red_satin_doll: (Willow Tough Love post-impressionist)

My entries for [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 18; many thanks to [ profile] starry_night for allowing me to submit this past the deadline; my computer has been crashing  continually the last few days. Not fun.  Thanks also to my fantastic beta-Muse [ profile] velvetwhip.


10 Themes
Full Body Black & White Plus One No Eyes Upside Down
First Appearance Nature Object Weakness Release
5 Category |PURPLE RAIN
Cat 1 Cat 2 Cat 3 Cat 4 Cat 5
5 Artist's Choice
AC 1 AC 2 AC 3 AC 4 AC 5

A Vague Disclaimer is No One's Friend:
~ 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.
~ 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.
red_satin_doll: (Bangel by bangel_4e)
The theme for Round 2 is "starcrossed lovers" ; I had snagged "Buffy" as my claim before the theme was announced so of course, my subject is Bangel. (Dedicated to [ profile] bangel_4e, who has recently announced she is going on hiatus from art and LJ for a while due to wrist pain.  I am still moping about this.*)   Also I have been dreadfully sick this weekend, hence the last-minute-ness of this post.

1 -5 represent star-crossed lovers, 6- 10 represent separation and longing, and we were allowed to have just one character of the pairing in these. As Buffy was my claim it felt natural for these to be Buffy-centric:

Teasers:     angel108_464_icon1a7_rsd.png buffy-and-angel_icon14f.png amendsbuffysleepingicon_rsd2016_1b3.png

1 - 5 buffy-and-angel_icon2c.png buffy-and-angel_icon5b2.png angel108_464_icon1a7_rsd.png buffy-and-angel_icon2c.png buffy-and-angel_icon10e.png

6 - 10 beautyandthebeastbuffyicon1d2016_RSD.png buffy-and-angel_icon11c3.png buffy-and-angel_icon13c_rsd.png buffy-and-angel_icon14f.png


11 - 15 buffy-and-angel_icon15a.png   angel108_464_icon1a7_rsd.png   angel108_464_icon1a10a_rsd.png   amendsbuffysleepingicon_rsd2016_1c.png   buffy-and-angel_icon10d.png

* [ profile] bangel_4e's Buffy/Bangel set is much more gorgeous-er, of course, be sure to check it out. Especially since it's apparently her last (for a while.) But then again all the other sets submitted for Round 2 thus far are well-nigh awesome and deserve your attention.

A Vague Disclaimer is No One's Friend:
~ 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.
~ 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.

red_satin_doll: (Buffy Casablanca Poster v1 poppy wreath)
So we made it to the flip side - Happy 2016, my friends!  May it be better than 2015.  (I say that every year. It never is better, but I always hope anyway.)

This was my "last hurrah" of 2015 (Good-bye old year, I won't miss you. At all.) and my first hurrah of 2016, for [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 15.
Plus a special treat for the Giles/Angel shippers in the house! (Anyone?)


10 Themes
Close Crop Red + White Pastel Surprise B&W + Quote
Provided Texture Green Hair Light Texture Peaceful
5 Category |SILVER & GOLD
Cat 1 Cat 2 Cat 3 Cat 4 Cat 5
5 Artist's Choice
AC 1 AC 2 AC 3 AC 4 AC 5

For the first time ever, I attempted "slashy" Giles/Angle icons. Actually, this would be my first ever m/m slash-y* icons, period.  I'm surprised that Giles/Angel isn't more of a "thing". Somewhere in the world I am sure there's a website filled with G/A fic of the two of them screwing each other senseless, but I haven't come across it. Not that I want to, tbh.  (This may be a sign of the End of Days. Remember to pack a toothbrush.)
Enjoy - I think?

1 - 6

7 - 11

12 - 13

* I actually hate the words "slash" and "femmeslash". I know where they originate in this context but I think it's time to retire them. And yet, saying "my first gay male icons" doesn't quite sound right either.

A Vague Disclaimer is No One's Friend:
~ 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.
red_satin_doll: (Buffy Casablanca Poster v1 poppy wreath)
[ profile] shapinglight mentioned that #7 & 8 of the artwork I made for her fic "Third Wheel" looked Christmas card-like (thanks to vintage card graphics from The Graphics Fairy) and, well, this happened:


Yes I considered adding a blood spatter or two but decided to "stay classy" this time.  You're welcome.

And that's all the Christmas-y fluff you're going to get out of me this year, Gentle Reader.
red_satin_doll: (Buffy Casablanca Poster v1 poppy wreath)
"Third Wheel" (Buffy/Angel, Darla/Angel) is Glassdarkly (aka [ profile] shapinglight)'s entry in the 2015 IWRY Marathon, and inspired an art binge.

These banners in turn provided the inspiration for my icon set in [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 57.

This is the second story by [ profile] shapinglight I've made posters for; the first being posters for Casablanca, for Round 19 of [ profile] seasonal_spuffy.

Teasers: Buffydarlablend2e_656x588RSD.png icon inspired by Third Wheel by Glassdarkly for 2015 IWRY Marathon Buffy_2x21_B1_007lmtw_blend5_298x401_RSD.png

Click to view full-size (except icon #9)

1 - 2) Buffydarlathirdwheelblend7c_705x669RSD.png   Buffy_2x21_B1_007lmtw_buffydarlablend2.2.1P__framed705x669RSD.png
705 x 669 each

3) Buffydarlablend2e_656x588RSD.png
665 x 588

Confession (and warning for Angel-unfriendly thoughts): A year ago I said I "couldn't" do Bangel art. I've already proven myself wrong on that count, but I think it's significant that the primary power dynamic in this story - or at least the most intereting one to me - is not Buffy/Angel, or Darla/Angel but Buffy and Darla. I'm surprised by how few fics I've read draw on the parallels the series made between Buffy and Darla right from the opening scenes of WTTH (but then, I'm not a Bangel shipper so it may well be that there's more out there than I realize.)

