



Next projects on my plate:  icons for [livejournal.com profile] whedon_elite, [livejournal.com profile] slayerstillness and [livejournal.com profile] actress_ic;
                                           fiction posters for [livejournal.com profile] velvetwhip, [livejournal.com profile] kerkevik_2014 and [livejournal.com profile] dragonyphoenix
red_satin_doll: (Alyson Hannigan Green Eye glow RSD)
THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who voted for my icons at [livejournal.com profile] slayerstillness Challenge 52 ! Wow! Thank you [livejournal.com profile] starry_night for the Mod's Choice Award, and congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] tempertemper and [livejournal.com profile] sweet_lyri!  Banners forthcoming from [livejournal.com profile] tempertemper and I can't wait to see what she comes up with. I feel like Pavlov's Dog, slavering eagerly for an impending treat (the banners).  Just call me Fido.  Except unlike poor Fido, I know TT will deliver the goods. Speaking of banners.....
7f67b8bf-1d58-402b-8344-7c42e68c3f19_zps54aa5c79
Something to Sing About (v.2), 2014 Click image for full-sized version


My newest friend in fandom [livejournal.com profile] sandy_s was admiring the WIllow icon I made for [livejournal.com profile] whedon_elite Challenge 110, whilst I was swooning over her entries for 127 and her "Echoes" Spuffy userpic. I asked if she wanted to see ones of Buffy I'd made for [livejournal.com profile] slayerstillness Challenge 37.....

....and then I remembered that I had never gotten around to posting the icons from that challenge or the beautiful awards banners
[livejournal.com profile] starry_night made for me. I'm sure Sandy had no idea what she was getting herself into *lol*. So without further ado: the awards banners are by [livejournal.com profile] starry_night, all other artwork by yours truly. The Icons eminently snaggable and I have a veritable treasure trove. ( FYI: I despise the term "icon dump".)

I love how [livejournal.com profile] starry_night coordinated colors and patterns individually to each icon. My favorite banners are 2nd place and the rich "tobacco brown" color, and Most Creative with a bokeh pattern that wittily matches what's in the icon itself. Did you see the warm tangerine glow of her banner for [livejournal.com profile] comlodge or the frost pattern that echoed [livejournal.com profile] rua1412's distinctive textures?




Click banners for full-size images:
Banner by starry_night for Challenge 37 Dec 2014   Banner by starry_night for Challenge 37 Dec 2014 Banner by starry_night for Challenge 37 Dec 2014


Banner by starry_night for Challenge 37 Dec 2014 Banner by starry_night for Challenge 37 Dec 2014



My entries:
      1 - 5

  6 - 12
Yes, I duplicated a few images; you noticed? I have no idea why Starry let me get away with it, other than she was being super-generous.

This was a special challenge for me in a lot of ways. When it began, I had just lost a friend in fandom (how is neither here nor there at the moment) and I used this challenge to push myself through a period of intense grief.The person I'm speaking of had been very supportive of my artwork and so I had them in mind the entire time and kept asking myself, "What would she think? Would she approve of this?" I tried out new-to-me techniques and came out with a set of entries and alts I'm immensely proud of. (That this person had not passed away in fact is neither here nor there now.) I decided to focus on Buffy, my favorite fictional character, and dive in deep. (That this person was not a Buffy fan, making this an altogether strange "memorial" is neither here or nor there either.)

1 - 2 ) Probably the simplest icons I made that round, so the 2nd and 3rd place awards stunned me. The Dawn icon I literally threw together at the last minute because I realized I wanted to do something with Dawn in it and I liked the image. #2 is the only cap from that heartbreaking scene in Listening to Fear that I could make a decent image from. I had wanted to depict Buffy crying but had to go with this. I also had to make the scene look like daytime light in order to make it visible; the caps are incredibly dark and this is deceptively warm and sunny. But I like it that way.

3 - 4, 12) The one moment in BtVS when a character shattered the "fourth wall"; it's been done as a gimmick countless times before and since (Garry Shandling, anyone?) but this is one of the few instances I can think of when it's genuinely unsettling. The camera is uncomfortably close to Sarah's face and we are "in her space" as she calls us out on our passive complicity. As viewers we are "enjoying", are "entertained" by her pain and trauma; and unlike her friends we've been in on the secret from the beginning. I love Sarah's face as Buffy (and specifically as Buffy); and unlike so many caps for the series, this image is relatively good quality, clear and well-lit.

5) Another image that I've reused in other projects and dearly love, Buffy in her own dream at the beginning of Nightmares; I layered two photographs my sweetie took of New England sunsets over Buffy. Yes, the clouds were really that brilliant and fluffy and I only slightly adjusted the saturation.

6 - 7) These Joyce & Buffy icons were two of my favorites going into the challenge; I absolutely teared up while I making them. And made tons of alts, which were nothing more than small tweaks to coloring, sharpness etc. I made versions that included text (see alts) from The Gift, "I just wish my mom was here." What Buffy says to Giles (again) in Intervention, that she feels that being the Slayer is turning her into stone, was also on my mind. I wanted to compare/contrast Joyce who is dead, "cold as stone" but very much alive in her daughter's memory; and Buffy who is alive but feels herself to be a dead thing. Her depth of feeling indicates to me that nothing could be further from the truth but it's what she believes about herself. (I have strong words for Xander Harris and Riley Finn and their entitled manpain but I will keep them to myself at the moment. In the interest of the children.)

"Sing" on number 3 and it's alts refers both to Buffy's lament "Something to Sing About" and "Sing" written by Joe Raposo (1971) and made famous by the Carpenters, a song I grew up with thanks to Sesame Street and probably had on my CD player when I was making this set.

9) Another of my favorites, "Normal Again grune wall" is still in my userpic gallery. The look of this icon was inspired by [livejournal.com profile] tempertemper's 1st place Willow/Tara icon for [livejournal.com profile] slayerstillness Challenge 32 from Oct 2014, believe it or not. I even asked her how she got the look of the icon, attempted to duplicate it to the best of my limits and got something completely different.  I'm still really pleased by the balance of sharpness and blur and how palpable it seems: Buffy dirty hair, her gritted teeth, and tensed muscles are all very sharp, contrasted with her hand flapping impotently against her attacker. It's an incredibly sad image; that the girl who went up against Angelus ("Take all that away and what's left?" / "ME.") is reduced to this, even if it's an hallucination, and that she should find this state of affairs preferable. Of course it also speaks to Joss Whedon's fascination with tearing characters down to a state of complete powerlessness and then seeing how they react. Which he does over and over and over.....ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

11) I actually had [livejournal.com profile] snogged on the brain for this one, due to the rivulet of blood effect. Sarah's hair reminded me of a needle piercing her skin; the effect was surprisingly easy to create. I probably should have kept this one to myself but it was just weird enough that I decided, what the heck. It's weird. I'm weird. And that's ok. But OTOH, I thought 13 would be "too weird" to submit, although it's one of my favorites. Go figure.

And I did promise a treasure trove of alts. Challenge 37 was a special free-for-all: we were allowed to enter as many as we wanted instead of the usual five. My habit at the time had been, 5-9x the number of alts per entries needed. I entered 12. You do the math, Gentle Reader. This only represents a fraction of my alts btw. You're welcome. (And I wonder why it took me nearly a year to post these?)

