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 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 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)
My artwork for [ profile] velvetwhip's Answering Prayers led to a request by [ profile] aadler for a poster for his story All Ye Who Enter.
version 2 as requested by the author August 2015

All Ye Who Enter (2015)  Click poster for full-size image, then to go here to [ profile] aadler's story. Read the story. I can wait.
Commentary below the cut -
*Mild Spoilers below - did you read the fic first?*
Unlike the poster for AP, this one came out very different to my original concepts - and probably for the better. I wanted an image of Dru less obviously her, more mysterious, but the S32 promo images are excellent quality and absolutely swoon-worthy. I layered one of my photographs from a bonfire the summer over her twice as the background.

The screencaps were of far lesser quality and merging images of very different quality together into a cohesive whole was the biggest challenge.

ETA: I thought about redoing this poster to deepen the shadows, as in the earlier drafts of this image.  But that would make it look more like the AP poster and I wanted to differentiate them. The lighter contrast of this image helps to mask the differences in image quality especially re: the cap of Joyce; at least that was my conscious motivation. It wasn't until after I finished it and sent it to aadler, then saw it on his journal, that I realized that the relative lightness or haziness of the image reminded me of the apartment fire my sweetie and I had in 2013, and how my vision slowly filled with smoke until it became difficult to see.

The image of Angelus I think is from Passion - or Phases - it really doesn't matter.  I didn't want to use a well-known shot of him from a particular moment in the series and this fit the bill.  The burning wood in the lower left corner is from another of my bonfire photos that I used as a foreground texture to mask the edges between the figures, and it happened to fall over Angelus' coat in a really interesting way.

The photo of Joyce is from Gingerbread near the end of the episode - ironically, the scene where Buffy and Willow are nearly burnt to death at the stake. I assumed the image is not well-known but her expression of shock and horror was perfect for my needs. I wanted very much to emphasize the horror of the situation without turning Joyce into a quivering damsel, to suggest some of the strength and dignity and determination that carriers her through the story. A tall order for just one little image. I erased out the MOO badge on her blouse, which I changed to a lavender color from the original earth-tones.

The image of Buffy is from Ted, when she's sitting on her front steps thinking she's killed Ted; the stairs inside the house are just visible behind her.  It doesn't represent a moment in the actual story. Drusilla imagines Buffy as a hardened warrior and I was going to use a image from The Wish but Wishverse!Buffy looks rather silly in that thick black eyemake-up so I tried to evoke a moment that isn't in the story but what I imagined in-between the spaces. I cut the image around her roughly, dropped it in and it fell into place perfectly.

I originally wasn't going to put Buffy in the poster; unlike Answering Prayers, she's not actually a character in the story but as with AP she's a presence despite - or because of? - her absence, the Buffy-shaped-hole that everything else revolves around. Which makes sense to my mind - this is the Buffyverse after all, and even if she's not the protagonist of the story, she is the Buffy-shaped-force that everyone else revolves around, the reason why everyone in the story does what they do.

And the women are the most important thing in All Ye, as in BtVS; Angelus is just a puppet on their stage even if imagines himself the puppet-master.

Speaking of the women of the Buffyverse, congratulations to the winners of [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 50 "Willow": [ profile] sweet_lyri, [ profile] tempertemper, and [ profile] debris4spike!  And as banner maker my BMC this round went to [ profile] teragramm for her iconic (and adorable) icon of WIllow from the Body. Check out all my banners here.

Many and I do mean MANY thanks to [ profile] velvetwhip for her feedback on these banners.

All artwork here by me, 2015, except for [ profile] teragramm's icon. Do not snag, steal, alter, hotlink or post to another website, archive or journal without my express prior permission. In other words, look but don't touch.
red_satin_doll: (Buffy IWRY golden glow RSD)
My set for Round 11 of [ profile] btvsats20in20:

As always, kudos and praise for my fabulous beta-Muse [ profile] velvetwhip, for her ceaseless and generous encouragement, support and inspiration. And big THANK YOU to [ profile] starry_night for once again extending the deadline.


