|Full Body||Black & White||Plus One||No Eyes||Upside Down|
|5 Category |PURPLE RAIN|
|Cat 1||Cat 2||Cat 3||Cat 4||Cat 5|
|5 Artist's Choice|
|AC 1||AC 2||AC 3||AC 4||AC 5|
Yes I considered adding a blood spatter or two but decided to "stay classy" this time. You're welcome.
And that's all the Christmas-y fluff you're going to get out of me this year, Gentle Reader.
These banners in turn provided the inspiration for my icon set in slayerstillness Challenge 57.
This is the second story by shapinglight I've made posters for; the first being posters for Casablanca, for Round 19 of seasonal_spuffy.
If anything, the least interesting aspect of "Third Wheel" is, for me, Angel himself. He's a - well, a bit of a mope, and frankly just a little self-centered. (HIs first response to Buffy's nightmarish dilemma - and it is horrifying for both Buffy and Darla - is violence, then brooding and tears, as if he were the one most affected, not she. But to be fair, he does rally and prove himself to be the better man at the end.) Sometimes I have a hard time understanding why two such interesting, clever, powerful women as Buffy and Darla were drawn to him.
"Third Wheel" actually reminds me that I'm really not sure I ship Buffy with any of her canon lovers; it also adds weight to the argument that Darla, not Buffy, is Angel's "true love".
Without (hopefully) giving too much away, shapinglight's description of how the situation initially affects Darla reminds me of how it feels when I feel an epileptic seizure coming on, and I love how that specificity of feeling, and the precision of her language and the details, give the weight and substance of "realism" to a fantastical story.
6 - 8 below are what I consider the "alt" versions (which sounds a little nicer than "rejects" doesn't it?)
550 x 750
7 - 8)
600 x 552 each
Vintage card "frame" in #7 & 8 courtesy of the Graphics Fairy.
Regretfully, I've forgotten the original source of the gold frame in #1, 2 & 5.
If you haven't had a chance to catch my three posts for Round 19, find them in the master list under "artwork" along with all the fabulous stories and artwork this round.
Thank you for the Best Crop Award at challenge 56 of slayerstillness and thank you tempertemper for the beautiful banner!
8 - 11
12 - 16
Fun fact: when I looked very closely at the screencap of Angel's sketch of a lady in "Halloween", the text next to her reads, as best as I can decipher, "Sarah Goodfriend." I've often wondered if the drawing was a actually a portrait of one of his victims.
I love the subtly and understatement of gabby227's Faith icon, the way the softness of the light and coloring compliment the tenderness of the character's expression; bonus points for using an image I've not seen in an icon before.
Thank you to the voters at btvsats20in20 Round 12 and slayerstillness Challenge 53! Thank you starry_night for the Mod's Choice, and tempertemper for the banner for my "Passion" theme winner.
1 - 5
My favorite icons are definitely 3 - 5, Xander and the Evil Clown; and the swastika icon is my absolute fave of this set. For once I'm unhappiest with the Buffy icons. I had better ones than 1 - 2 that I didn't submit and I'm not sure why.
Alts: I nearly submitted #6 instead of 5; I like the way Xander is "consumed" by the light.
6 - 11
When I was in college I came across a biography of child-killer John Wayne Gacy that included a photograph of him in a clow costume. The corners of his painted mouth were pointed just like that of the Evil Clown in Nightmares. Apparently professional clowns were shown the photograph and noted that they never painted the corners of the mouth pointed in that way because it was considered to be scary and threatening.
Speaking of voting and all that jazz, voting for Round 32 of the Sunnydale Memorial Fanfiction Awards is open now until October 31!
THANK YOU for voting my Angel and Drusilla icon "Best Crop" at slayerstillness! And congratulations to teragramm and 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 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.)
I adore teragramm's Helpless icon. Truly, madly, deeply.
killing_kurare's wonderful set for Round 11 of 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 pensnest, which I found via 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.
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.
CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGES or go to winners post here
Banners for killing_kurare:
Banners for 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?)
Banners for starry_night
And finally, banners for your's truly - THANK YOU to everyone who voted for my icons!
I think I've mentioned this before, but my first place category winner was my homage to 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.
Not shown here is the Best Composition banner for entwashian.
My entries (many MANY thanks, kudos, roses, hugs and much applause for my beta-Muse velvetwhip for her guidance, for helping me select my entries. And especially for appreciating the frame within the image of #2. (I made a lot of alts of that one in particular that she had to sift through, and did so with her usual graciousness and keen eye.)
1 - 4
Because the theme of this challenge was "Framed" my original concept was to have icons from three episodes in which Buffy was framed for murder (get it?): Ted, Consequences and Dead Things. I didn't end up using the DT icons I made but that episode still maintains a presence in the phrase from it I in #1. That scene in the police station is incredibly chilling and Sarah plays it beautifully. We don't often see Buffy scared in the series but in the interrogation room she's not the Slayer, just a terrified girl.
5 - 8
9 - 12
Told you I had fun with the chalkboard series.
13 - 15
All Ye Who Enter (2015) Click poster for full-size image, then to go here to aadler's story. Read the story. I can wait.