If anything, the least interesting aspect of "Third Wheel" is, for me, Angel himself. He's a - well, a bit of a mope, and frankly just a little self-centered. (HIs first response to Buffy's nightmarish dilemma - and it is horrifying for both Buffy and Darla - is violence, then brooding and tears, as if he were the one most affected, not she. But to be fair, he does rally and prove himself to be the better man at the end.) Sometimes I have a hard time understanding why two such interesting, clever, powerful women as Buffy and Darla were drawn to him.

"Third Wheel" actually reminds me that I'm really not sure I ship Buffy with any of her canon lovers; it also adds weight to the argument that Darla, not Buffy, is Angel's "true love".

Without (hopefully) giving too much away, [ profile] shapinglight's description of how the situation initially affects Darla reminds me of how it feels when I feel an epileptic seizure coming on, and I love how that specificity of feeling, and the precision of her language and the details, give the weight and substance of "realism" to a fantastical story.

Lobby cards:

4 - 5 )   Buffy_2x21_B1_007lmtw_blend4_300x388_RSD.png             Buffy_2x21_B1_007lmtw_blend5_298x401_RSD.png
                                                388 x 300                                                                        298 x 401

6 - 8 below are what I consider the "alt" versions (which sounds a little nicer than "rejects" doesn't it?)

6) Buffy_darlanangelbecoming_2f_750x550_RSD.png
550 x 750

7 - 8) thirdwheelforglassdarklybecomingframed3a_600x552RSD.png thirdwheelforglassdarklybecomingearshotframed4_600x552RSD.png
      600 x 552 each

9) icon inspired by Third Wheel by Glassdarkly for 2015 IWRY Marathon
And of course, an icon to go with.

The background textile in #1, 2 & 7 a detail of an 18th Century bodice in the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute.
Vintage card "frame" in #7 & 8 courtesy of the Graphics Fairy.
Black filigree layer in #4 by [ profile] scoobyatemysnax for [ profile] burnedbreads
Check out my Resources post for screencap sources.
Regretfully, I've forgotten the original source of the gold frame in #1, 2 & 5.


A Vague Disclaimer is No One's Friend:
~ 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.

red_satin_doll: (Buffy Happy Band Candy TGRM)
But first a word from our sponsor: Cast your votes for the top three icons plus Best Crop and Color NOW if you haven't already at [ profile] whedon_elite Challenge 125, "Muted Coloring.". There are 20 lovely icons to choose from, and only ten votes cast so far so more are definitely welcome! Now back to our program:

THANK YOU for voting my Angel and Drusilla icon "Best Crop" at [ profile] slayerstillness!  And congratulations to [ profile] teragramm and [ profile] tempertemper for their beautiful winning entries!  I was tickled to see everything I voted for on the winner's slate. Not that I need anyone else to vet my choices, but I like seeing these things go as they should. Nevermind that there wasn't a bad icon in the bunch.

Check out the complete set of winning icons here - I love reading [ profile] starry_night's reasoning for her Mod's Choice Awards; then see all the awards banners here. I didn't choose a BMC this round because it simply didn't feel necessary (go the the banners post and all will be explained.)

SS51_bestcolorRSD_350x272.png             trumpetflowerbanner350x272modschoiceteragramm1.4.png
I adore [ profile] teragramm's Helpless icon. Truly, madly, deeply.

[ profile] killing_kurare's wonderful set for Round 11 of [ profile] btvsats20in20 inspired my Daddy's Home icon; I actually had the phrase in mind from the episode Ted and thought about making a Ted/Joyce icon to match but didn't have time.  The "flame" texture is by [ profile] pensnest, which I found via [ profile] colorfilter's journal, set on Lighten or Screen.

Banners by your's truly, icons by their respective artists. For the background image I cropped a photograph of a trumpet flower in our yard that I took this afternoon, pointing my Nikon Coolpix upward on macro setting to keep the blossom in focus and the sunlight-dappled trees in the background blurred. This accounts for the natural "bokeh" effect in the lower portion. I wanted to capture the elegant simplicity of the flower; it's texture and form remind me of a parasol made of the most gossamer silk, it's edges billowing slightly in the breeze.

The gold frame around the icons is meant to be a punning reference to the phrase "gilding the lily". The flower isn't a lily but the phrase became my mantra anyway when making these banners. What I had in front of me was already beautiful - the flower, the icons - so don't overwhelm, overwork or overdo.