10 Themes
Vulnerable Battle Pink + White Dress Up Scenery
Obscured Pattern Strong Vampire Inside
Cat 1 Cat 2 Cat 3 Cat 4 Cat 5
5 Artist's Choice
AC 1 AC 2 AC 3 AC 4 AC 5

Some alts and extras:

           1 - 6

          7 - 12

          13 - 17

      18 - 22

       23 - 27

        28 - 32

      33 - 36

A Vague Disclaimer is No One's Friend:
~ Take what you like for personal use but please credit if used :) Do not take banner #1 for personal use without asking myself or spuffy_luvr.
~ No hotlinking!
~ Comments however are appreciated :)

red_satin_doll: (Buffy IWRY golden glow RSD)
banner by tempertemper my edit1 with signature and date added august 2015     we123_modschoicebanner_rsd1.2.png 1 - 2
The gorgeous[ profile] slayerstillness banner was made by [ profile] tempertemper; I adore how well it echoes my icon stylistically, and the boldness of her font choices. Not only am I far more limited in that regard I'm also far more timid. [ profile] whedon_elite banner by yours' truly; image of Elisha Dushku on The Chosen Two gallery, (photographer unknown).

Feast your eyes on the winning entries and banners at both comms here and here respectively. My own entries:
    3 - 7
Challenge 49 at [ profile] slayerstillness was "white decoration"; the textures on icons 3 - 6 are all by the [ profile] lookslikerain. I swear that the the bars on icon #6 looked white-ish (off-white) to me - until I actually sent the set to [ profile] starry_night and - oops. oh. damn.

If icon #5 reminds you of the Willow character poster I made for Ipseity by [ profile] spuffy_luvr, it should. ;-)  The symbols on the left hand side are glyphs created by Laurel Cannon.

. Poster 2 for Ipseity by Spuffy Luvr Willow variant 8

A tsunami of alts (once again, all textures except on the Joyce icons by [ profile] lookslikerain). I particularly like the texture on #9 :

    9 - 11

          12 - 16

            17 - 22

      23 - 26
Quote on #24 from the gorgeous short story "Grave Daughter" by Nightmarish on A03. I really wanted that quote in my entry icon but I wasn't happy with the clarity/resolution of the text and I tried a couple of different fonts.

The [ profile] whedon_elite challenge was - well, a challenge; I had already made some lovely framed icons of Faith for Round 10 of [ profile] btvsats20in20 and didn't feel like I really had much else to say at the moment. For whatever reason Faith doesn't inspire me, visually or thematically, the way Buffy, Willow, Dawn, Joyce, Tara and now, Lorne, do. (Giles is the other fella I am starting to get comfortable with in terms of making icons - I hope.) Hence the shortage of alt versions. You're welcome.
       27 - 32


I am really happy with my banners for the round however. I wasn't sure what photo to use at first but I liked this one partly because of the white light in the upper-right corner; it provided a space to fit the icons without having to take the separate step of place them in a frame of give them a shadow to make them pop.The photo was black and white and I toyed with cropping it and just letting it be, but I felt like that would almost be too derivative of [ profile] tempertemper's banner. So I started adding the color, toyed with sharpening and softening filters, and the added an additional layer to the lower left side - a photograph of lights (carlights?) in the darkness I took last year, set to Lighten or Screen.

I particularly like how the Light Use banner for [ profile] sweet_lyri turned out because those shades of pink and red are hard to match.  I wasn't really trying for exact matches anyway but simply to coordinate nicely. The BMC banner for [ profile] teragramm was the first one I made and I was happy with it right off the bat, no need for remakes. The yellow, orange and green tone banners were much harder by comparison. The banner for [ profile] everythingshiny's first place winner was probably the hardest in that regard.
we123_bestightusebanner_sweet_lyri1.2.png       we123_BMCbanner_teragramm1.2.jpg 33 - 34
A Vague Disclaimer is No One's Friend:
~ Take what you like for personal use but please credit if used :) Do not take banner #1 for personal use without asking myself or spuffy_luvr.
~ No hotlinking!
~ Comments however are appreciated :)
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)
Belated congratulations to the winners of [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 10, [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 48!  And awoefully belated THANK YOU to everyone who voted for my icons in both contests.

Banners will be forthcoming shortly for the winners of 20in20: [ profile] killing_kurare, [ profile] snogged, [ profile] spikesredqueen, [ profile] sweet_lyri, [ profile] tempertemper, and [ profile] teragramm, with further apologies for the delay.


I didn't seem to realize until after I jumped in the task that this round consisted of 2 sets of 20, ergo 40 awards to be given out. And this just happens to be the round where everyone actually, finally, requested banners. (I could never understand why in previous rounds one, maybe two people would request banners. It's comforting to know I'm not the only banner hussy in the neighborhood anymore.)

