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.


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


"Winged Buffy" banner, a gift from the fantastically talented and generous [ profile] comlodge, (June 2013, not snaggable)

*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 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.



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" - [ 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.)


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.
* 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.


I Walk Alone, another beautiful gift from [ profile] comlodge based on her FFL picspam series for Round 18 of [ 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: (Summers Family Portrait S5 RSD)
This post will be updated frequently.  I'm including some examples when possible because a picture is worth a thousand words.

UPDATED 05 July 2016:

[ profile] colorfilter - Their big 40 pack of icon textures (download link at Facebook here) is still the one I use most often and I haven't begun to scratch the surface of the hundreds of textures within. Also check out the pack of larger 800x600 textures. You can also find the sets posted individually on their journal. I've posted a few more examples of my icons using these textures in the comment thread here.



[ profile] texturize - (Many thanks to[ profile] teragramm for rec'ing this community) One-stop shopping for anyone interested in creating and sharing textures. Be sure to read the comm's very informative "Bible" (guidelines) before posting or snagging. Most of the artists post links back to their graphics journals or to Deviant Art.

[ profile] lookslikerain at [ profile] soaked. I've used more of their textures than anyone's except [ profile] colorfilter's:

      icon for fanfic Ipseity by spuffy luvr 2015     15-20

[ profile] whitebamboo:


[ profile] jordannamorgan at [ profile] wolfbane_icons


[ profile] scoobyatemysnax at [ profile] burnedbreads - includes tutorials.  A tremendous variety of textures including soft glow, grunge, frames, abstract and geometric patterns in any one given set. I like their medium (300pixels) square textures for icons.

      25 - 30

 * [ profile] broken_places The graphics journal of [ profile] akilah92

* Evey-V at DeviantArt I like Ericka's soft, painterly, abstract textures, gradients, and text brushes:

consequences0128icon1.3e.png 31

 * [ profile] sweetiepebbles Gallery of icon textures and bases at DeviantArt
 * Yeonseb at DeviantArt Vast supply of textures and application resources
 * [ profile] spiritcoda - [ profile] creativehangout is their LJ graphics gallery, or check out their DA gallery; some exceptionally pretty textures

 * FRAMEs & BORDERs for use - Flickr image sharing group
 * Your Picture Frames - Most of the icon frames in my awards banners come from this site.
 * Victorian Frame Company - Mostly HQ photos of antique-style wood frames with carved detail, includes unusual shapes such as rounds, oblongs and hearts:

  32 - 33

SCREENCAPS for Buffyverse
[ profile] slayerstillness has a list of Screencap Resources for BtVS and AtS, including all the ones I use most frequently; if you know of
any not on the list, send the links to [ profile] starry_night. Some of my favorites from the list:

  * Pretty as a Picture complete screencaps for BtVS and AtS plus promo photos for Buf (ETA: 12/21/15 site currently defunct)

  * Bloodqueen has all seven seasons of BtVS complete, is one of my primary sources

  * Leave Me the White by [ profile] _jems_  Spuffy-centric so no S1 or S3 caps and the remaining seasons are incomplete; but some of the best quality
     caps of the series I've found. (S2 is the most complete with 14 episodes capped.) Includes Dailies for Smashed and Dead Things.
     S7 is spread out over three albums including two Miscellaneous albums.

 * Buffy in HD ON Facebook Fan analysis of the problems with Fox's recent "HD remaster", galleries of screencaps, edits, comparisons

 * Shadow of Reflection also has all seven seasons; quality if variable. The early seasons caps compare favorably with
     Bloodqueen's; the later seasons are strangely distorted.

 * WiP; S1-2 of BtVS are complete; plus one file of promo shots from S1 and the screencaps for Bargaining.
     Appears to be using a new cleaned-up source for it's caps (the so-called "high deflnition" version.) Has a lot of screenshots that
     may not exist elsewhere, but can appear slightly compressed or distorted.

  * The Chosen Two Gallery high-quality promotional and marketing images and magazine shoots of all the major and most of the
     minor characters/actors in BtVS, AtS and Firefly.

  * Kiss Them Goodbye Seasons 1 - 2 complete, partial season 3; also appears to be working off newer DVD's or Blu-ray sources but
      the images tend to be more pixilated than other sources.

  * promo-pictures on tumblr  

  * Buffy Universe and Angel DVD caps

Individual Cast Members Fansite Galleries:
   * Sarah Michelle Gellar France - What it says on the tin. One of my favorite fansite galleries for all things SMG and constantly
     updated. Photoshoot albums sometimes identify the magazine and the original photographer.
   * Glamorous SMG - online since 2003, another fairly comprehensive source.
   * Captivating SMG - relatively new (since 2013), it divides the Photoshoot section by years, which few sites do. Galleries for Sarah's other tv
     series still incomplete or empty as of this writing.

   *Marc Blucas Source
  * Michelle Trachenberg Web

For other fandoms:
  * All movie/tv caps on Leave Me The White. Extensive collection including Grease, Amelie, Dangerous Liasons, Terminator; Parks & Rec, Veronica Mars etc.
  * Genre Caps HQ screencaps for several fantasy series: Jessica Jones and other Marvel series, Doctor Who (New Who); OUAT, Outlander, etc

* The British Library offers over one million royalty-free digitized images from their vast archives going back to the 17th century.
* The Brooklyn Museum of Art happens to be one of the best art museums I've ever visited. If I had to choose between a visit here
   and the Met, go to Brooklyn. In the meantime, their online collection has a stunning array of images.
* The New York Public Library Digital Collections Thank you [ profile] petzipellepingo for the heads-up!
* The Graphics Fairy and the Background Fairy - the wonderful team at Graphics Fairy provide thousands of free large HQ images
   adapted from antique and vintage greeting cards, labels, valentines cards and assorted emphemera, DIY tutorials, craft projects,
 * morgueFile
 * StevenJamesMorris at DeviantArt

 * [ profile] good_tutorial What it says on the tin. The last post was 2013 but still plenty of useful information

red_satin_doll: (Buffy Destructive  rocket launcher Innoc)
With a great many apologies for extreme tardiness (and being totally MIA): THANK YOU to whomever nominated my artwork for Round 13 of the [ profile] wicked_awards. I have no idea who did but it's extremely gratifying. And I am THRILLED that one of the nominated works is the poster for [ profile] herself_nyc's "Closure (is a silly word)", for Round 19[ profile] seasonal_spuffy.  That poster is the one thing I made the last year that I would have chosen, if I had decided to self-nominate. I'm really happy with how it turned out and honored that someone liked it enough to nominate.