My entries (1 - 4) and alts:

innoccenciconpaperwhite1.3a.png Buffy_2x13_Surprise_246_crop1_icon1.1.png   buffygilesfirstdateicon2.2a_rsd2015_SS50.png   Buffy_2x14_Innocence_038_crop1_icon1.1.png   1 - 4

InnocenceHD_762545Sanstitre1_HDicon3.1.png innoccenciconpaperwhite1.3.png innoccenciconpaperwhite1.1.png   innoccenciconpaperwhite1.3c.png 5 - 8
I suddenly realized that I've never seen a smushname for Angelus-Drusilla. "Dangel" perhaps? "Drangel"? "Drungel"?

buffygilesfirstdateicon2.1.png   buffygilesfirstdateicon2.4.png   buffygiles71firstdateicon1.1.png   buffygilesfirstdateicon1.2.png   buffygilesfirstdateicon1.3.png 9 - 13

Now that I'm looking at these again I'm sort of kicking myself for not entering 12-13. I think I was bothered by the fact that I couldn't get the area around Giles' mouth right with that one. In hindsight I probably shouldn't have let it bother me so much because I like the color and luminousity of it otherwise, especially on the right side of the image.  Textures in #3 and 12 - 13 a combination of textures by [ profile] colorfilter and [ profile] lookslikerain.

The father/daughter icons (Angelus-Dru and Giles-Buffy) were obviously the ones I lavished the most attention on; which is contrary to my usual habit of focusing almost exclusively on the women; but I do seem to have this "thing" about surrogate (not biological) fathers and daughters (BtVS, Doctor Who, Moulin Rouge).  My father died when I was three and I had two abusive, shitty stepfathers after that. Analyze away, Dr. Freud.

A Vague Disclaimer is No One's Friend:
~ Want? Take, have for personal use but please credit if used.
~ No hotlinking!
~ Comments however are appreciated and feedback is coin of the realm; leave a little and make an artist's day.  :)

red_satin_doll: (Buffy IWRY golden glow RSD)

Thank you again to everyone who voted for my icons in Round 10 of [ profile] btvsats20in20!  My banners, a bit belatedly, with many thanks to
my wonderful betas [ profile] tempertemper and [ profile] velvetwhip for their thoughtful and generous feedback on both the banners and the icons:
Click images to see full-size:
Rd10finalRSDbannercharacters1.png   Rd10finalRSDbannercharacters2.png   Rd10finalRSDbannerthemes.png
Congratulations to winners [ profile] sweet_lyri, [ profile] tempertemper, [ profile] killing_kurare, [ profile] teragramm, [ profile] snogged and [ profile] spikesredqueen! Check out their winning icons and awards banners in the thread here.

As with the banners I made for the last round of [ profile] slayerstillness, the base image is a photograph I took of daylilies at a local bank while waiting in line at the drive-through. I originally was going to do a fancier image with light effects and literally "gild the lily", until I came to my senses and realized simple was best. I love the summertime feel of the image, and how the colors coordinate suprisingly well with so many of the icons.

It should be noted that I all but threw multiple alts of the Faith and Joyce icons in [ profile] velvetwhip's lap and she, being the superb Muse that she is, singled out the versions I submitted. Take a look (NWS warning for one tiny icon of Darla's cleavage)


I loved making the Faith and Dru icons this round - they were so much fun to make.  (Admitedly, I have a weird sense of "fun".)

1 - 7

8 -14

  15 -21



Speaking of winning icons and banners, congratulations to the winners of [ profile] whedon_elite Challenge 122 "Bright and Shiny" : [ profile] teragramm, [ profile] sweet_lyri and [ profile] double_dutchess in her first go at WE correction: her first time competing in any icontest! Congratulations on the splendid icons ! And THANK YOU to everyone who voted for my icons and honored my Buffy icon with a Best Crop award! :D  Awards banners to come shortly, stay tuned!
red_satin_doll: (Buffy IWRY golden glow RSD)

Congratulations to [ profile] teragramm, [ profile] sweet_lyri and [ profile] emmatheslayer for their winning entries in [ profile] whedon_elite Challenge 121! Teragramm's 2nd place/Best Color winner is a particular favorite of mine; I've seen a lot of icons of that scene in After Life and that shot in particular, but never one that looks exactly like this. The granular details and the coloring are especially delicate and subtle.

Teasers for artwork after the cut: we121_1stplacebanner350x324_RSD_1.5a.png we121_2ndplacebestcolorbanner_rsd2015_350x324_1.2.png WE121_3rdplacebannerrsd_sweetlyri350x324.png   WE121_modschoicebannerbyRSD_350x324.png

The theme for Challenge 121 was "Negative space + Two (and only two) figures + one dominant color" so I tried to play on that with the awards banners, and match the couplings in the icons in my banners. (The majority of entries and winners are shippy.) I fudged a litlte on Emmatheslayer's banner: I'm not sure if that's Xander walking in the far background in her Mod's Choice icon, but all three icons in her set featured Buiffy & Xander and in any case, I associate Xander with that scene in Life Serial so strongly that I assumed it was him.

Even thougjh [ profile] whedon_elite covers the entire "Jossverse" I'm amused by the fact that the entries and the winning icons are so Buffy-centric, with the exception of Teragramm's Sprusilla icon.

For last round I relied entirely on my own photographs for the banner textures but this time I mixed up my own photo textures with found textures; the textures in the Sprusilla and Bangel banners are by [ profile] sweet_lyri.  The Spuffy image for Teragramm's banner is a promotional photo from S2 but I really like how it parallels and unintentionally foreshadows  S6.

we121_1stplacebanner350x324_RSD_1.5a.png   we121_2ndplacebestcolorbanner_rsd2015_350x324_1.2.png

WE121_3rdplacebannerrsd_sweetlyri350x324.png   WE121_modschoicebannerbyRSD_350x324.png

I did not plan to make the Sprusilla and Spuffy banners darker than the Bangel and Bander ones, and since I don't ship Bangel and Bander there is no judgement regarding the ships themselves intended.  In fact, one of my favorite things about the Bangel poster is how both Buffy and Angel seem to dissolve in the light; Buffy especially is all but a shadow; and the texture by [ profile] sweet_lyri subtly divides the image and comes between them.