13 - 19


20 - 25

  26 - 32
I might like the b/w versions better than the sepia ones. It's a toss up.

33 - 39


40 - 47
This was the round I finally got in the habit of saving icons with and without font. In case you hadn't noticed.
A Vague Disclaimer is No One's Friend:
~ DO NOT RE-POST TO OTHER SITES (INCL. FANPOP) OR LJ COMMUNITIES WITHOUT MY PERMISSION!
~ Take what  icons you like for personal use but please credit if used :)
~ No hotlinking!
~ Comments however are appreciated :)
All artwork by yours truly except where otherwise indicated.


* NEWSFLASH! This just in! Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] fassy, [livejournal.com profile] sweet_lyri, [livejournal.com profile] crazy_cordy and [livejournal.com profile] emmatheslayer for your wins in [livejournal.com profile] whedon_elite Challenge 126 and THANK YOU for the Best Crop Award for my favorite entry of my set this round! A gorgeous, dynamic set of winners - banners will be forthcoming posthaste!
red_satin_doll: (Wiffy Hug - Primeval RSD)
Instead of making posters for several different stories as I did in Round 1 of [livejournal.com profile] buffy_genfic, this time I made several variants of a banner for one story, "Choose 1 for Ready, 2 for Not Ready" by the very talented [livejournal.com profile] spuffy_luvr. (This wasn't planned - sometimes you just gotta go where the Muses take you. All the stories this round were absolutely wonderful so no snub is intended on my part. But Buffy and Willow are one of my OTF's.)

Versions 1 & 2 are [livejournal.com profile] spuffy_luvr's favorites; at the time they weren't my favorites but I find myself agreeing with her choices and her reasoning is wonderful, especially with #2. I worried that Buffy and Willow's expressions were too light-hearted for the story but she felt that they were putting on their best faces for one another in that banner; whereas their faces in #1 express how they actually feel. The "polaroid" of Buffy and Willow in the library is from Teacher's Pet. I loved it because with one image I could make a compare/contrast and speak volumes about their friendship, about what's changed, what's damaged, and what binds them still - the history, the shared trauma, the forgiveness and the love.

Teasers:   Alt 9 for spuffyluvr round 2 buffy genfic exchange sept 2015   Alt 8 for spuffyluvr round 2 buffy genfic exchange sept 2015

Click all images to see full-sized versions:
#1 Alt 9 for spuffyluvr round 2 buffy genfic exchange sept 2015


#2
Alt 8 for spuffyluvr round 2 buffy genfic exchange sept 2015
I think at this point #1 is now definitely my favorite. I can image Willow's face looking exactly that way at the moment in the story when her memories simply become to painful and she abruptly ends the call. [livejournal.com profile] spuffy_luvr's characterization of both Willow and Buffy is so on-point; she makes me want to cry for both of them.
I know that Buffy and Willow would be using laptop computers but the banner looked better using a desktop monitor; it was a stronger graphic image and much easier to work with.  I also know that the monitor is too modern and not appropriate circa 2002 but....shockingly, I don't give a damn.

The vintage wallpaper grounds the laptop in an actual setting, and adds a bit of warmth and domesticity. And I wanted a wallpaper that could somehow be linked to either Revello Drive or Giles' estate without specifying either one. It reminds me a little of the striped wallpaper in the upstairs bedroom of the Summers home, and it looks like it could conceivably be found at Giles' English country home, which is why I faded the wallpaper just a little. Based on #3 below, I'm not sure it's actually necessary though.



In 1 & 2, I used lesser-known images from the episode Same Time, Same Place; the caps from STSP that I used in #3 are quite well-known but I just loved Sarah and Aly's expressions and the lightness of the caps.This was originally my favorite version but now it feels unfinished. I didn't add the polaroid from Teacher's Pet because every time I used it I had to cut the borders anew and I simply ran out of energy.  The wallpaper background is missing but I actually don't mind that. I overlaid an image of a cracked mirror over the Skype lens as a symbol of the "cracks" in their relationship, which looks nifty but in hindsight might be a bit heavy-handed.

                                #3
Alt 3 for spuffyluvr round 2 buffy genfic exchange sept 2015
                              #4
Alt 2 for spuffyluvr round 2 buffy genfic exchange sept 2015
#4 is a bit darker, obviously - and more than a bit heavy-handed, what with the monitor itself being cracked in addition to the camera lesn, the images from Villains, the stains on the polaroid and tape. An example of going too far and having too much fun playing with layers. And yet I still like this.

And because I am a completist:

                             #5
Alt 6 for spuffyluvr round 2 buffy genfic exchange sept 2015
This is only distantly related to the story and the wood frame makes no sense in context but I couldn't resist playing with this image; this led to the "polaroid" in 1 & 2, so it was worth the experiment. And gosh aren't they just adorable?


Also I apologize to everyone (especially our mods [livejournal.com profile] kwritten and [livejournal.com profile] aliceinkinkland, and of course the author herself) for the delay in getting this posted; inspiration finally struck just the other day, quite literally.

Vague disclaimers: Artwork by me, 2015. Look, enjoy but do not snag, or post to any other website or archive unless your name is [livejournal.com profile] spuffy_luvr. Do not steal, claim as your own or alter.
red_satin_doll: (Sarah Michelle Gellar retro bright)
[livejournal.com profile] kikimay and [livejournal.com profile] snogged both celebrated birthdays recently, as have [livejournal.com profile] angearia, [livejournal.com profile] teragramm, [livejournal.com profile] leni_ba (far and away my favorite Bangel(us) author), [livejournal.com profile] pocochina, [livejournal.com profile] frelling_tralk, [livejournal.com profile] comlodge, [livejournal.com profile] chic_c, [livejournal.com profile] boot_the_grime and [livejournal.com profile] quinara and what have I done for any of these wonderful folks? Nothing, nada. I suck as a friend (but if only people would stop being born, please, it's so overwhelming.  ;-P)

This really doesn't make up for any of it, but [livejournal.com profile] kikimay has been requesting that I post the remainder of my Buffyverse in Wonderland artwork, and since she's been having fabulous adventures lately and deserves celebrating, here it be. If I don't post it all at once I never will:


Teasers:   willowPG_white rabbit banner1167x888.png buffyandthewhiterabbit708x650_1.2trianglesigned.png   buffyjabberwockygreenyesv2.5april2015editbyredsatindoll1046x1085.png






Click all banners below for full-size versions. Fanart by me, 2015, unless otherwise noted.



Willow in Wonderland Banners 1-3; icons 5-7.

1. willowPG_white rabbit banner1167x888.png 2. Willowdalifrescolarge1.1signed.png 3.ProphecyGirl_BrokenScreencaps_whiterabbitwillow_signed.png

If #2 looks familiar it should - it's the banner version of my Mod's Choice winner at [livejournal.com profile] slayerstillness Challenge 38. (Click #4 below to enlarge [livejournal.com profile] tempertemper's fabulous banner.) Tip o'the nip to my beta-Muse [livejournal.com profile] velvetwhip for her inspiration; I was working on the icons for that round and came across the texture in #1 that is a "handwritten" fragment of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Gabrielle mentioned an interest in AiW, and away my brain went hippity-hopping from there.