Thank you also to whomever nominated my Category 2 Buffy icon for Round 17 of [ profile] btvsats20in20 . That took me by surprise as well and I am very grateful.

ETA: Also nominated was my Mr Gordo icon for [ profile] whedon_elite. Thank you [ profile] freecat15 for pointing out my oversight!  *pets Mr Gordo*

                                                                                                                                 Click thumbnail for full-size image
red_satin_doll: (Buffy Casablanca Poster v1 poppy wreath)
1) For [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 60 vote for your favorite icon for the third place position.

BTW, did you vote at [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 15 yet?  Good.  Now have you signed up for Round 16 yet?

2) And by the by, did you know that [ profile] dragonyphoenix posted the artwork she commissioned from me for her excellent Anya/Snap crossover fic, The Letters (84 Charing Cross Road)?  (TTH post here.) But you will have to read the story to find it because  it's intergrated into the text. And FYI, the actual text of the artworks is entirely her concept. I just followed marching orders.

At AO3 she also included a marvelous story banner by Restfield aka [ profile] rbfvid.

3) My friend [ profile] kerkevik_2014 has been writing up a storm - a very quiet storm that snuck up on me and took me entirely by surprise.  His latest is a Buffy/Faith fic, "Casablanca" (not to be confused with [ profile] shapinglight's fic) that is poignant and mournful and like all of his work is a prose-poem unlike anyone else's.

Last year I sort of asked him to write Buffy more often (actually I may have whined about it a little, but never mind that.)  He's come through while remaining true to himself in his own beautiful way.  This story is actually part of the birthday gift for [ profile] elisi, the 22'verse that includes stories of Spike and Illyri, Riley Finn, Xander and Buffy, etc. Also worth a look - a charming, gentle Tara, Dawn fic (post The-Gift): Like Seeing Your Very Own Self Looking Back at You.

See, not every post I put up is longer than the Constitution. Some are only as long as the Gettysburg Address. "Short and sweet" is a relative thing.
red_satin_doll: (Buffy Happy Band Candy TGRM)
Entries for [ profile] whedon_elite Challenge 127 "Close Crop" due Sunday October 4th 3pm EST.  There are 25 gorgeous entries so far, but more are always welcome. And in case you're wondering, the icons do not have to be close-ups of faces, although the examples and most of the entries are; they can be close-ups of anything.

Entries for [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 54 "Roy G Biv" due Friday Oct 9th midnight at your respective timezones. According to [ profile] starry_night there are 21 entries so far but again, the more the merrier!

Entries for [ profile] seasonal_spuffy Round 19 Banner competition due Sunday Oct 11 midnight PST. The theme this 10th anniversary round is "Look Both Ways".

Entries for [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 13 due Monday Oct 19 midnight at your time zone. Sign ups are open until then; themes posted here.

And finally - the brilliant beyond belief* [ profile] clockwork_hart1 created a "multi-fandom" Gods and Monsters ficathon and I'm calling it ongoing because there are tons of great prompts and new ones being added constantly; so fill a prompt with a fic or artwork, and check out the works of art on the masterlist.

Gods & Monsters ficathon
[click on the picture]

If you don't believe my "brilliant beyond belief" description then please read her Buffyverse/Doctor Who crossover fic (death) for my birthday. Dawn is the Tardis. Dawn slides under and then there are hands on her chest and water spilling up her throat and for a moment Dawn is as big as the room and spreading further outward, as far as she can reach. (I fear Lucy might think I haven't read it because I didn't comment but oh goodness, I have. Or rather I didn't read it, I made it part of my life because her prose slides under my skin as easily as Dawn submerges herself beneath the water.)  If "I'm not familiar with fandom X" is worrying to you, don't let it put you off; I haven't seen any of the new Who series myself although I'm vaguely aware of the players. (Seven and Ace were my Doctor and companion, when I was in college and introduced to the series.)
red_satin_doll: (Alyson Hannigan Green Eye glow RSD)
THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who voted for my icons at [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 52 ! Wow! Thank you [ profile] starry_night for the Mod's Choice Award, and congratulations to [ profile] tempertemper and [ profile] sweet_lyri!  Banners forthcoming from [ 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.....
Something to Sing About (v.2), 2014 Click image for full-sized version

My newest friend in fandom [ profile] sandy_s was admiring the WIllow icon I made for [ 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 [ 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
[ 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 [ 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 [ 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 [ profile] comlodge or the frost pattern that echoed [ 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 [ profile] tempertemper's 1st place Willow/Tara icon for [ 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 nauseum, ad infinitum.

11) I actually had [ 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:
~ 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 [ profile] fassy, [ profile] sweet_lyri, [ profile] crazy_cordy and [ profile] emmatheslayer for your wins in [ 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: (Buffy Happy Band Candy TGRM)
Congratulations again to the winners in [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 11, [ profile] killing_kurare, [ profile] kwritten, [ profile] starry_night and yours Truly.  Here are my banners for the winning entries inclung BMC award. This was a fantastic round in terms of quality and artistry, and making banners is a wonderful chance to really appreciate the icons anew.

  scenerybannerKK1.2.png BMCbannerfire2.2.png ACsetbannersweetlyri1.2.png obscurebanner1.2_rsd.png

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGES or go to winners post here

Banners for [ profile] killing_kurare:

battlebannerKK1.2.png pinkwhitebannerKK1.2.png scenerybannerKK1.2.png dressupbannerKK1.2.png

insidebannerKK1.2.png Cat2bannerKK1.2.png AC2ndplacebannerKK1.2.png AC3rdplacebannerKK1.2.png