Entries for Challenge 122,  "Bright and Shiny"  are due Sunday July 26th at 3pm EST.  There are 15 wonderful entries so far but more are welcome.

red_satin_doll: (Joyce/Angel btvs  Fairy Tales RSD)

Final poster art for Answering Prayers by [ profile] velvetwhip
Teasers for more artwork after the cut:  

I've praised this author's work and this particular story before, but I won't pass up another opportunity. Ever since I entered Buffyverse fandom I've wondered at the absolute dearth of Joyce-fic out there. A huge number of fans - and authors - are women of a certain age and mothers, after all. And fanfiction is designed to explore what goes ignored, overlooked or forgotten in canon. This story fills a huge need and I hope will inspire other writers.

The project sat on the back burner a bit longer than I'd intended. I've had the basic composition in my head for months; making sketches in my notebook, however crude, really does help me remember my intentions. This is pretty close to what I first imagined; the biggest difference from sketch to poster is that I wanted a shadowy "ghost image" of Buffy walking away from home in Becoming, or sitting on her bed in the dingy apartment in Anne. But neither image worked quite the way I'd intended.

Technically this was my third go at the poster for this story. " Version 2"  (b & c below) was a lot more complicated, busy, bright and overstuffed with details (layers! layers! layers!). [ profile] velvetwhip preferred the more subdued version, and her feedback inspired me go back and try to pare back down to the basics. I realized I'd gotten enamoured of playing with the images and effects and had forgotten the story itself. In theory every detail in V.2 has a meta point but it's all too much.

I also realized I needed something closer to a square-ish shape to fit Gabrielle's journal format. Version 2a-b below features a "flame" texture I got from [ profile] sweet_lyri and she is not to blamed for the fact that I went overboard.

The thing about poster art for me is that, I want the recipient to love it; I want them to feel that it's an absolute perfect fit for their work because the point of me making a poster is to honor their prose and encourage people to want to read it. And yes, I absolutely realize that's kind of selfish and egotistical on my part, but I like to think of it as a "win-win" situation all 'round.

Which is to say, if I ever make an artwork for you, Gentle Author, and you don't love it with your heart and soul, be honest and tell me and if I can't rework it, I'll let you know.
2a)   2b)
For the final version (#1 above), I removed the texture, cropped it differently, and used a different texture altogether - a photograph of a bonfire in our front yard I'd snapped the night. I expanded it on low opacity in Layers mode, stretching and moving it about. Somehow a curve of flame fitted against Joyce's cheekbone so I left it there; then I added a second layer of the same photo but smaller, to fill the space in the lower left around Joyce's chin and conceal the edges around Angel's hand.

Half the task of making banners is covering up the joins, I swear.

The flames have a meta purpose in the image though; Angel has just returned froma literal Hell (this story takes place the summer between S2 and S3); but Joyce is in an emotional Hell which she knows is partly of her own making; in discovering Angel at the mansion she takes a headlong dive into her daughter's world in astonishing ways.

Below is what I call "Version 1". This was the image I turned into an icon for Gabrielle a few months back, because she'd asked for one for Christmas; and which I've reworked slightly to make into a poster for her story "We Tell Each Other Fairy Tales". The problem is that I don't think it really fit that story, which is mournful, angsty and angry. It's Jangel but it's not "shippy" in a traditional way, and this poster uses the fantasy image of Joyce that Xander had in his head from Restless.

So there's a mismatch here between an image that caters to romantic tropes and the prose which is anything but a traditional romance. [ profile] velvetwhip twists, deconstructs, slyly exposes and gleefully smashes all manner or romance tropes in her work. And she does it with incredible elegance and perceptiveness.
That image of Joyce from Restless was a bitch to work with btw, as are most caps of Joyce from the series, poorly-lit and unfocused. So not my best work but a good exercise. I actually think this one looks better in the icon version I made for Gabrielle. Speaking of:

    4 - 7

And again I am borrowing [ profile] starry_night's succinct rules regarding my own arwork:
~ Take what you like for personal use but please credit if used :)
~ No hotlinking!
~ Comments are appreciated :)

ETA: Nominated for Best Banner, [ profile] wicked_awards 2015 - THANK YOU for the nomination!

nomineebuttonbuffywickedawards275x128_rsd2015_1.1final.png    Banner by Angelus2hot Oct 2015

Runner-Up, Under Your Spell (Best Banner), [ profile] wicked_awards Round 12,  2015
red_satin_doll: (Buffy IWRY golden glow RSD)
It all connects to the dream, the real dream – the one she can’t remember well enough, the one she wishes she could just let go of and forget. She doesn’t know how and she doesn’t know why, but it’s sitting there, salt and bitter on the tip of a tongue that can’t tell the truth to the people who need to hear it…a tongue that rises in songs of bitterness and numbness and a longing for what she left behind – for a place from which she was torn, bleeding from wounds no one but her can see.
Gabrielle's story is my favorite IWRY fiction, ever. The passage above should tell you why. It might also give you an idea as to why I dislike the episode  And yet, I'm fascinated by the notion that the repeated violations of Buffy's mind - Angel taking away one set of memories, the monks inserting another in S5 - contribute to Buffy's mental illness, to her  trauma, depression and grief in later seasons, simply in terms of altering her brain's neurological pathways.