4. Banner by tempertemper Feb 2015 5. 6. 7.


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Prophecy Girl Down the Rabbit Hole Banners 8-10; icons 11 - 15:

8. buffyandthewhiterabbit708x650_1.4downtext.png 9. buffyPGandthewhiterabbit_signedv1.4.png 10. buffyandthewhiterabbit708x650_1.2trianglesigned.png

Once I started toying with the idea of Wonderland, the notion of Buffy literally going "down the rabbit hole" to meet the Master seemed a natural fit.
Indecisive as always, I suspect #8 is the best version; I thought I would like #9 more than I do. I found the triangle texture on forwallpaper.com but like almost everything on the internet I suspect it originates elsewhere.


11. 12. 13. 14. 15. pgjabberwockicon1.png


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S5 Buffy and the Jabberwocky Banners 16 -17; icons 18 -20.
16. buffyS5jabberwockyposterlarge_1.3greeneyes1400x1418byredsatindollapril2015edit.png 17. buffyjabberwockygreenyesv2.5april2015editbyredsatindoll1046x1085.png

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? / Come to my arms, my beamish boy!"

The "Slayer" in Carroll's poem is male but thanks to the long hair and slight figure, as well as my fascination with the Buffyverse, I can't help but see one of Buffy's predecessors in Tenniel's illustration. [livejournal.com profile] velvetwhip noted that the original versions of 17 didn't quite work but it took me a while to understand why : it was too pale and lacked contrast (see #18 below).

18. buffyjabberwockyicons5version1.1.png 19. buffyjabberwockygreenyesv2.5april2015editbyredsatindoll1046x1085.png 20. buffyS5jabberwockyposterlarge_1.3greeneyes1400x1418byredsatindollapril2015edit.png

Fanart by me, 2015, unless otherwise noted. Original illustrations by John Tenniel (1, 3, 8 -20) and Salvador Dali (2, 4, 5). Photo of SMG 16 -20 by Greg Gershon.


Snaggage of icons warmly encouraged but please give proper credit, and do not hotlink, post to other website without permission or claim as your own. Capiche?




red_satin_doll: (Sarah Michelle Gellar retro bright bubbl)
Yeah, I'm trying to cover all my bases here.

**
THANK YOU to everyone who voted for my work at [livejournal.com profile] slayerstillness Challenge 44 and congratulations to the other winners [livejournal.com profile] tempertemper, [livejournal.com profile] sweet_lyri and new-to-the-comm participant [livejournal.com profile] muirthemne. (I just checked out her Gemma Arterton icon set for [livejournal.com profile] females20in20 and holy sweet potato pie, is it gorgeous work. And I don't even know who the heck Gemma Arterton is. I don't care who Gemma Arterton is. Icons - pretty!)

WInners banners will be up shortly but THANK YOU very much for the 2nd Place, Best Crop and Best Color honors!  This is my FIRST Best Color award in Slayerstillness!

1. 2. 3.
Best Color and 2nd Place/Best Crop winners, respectively, plus a personalized version.

At the beginning of the year I set a goal - I wanted to two placements I hadn't won yet, First and Best Color. Now I've earned both and - what now?
Keep improving, especially in terms of image clarity; try to get a handle on Photoshope Elements (my sweetie, who had mastered full PS before our previous computer burnt in the apartment fire, hates it. But I know other folks around here who love it and do amazing things with it.) Post my backlog of banners, including fanfiction artwork for ; and create new ones. Keep trying for an award at the [livejournal.com profile] wicked_awards. (Yes, I actually do want that. Call me selfish.) And keep promoting, pimping and sharing the love for all fandom creativity as enthusiastically as I can.  Speaking of which:

** There are TIEBREAKER votes that need attending at [livejournal.com profile] btvsats20in20 for Round 9 - five to be exact, thanks to the fact that people came and voted and we had 27-28 votes cast. I think that may be a record for the comm? At the high end, certainly.  (I won't stop to reflect here on "only 25 people?" and focus instead on the "25 people, yay!") Thank you to everyone who came out and voted thus far!

The ties are Blood, Close Crop+2, Category Set, Cat Icons 3rd place and AC icons 3rd place; so make sure you click on all FIVE buttons individually.  I can't vote this time around because - I'm nominated in all five rounds. (This is no state secret; if you're reading this you know which work is mine and furthermore, if you click "View Answers" you'll see that's what I put there.)  So YOU, my dear Gentle Readers, YOU must sally forth and vote on my behalf. Voting is up for 48 hours or until ties are broken.
red_satin_doll: (Buffy IWRY golden glow RSD)




What do you do if you're trying to make icons for the upcoming round of [livejournal.com profile] btvsats20in20 and feeling horribly uninspired? AND you've been feeling exposed and tender the last several months, as your skin has been partly scraped away? If you're me, you go back to a fanart you made two months ago (just after Round 3 of 20in20), tinker with it a bit and decide you're finally ready to show it off:

botn52f87548-29d5-42c2-b39a-f1c475dc1368_zps105b1a48 (teaser image)















The Night/Lost in the Woods (click all images below to enlarge)



ETA 01/03/15
Thank you [livejournal.com profile] rbfvid for rec'ing my art at [livejournal.com profile] buffyversetop5!

I forgot to mention earlier that the trees in the background are a photograph I took of the woods around my yard at night, adjusted for color and saturation.
botn52f87548-29d5-42c2-b39a-f1c475dc1368_zps105b1a48 01

Warm palette or cool palette? I like them both.
e96cc1bf-fa1a-4ad7-afb4-c7446d6fc359_zps6595a167 02
This piece has three "godparents":  It was inspired specifically by some comments [livejournal.com profile] pickamix made about Buffy's wounds some time back that got me thinking about my own swirl of fuzzy feelings that I'm reluctant to examine. What IS going on when I look at Buffy in this moment? Sympathy of course, a desire to tuck a blanket around her in a "motherly" way; self-identification for my own psyche and wanting her to have the things I feel I don't (comfort, sympathy, nourishment.) But - is there a sensual component as well? Auto-erotica, masochism turned outward into sadism? All of the above? Is that unhealthy or merely human?



Hard to sort out what it all means. Easier to just make the art.



The line of text comes from Morphine's song "The Night"(Lila), which also inspired some of my Tara icons in Round 3. It's really a perfect fit for the women of the Buffyverse in general, all of them ordinary and extraordinary all at once; but I've identified that song with Buffy most especially ever since I watched the series: "You're a folk tale / the unexplainable...."


This is also dedicated to [livejournal.com profile] bone_dry1013 for the many, many enjoyable hours (and I do mean hours) we spent last year talking about our mutual love for Buffy on her blog, dissecting her psyche, her pains and burdens with a fine tooth comb. It does feel a bit like sadism, somehow, when I love her so much; how can it be so comforting and discomforting all at once?