Banners for [ profile] kwritten including Banner Maker's Choice Award for her entire AC Set. I love the cinematic quality of her cropping her focus on Dawn's face. That episode and especially that scene is incredibly underrated IMO - it's the entire Bangel saga compressed into one episode, ending in a little girl having to kill her first love. And having just worked with some very dark and grainy screencaps from that ep, I'm in awe of the lovely "finish" she achieves here. (How in the world does she get those clear colors and that dewy look in ipiccy?)

vunerable bannerfire2.2.png vampirebannerfire2.2.png BMCbannerfire2.2.png  

Banners for [ profile] starry_night
patternbannersweetyri1.2.png Categorysetbannersweetlyri1.2.png ACsetbannersweetlyri1.2.png ACfirstplacebannersweetyri1.2.png

And finally, banners for your's truly - THANK YOU to everyone who voted for my icons!

strongbanner1.2_rsd.png obscurebanner1.2_rsd.png Cat1stplacebanner1.2_rsd.png Cat3rdplacebanner1.2_rsd.png     

I think I've mentioned this before, but my first place category winner was my homage to [ profile] sweet_lyri's style of wrapping a figure in shadows until it's nearly submerged; I wanted to give it a try but never imagined it would be one of my most popular icons this round. And I did not see the third place category win coming at all and I'm tickled that it's the Joyce icon; it and the Uncle Enyios icon were two of my favorites of my set.

Background image of bonfire from my own photograph, 2015. All icons by their respective artists.

red_satin_doll: (Buffy IWRY golden glow RSD)
Poster for [ profile] aliceinkinkland's "Show You the World" for [ profile] buffy_genfic Round One "Buffy's Stuff  (2015), inspired by [ profile] spuffy_luvr's prompt: Joyce’s Jeep, a road trip, car trouble, and muggle hitchhikers, and didn’t want vamp!Buffy or angst without some measure of hope.

Unlike [ profile] velvetwhip and [ profile] spuffy_luvr's stories this round, I didn't read Alice's story until yesterday when she posted it to the comm but I knew as soon as I read it that I'd want to make artwork for it. Summers sister bonding is my jam. Call it corny and nonsensical but I loved it when Buffy and Dawn fought side by side in Grave; when S7 began I was looking forward to more Summers Sister screentime and the season started promisingly enough in Lessons but Dawn was soon shunted off to the side. Alas.
For once there are no alt versions (fancy that) because the final product turned out pretty much the way I envisioned it. I knew I wanted an open road in the daytime, with "Joyce's jeep" seen in the distance, lines from a map fading as they melted into the sky, and the "ghost images" of Buffy and Dawn above. I wanted this to be different to my two previous posters, for "Who's That Girl" and "Come Out Come Out"; something light, fun, reminiscent of a movie poster.

For once I used a stock image for the road instead of one of my own photos; but I did photograph a close-up of a map I have at home and expanded it over the base image. I couldn't find a map of the west coast in my house so I pulled out one of...South Carolina. I gave it a warm, golden tonality to try to evoke the look of the open road to Sunnydale in Becoming and Chosen. There are no images of Joyce's jeep at a distance on a desert road or highway; the jeep here is one I digitally masked from a separate stock photograph and layered here. I made sure to feather the edges of the mask so that there would be some shadows from the jeep on the road itself; I think it looks fairly convincing.. Warm-tone filters give the entire poster a sunny but also slightly faded look.

The image of Dawn in Help is from Leave Me the White; the cap of Buffy in Him is from the sadly-defunct Broken Screencaps. Finding images of the girls that conveyed the right tone, especially Dawn, was the hardest part of the projects. The story takes place during the summer between S6 - 7, and possesses a lovely sense of humor and whimsy interlaced with heartbreakingly rendered observations about the trauma Buffy and Dawn are trying to push through and get over with the help of no one but themselves and each other to rely on.
The image of Dawn isn't perfect perhaps but it had the advantage of not being a well-known image (Help is an underrated episode IMO but then the entire first half of S7 is highly underrated) and I prefer to work with lesser-known caps when I can. Plus she's smiling, god love her and you can actually tell that yes, her eyes are blue. The image of Buffy from Him is probably better known simply by virtue of the sunglasses she wears. But I simply liked that image of her and I loved the breezy California-girl sophistication.

Thank you [ profile] kwritten for hosting this commuity dedicated to gen fics for us to enjoy! Check out the masterlist of fics for this round here.  Sign ups for Round Two for Willow Rosenberg will begin August 15th, until then, the next four days are a "free for all" period for more fics and artwork dedicated to the Round One theme. Also check out Kelsey's opinion poll.
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: (Summers Family Portrait S5 RSD)

Full set after the cut!

Kudos to: My extraordinary and marvelous Beta-Muse, [ profile] velvetwhip. WIthout whom this set would not exist, or at least be half as strong.
Special thanks to: [ profile] starry_night for extending the deadline for me and being so incredibly patient.

Willow/Center Crop Faith/Frame Buffy/XtremeCloseCrop Dawn/B/W+Color Joyce/Hope
Tara/Power Oz/Solid Background Angel/Lyrics Cordelia/Blue Spike/Negative Space
Giles/Text Fred/Hands Wesley/First Scene Anya/Hairporn Kendra/Beginning
Xander/Eyes Lorne/Last Scene Drusilla/Duplicate Darla/Faceless Monster/Dream

ETA: Cordy Icon Nominated Best Icon [ profile] wicked_awards 2015 - THANK YOU for the nomination!
red_satin_doll: (Buffy Happy Band Candy TGRM)
But first, I want to take a moment to wish HAPPY BIRTHMONTH to m'lady [ profile] snogged: funny, kind-hearted, generous with her time and support and oh-so-talented. I was stumped as to what to do for a birthday present this year but [ profile] velvetwhip gifted her with a fantastic Riley, Willow S4 drabble "Not So NIce Guy" that really packs a wallop (or at least a very strong "ouch") in just a few short lines. Check it out. (And yes, I happen to ship Riley/Willow. Didn't everyone when they first watched S4?)

Now, onto today's feature: THANK YOU again to everyone who voted in [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 44, and most especially to everyone who honored my icons with 2nd Place, Best Crop and - drumroll, please - my very first Best Color honor! Congratulations again to the other winners [ profile] tempertemper, first-time entrant [ profile] muirthemne, [ profile] sweet_lyri, and my Banner Maker's Choice [ profile] teragramm. See all the winning icons and banners here.