Which is to say that I very nearly didn't make any icons for [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 47 - and I'm honestly stunned by the outcome of the round.

Congratulations to [ profile] muirthemne and [ profile] tempertemper for their wonderful winning entries this round and THANK YOU to everyone who voted for my icons and thank you also [ profile] tempertemper for the lovely, swoon-worthy banners! I love the contrasts of "glamour" and grit in these banners; the light leaks and the disintergrating font contrast against one another in much the same way the chain-link fence sets off the dolled-up Sarah. (And kudos to you for signing your work, babe!)

    ss47banner02byTT2015.png   ss47bannerbestcropbyTT2015.png

    ss47bannerbestcolorbyTT2015.png     ss47bannermostcreativebyTT2015.png

    1 - 4
      5 - 7

         8 - 12
My personal favorite is #5, and it was very close to being an entry instead of #1.

I really wanted to make at least one icon of he Oracles, because I think they look like rejects from a high school production of "Satyricon: The Musical!" I'm sort of disappointed with myself that I didn't but I wasn't inspired by any of the screencaps of them I looked at.

I honestly thought the awards would be pretty evenly spread out this round because there were so many lovely ones to choose from. I assumed [ profile] muirthemne's set didn't dominate. I didn't know who made them - or any of the entries - I just knew they were elegant, autumnal, and suffused with emotion. Her 3rd place Angel icon was my first place choice, and her Mod's Choice and Banner Maker's Choicer wins are well and truly deserved. [ profile] tempertemper's Cordy lightbulb icon, the other Mod's Choice winner, was my Most Creative choice; any icon that can make me chuckle every time I look at it deserves bonus points.

Don't forget to enter Challenge 48 "Five Faces"; deadline is midnight on Friday the 17th.

Texture Resource Credits:
#1 - [ profile] colorfilter;
#3, 11 -  [ profile] whitebamboo;
#5, 9, 10 - [ profile] lookslikerain;
IWRY Screencaps
from Pretty as a Picture

Want? Take, have!  But proper credit a must; do not claim as your own, hotlink, post to or any other archives or websites without my express permission first.


  • Winner, Something to Sing About (Best Icon), [ profile] wicked_awards Round 12, 2015  

Banner by Angelus2hot Oct 2015
red_satin_doll: (Harmony Kendall Gold Sparkle Holiday)
I meant to include these in my last post in celebration of the fact that [ profile] bangel_4e has kindly extended the voting deadline of [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 8 until tomorrow (Sunday the 12th), and LJ simply would not let me. So let me try this again:

banner by me, 2015          banner by me 2015           banner by me 2015    
Banners above and icons therein by your's truly, 2015. Image of Alyson Hannigan courtesy of The Chosen Gallery. Click images to enjoy full size. All banners in this post by me, icons by their respective creators. If you wish to share please credit and enjoy. Don't rip off my stuff or post it on some other site without my permission, capisci?
What follows is much verbiage and more banner images; forewarned is forearmed:

Yes, that was 3 (4?) months ago. It feels like both a forever-ago and just yesterday that I was ready to throw up my hands and drop out, and the wise and wonderful [ profile] velvetwhip provided the gentle encouragement I needed to keep going. And where would I be the last 6 months or so without her? Mired in a puddle of my own hopeless, frustrated tears, that's where. And [ profile] tempertemper was likewise a phenomenal beta-muse for when I was making the banners.

Full disclosure: when my babies don't perform well in competition I weep and wail and wonder "Why not? I don't get it." When they do well and are honored as they were in Round 6, I wonder "Why? Other folks' stuff is so much better. I don't get it." Starry's Harmony set, in particular, nearly caused me throw in the towel; it's just so damn gorgeously pretty and I loved how in lieu of actual holiday episodes for Harmony she created a gorgeous sparkle-y holiday feel with superb use of textures. So you, Gentle Reader & Voter, cannot win for losing.

I wish I could credit the photographer of the image of Aly because it's a fanartist's absolute dream of a photo to play with; besides being an attractive image the clarity and image resolution are stunning. There is absolutely no "meta" aspects or intellectual thought to these three banners except "Ooh, pretty! Why haven't I seen this image used in other fanarts before?" and "How do I set the icons and text across it without looking like snot is dripping out of her nose?"  I originally used the other half of her face for the banners and had to redo them because greenish text and a large icon dropping out of someone's nostril is not an attractive look. Profit from my experience, Gentle Reader.

The normal ettiquette with 20in20 awards banners is apparently to make them only for folks who request them. I decided to throw convention to the wind: banners for everyone, barkeep! Which was essentially my excuse to play around and try to stretch myself a bit in terms of techniques. For instance, I discovered accidentally that if I had two images the exact same size, one with text, icons, etc and one without, I could layer them in texture mode and "transfer" whatever visual elements I wanted from one to the other without having to everything all over again from scratch.

I made the Willow banners last of all; the first one I made was for [ profile] sweet_lyri's second place Bangel category icon. She hadn't requested it yet so that was pure playtime for me. I found a promo photo I liked and decided to go with promo photos for all of the other banners as well, all of them from The Chosen Two Gallery.  This banner is probably the first traditionally romantic, unironic Bangel fanart I've made; I took the "Christmas/ magical snow" context of the icon and extended it to the entire banner. It was a bit of a puzzle at first how to do that - Sarah's wearing a strapless dress and the photo was clearly NOT set in wintertime, but by cooling the color tones with a blue-ish "waterdrop" texture, a second "lace stripe wallpaper" texture a snowflake frame for the icon and a snowflake "paintbrush for the outer border, I think I got a reasonable approximation.