One of the most disconcerting things about this image is that when I lightened the screencap, which was quite dark, I really saw how odd Sarah's eyes look, each one focused in a slightly different direction. How is that possible, even? I have no idea but I can think of few images from American tv in which someone looks more truly injured, and utterly lost.  In fact it's the complete opposite to the previous of image of Buffy in that episode, unconscious on the ground after her fight with the Ubervamp, blood spattered across her face and yet looking impossibly glamorous.
44f73eab-ac0b-44ad-b5f8-410b1580eb6e_zps3c0ae21c 03


I'd considered adding images of other girls throughout the series, or specifically focused on S7, but I preferred for once to keep this relatively uncluttered. The trees in the background are my own photograph taken in my yard and that I've used before in icons but never in a larger piece.  I added the lyric fragment after I saw the "bar" of light that the filter provided across Buffy's face; serendipity. I adore old-fashioned typewriter fonts and the fact that this is "rough around the edges" makes it a perfect fit for the image of Buffy.


I made other versions that were cropped more tightly, cutting off the bottom, but decided I preferred to leave a little "breathing room" around Buffy visually. I also made lighter, brighter versions but I felt the background patterns competed too much with the image of Buffy. I also had a go at something on "meta", Buffy's monologue from Becoming, Pt2 superimposed over the image. I'm not sure it really works the way I wanted. (Going back to the original typewriter font might have been a better idea?)
15ca9c6c-9b86-4b13-be66-a16e07397cc6_zps5ec7cfce 04


I have no idea what that stuff that looks like lettering in the upper right corners of these is. (It's not text.) It seems to be a combination of the color filters I used, the tree image, and Joyce's curtains plus a  bit of sharpening. A "pattern" popped out and I liked the mysterious/ambiguous quality of it.


Tell me what you think of all this - the art, my psyche - , while I fix Miss Summers a hot meal. Civilized concrit and feedback is warmly appreciated.










ETA: [livejournal.com profile] wicked_awards Nominees 2015 - THANK YOU for the nominations!
#1 Best Banner
#4 Best Wallpaper


nomineebuttonbuffywickedawards275x128_rsd2015_1.1final.png   nomineebuttonfaithwickedawards275x128_rsd2015_1.3final.png



red_satin_doll: (Darla)
HERE BE SOME PICTURES:
                                                                                       
Banner for [livejournal.com profile] snowpuppies Themes winners in [livejournal.com profile] btvsats20in20 Round 4. (Full-size)
                                                                                 
round4FINAL_snowpuppiesthemessignedOct2014byredsatindoll 01

*****

        02-06

Banner I made for my Mods Choice Award for Challenge 33: (Full-size)

redsatindollmodschoice 07


Congratulations, links, challenge reminders, alts/extras, some thinky-thoughts and source photos after the cut. Usual disclaimers - don't plagarize, deface  or post to another online archive or site without at least checking with me. All icons snaggable.  Banners not.

Alts and extras for Challenge 33:
        08-11
           12-16





Now Here BE SOME VERBIAGE:

01 - Congratulations to Snowy and to [livejournal.com profile] spikesredqueen, [livejournal.com profile] starry_night, [livejournal.com profile] sweet_lyri, and [livejournal.com profile] midnightisclose for your beautiful winning entries in Round 4 of [livejournal.com profile] btvsats20in20! If anyone still wants a banner of their own it's not too late; drop a line at the Winner's Post here - you can reply to me directly in that thread. This is assuming everyone hasn't moved on to their Round 5 Rainbow Theme entries.



02-06 - Thank you to everyone who voted for my icons; I was tickled to see that each of them got at least one vote, and in every possible category. #2 & 6 are my favorites of this set; I'm super-pleased with how they turned out. See below for photo credits.#2 & 6 are far and away my favorites here. I'm very happy that #2 in particular caught [livejournal.com profile] starry_night's eye:




07 - Thank you [livejournal.com profile] starry_night for the honor, and congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] teragramm, [livejournal.com profile] tempertemper, [livejournal.com profile] pickamix and [livejournal.com profile] sweet_lyri for your beautiful winning entries! I gave out two Banner Maker's Choice awards this time for icons by [livejournal.com profile] juliet316 and [livejournal.com profile] pickamix. Check out all the winners here. Then get ready for Challenge 34, "Illyria, God King of The Primordium"; I'm expecting some truly awesome icons.



#2, 8-11 - I spent a lot of time getting the text right in 8-11; trying to balance legibility and aesthetics. I'll tend to sacrifice the latter for the former, but I think that's changing as a master the editing toolbox - and can have more fonts. I loved the idea of text fitting snugly above the curl of Sarah's hair in this on-set shot from Gone, and intended to enter one of those until I realized I preferred to just look at the lights and colors. Those sorts of effects are very new for me and I think I fell in love with that icon, perhaps more than a little. And Sarah is just lovely; with the strong contrasts of pale skin with dark lips and her own idiosyncratic beauty, she resembles a silent movie star.


#6, 12-13 - Once again I was working on clarity, color and light; and the subject is really Sarah's face. Once again she resembles a silent movie star, pale face and dark lips, from the days when women still had interesting (not necessarily beautiful) faces onscreen. I merged a cap from Normal Again with this studio photograph of Sarah photographer unknown (to me). And once again I had intended to enter the version with text and spent a lot of time getting it "right" before I realized I preferred the textless version. It seemed less cluttered; the text distracts from the forms of Sarah's face, the sweep of her hair and the wrinkles in her shirt.


#4 - uses the same screencap from Normal Again as 6, 11, 16, Textured b/g, Cat 2 and several alts for [livejournal.com profile] btvsats20in20. [livejournal.com profile] eilowyn pointed out to me the parallel between this image and my favorite VampWillow image, in terms of the vintage, old-school beauty, femininity and drama of the dark lips and pale skin in both. FYI: I failed to notice that my entry version of #4 was 100x104 pixels, not 100square proper; #4 is the corrected size.



#5, 14-16: Ideas I wanted to play with after btvs_hush Challenge 283. I liked the wall once I played with the saturation and exposure of the original cap; but I don't like Sarah's face here or in the original photo. She looks more like a manniquin than herself, which probably explains the crops of my entry. That's pretty much all I can say about these.



#3 - uses the clone tool for the repeat of Buffy clutching her head. I like the pale colors, but it doesn't quite come together somehow in that small version. It looks like it's cropped from a larger original, although it isn't. (I've done this design in a larger format and it looks very striking. It may be that the pastel colors and white are cencelling out the design in this instance. Thoughts?)




One of the nifty and challenging things about the icontests, especially the 20in20 rounds, is that there are always leftover ideas I don't get a chance to develop in time, or that crop up only after the images have marinated in my mind for a while. With these two rounds I feel like a shift occured in my abilities as an artist in comparison to where I was two months ago.


I really worked to improve clarity, color and light in the last month and I think I got closer to what I'm after than I had before. And thank goodness; this last month was particularly...shall we say, intense. Whereas Round 3 of 20in20 I worked really hard on (not always to the good), Challenge 33 was more easy-peasy playtime; I had no particular concept, just leftover ideas from 20in20 and from [livejournal.com profile] btvs_hush; I wanted to continue to practice what I was learning and just make something pretty.


Sources: The on-set image of Sarah from Gone in 2, 8-11 and the studio photograph in 6, 12 & 13 courtesy of The Chosen Two gallery.  S7 promo photo from [livejournal.com profile] btvs_hush Challenge 283 but can also be found at The Chosen Two gallery here.