Full disclosure: I was rooting for TT's Drusilla icon in the tiebreaker voting. More Dru icons are a needful thing and I love the meta-ness of the starlight texture - with Dru it's not just a pretty background - as well as the softness and coloring. But there were so many great icons that choosing was once again incredibly difficult. As happens so often, I noticed a consistency to the entries across the board, regardless of who made them. This time it was in terms of color choices, with cream/ecru, orange, green, and faded blue-grey predominating with touches of deep pink. So for the banner, I adapted a photograph I snapped in my front yard a couple of days ago to coordinate. Original photo behind cut, along with banners, entries and alt icons from rounds 42 and 44.

Teasers: ss44bestcolorbanner_rsd_sharpenedv2.png   ss44secondplacebanner_rsd_sharpenedv2.png    

ss44secondplacebanner_rsd_sharpenedv2.png       ss44bestcropbanner_rsd.png
Banners and icons by your's truly; Art Nouveau Caps font from; art nouveau frame from a design by riccus on
My entries for Round 44:
1. 2. 3. 4.  5.
If 2 and 5 look familiar, they should. I couldn't resist returning to that photo to play with it again. I still don't know who the original photographer was, alas; if anyone has the inside scoop on that, please let me know. Let's pretend that I did not look at #5 when I finished it and think to myself, If I can't win Best Color with that, then I never will. Nope, such impure thoughts never entered my mind. And by the way, that bridge in Brooklyn can be yours with a low down payment and 0% financing.....

My entries for Round 42, which I forgot to post previously, including Mod's Choice Winner #6:
6.  7. 8.
9. 10.  11.   12. 13.

   14. 15. 16. 17. 18.
18.  19.  20. 21. 22.
I don't personalize my own icons very often so I wanted to give it a try. The "Shanghai" font in #16 is from ipiccy; Art Nouveau Caps in 18 - 22 is from

There were alt versions of #4, involving the First Slayer seeming to creep up on Willow...and I deleted those. There is no way to use an image as problematic and unintentionally racist as the First Slayer (aka "The Magical Negro") and not be part of the very problem I decry unless I use the image specifically to highlight how troublesome it is. And my icons weren't doing that; they just had a mildly creepy-erotic vibe so I chucked them. Not that focusing on the mighty-white Buffyverse and making caps of white folks and focusing on their beauty to the exclusion of the majority of the world's population isn't a whole heapin' helping of problematic in and of itself. But I digress.

The geek-y, tech-y portion of the program: I took some snaps of the azaleas in my front yard the other day with my Nikon Coolpix 300 on the "Food" setting. I added glow, brightness and ambrotype filters and yadda yadda (I don't write this stuff down, are you kidding?) as well as several textures including a bokeh-look effect from Graphic Stock and the photo on the right. I pointed my camera at the trees outside my bedroom door and shook it while I snapped the picture. Does double-duty as a blur and/or brushstroke texture! You're welcome.

Photographs by your's truly, 2015 - and did you know that work can be copyrighted pseudonymously? Nifty, huh?

These banners presented a couple of very challenging problems for me: adapting the frame image to get the colors and transparency I wanted; and adding a font from a source outside of ipiccy. One if ipiccy's biggest drawbacks for me is the severely limited range of font options. I typed the text I wanted in a Pages doc using the one art nouveau style font I had on my Mac hardrrive; the font color was an educated guess on my part while I literally eyeballed the banner image. I converted the Pages doc to a pdf, which in turn had to be converted to a PNG file so I could work with it as a layers in ipiccy. Then I cropped every individual line or text element of the PNG, including the "RSD" stamp, to create several separate PNG's that I could manipulate freely in Layer Mode. For instance, the last line "Challenge 44" and the date, is actually two separate layers. The "multiply" filter to darkened the font slightly, with further small adjustments to saturation, brightness etc.

Every time I needed to add a new word of text that I'd forgotten the first time, I had to go back to the Pages file, save the changes, then override both the pdf and the PNG files.
This was after I gave up trying to add the text directly using PS Elements 12. (For the record, I did try. Someday I'll know what I'm doing.) If I hadn't been at home sick from work for a few days I would have gone the path of least resistance and made do with a preset ipiccy font. Yay for downtime.
Many many thanks of gratitude and praise to my lovely Muse, [ profile] velvetwhip, for whom no query is to tedious ( "Is the text legible? Is the design cluttered? Is this any good, even?" ) or beneath her consideration. She's been utterly invaluable to me as a working partner and as a friend  - feedback, conversation, inspiration - even if and when I don't show her what I'm working on.  As it happens, we've recently had conversations about our shared taste for late 19th - early 20th century graphic arts and design (arts and crafts, art nouveau, art deco), as well as silent and early Hollywood cinema; I'm sure those conversations were indirect inspirations for the design of both the banner and the Best Color icon.

And now a final word from our sponsors: Deadline to enter Challenge 45 "Potentials" is Friday May 29th at your timezone. And today is your last day to cast tiebreaker votes for five categories at [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 9.
red_satin_doll: (Buffy Joyce IWMTLY The Body Glow)
Congratulations to the winners of [ profile] whedon_elite Challenge 117, [ profile] sweet_lyri and [ profile] starry_night; THANK YOU to [ profile] setentpet for the Mod's Choice Award for my #4 entry and to everyone who participated in the voting. Banners by your's truly; click on the banner to see all the winning icons and banners.


My entries:  1. 2. 3. 4.
Mods choice banner, alts and thinky-thoughts after the cut :


For the banner I was inspired by design of [ profile] tempertemper's gorgeous banners for [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 43 and her use of "radial blur" to try it for myself. The font isn't specifically "period" but it has a slightly vintage feel and reminds me of fonts I've seen on the covers of early 20th-century magazines. A photo or screencapture of the Summers' home exterior set provided the base image. I confess that I don't recall where exactly I found this photo; my apologies to whoever posted it originally. (Or for that matter, whoever shot/taped the original image.)