I was going to leave Sarah's skin tone a touch warmer to emphasize Buffy's humanity in contrast to Angel's non-human status but decided it just detracted attention from the icon itself. (Since that round I have become a huge fan of [ profile] sweet_lyri's work; check out my userpic gallery for confirmation or better yet, go directly to her Round 8 Dawn set.)
banner made by me January 2015
[ profile] tempertemper's had an interesting genesis in a Jangel icon I was attempting to make for [ profile] velvetwhip's extremely awesome fic Answering Prayers.  Take a promo image of David for btvs (or ats), cut it out and place on dark background, add a starscape/universe texture and one of my own cloudscape photographs to cover the edges of the mask and voila! Again, no meta statement re:Angel going on except - whatever you want to read into it. Angel as an immortal creature yadda yadda bitty blah and all that jazz. I was a little puzzled at first how to do a banner for all of her very worthy Themes winners, six in all So I decided to treat them as if they were a "set".  I suppose if I'd tried harder I could have put all of her winning entries onto one banner. All the awards banners I'd seen up to that point kept the icons at their original size; I didn't know that you could reduce them to fit the banner. (Since then I've seen banners at other 20in20 comms where they actually do size the icons down.)

Her Reason icon is a thing of GENIUS, y'all - it never fails to make me smile. And her Category set is another fantastically clever solution to the problem of creating a "holiday" category set.  To my mind it's not only more clever, it's wittier and more inventive than my set because I had a holiday, ready-made, to work from; she had to create one from whole cloth.
FINAL_v1_AngelthemesbannerfortempertemperJan2015byredsatindoll_zps48a9ea45       FINALtempertemperCatgeorysetbanner_byredsatindoll_Jan2015       FINALv2_tempertemperACsetbanner_byredsatindoll_Jan2015
I already mentioned that [ profile] starry_night's Harmony set nearly caused me to quit Round 6 before I'd even made a single icon because they were simply so beautiful and accomplished and I knew I couldn't come within a mile of them. (I still can't, IMO.) That it took much hand-holding from [ profile] velvetwhip to get me to complete mine?  Starry's icons are so gorgeous and elegant, I wanted the banners to suit them - and I kept coming up with images of Mercedes McNab showing lots of skin that looked like they were meant for men's magazines. Now I am all for a woman's right to display her own body as she chooses but that wasn't the look I had in mind for the banners. The image I found on The Chosen Two was a rare exception, very restrained and classical, almost "Renaissance".

It needed a little something extra though and my landlord's yellow rose set to difference/subtract/invert (one of the three, I don't recall which) to turn it black like Mercedes' dress was just the thing. Never underestimate just how handy a casual outdoor snap you've taken can be. I tried to keep the rest of the color scheme as close to the various shades of pink/mauve/purple found in the icons as possible. All of these icons are lovely and her Category set is a knock-out; I snagged her 3rd place Category icon because I simply had to have it.
Harmonybannerv3.1_starrynightthemesACwinners_byredsatindollJan2015             finalbannerstarry_nightcategorywinnersbtvsats20in20rd6Jan2015_byredsatindoll_v3

The Spuffy banner for [ profile] oh_cheezit's wonderful AC set from "Sleeper", an episode I love, was the last one I made aside from the Willow banners and in some ways the most difficult. I came into this fandom an S7 Spuffy shipper and by the time I'd made these banners, "Spuffy" had become an uncomfortable and even painful place rather than a comfort zone. I found it difficult to re-access my original love and enthusiasm for the pairing and perhaps this banner was above all else an attempt to reclaim my love for them on my terms. (I very nearly didn't make this one at all.) I was going for the sense of Buffy as the sun, as moral compass, a guiding presence to him in her life and in death but also, perhaps, a ghost or memory. My first try (below right) is very pretty and the icons pop but something's missing I think, it lacks overall unity and is a bit bland.

I cropped Sarah's face closer on the second try, pushed the blue-green color from the photo of James in the "crypt" and didn't notice until after I'd layered them that the roots in the crypts intermingled nicely with Sarah's hair so that they seemed intertwined. The image of James was actually of rather poor quality in some respects and I had to do a lot of blending around his face; it ended up more washed out than I wanted. I made several tries at the font colors with this one and never got it quite right; her name in particular looks too bright too me now. I'm still not sure that the banner doesn't overwhelm rather than compliment the icons. The final version is on the left and the alt is to the right:

banner by me Feb 2015 version 3 FINAL           banner by me Feb 2015 version 1
I arranged the icon set a little differently to the other banners because for some reason they wouldn't line up in an exact line. When I staggered them a bit I thought it created a nice sense of both dimension and movement that I think suits the icons. There is a very cinematic feeling to this set; [ profile] oh_cheezit alternated long, medium and close-up shots like an expert cinematographer, but always with an emphasis on the varied emotions of the scene and Sarah and James' wonderfully expressive faces.

So that's my story and I'm sticking too it - what say you, Gentle Reader?

And apropos of nothing: I'm watching Episode 1, season 1 of the Rockford Files, "Backlash of the Hunter: Part 1."  (Circa 1974)I haven't watched this show in decades (my mom was a huge James Garner fan back in the day.) Eleven minutes into the episode and we were just getting our first glimpse at the protagonist, Jim Rockford. There's such a leisurely quality to the storytelling that feels absolutely foreign today. And it's still the BEST OPENING CREDITS SEQUENCE AND THEME SONG EVAH.