Even the banners I've done here are so very different from the ones I did for SS Round 31 it's hard for me to believe they are separated by barely a month. The background for the banners was made from two of my own photographs: the base is a close-up of a weathered wood plank along a bike path where I stopped a couple of weeks ago; the color overlay and faint white diagonal lines from a photo I took on Saturday of site-specific art installation at the Goffe Street Armory auditorium in New Haven for Alternative Open Studios weekend. I think the artist who created the installation might be Mahdi Alibakhshian, but the CWOS website isn't clear on that.

(Right-click photos to view full-size)

If you wish to use these photos btw please feel free to do so!  Just don't claim them as your originals, and if you make something from them, send me a link in the comments thread, I'd love to see it.
red_satin_doll: (Fred Burkle Blue)
Thank you to everyone who voted my WIllow/Aly Hannigan icon 2nd place in round 279 of [livejournal.com profile] btvs_hush! I really was not expecting this at all. It's my very first award in [livejournal.com profile] btvs_hush (on my third try in this comm) and my first second place award in any icontest. Congratulations to the other winners [livejournal.com profile] teragramm and [livejournal.com profile] pickamix - two artists who inspire me. I'm really honored. I would be lying to you if I didn't admit that seeing my name alongside their's didn't thrill me - and it's an especially sweet surprise coming at the end of what's been an emotionally turbulent weekend for me.**


awards banner by dragonydreams
And thank you [livejournal.com profile] dragonydreams for the gorgeous banner - a masterclass in understated elegance and simplicity.


I swore I wouldn't have time to enter this contest, and furthermore how could I enhance such a beautiful photo of Aly Hannigan to any degree of justice? But it was so pretty, and such a high quality image, I couldn't resist. I took a similar approach to it that I did to the S5 photo of Sarah by Greg Gorham, pushing the soft "glamour" effects to gild the lily. This time I used a pre-existing clouds "texture" in ipiccy and altering the coloring for a soft rose tonality. I worried that I was being a wee bit cliche, to be honest (maybe it's time for me to retire cloud imagery for a while before y'all get sick of seeing it?)

But I was having fun and I wanted to make something pleasing for my Willow/Aly Posse, most especially [livejournal.com profile] velvetwhip and [livejournal.com profile] snogged, who I had in mind while making it. I can definitely see the flaws in my entry, all the things I wish I had done differently (I wish I'd been bolder with the rose coloring around the border, and gone for sharper definition) but overall I surprised myself and succeeded in what I set out to do.

Here are my entries, including my first ever Angel/DB icon! *yawn*  (Sorry, but the dudes just don't excite me the same way the ladies do.)  All snaggable with proper credit. (And frankly, if you can make 2 or 3 better, have at.) With the Sarah icon I was apparently trying for an antique or "Renaissance" era look.
      01-03

So what did we learn this time? PAY ATTENTION TO THE DARN RULES. Ok, I already knew that one but apparently I am extremely dense and require sledge-hammer treatment.  I was ready to submit two icons each of the Aly and Sarah images. Including some with text. Yes, that's right. I spent a good bit of time getting the text right on some icons and was ready to submit them until I remembered..its called btvs_hush. For a reason. Oops. (That's actually the second time I've done that.)

   04-05


#4 is probably my favorite icon of this entire set. I very nearly submitted it and spent a lot of time trying to get the text right on it. I like the subtle overlay barely-there effect of the dark lettering; #5 has the same font but the lighter text isn't as effective. The inspiration for the phrase here was twofold: Willow's "We changed the world" was mashed up with Coldplay's "Carry Your World" from the Buffy fanmix [livejournal.com profile] eilowyn made me were swirling together in my head. "Your world" felt more personal and intimate than "the world", and it felt right with this image of her looking into the skies, looking forward into the future.  And ever since [livejournal.com profile] pickamix advised me on the use of elegant, slender fonts re: my Etymology poster, I've pushed myself to achieve results I hope she'd approve of in that regard, even as I've becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the narrow range of fonts in both ipiccy and PB.

   06-07

I didn't have time to show these to [livejournal.com profile] wickedbish for beta advice because I made all of these at half past the last minute but thank goddess I didn't submit 6 or 7.  It's the same cloud texture but more "literal" and wandering dangerously into cliche/camp territory.


    08-11

I almost submitted one of these instead of #3 above. I made the choice to go with #3 after looking at past btvs_hush winners and seeing that they've tended to downplay "special effects" or heavy textures. I'm not sure if making my selections based on that is a good idea, though.

It amuses me that I get my hands on a high quality image of Sarah for a challenge and my first impulse is to break it down, grunge it up; try to make it look like a drawing or painting. I used a texture from Encompass-Rose for  #8 for an effect that reminds me of an aged fresco painting; the icon is terribly flawed and the definition is not good but I don't hate it. Sue me. I used ipiccy's pencil drawing filter in 8-16.  And yes, 12-13 made were before I remembered that text isn't allowed. It's ridiculous to think of the time I put into trying to get those two right - and not succeeding. But, hey, practice and lessons learned.

12-16


17

Angel alt, a little more saturated. *shrug*  Instead of the pencil drawing filter I used one of the light textures on the Angel icons that provided the "brushstrokes".

Want? Take, have - but give proper credit! If you wish to alter, add your own text, etc, please just check with me beforehand.



**Long story short: Dark thoughts and despair, not worth discussing, except I did voice them to my sweetheart who gave me the thing I needed most: she held me, and that was enough to remind me why I love her and why we've been together for 17 years, however difficult our relationship is - and it is, very. You'll never find us on the inside of a Hallmark card.
red_satin_doll: (Summers Family Portrait S5 RSD)
ETA: [livejournal.com profile] bangel_4e notified me that my original entries for NS+Mono and Artists Choice 1 were not qualified so I've switched them out. Let me know what you think.

My first-ever 20in20 entries for Round 1 of [livejournal.com profile] btvsats20in20 were inspired by the Jo Chen's Cover art for "The Chain"; so I decided to claim Buffy Summers as my subject (no surprise) but with a twist: the "not really-real" versions that populate the Buffyverse: impersonators, dopplegangers, alt universe versions; Buffy reimagined in her own and in other people's dreams.

All icons made by me in ipiccy and Photobucket. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bangel_4e and [livejournal.com profile] spikesredqueen for their patient and tireless hand-holding.





    Teasers












10 Themes
Strong Favorite Moment NS+Monochrome Comics Blending
Earth Tones Provided Texture Ex.Close Crop Smile Focused
5 Category |BLACK AND WHITE
Cat 1 Cat 2 Cat 3 Cat 4 Cat 5
5 Artist's Choice
AC 1 AC 2 AC 3 AC 4 AC 5







Alts and extras to be posted separately.

WANT? TAKE, HAVE, ENJOY! - But give proper credit always!
DO NOT alter, claim as your own or repost to other websites without my permission.
If you snag an icon, letting me know is always appreciated. Feedback feeds the savage fan artist.






red_satin_doll: (Chosen One - purple)
Because I finally did exactly that - voted, that is. (It's 4:30-ish PM EST in my part of the world.) I hope to have redeemed myself in the eyes of my Willow-loving flisties.

(*bows low before [livejournal.com profile] velvetwhip in gratitude for her mercies*)

Do you people have ANY idea - ANY IDEA - how hard it is to "pick just one" when 1) there are SO many great authors and stories to choose from? As in, a superb overall level of quality? FEEEL MYYYY PAAAIIINNNNN.......