So how did I do this round?  Better than I'd realized! Two winning theme icon:Power (Tara), and Last Scene (Lorne); and six character icons: Faith, Joyce, Oz, Anya, Kendra, and Lorne. Kudos as always go to [ profile] velvetwhip for being an incredible, indispensible Muse. There are times when I resist her advice or think, "But I like this one better..." and realize after the fact that no, she was right the first time, and if I've got half a brain I'll pay attention.

     1 - 5

  6 -7

My favorites of my set that didn't win this time? Probably Willow, Angel, Cordy, Giles and Drusilla. If Lorne has been my lucky charm this past month, Drusilla has been my newest obsession. Speaking of Dru.....

While I've been delayed with the Round 10 banners, the banners for Challenge 48 proved a bit easier to do. Congratulations to [ profile] sweet_lyri, [ profile] teragramm and [ profile] debris4spike, who has returned after an extended absence and has been missed; and thank you to everyone who voted my Anya and Drusilla icons second place and most creative!


[ profile] feliciacraft mentioned to me the other day the dearth of pretty Anya icons, so I hope she finds this one to her liking:

SS48_2ndplacebannerRSD2015.png           SS48_mostcreativebanner_RSD2015.png

      8 -12
The Anya icon was probably the simplest icon of this set - the image was already so pretty it was just a matter of gilding the lily. The Dru icon was inspired by a conversation I had with [ profile] double_dutchess the other day about how the star texture by [ profile] whitebamboo in one of my IWRY alts for the last SS challenge looked like a "crown of thorns". The main image in the banners is a photo I took the other day; bright orange liliies seem very "summery" to me, and I thought that the colors would go nicely with the winning icons. Artwork by yours truly.


You know the drill, Baby Jane:
~ Take what you like for personal use but please credit if used :)
~ No hotlinking!
~ Comments are appreciated :)
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: (Summers Family Portrait S5 RSD)
VOTE HERE AND NOW AT [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 10: THEMES & CHARACTERS .

Remember that each post has 20 choices for you to make. You will in essence be voting on each icon twice (or not, as the case may be.) Last round we had four participants, this time it's eight. (Count 'em! Eight!) Last round I also waited until the last minute to really and truly promote it which is inexplicable (and inexcusable) given the amount of time and care that goes into making the entries. This round, I intended to promote early and often.

Also inexcusable and inexplicable? I never showed off the lovely awards banners [ profile] starry_night made for me, nor did I properly thank her and everyone who came out to vote in Round 9. So herewith, the banners (click to view full-size):

  Banner by starry_night May 2015   Banner by starry_night May 2015
[ profile] starry_night knows what I like, and I love the Summers women, oh I do indeed. These banners are so pretty, soft and feminine; you'd never know that the context of both of these is sacrifice, death and grief.  More images after the cut:

In terms of Joyce especially this was a "transitional" round for me. Up to this point I'd not done any icons of Joyce alive successfully, only as a body, a ghost, an absence; even if she was alive, her face was out of the frame (6-10 below from Round 5.) I made one last try at the "Buffy & her dead mother" theme ("Shocking") but also two of Joyce from Blood Ties (Category 1 & AC1): alive, warm, a bit careworn and worried for her daughters. I've been wanting to for ages, inspired by [ profile] debris4spike's Joyce icons that captured her elegance and beauty; but I couldn't quite "grasp" her somehow, not until this round.

Banner by starry_night May 2015     Banner by starry_night May 2015

Banner by starry_night May 2015   Banner by starry_night May 2015

Banner by starry_night May 2015   Banner by starry_night May 2015

I really hesitated about the "Shocking" icon. [ profile] iconsoleander did such beautiful, heartrending iconsfor The Gift (particularly her Category set) in Round 2 last July and I still had those in mind as examples I couldn't hope to improve upon. But I also had in mind the Buffy & (dead) Joyce icons I made for Challenge 37 of [ profile] slayerstillness back in December (1-5). As I recall I was mourning a friend here on LJ who I thought had died 0 then discovered they hadn't, setting off another round of mourning of a different sort.

  1 - 6

  7 - 12

I think I may prefer the SS ones aesthetically, but I've gotten this award and more to the point, I'm making icons of Joyce as a living person, I'm reading [ profile] velvetwhip's gorgeous Answering Prayers, and I am done - for a while at least - the "dead Joyce" theme.