The icon [ profile] setentpet chose is my favorite of my four entries for this round, and the only one I made multiple alts for. I kept fiddling with the color, sharpness, glow, added floral layers; tried to make it look more like a pencil drawing, etc. before finally deciding on one of the earliest versions. I'm not sure it's the very best alt I could have submitted, but I liked the softness and glow, and even that tiny touch of color reflected in Buffy's hair.

Alts:   5.  6. 7. 8. 9.

         10. 11. 12. 13.

1, 9 - 13) [ profile] kikimay encouraged me to keep experimenting with floral textures after my fourth entry for Challenge 116 also won Mod's Choice.
With #1, I simply liked how the flowers echoed the pattern of the wallpaper, and the colors of Anya's hair, lipstick and clothes; so there was really no particular "meta" meaning there. (Although if you want to read meta meaning into it by all means do!)  With the Buffy/Joyce icons I think I was trying for a sense of the banality of domesticity, as well an echo of the flowers Joyce received from Brian that we've just seen, and a suggestion of funeral flowers. I don't think it worked and at any rate it distracted from the main image. Fun to experiment with, though.

2, 4) Yeah, it's the latest in my "Buffy and dead Joyce" series and I have to say, one of my favorite things about my most recent [ profile] btvsats20in20 entries is that I made two - count 'em, two! - icons of Joyce, by herself and alive.  That said - I will always maintain that Joyce's death is the single most traumatic thing that happens to Buffy, aside perhaps from being resurrected. Even above killing Angel, although that's certainly in the mix.*

I've said it before - the men in Buffy's life are important to her but Joyce is at the core of her being, her constant.  Even if Joss never quite got that and Joyce was shunted to the sidelines. For someone who "gets it", check out [ profile] velvetwhip's  WIP, Answering Prayers. If you feel about Joyce's neglect in canon the way I do, Answering Prayers makes everything better.**

3) If you didn't know what that image is, you probably wouldn't know what that is? I tried other images from Forever, an unjustly overlooked episode because it follows the Body.  If it were a masterpiece in and of itself it would still be overlooked and it isn't, but it deserves better than the neglect it tends to get. Several folks voted it best light use this round, and thank you to those who did. The caps in this last scene in Forever are terribly dark and difficult to work with.

* I started making a list of the traumatic things Buffy endures and gave up when it got really, really long. And then I started thinking about Dawn and the list got exponentially longer Instead of hating on them for what they don't get right, I'd rather hug them, congratulate them and marvel that neither one ends the series in a catatonic state for the remainder of their days, utterly ground down beneath Life's Heel. I don't think I could endure a fifth of what Buffy and Dawn do with any semblance of sanity.

** Who's with me on the Summers Women lovefest?
red_satin_doll: (Buffy Helpless Hairporn RSD)

Finally it's here (after two extensions graciously granted by [ profile] starry_night)!  My Season 5 (BtVS) set for [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 9.

10 Themes
Half and Half Rotate 90 Frame Lemon & Lime Shocking
Blood Close Crop + Two Love Lips Group
5 Category |HUSH
Cat 1 Cat 2 Cat 3 Cat 4 Cat 5
5 Artist's Choice
AC 1 AC 2 AC 3 AC 4 AC 5

Screencap Sources: Bloodqueen, Pretty as a Picture , Leave Me the White, SMG France. Wooden frame in Frame icon from Your Picture Frames. Texture in Cat 2 snagged from [ profile] teragramm.

MANY thanks to the wonderful [ profile] starry_night for extending the deadline (twice); and I cannot heap enough praise on my beta-Muse [ profile] velvetwhip for once again whipping me and this set into shape - her screenname is very apt because the "whipping" was a most gentle one but she provides what I need time and again. I nearly gave up on this round and three or four days ago I was ready to. That I didn't is due largely to her generous assistance, guidance, ideas, meta analysis, and encouragement to motivate me.

Alts & Extras:

1 - 7

8 -14


15 - 21

15 -21) Image from Buffy vs Dracula, this set is, appropriately, very German Expressionist cinema (Nosferatu, Pola Negri, etc.) Also, [ profile] kikimay asked me to post more close crops of Sarah's face so here you go.

The only guideline or focus I had going in to this was my usual: "Women of the Buffyverse".  I consciously focused on the ladies and very much wanted to make some decent icons of Joyce and Dawn, who have been difficult for me to icon for some reason. I also tried to use images from the show I haven't seen capped often or at all.  So for example, "Group" is the Maclays because I've seen a lot of icons of the opposite image, the Scoobies protecting Tara, from that episode. I've seen tons of Spike in FFL icons but precious few if any focused on Drusilla herself. And et cetera.

The relative absence of Willow here (in relation to her importance that season) isn't planned or meant as a snub of the character; I think because I've done a lot of Willow icons I ended up "giving her a break". I meant to make an icon of Glory, and also of Joyce and Dawn together but didn't get to those. I have meta thoughts about quite a few of these - the Drusilla one deserves it's own post  - but for now I'll let you folks and the images do the talking.

I am "borrowing" [ profile] starry_night's rules for my own artwork
~ Take what you like for personal use but please credit if used :)
~ No hotlinking!
~ Comments are appreciated :)
red_satin_doll: (Wiffy-Pop Popcorn RSD)
I've been woefully unable to produce anything new the past few days but fortunately I still have some hidden goodies to share. These are the banner versions of my "Family" icon for [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 8. These images made me decide on Season 5 as my claim for Round 9 (and I have ONE - count 'em, ONE! - icon finished.  Um...yay?)

Click all to see full-size. You'll like, I hope?:

bwtdbannertext868x872byredsatindoll2015FINAL.png     buffywillowdawntaratoughlovespiralblendbannersignedbyrsd_873x576_april2015desaturatedsoftfinal.png  1 - 2

When I was working on my Family icon for the last round I happened to notice how nicely the images from Tough Love and Spiral happened to match up. Season 5 was all about Buffy, Willow, Tara and Dawn for me, so I loved the congruency and parallels here. At the very last I added Joyce's words to Buffy from Listening to Fear, which ties the image together visually, emotionally and thematically. (Joyce is so very underused throughout the entire series; ironic that her presence is more powerful in her absence after the Body.) It's a reminder of what tied all four of them together and bond them to each other - in blood and in bond.