Speaking of Willow: [livejournal.com profile] spikesredqueen posted a gorgeous banner of Willow/Oz in Wild at Heart just a few days ago. I haven't rewatched that episode since the first (one) time I saw it, and this reminds me why that's probably so. Her banner captures what made that episode hurt so damn much, the tears on Willow's face, the betrayal, everything. Which also reminds me that I probably haven't said "Why the hell didn't Aly ever win an Emmy for her performance in the series?" (Besides the usual stupid genre prejudices - not just horror, high school and fantasy, but also the perception that BtVS was a "soap opera" and therefore "girly", perhaps?)

Between Sarah and Aly, they just took my heart and broke and wrung it out and stomped on it between the two of them.  Do it again, pretty please.
red_satin_doll: (Chosen One - purple)
And this is where I pretend I'm such a mature, blase adult about such things - oh, screw that. I won third place in [livejournal.com profile] otherworldlyric icontest #163!




(But also, I won? Like, SRSLY??)


Thank you to everyone who voted! And congratulations to the other winners in this challenge, [livejournal.com profile] chic_c and [livejournal.com profile] spikesredqueen!

I had a hard time voting this round (as per usual) because there were so many lovely things to pick from. Two of the ones I voted for are in fandoms I'm not familiar with, so I had no idea who the characters were, I just thought they were wonderful icons. And I even voted for a Spike icon - I'm as shocked as you are!  Then immediately after I hit the submit vote button I thought "Oh, no wait, but there's that other one too....Can I vote again?"

You know me. Given my druthers, I don't wanna enumerate them. I just wanna enjoy. *sigh*

Of course, a thousand THANK YOUS go to my agent, my manager, my stylist beta [livejournal.com profile] wickedbish (Ryan); he specifically mentioned that Fading Away Fast icon as one of his favorites and I don't think I would have submitted it otherwise. I liked the icon very much - I loved the concept of it when I thought it up - but I wasn't entirely happy with the execution. (I wanted the effect of a more gradual fade on the colors on each word in the text.)  I knew right away that I wanted to submit #11 and #15 (below) but I wasn't sure about a third choice.

ETA: OH DEAR, I forgot to thank [livejournal.com profile] comlodge for her very kind encouragments to me re: talking about the process of making these and the stories behind them; in essence, she's "given me permission" to open Pandora's box. (Thank you sweetie - I hope you don't regret it later!)

Here are my three entries, numbered according to the challenge number assignments:

1) 11) 15)

These represent two of my favorite episodes in the entire series; I made the Prophecy Girl icons first.  #15 is probably one of my favorites of all the ones I've ever made. I really wanted the double-image of Buffy in front of the mirror as well as her reflection and was really happy with what I got. And I love that the font looks like graffiti scrawled it on the glass. This time around I was consciously trying to experiment with fonts I hadn't used before.


Have I mentioned before that PG is the first masterpiece YOU MUST WATCH THIS episode of the series? (Although I will ALWAYS argue that one needs to watch the season in it's entirety as well. Especially Nightmares and Angel.) That Sarah never fails to bring me to tears when I watch it? And Tony as Giles, standing in the library utterly useless despite all his efforts and intentions, just as Buffy accuses him of being...ugh. Heartbreaking.

 #11 is a farther distance than usual for me (I tend towards close-up shots) but something about that distance visually emphasized Buffy's isolation in that moment, the lonely struggle with and against her own mind. I also loved the diagonal light and shadow lines on the wall; diagonals and asymmetrical compostions have alwayts appealed to me in art nouveau and Japanese woodcuts. The shadow offered a perfect canvas for the lettering and, again, the effect of graffiti on the wall.

Here's the remaining icons I made for that challenge, vaguely-sorta-kinda-not-exactly in the order I made them. Or something like that:

2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7)

Please. Explain to me again why Sarah NEVER won an Emmy or any major award for playing Buffy, aside from that "Performances in _______ (fill in the blank) genre programs aren't deserving of serious awards love" b.s.

  8) 9) 10) 12) 13) 14)

#10 was the other one Ryan suggested for my third choice, and I love how the "deer in headlights" effect emphasizes Buffy's struggle ("traps for your mind"). But I almost submitted #5 as my third choice. I LOVE that one, perhaps for similar reasons that I love the PG one. I used the same font, but with small caps, for a graffiti effect that came out much better than I'd expected; it looks like Buffy has childishly, desperately, scribbled the words on the wall and then dropped the crayon in frustration or resignation.  But I also almost went with #7 (or 8 or 9) because OH GOD HER EXPRESSION THAT FACE I HAVE NO WORDS FOR THIS MOMENT just total incoherence.
16) 17)


#16 - 17 OTOH are "meh" in comparison although I swear I did try my best. I do like the look of a vintage book illustration in #16; as with #11 it's a more distant shot than I often use but I think I got the mood of the moment. I actually am pleased with the way I caught Faith's expression in #17, from Touched, thanks to lots of adjustments in brightness and contrast (the source screencap is so dark). You can almost hear her panting here. I even like the detail of her fist in the lower corner, sort of a visual punctuation mark. There's something almost stupidly mechanical in this mano-a-mano confrontation between Spike and Faith in Touched, this power struggle that didn't have to happen. And I absolutely adore that entire scene and this moment especially, fighting over Buffy and about her (they're both warriors, it's what they both do best) when it is so obvious that they both care about her very deeply: "Where is she?" / "I don't know!"

Those crazy kids - god help me, I love them.

Speaking of love - I really wanted to make one with Joyce in Normal Again, but ran out of time and energy: "Your father and I have all the faith in the world in you."

Oh dear. Buffy has to go into a hallucinatory state to find the emotional comfort and support she needs in that moment - and the person who provides it is her mother. Of course it is. How can anyone watch this episode, never mind the entire series, and think that Joyce isn't the most important person in Buffy's life? Of course it's Joyce - not Giles or Hank, nor any of her friends or lovers. Not even Dawn can get through to her this time the way she did in Bargaining/After Life. Just as in season 7's Bring on the Night, the First appears to Buffy wearing Joyce's face, because no one could unsettle Buffy so deeply. It HAD to be Joyce.

LIkewise, it had to be Joyce in CWDP; Dawn fights as a warrior and magician with everything she's got, and is cut to ribbons far worse than Xander was in Grave, in order to save and protect her mother. Summers Blood is truly the blood of champions.

And whether NormalAgain!Joyce is a "bloody figment" hardly matters in this moment. Is this what the real Joyce would have said in the situation, or what Buffy would have wanted her to say? A bit of both I suspect.

Now I have a bit of a personal confession, so feel free to skip this if you're not so much into the person stuff:

I suspect that part of the reason I'm drawn to Normal Again is because when I was a teenager I was certain I was going to become mentally ill and locked away at some point in my life - is that a teenage angst thing or a "me" thing? And as an adult dealing with depression I've discovered that, yes, it is something you do battle with. Sometimes it IS a war, and you have to fight to stay alive.  And sometimes it's just a friggin' slog.  So, I identify.

I have no idea why I had this fear years before before my mother revealed a secret to me: that my father had taken his own life when I was about three years old and my brothers even younger,  not an accident as she'd always claimed. (In the interest of our protection, I know. How do you explain that to three small children?  My mother was in her early 20's when that happened; I was 3, one of my brothers 2 and the other a toddler. How do you explain that, ever?)