My sweetheart said at the end of the episode "I don't think I want to watch that very often." Me? I'm thinking OMG James Garner is funny, charming, adorable and handsome in a rugged lived-in way and what happened to real leading men like him? And I do mean MEN, not the boys fobbed off on us nowadays. MOAR please.
red_satin_doll: (Dawn Summers is the Key - Normal Again)
Vote in Tiebreakers for Round 6 of [ profile] btvsats20in20. Make sure to vote in all three at the post; voting closes Friday January 23rd; which gives you at least a day to beat your friends out of the bushes and encourage them to vote.

[ profile] buffyversetop5 is officially closed this session, which means no more posts this round - but it's like a party where the kitchen is closed but there's tons of food and drink still overflowing the buffet table and another gallery wall you probably haven't seen yet. I got in four posts of wonderful fics and artwork recs - better late than never? - thank you to [ profile] yourlibrarian and [ profile] petzipellepingo for hosting such an incredible party twice a year.

Right now I'm enjoying three fics that you can expect to see on my Top 5 recs for next January - why not start early this time around?:

Answering Prayers by [ profile] velvetwhip (Joyce/Angel, early S3 AU) is a marvelous, funny, touching "deleted episode" that focuses on Joyce's personal journey as a Slayer's mom but also as a woman and a person in her own right as she tries to find answers to where her baby girl might have gone and finds more than she bargained for. Why aren't there thousands of such stories?  Why has Joyce been so overlooked in fandom?  I don't know but this fic feels like an oasis in the desert and just might become the story that future fan writers build off of and around when it comes to writing about her.  So far it's very PG (up to chapter 3 and no sex scenes) and I have no idea where Gabrielle is taking this. But I cannot wait to find out.

the kids are alright by [ profile] kwritten (Tara, Dawn, Buffy/Tara, S7-AU) the next segment in the B/T Finding a Balance 'verse, this one focuses on Tara's relationship with Dawn as surrogate parent, in a late seasons AU in which the women of the 'verse support and love one another, damaged children doing their best and somehow managing to keep the darkness at bay. I don't associate this author with "fluff" and this is - and it isn't. Again I ask, why aren't there a thousand fics about the Tara & Dawn relationship? This makes a lovely pairing with [ profile] brutti_ma_buoni's "The Real You".

Palimpset by [ profile] spuffy_luvr.[ profile] beer_good_foamy (Buffy/Spike - or is it, Buffy/William? - and Willow, AU S10 comics.) The link takes you to the epilogue, which has links to the previous four chapters. Think shades of "The Ballad of Randy and Joan" and [ profile] beer_good_foamy's "Building Character" but plottier, a wild ride with intricate issues of identity and agency roiling beneath the surface. I need to reread it before I can comment on the last two sections. It's incredibly subversive on several levels, not the least of which is the key role Willow  and the Willow/Buffy relationship plays here; their friendship is not the sidenote in a spuffy fic, it's absolutely central.  I've said this before: [ profile] spuffy_luvr is becoming a Willow author of note.
red_satin_doll: (Fred Burkle Blue)
Thank you to everyone who voted my WIllow/Aly Hannigan icon 2nd place in round 279 of [ profile] btvs_hush! I really was not expecting this at all. It's my very first award in [ profile] btvs_hush (on my third try in this comm) and my first second place award in any icontest. Congratulations to the other winners [ profile] teragramm and [ 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 [ 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 [ profile] velvetwhip and [ 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.

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.)


#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 [ 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 [ 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.


I didn't have time to show these to [ 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.


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.



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: (Angel Hairporn)
1) Congratulations to the winners of [ profile] otherworldlyric icontest Challenge 179 : [ profile] dragonydreams, [ profile] chic_c and [ profile] pickamix (she made an Oz icon! Let's hear it for neglected Buffyverse characters!)

Deadline for Challenge 180 is tonight August 8 at midnight.Like, an hour from now. As of two days ago there were no entries so hopefully....?

2) Tonight is also the deadline for [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 29, "The Freshman". You're welcome. Speaking of, I never did thank [ profile] tempertemper for the lovely banner to go with my Mod's Choice award for [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge #27. I love the how the warm burgundy-red-brown tones compliment colors of Dawn's hair and Buffy's mouth, which I had barely noticed until I saw it framed this way - indeed, how well it compliments all the other winning icons in that round. The translucent quality reminds me of very fine, handmade marbelized art paper. And the simple red border around the icon emphasizes the intimate nature of the crop but also emphasizes the emotional "claustrophobia" of the situation for both the Summers sisters.

27_mc2_banner by starry_night

Here's all of my entries that round;the only ones I'm really pleased with are the Buffy&Dawn and the Beer Bad icons. I particularly liked crop on the Beer Bad icon. It and the Anne icon I entered were meant to be deliberately anti-hairporn, in terms of "pretty hair". I had just got done with the Vamp Willow project and wanted to play with some unglamorous imagery for fun. (And of course, a return to Buffy was pure playtime for me.)