I also hesitated about the Drusilla one for very different reasons. One of course is the very disturbing, phallic imagery, but also the layers of victimhood that form the subtext of this icon. This image captures, to my mind, a lot of the sickness and depravity that Dru has been both a victim and perpetrator of.Vampires are victims, are violated - with the possible exception of Ford in Lie to Me, what vampire in the Buffyverse "agreed" to be killed and turned with anything approaching full knowledge and consent? And Drusilla, sadly, was the one most horribly victimized of the  Buffyverse "Fang Gang"; in this shot the tables are turned and she is a victimizer, licking the blood of the dead Slayer Xin Rong off of Spike's finger - and so death, violation, perverse sexuality are interwoven and repeated from person to person, from generation to generation.
"Best Love" was perhaps the biggest surprise of all the ones I won here because it was the simplest Icon I made, the one that had no special effects and I said, oh well, it's not great but it's something, throw it in. No one will look at it. (There's at least one of those in every single round, at least for me. Anyone else?)

Banners by [ profile] starry_night, do not steal, deface, claim as your own, repost to or any other archives/sites without express permisson of the artist.
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 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: (Drusilla)
1) You have until midnight tonight to choose amoung 15 great Fanged Four icons in [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 36, "Ye Olde Vampyre Gang." None of them are mine btw, so I just get to vote, then kick back and enjoy the view.

FYI, I'm not going to admit that my favorite entries this round had me screaming with joy. Artistic - and literary - orgasms are SO a thing. (What else do you think keeps us coming back for more? It ain't the money, honey.) Because that would be impolite and unseemly. (Although given the fact that I just threw out the word "orgasms", maybe it's a little late to worry about being "impolite and unseemly"? Oh well....)

I do wonder if it's impolite and unseemly to show off the Drusilla icons I made recently that I didn't enter?  There's a funny story here:

drusillaicon3_zps10450604    138338_100   137495_100    138209_100   Drusilla100_v2yelloweyes   Drusilla100_zps5cee6b2c 01-06

I've always wanted to make Drusilla icons and was finally inspired by the prologue of [ profile] kikimay's gorgeous Drusilla origin story, Dreams and Mirrors (Drusilla/Buffy). I was also inspired, I think, by the "antique" elegance of [ profile] tempertemper's Darla icon and [ profile] juliet316's Spike icon, both for SS Challenge 33.  All made entirely in ipiccy. Then I posted links to these for Kiki's enjoyment on the convo thread at her journal one day before I saw Challenge 36 posted - which just happened to be a round that focuses on the Fanged Four in the historical flashbacks,18th-early 20th centuries.

My skills? Constantly improving, yay! My timing? Still sucks rotten ostrich eggs through a bendy-straw, darn it. The upside? I'm in love with Kiki's story and am working on new poster art and icons for her fic. Also, I'm learning how to achieve bright, richly saturated red tones.

Do go read Dreams and Mirrors and leave the author a little feedback. It's not only richly atmospheric, poetic and almost feverishly psychological, it mines some of my favorite territory: attention to the neglected women of the Buffyverse; prioritization of the victims rather than the perpetrators "pain"; the underexamined links and parallels between Drusilla and Buffy. It's rich territory and I'm astonished it has yet to be truly mined, which makes Kiki's story all the more exciting; I just finished Chapter 2 and can't wait for more.

2) But back to the icons, and only a few days late: Congratulations to the winners of Challenge 35 [ profile] rua1412, [ profile] tempertemper, [ profile] teragramm, and [ profile] pickamix! Only 11 entries but every one of them choice.  Kudos to [ profile] starry_night for her Mod's Choice award, because if she hadn't done it I would have had to have made a fuss over Megan's beautifully subtle Spike icon.  I will make a fuss over [ profile] tempertemper's Cordy/Connon "NO NO NO" meta icon objecting to a horrible "gotcha / WTF?" storyline. Sing it, sister.

Speaking of [ profile] tempertemper I'm utterly verklempt over her banners for this round. Instead of the usual uniform background she chose to set the winning icons against rich textures specifically chosen to match/coordinate with each icon individually, with font and compostion being the common elements. Like I said, artistic orgasms are a thing, and I'm in serious lust with these banners.

3) Lastly, an early holiday gift from [ profile] starry_night: Challenge 37 is a free-for-all round in which - wait for it! - we can enter as many icons as we want. And we've got a little extra time to get cracking - the deadline is Tuesday Dec 16, midnight at our respective time zones.

Screw "you had me at hello" (what does that even mean?), [ profile] starry_night had me at "as many as you want"!

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