I love the way Dawn and Tara's light brunette locks blend together as their hair falls past their shoulders; how Buffy's hand seems to be an extension of Willow's arm; the way red from the background of the Tough Love image glows like a spot of blood on the side of Dawn's head and Buffy's fingers (a happy accident for me), echoing Dawn's real wound, Tara's shirt, and Willow's hair.


3 My icon for Round 8; I made it after I cropped the large banner and realized it could just fit the icon format.  I can't decide which of the square banners below I like best - they each have their charms - , so I'll let you decide:

Click to see full-size:
toughlovespiratextlbanner1.1byrsd2015.png           tlspiralbanner1.5byrsd573.png 4 - 5

tlspiralbanner1.10byrsd573square.png 6


These image demonstrates how Season 5 complicated the roles of "heroes" and "damsels" (as it did so often); Tara was Glory's victim but also a hero, choosing to sacrifice herself, returning the favor Buffy and Dawn extended to her when they clamed her as their own ("Family"). Dawn enters the show as Buffy's damsel to be protected, yet defended her mother and fought the demon in "Listening to Fear", and was ready to throw herself from the Tower in Chosen until Buffy intervened. Conversely there are many times during that Season when Buffy and Willow, a powerful Slayer and Witch with years of experience fighting evil, are left to watch helplessly as people they love are harmed or die.

Yes, I got teary-eyes making these. I'd forgotten what Season 5 had been all about for me when I watched it: these four characters, my beloved girls, rag-tag heroes fighting against hopeless odds. The "femininity" and domesticity of Season 5, the sense of family; how happy I was to see Joyce get a bigger role onscreen and my hopes were ripped away. It was the season that my love for Buffy Summers became absolute; she passed from being a character I was interested in to being mine, a part of my heart.

I love all four of these girls fiercely - in part because of how fiercely they love each other. Not "perfectly", not in a LIttle-House-on-the-Prairie-Hallmark-card way; real, deep, messy "weird love".

All artwork here by me 2015; enjoy but do not hotlink, archive elsewhere without my permission, post to other sites or claim as your own.
red_satin_doll: (Alyson Hannigan Green Eye glow)
Deadline to submit your entries to [ profile] whedon_elite Challenge 112  "Illyria" is Sunday March 8th, 3pm EST. Fifteen gorgeous icons from [ profile] rua1412, [ profile] starry_night, [ profile] hsapiens, [ profile] sietepecados and [ profile] julie_izumi have been submitted but to quote Starry, more are always welcome. (The post by [ profile] sietepecados doesn't seem to have been tagged correctly, so here it is; the others can be found in the previous link above.)

Personally, as banner-maker for the comm *, I'm thankful that [ profile] starry_night had an Illyria challenge at [ profile] slayerstillness back in October/November because it forced me to gather material for a character I had no familiarity with; so this time, I've got lots to work with and I'm ahead of the game, banners-wise.

Here are the banners (and some icons) I've made thus far for [ profile] whedon_elite: suprisebecomingbangelloveiconjan2015_byredsatindoll tWotW_summerswomenflashbackicon1 (teasers)

Challenge 109 winners 1st and 3rd place for [ profile] starry_night,  2nd place for [ profile] rua1412 and Mod's Choice for yours truly:



The background texture is the same one that I used for my Summers Family icon, expanded, rotated the composition, played with colors. sharpness etc adjusted to personalize each icon. I actually wasn't exactly color-matching the backgrounds; I glanced at the icons and then played around with the designs without directly looking at the icons again. Font colors were coordinated but not necessarily matched exactly. [ profile] rua1412's name is a different font to the other usernames because her's just looked bad in that font (instead of rua1412 it looked like rual412).

My icons for that round: suprisebecomingbangelloveiconjan2015_byredsatindolltWotW_summerswomenflashbackicon1toughlovethelovericon 01-03

1) I FINALLY made a tragic/romantic Bangel icon! Thank god that's out of the way *lmao* I actually like this one quite a bit.
2) My beloved Summers women in The Weight of the World. The texture I used created a painterly effect and I kept trying to put my finger on whose work it reminded me of until I realized it was [ profile] rua1412's.
3) The less said the better.

Challenge 110 winners: [ profile] hsapiens stunning entries hit a home run with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place (tie) so I treated her entries as a "set" on one banner (click images for full-size):


Cutting around the outer edge of that gold frame was exactly as hard as it looks. *lol*  The challenge was "emerald green" so I found a photograph of an emerald on the internet, then made it look like an antique postcard or illustration with grunge filters and various effects. This allowed the icons to "pop" without competing with a bright stone in the background. The gold frame was a last-minute addition; I was amused by the idea of the valuable emerald's image "deconstructed" and made to look like something old and worn and of little value (old postcard) then popping that into a fancy museum-quality frame. As always, the text was the most difficult aspect; when I'm designing a banner I tend to forget that value changes in the image are going to cause me headaches down the road.

I posted my own entries and alts here last month.

Challenge 111 Winners [ profile] tiptoetwirl, [ profile] hsapiens and [ profile] rua1412. The theme was analogous colors (colors next to one another on the color wheel). For the banners I went with the colors opposite those of the icons on the color wheel and used the icons themselves as the banners because I loved their compositions. Tiptoe and rua's designs were very simple and elegant; hsapiens Spike icon was the most detailed and complicated and thus challenging to work with; that icon already featured Courier font so I stayed with that for my own text.


No icons from yours truly for that round.

Don't forget to enter challenge 112 and good luck! And even if you're not entering please don't forget to vote.

* I got the assignment because I shamelessly begged politely asked the mods and [ profile] fassy and [ profile] setentpet most graciously allowed me to take the gig.
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: (Dawn & Buffy)
Just what the title says - and don't forget to add your vote at all four parts of Round 5 of [ profile] btvsats20in20 if you haven't done so already. The voting has stalled out at 22 voters - so on the one hand, go fandom!  On the other - get the heck over there, fandom, what are you waiting for?