And it was at least another five years in addition to that before I learned that his brother had also taken his life, leaving behind a wife and two young daughters I never even knew about. My grandfather came for a rare visit after a trip from Alaska, and said my cousin had seen my picture in his wallet and asked Who was that pretty girl? My response:

"I have a cousin in Alaska?"

And another one in the midwest, as it turned out - both with spouses/partners and growing children of their own. Somehow I knew that my dad had a brother, but in the absence of information assumed he died in a war or something years ago. Like John Kennedy's older brother in the biography I'd read as a kid. Apparently that's what a child's mind will do - fill the vacuum with whatever bits they can find lying around. Perhaps not unlike the way Buffy assumes that her parents' divorce is a result of her father's disappointment in her; her brain fills the vacuum of polite silence and careful phrases that she wants to believe but can't entirely.

And here's a thought that just popped in my head: That there IS a reason why the theme of well-meaning adults hiding or keeping information from their children "for their own good" in the series resonates so deeply with me. *ponders this*

Families - you can't live with them....
red_satin_doll: (BTVS Buffy/Faith)
Thank you to the moderators at [livejournal.com profile] slayerstillness for giving me my very first award for an icon in Challenge #18 "Faith Lehane" ! Kudos to all the winners in this round : [livejournal.com profile] iconsoleander, [livejournal.com profile] spikesredqueen and [livejournal.com profile] delta_dawn_rose - but all the submissions were creative and wonderful, so please go check them out if you haven't had the chance already.

And to make it even sweeter, [livejournal.com profile] comlodge made the gorgeous banners:

Mods Choice: "I love the idea of this one – very creatively done. And I love how the lighting draws your focus right to her face."

The irony is that that had nothing to do with me; the shot was already beautiful. My favorite icons of those I've made, like this one, are generally the simplest. All I had to do was carefully bump up brightness, contrast and saturation; pick the right font, and add the frame. There's the irony of course in that it's the one submission I sent in which we're actually looking at Faith in Buffy's body, so the face we see is Sarah's, not Eliza's - but it's still the character of Faith, in what may be the turning point of her entire arc.  (And is one of the most superb performances I've ever seen on television - can we take a moment to celebrate Sarah's intensity in that episode?)

Here are all five of my entries; the numbers beside them are the numbers assigned in the challenge voting (not in numerical order).

26) 13)  19)

25)     8)
As per usual for me lately, I began this batch making icons that were fun, risque. or innocuous, (#8, 25) and then moved into darker territory. If I were to do it again I'd leave off 8 & 25, although 25 amuses me.

I think #26 was the best of the five I submitted, especially in terms of lighting and composition.  Photobucket's "Covered by Your Grace" font has a somewhat "handwritten" look to it and often works well when the overall mood is one of intimacy, introspection, melancholy, sadness, etc. For the same reasons I like the "torn paper frame" of 26 & 13; it emphasizes for me a sense of things "bleeding in (or bleeding out)" of each other, of something incomplete,unstable, fissuring or merging; of things damaged but not entirely broken, and the strange beauty of imperfection.

Which is what the episodes "This Years Girl" and "Who are You" are about.

I've been fascinated by the parallels between Buffy, Faith and Buffy, Spike ever since I first saw [livejournal.com profile] bradcpu's classic fan video on the subject, "Creep" (See the bottom of this post for more links.)

Ten years ago [livejournal.com profile] the_royal_anna called Buffy and Spike in S6 "the most mesmerizing illustration" of the concept of "identity hiijack", but This Years Girl / Who are You essentially "foreshadow" nearly the entirety of S6 in two episodes. It's the definitive moment when Faith "hands off" her role as Buffy's primary dark mirror to Spike, so that she can move to AtS and continue her arc away from BtVS. There's the twin images of Faith and Buffy digging themselves out of their own graves, the sense of "victimization" each must overcome; mental instability and the damage that being "a killer" does to the soul; the direction of Buffy and Spike's relationship and the dark, tormented sexuality, so different from the light-hearted satirical version of Something Blue; the lie behind the dichotomies of "good/bad, dark/light" enforced by those in power (as represented by the WC).

Even the key role Tara plays in both as the outsider, as "the heart"  and "the one who sees" (literally and figuratively as a "seer" and as one who bears witness) is highlighted in both WAY and DT and deserves a separate essay of it's own.

It's also an episode that calls both backwards and forwards: to Faith's words "If you kill me, you become me - and you're not ready for that" in S3's "Enemies", and forward to Spike's "I know you felt me...when I was inside you."  When Faith steals Buffy's body she literally "gets inside" Buffy in ways even Spike can't begin to imagine. (No one else comes close except when Willow goes inside Buffy's head in The Weight of the World".)

I tried using a portion of the line from Enemies; "You become me" works beautifully when talking about Who are You; but I don't think it really comes across the way I'd intended it to visually.


1) 2) 3)  4 ) 5)  6) 7)

The sentence from Seeing Red actually works much better and is more powerful; but I used it with trepidation. I worried that using it would be too traumatic for some folks - looking up the actual dialogue on the Buffyworld transcript was hard enough for me as it was, but I got the wording wrong on my first effort, #14 below (I've watched that episode once and one time only, thank you very much.) Cutting the sentence in half, rather than using the entire line in a single icon, seemed to help "abstract" it slightly, remove it just enough from it's original context that it was easier for me to work with it here.


9) 10) 11) 12)   14)

The relationships are steeped in violence, misunderstanding, dysfunction and self-hatred - and yet, unbelievably, they manage to rise above it all and come to a state of grace with each other in Season 7. Buffy handing the Scythe to Faith in Chosen isn't as romantic, dramatic or as celebrated as her spiritual handfasting with Spike; but in the context of their history it represent a sea change in their relationship: a level of genuine forgiveness, trust and faith (pun intended) exists between them that never has before. Getting to that point was a long, hard-fought road:


15) 16)  17)

The other line of Spike's dialogue I borrowed is from "The Gift": "I made a promise to a lady."  He's talking to Doc on top of Glory's tower about his promise to Buffy to protect Dawn "until the end of the world"; I often associate that line with Buffy's own promise to Joyce in Listening to Fear. But here I applied it to another "promise", albeit unspoken: Faith's wordless response to Buffy's "Don't - be afraid to lead them" in Empty Places. I was inspired by [livejournal.com profile] blackfrancine's 2010 comment on the nature Buffy and Faith's expressions of love:


I think Buffy's way of nurturing (ie of loving) is to protect. To play mama bear to the helpless cubs of Sunnydale. So of course the Slayer's primary love language is to perform acts of service. Her whole life (and death) is about service. And it makes sense that it becomes her main way of understanding and expressing love (or maybe service always IS her love language--even before she is called. I could see this being a feature that binds Slayers--that they understand love through service. Because I'd argue that this is how Faith expresses love as well). So, through her slaying duties, Buffy (and maybe all slayers) expresses her love for their fellow man. [emphasis mine]

In S3, Faith is bound to the Mayor, her surrogate father-figure, by her assignments for him. When Buffy reluctantly advises Faith to lead the Potentials, it's entirely clear to me from Faith's demeanor that she listens and accepts her (symbolic) "grandsire's" words with all due seriousness. Handing off leadership to Faith is mostly an act of necessity and seems like a small thing, but in the context of their relationship it's absolutely seismic. Faith doesn't say a word but her intention is clear in her demeanor, her silence, in the fact that she is truly listening - something the two of them stopped doing with one another years ago. She made a "promise to a lady" and it's one she'll keep to the best of her ability.