My special shout-out to an icon that didn't win is [ profile] rua1412's Angel icon #8, which is so, so pretty I had to snag it. Yes, I snagged an Angel icon - and the world did not end. Wonders. Speaking of Angel,

3) [ profile] dragonydreams has posted [ profile] btvs_hush Challenge 280, "Angel" (the character, btvs imagery only). Y'all know I'm not so much into the wood but I gotta admit, the third image for challenge B is kind of dynamic and I can see doing something fun with that, if I had the time. (Or I could catch my breath from laughing because - image #1. The tai chi in dress trousers. I'm just sayin'.)

Although now that you mention it, the eyeliner...?

DO NOT look at me on any of these, I am not pulling anything out of the trapdoor for this one or or anything else until I get my Tara set finished for [ profile] btvsats20in20. Okay?  (I'm hoping to finish by Monday BUT...I've been riding waves of "hey, I have a neat idea!" alternating with "I suck. Tara, sweetie I'm so sorry. And my new bifocals hurt my eyes until I can't see a damn thing, my neck aches and dear god WHY did I think this was a clever idea why will no one stop me? I have got to get a job do I have enough money to pay the September rent? And why oh WHY did I think having my mother come to visit for a week was going to be a good idea? Me her and my sweetie in the same house together for a week? JFC on a cheese cracker when will I get a lick of sense?" And various sundry items and pretty little bits and bobs of self-loathing of that sort. Fun.)

4) Speaking of [ profile] btvsats20in20, check out [ profile] tempertemper's wonderful Cordelia Chase entries for Round 3! (And don't forget to check out the other entries this round- stop by to say hi, and share the love with your friends!)

[ profile] starry_night has very kindly extended the deadline at my request to the 12th. I hope not to need it but...I've said that one a time or two before haven't i?

And now off the 'puter and onto bed - these bifocals are killing my eyes, for realsies.
red_satin_doll: (Laughing Dead Things)

Dawn Summers writes the Great American Memoir.

1) Funniest AU non-penguin Buffyverse fanfic of 2013? In my School Hard/Chosen  post the other day  [ profile] rebcake  tossed out a witty suggestion about Buffy & Spike's final conversation in the Hellmouth taking a very different turn. [ profile] beer_good_foamy   took up the challenge and ran with it  in his usual brilliant way; here's the longer finished version, "Not in the Brochure" .  I haven't laughed this hard since - since I read his newest AU penguin fic two weeks ago.  Start polishing those fanfiction awards statuettes buttons now, y'all.

2) [ profile] eilowyn ' s recent post "Thoughts on Spuffy and Fandom"  sparked a fascinating conversation about the 'ship wars,  focused specifically on the labels and the invention of  "smushnames" Bangel, Spuffy, etc.  (I'm going to copy/paste my smushnames rant from the thread because I'm lazy: I hated "bennifer" etc long before I got into fandom because I find the concept loathesome - merging two people into one identity. It's ironic because I think the show is pretty consistent on the idea that losing oneself in another person is a bad idea. Buffy and Angel are a direct critique of this notion - magical snow notwithstanding.)  But I enjoy reading about the history of this fandom, in part because it makes me grateful to be a newbie fan and have missed the bloodbath. Kumbaya and all that jazz.

Somewhere along the way [ profile] comlodge mentioned "Bike" as a tongue-in-cheek alternative to Spuffy and I - did the thing I promised I'd never do and wrote a prompt about Buffy and her menz and bikes, with lots of fluffy-Spuffy. If I were as brilliant as BGF I'd have actually turned it into a story but since I'm not I'm letting [ profile] comlodge 's muse do the work for me. (I'm sneaky that way.) She gave me leave to repost it here so someone else could also have a crack at it. So without further ado - or a don't:

Spike and Buffy (post-series) with one of those old-fashioned "bicycles built for two" (which Spike would want to give a go because that was state-of-the-art technology in 1880) but they'd argue over who got to sit in front and where they were even going; then she'd insist on having her own bike, and he'd' say "Fine, whatever! I didn't want you breathing down my neck anyway!" or snark about her bad driving:"You want to get yourself killed? Your funeral, Slayer." (Substitute "motorcycle" there and it still works.) Then they'd try to outrace each other and end up pretty much in a draw but squabble over who beat who by a hairsbreath. And then tease each other and laugh about it, and shag in a semi-public place, and kill the demons who interrupted them, then shag some more. (Because what's fanon Spuffy w/out snark and laughter and demon-killing and copious shagging? Bangel.  Just sayin'.)

OTOH If it were Angel he'd insist on sitting up front, because he wants to be the chivalrous BDH, and she'd go along with it for a while because it's nice to let someone else take over for a while - until she realized he was lost and had to take over from him, despite his objections to the contrary. ("Angel, this is the tenth time we've passed that hill. Yes I know it's the same one!")

Whereas Riley would completely insist that Buffy sit up front and of course he didn't mind at all because he only wanted what she wanted and he loved her strength and competence - then spend the entire trip grumbling just under his breath that he wanted to sit on the front seat and she would have been able to read his mind and know what he wanted if she really truly loved him.

I forgot Parker, btw - Buffy would make the arrangements, be waiting with the bikes and the picnic basket and he'd never show up, then give her some crap excuse a day later about visiting his mom and "I'm sorry you assumed I wanted to go out on a picnic with you, I didn't think you'd take it so seriously."

You can tell by the relative lengths of the various paragraphs where my heart lies, right?  If not I'll gladly explain - at length, with finger-puppets or flashcards, your choice.  Anyone want to add Scott Hope to the mix be my guest, because I don't give a damn and can't be bothered to rewatch S3 just for him.  But if memory serves, he's kind of a proto-Riley anyway. Have at it, kids.

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