I've split the remainder of my alt/extra icons chronologically by season with slight exceptions to be explained. Any and all of these, with a few exceptions (3, 5, 15) were nearly entries in my Round 5 set; I am simply that indecisive. A huge inspiration for me this round was the 1992 Melissa Etheridge single "Dance Without Sleeping". My original plan was to make a set focused on OMWF and Buffy hairporn from that episode. ([ profile] kikimay will understand) Even though my plan didn't eventuate the song is a perfect fit for the episode, for Buffy and the 'verse in general*

Thanks also to [ profile] eilowyn's beta advice after Round 4; I tried to keep her thoughts in mind while making these especially in terms of use of textures and color.


Table generated using angelamaria's Icon Table Generator.
Icons by their own makers.

As ever all icons are made by me but for the taking with proper credit; feedback is lovely and much appreciated; stealing, failing to credit or archiving on another site without express persmission is not.

1-18 are all season 1 or 2 icons; 19-22 skip to S5 & 6 - or rather, 19 merges seasons 2 & 5.  (The only S3 icon I made was the Amends #16 icon of my final entries; I didn't make any S4 icons.) 1, 2, 3, 5 or 6, 17 - 18 were all in rotation as entries until the last minute; #1 & 5 especially.  I like both of those but worried that the textures were distracting and not really adding anything to the image or saying anything.  I likewise replaced 15 with the more distant crop at the last minute. 18 I excluded because it would have been the only icon to not have someone's face in it.

I've not done a lot of early-seasons Buffy; this round convinced me I want to do more. Focusing on the late seasons as I tend to, it's easy to fall into the same trap I see with fans who have only seen "certain" episodes or seasons of the tv canon series (or deny those seasons existed) and miss the whole story on either end.  It's not that I missed anything but I've forgotten how young she was, how tender, but also how she walked into Sunnydale with a suitcase full of baggage that only got bigger and heavier with every day, every death, every Apocalypse and every trauma.  In other words, I just wanted to take her up and hug her and make the hurt go away.  I can't not feel for her.  Buffy Summers brings out my Inner Mama Bear.

And of course there's the aesthetics of it, taking pleasure in her face - not because Sarah's the prettiest woman but there's just something very particular about her features, and her performance. (Making icons of Aly as Willow is the same sort of pleasure, and I think there are surprising points of similarity or at least congruity between them. They are not really similar but they are "not the prettiest" in similar ways.)  Kristine Sutherland, Michelle and Amber OTOH are no less lovely or perhaps are more so but are somehow harder for me to grasp fully and do them justice.

15-22 all involve Joyce in some way, but mostly as an absence rather than a presence. After focusing on close ups of faces for so many icons, hands suddenly became very important here. I do love the richness of hand imagery in btvs, and the Summers women have such visceral ways of connecting.

I'm always going on about the absence of Joyce in the show, how I wanted more of her in it (and why aren't there more icons and fanfics about her?) And I admire [ profile] debris4spike's Joyce icons and the attention she pays the lady but when I tried to make icons with her myself, I could only render her as an absence or at best a partial presence. And as much as I love their interrelationships and the moments when they do truly connect, 15-22 are all about the failure connect. The only ones we see Joyce's face in here are 20-21, as a dead husk; those icons are as much portraits of Dawn, whose face we don't see, only her hand.  It was important to me to get the detail of her ring in the image, which made the hand more particularly her's. 22 reverses this a bit and we see Dawn's face and Buffy's hand. Unlike the Body icons they are physically connecting, but emotionallly disconnected; and in between them is Joyce's presence, again expressed as an absence or negation.

18 owes a debt to [ profile] pickamix, who altered one of my Vamp Willow icons from Round 2 with permisson by removing a red soda cup in the frame. and I wanted to try the same to remove a red straw from the green cup here thanks to color matching tools in ipiccy.

* (I did not however watch the original video on repeat - perhaps if I had the results would have been more light-hearted. Unironic lesbian interpretive dance? Complete with fog, overexposed blue lighting and that damn belt buckle? Sorry Melissa, you're no Ellen.)

red_satin_doll: (Dawn & Buffy)

The only theme for Round 5 of [ profile] btvsats20in20 is "Rainbow" and we were given a lot of latitude in terms of how were were allowed to interpret it.  As much as I love rich jewel-toned colors I went rather muted with these (in contrast to my Round 4 entries.) There was no real organizing principle beyond that.  I enjoyed working in a wide range of styles and trying my hand at new techniques, from simple crops to complicated blends.

1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20


As I am running behind with this post (apologies to [ profile] starry_night and the other artists who got their work in on time), alts and extras will be posted separately. (And I have many, trust.)

(FYI: The two Willow icons are my favorites of the Willow/Vamp Willow icons I made. I should have made these all Buffy for continuity but I loved #1 & 4 just too damn much not to include them here. I wish I had really planned this better from the get-go and included more Buffyverse women.)
red_satin_doll: (Normal Again Buffy The Action of Death)
But first a word from our sponsor: voting in Round 4 of [ profile] btvsats20in20 closes tomorrow October 9th so vote now if you haven't and tell your friends - bang the drum for gorgeous icons at a great, fun community. They deserve to be seen and appreciated.

Two recent Buffy/Tara fics by [ profile] kwritten reminded me that I'd yet to post the alts and extras from my Tara claim for Round 3 of [ profile] btvsats20in20.

"Her Bark is Worse Than Her Bite" : AU S6/S7 (Buffy/Tara, Dawn) to fill my prompt "thunder/courage" and request for a flawed, human Tara. The monotonous weight as well as the comforts of "domesticity" and "women's work", of school, slaying, housework, of incomes and emotions stretched thin. Buffy tries to be there for Tara and Dawn and hold her family together in a fragile moment. "You hung the moon in the sky just for her."

"Finding a Balance" : AU S4, (Buffy/Tara, mentions of ensemble) Buffy tries to hold herself together in college, alone, when her friends go off to far-flung corners, and meets the person who can give her what she needs. And a girl with large brown eyes and soft blonde hair sits down next to her with a crooked smile and a latte, “I think you’re freaking everyone out.” This isn't intended as a prologue to Kelsey's "blurring the lines" series, but it fits that series beautifully but for one small change in previous BtL canon. Just the "rewrite" of Hush is achingly gorgeous, as is this entire story.