I wanted to send #16 above because it was the only icon I'd made that had a close-up of Eliza's face, but I felt that it didn't "tell the story" in this context as well as image of Faith and Buffy together on the porch (15, 19).




This award is a particular honor for me because the quality of the icons submitted to past [livejournal.com profile] slayerstillness challenges, technically and aesthetically, is consistently very high and represents some of the best examples of icons as works of art currently in this fandom. The editing suite I have in Photobucket is very simple and limited so I can't do the gorgeous effects and layering I see there. I wasn't as pleased as I was with the batch I made for the last [livejournal.com profile] otherworldlyric icon challenge. I focused on Buffy and Faith rather than Faith exclusively. Plus I made these so last minute I didn't have time to ask [livejournal.com profile] wickedbish for his advice as a beta. I honestly didn't think I had a shot at winning anything - and you'd be surprised how that takes the edge of anticipation off!

You know the cliche that if you want something you're supposed to visualize having or achieving it first in order to "manifest it in your life"? Well sometimes there is something to be said for thinking the opposite, or trying to practice "non-attachment" one way or the other, then being completely surprised and delighted when it does happen to come your way.
(Maybe I need to look into Buddism as a practice? *ponders*)

Here's the remaining icons from that set that I didn't submit, in no particular order of anything whatsoever. As always, snag 'em if you love 'em but please give proper credit to the artist. 'tis the polite thing to do.

18) 20) 21) 22)

23) 24)27) 28)
And here are some links to some of my favorite Buffy and Faith, or Fuffy, fanfics and fanvids for your enjoyment - just the tip of the proverbial iceberg:
VIDEOS:
"Creep" by [livejournal.com profile] bradcpu (downloadable zipped Xvid and WMV formats) is THE classic Buffy, Faith, Spike meta-video.
"Your Power is Rooted in Darkness" by Afterthebattle (YouTube) focuses on the Buffy & Faith parallels with Spike as a supporting player.
"We Must Be Killers" by jess9191 (YouTube) The first great fanvid of the year? It's already on my list for next January's Buffyverse Top 5.
"Who Are You, Really?: Episodic" by xxIrisHalox  (YouTube) My favorite fanvid take on "Who Are You?" pairs brilliantly with my favorite WAY fanfic:

FICS:
"Who Am I? (The Warm Champagne Remix)" (DW) by [livejournal.com profile] snowpuppies. (Buffy, Faith, Spike; Faith/Spike, implied Buffy/Faith) Superb, as always. Put this on your list for the next round of fanfic awards, please.
"Zen and the Art of Stake Maintenance" and "Of History" (AO3) by m_phoenix. Delicately haunting Season 7 AU and post-series Fuffy angst, respectively, both Buffy-POV. "Zen" fits canon astonishingly well; "Of History" is a masterclass in how to write in 2nd-person POV, as well as how to tackle adult sexuality and consent issues sensitively. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] oni_9's rec on the most recent edition of the [livejournal.com profile] su_herald.)

Finally, after all that angst, some fun and adventure are in order: try "The Girls In Question" fic series on AO3 by the wife-wife team of TigerDragon. The post-series installments "Reentry", "Investigations" and "Women, Fire, And Other Dangerous Things" read like a genuine "Season 8" - funny, exciting, a little angsty  - if it had been written as female-centric Fuffy, with Dawn, Willow, fascinating OC multi-ethnic Slayers, and female villains who are a VERY dark mirror of Buffy and Faith, for the ride.
red_satin_doll: (Chosen One - purple)
Due to lack of entries, Challenge #162 in [livejournal.com profile] otherworldlyric  has been extended to February 14th. I've just become acquainted with the site, which calls for icons using at least two consecutive words in the lyrics of a particular song each challenge. (In this instance the song is "King of Everything" by Sara Bareilles; lyrics are provided on each challenge post.) So check out [livejournal.com profile] otherworldlyric's Challenge 162 before the deadline

Lately I've become very interested in adding text to icons, partly because the Photobucket editing software is kindergarden-level limited; and partly because I'm fascinated by the "mini-meta" possibilities that icons with text offers. I've been i nspired by the wealth of gifsets on tumblr that use images and text to "write" a meta that's much more immediate than long paragrahs of text; this one by petpluto, taking on Anya's comments in Empty Places, is one of my favorites, although it's different from most tumblr gifs in that there is some textual analysis below the gifs.  In other words, pure catnip for yours truly, Madame Ambassador of Meta.




But I've also been inspired by "old school" icons like [livejournal.com profile] beer_good_foamy 's "Fuffy", [livejournal.com profile] awmp's "I'm A Bitch", [livejournal.com profile] maharet83's "Mary Sue", etc that can be meta, politically or emotionally expressive, or just plain damn fun. (I don't know who the creators of the Giles or Chosen icons below are but if anyone does please let me know.)

[livejournal.com profile] teragramm kindly customized two of her own icons for me with text, including her award-winning Dawn in Lessons icon, at her own offer.  The text for "Not Ok" popped into my head almost immediately and works on any number of levels ("this situation is not acceptable" or "I'm feeling horrible right now"). "Thinky Thoughts" was her own addition to the Dawn icon. If you ask her she'll be glad to add any text you like to one of her gorgeous icons. (I can't say "DO NOT snag these" but I will say "Pretty please don't?")



I've tried my hand a a few of my own here's a small sample, all snaggable; just please met me know and give proper credit:

1) 3)  4) 5)  6) 7) 8)
9) 10) 11) 12)
*** Big tip o' the stylus to my friend Ray [livejournal.com profile] kerkevik_2014 from whom I stole borrowed the phrase "icon(ic) thinky thoughts".
red_satin_doll: (Chosen One - purple)
This is what I do when I have at least three meta and two fics unfinished on my harddrive, whilst my lovely beta [livejournal.com profile] lanoyee waits patiently so she can actually beta. (Beta is both a noun and a verb, right?) I don't have Photoshop, only the simply editing suite on Photobucket to play with, so no claims to art here. (If you're looking for art, try terragram_icons ; they just posted a fun set of buffyverse quote icons. Or [livejournal.com profile] comlodge's award-winning icons. Or...anyone who is not me.)

Sample Icons:  


Anyhoo...The first two are from Veronika Decides to Die (a movie I don't recommend due to what I consider it's unethical and misguided "solution" to depression: "Veronika just needs to care about someone else and she'll feel all better! And lying to her about her health condition and manipulating two mentally ill people in order to cure them is TOTALLY worth the risk!" Sorry, NO. But damn, it's got some pretty visuals.) The rest are of my girl Buffy Summers, of course, or Buffy and Dawn.

You know the drill: Comments and feedback are always welcome; proper credit is a must. All for the taking, just let me know.
(ETA: Speaking of proper credit *ahem*, original screencaps and promo images for Veronika sourced from smg-online.org and LadyMason.com .)


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