This is the fic that finally pushed me from "Buffy & Tara are my One True Friendship I don't really ship them but I'll take what I can get all the way into "Buffy and Tara are my OTP I want to live in this world right now". And also, fix-it fics?  I think I get it now, really get it; even if the things you and I want to fix are entirely different to one another. A 'verse where Buffy has a reliable source of support and love instead of fragile male egos to shore up even as her own self-esteem slowly crumbles? Riley who? Total fantasy. Of course it's seductive - and I want to live in it, if it's as beautiful, poetic, gossamer and densely layered as Kelsey's fics. Who doesn't want that for themselves?

Kelsey posted this around the time the marvelous [ profile] velvetwhip wrote "The Things You Find in Vending Machines" for me (S4 Buffy, Tara, gen); very different stories to Finding a Balance but both wonderfully true to the complexities of Buffy and Tara's personalities, and to Season 4's particular blend of humor and darkness. But I promised some artwork, and artwork you shall have:

01-02 Click for full-sized

Teasers for more posters and icons under the cut:     
03-04 Click for full-sized

This isn't the full set of alts but it's most of the posters/banners. But these images were the focus of my category set: Tara as the One Who Gives Comfort, specifically to other women: Buffy, Anya and Willow.  However I worried when I was done with my entries that I was falling into the trap I deplore, turning Tara into a stereotypical, all-knowing all-giving saint, the epitome of our cultural ideas about "femininity". Which is why I often ask for fic that depict Tara in a different light - flawed and fully human; the girl as capable of putting the lives at others at risk to protect herself (Family) as sacrificing her own life for the sake of a loved one (Tough Love). It's not that she doesn't have her failings on the show but they're downplayed; and in terms of receiving comfort from others, I have to turn to fan authors because the imagery is decidedly lacking. In [ profile] kwritten's stories, I get to have it both ways: Tara as one who gives and receives; and Buffy/Tara + Dawn OTF is pure comfort food for me right now.
    9a00a376-5c03-45c5-bfb3-c3028bd8b0d2_zps2b7d1ef7 05-06 Click for full size
  rd31edff291-5acb-4f9e-abd4-2a5490d75c69_zps9660c877 07-09
 These OTOH are already full-size, pretty much.


When I made these for Round 3 I was so thrilled because prior to, the best icons I'd been able to get from that scene in Dead Things were these (2013):  
That scene and that image in particular is so dark, in ways that aren't apparent watching the show; and not deeply, intensely dark in the way that some early seasons episodes are, ("Amends") where you can bump up the exposure and still get a nice image; but muted and flat. The only way I could figure out how to get something workable at that point, with my beginner knowledge of ipiccy, was to mask the image around the girls out (something else I was trying to teach myself that round.) Then add grunge effects to in effect go with the images flaws rather than try to fight against them.

Now? I am still marveling at the journey taken and not just seeing all the flaws and how much further to go ooh look, pretties!


When I look at these the phrase "it's always sudden" takes on another layer of meaning: suddenly and unexpectedly finding a friend, a source of comfort and experience. Then I remember the sound of gunshots and breaking glass a year down the road. It's always sudden.


The Tough Love icons in chronological order as they were made. I used a photograph my sweetie took this past year for the background layer on #33 and my final Fear entry; I wanted to emphasize the strength and nobility, the sculptural timelessness and monumental quality of Amber's face.



I'd orignally planned the Dead Things icon for my Category set, so I decided to use grunge effects in the other four icons for continuity and the meta reasoning that I was creating "artifacts" of lesbians and lesbian life, of the sort I'd never seen in decades of watching old movies, combing through dusty libraries, and collecting vintage photosgraphs in antique stores. (#42)   Except that idea sort of fell apart with these Willow/Tara images from the Body where I wanted to indulge in the soft glowing light between them, the way their skin looked like silk or carved of ivory. I fell a little in love with them all over again making these. I even considered making this scene the entire focus of my Category set and that might have worked better than what I settled on; there are certainly enough screencaps of Amber in that scene that I could have made it work. But I was too attached to the Buffy & Tara icons I'd already made.

Then I moved the Dead Things icon to Full Body theme instead of Category. My ways are inscrutable.


I really wanted to include that lovely image of Tara comforting Anya in my Category set; she is beyond lovely in it. But that icon was really so much darker than the other ones I used from The Body, so it works on its own but as part of the set not so much I think. Yes, that is the photograph of the trees in my backyard in #46 - again.

This is the last time I will ever attempt to use that photo of my landlord's rose as a layer in anything. Probably. (Maybe.) These don't quite work as I'd hoped but I do like the resemblance to the incised metal printing plates that you still might find in antique stores now and again.

You do know the drill, don't you? All snaggable, feedback is lovely, don't plagarize, hotlink or put on fanpop or other sites without my permission; want to change, edit, improve or play with any of these just check with me and show me what you've done.

red_satin_doll: (Tara)
My original claim for this round of [ profile] btvsats20in20 was Tara in S4, but [ profile] starry_night kindly allowed me to expand that.


10 Themes
Full Body Minimalism Heartbreak Yellow Matching Background
Fear Grunge Favourite Touch Mod’s Choice
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 will follow in a separate post and oh boy do I have alts.

Comments - including honest critiques - welcome. (You can't be harder on these than I am.) If you're wondering what I was aiming for with the Fear icon, my inspiration was [ profile] clockwork_hart1's Tough Love Tara-POV fic "Shadows and Light".

My mom is coming for a week long visit tomorrow so if I do not reply to comments, that's why.

[ profile] starry_night if you need to disqualify my entries, I understand and that's ok. I'm really not fussed about that. I learned a lot, and quality time spent with Tara Maclay is NEVER time wasted.

I would love to make more Tara icons, and more Willow/Tara icons. Oh goodness I could go on forever. But I've realized two things: 1) 20in20 isn't a good fit for me. 15 would be more like it. I have alternate versions but I run out of steam and then realize I have to come up with five more new ones. Ugh.

2) that my days of icon making are numbered. My new bifocals make it so much harder than before, slower; and I find myself thinking in terms of banners and large artworks as a consequence. The icons for Full Body, Touch, Cat 1 and Cat3 all started life as larger artworks. Which I will show off in another post because....

3) I FINALLY made artwork from the final scene in Dead Things that I'm happy with. (Thanks, ipiccy!)

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