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 slayerstillness Challenge 50 "Willow": sweet_lyri, tempertemper, and debris4spike! And as banner maker my BMC this round went to teragramm for her iconic (and adorable) icon of WIllow from the Body. Check out all my banners here.
* Entries for Challenge 204 at otherworldlyric are due midnight June 26th. Speaking of OWL, thank you to everyone who voted my Becoming icon third place in Challenge 203! Congratulations to chic_c and xclaire_delunex for their lovely winning entries this round; and thank you dragonydreams for the wonderful banner! OWL was the very first icontest comm I ever participated in when I entered Challenge 162 last February but the last time I entered was Challenge 178 one year ago; so this feels like a homecoming.
The Becoming icon is my favorite of the three I entered so I'm very pleased voters liked it as well. My indirect inspiration for the color scheme was early 20th century postcards, valentines, book and periodical cover illustrations. #2, the Becoming/Chosen blend, was an experiement in layering and #3, from Chosen, was just a bit of fun for me.
1 - 3
Alts / Extras after the cut:
My favorites here are 4 & 6. I nearly submitted #7 instead of #3 - I love the dual images of Buffy and the softness of the larger image that belies her steely resolve, but I wasn't sure the image was entirely "legible" and the text isn't well intergrated. I was trying to suggest a street sign and in fact, "Lonely Street" is applied over a screenshot of the Sunnydale sign at the end of Becoming, but I don't think it translates the way I wanted.
4 - 9
10 - 13
14 - 16
ETA: Many many thanks to the truly generous velvetwhip for being my beta-Muse when I made this icon and the entire set - for not letting me give up and giving me motivation to keep going, for eyeballing my work, offering feedback and truly constructive critiicism. Every artist should be so fortunate.
I had initially meant to stick to a "Buffyverse in Wonderland" theme but my guiding inspiration this round turned out to be the Pop Art theme and the Category theme "movie genres". My Category icons were inspired more by movie posters than by the films themselves.
MANY kudos, kisses and roses to my wonderous Muse, velvetwhip for all her help, ideas, support and inspiration. I can't begin to thank her adequately.
|5 Category |MOVIES|
|Cat 1 Sci-Fi Thriller||Cat 2 Romantic Comedy||Cat 3 Bergman Drama||Cat 4 Slapstick Comedy||Cat 5 Indie Prestige Drama|
|5 Artist's Choice|
|AC 1||AC 2||AC 3||AC 4||AC 5|
One of my goals this round was to include images from all seven seasons of the series. I don't ship "Wiffy" (or "Billow", take your pick) sexually / romantically - but if it's a choice between that and hatin' on the ladies, I'll chose the love. (It's astonishing to me how often fans of one character hate on the other.) I certainly "ship" their friendship - the most important friendship in the Buffyverse - something fierce.
* The look of my "Grey" icon was inspired by spikesredqueen's gorgeous entry in her Lorne set.
"Stolen Claim" can be considered "Chosen" or "Bangel", works either way.
Some alts, not including banner versions:
1 - 4
4 was almost my Stolen Claim entry; I went back and forth on that one a lot. I don't do many romantically het shippy icons so I'm pleased with how it turned out.
5 - 9
10 - 14
I loved making these "movie posters". For the "prestige drama" I wanted to include text from the movie "The Hours" (Always the years, always the love, always the hours) but couldn't get it as I wanted. I like #5 just as much as my Cat 1 icon for the clarity of Buffy's face, but the entry version is more "atmospheric".
My Evil icon could have fit very nicely into the movie genre set as "Horror film" (think schlocky 1980's slasher flick VHS graphic art.) "Dark Willow" seemed too obvious a direction to go for the Evil theme.
I couldn't resist making a personalized icon for beer_good_foamy, who wrote the best-evah meta essay in praise of Beer Bad.
30 - 36
37 - 43
No, you don't need this many alts of this image, but that's ok - I do.
Many many thanks to velvetwhip for her boundless support and encouragement, for the brainstorming sessions and her absolutely invaluable Willow expertise!
This is the first time I've been comfortable enough to make Dark Willow icons; I've needed to tap into a little of that dark side apparently.
|Out Of Character||Soft Glow||Bored||Outfit||Re-Cast**|
|5 Category |HOLIDAY TIMES|
|Cat 1||Cat 2||Cat 3||Cat 4||Cat 5|
|5 Artist's Choice|
|AC 1||AC 2||AC 3||AC 4||AC 5|
I love Buffy. I love Willow. Their friendship was one of my favorite things about the show; it's not only central to btvs, it's absolutely essential - just as the friendships and love I've found in this fandom are likewise absolutely precious and essential to me. I want to celebrate and appreciate, not waste time mired in pointless and tone-deaf fandom wars.
** Aly Sheedy. (The Breakfast Club, War Games; she's adorable and quietly intense on this 1975 segment of the game show "To Tell The Truth", after her novel She Was Nice to Mice was published when she was all of 13 years old. It's a historical novel about Queen Elizabeth told from the POV of a mouse who lives at the castle. Which seems like a Willow Rosenberg type of project. Except that I suspect Willow would hide her manuscript away in a drawer because somebody laughed at it.)
Ironically Alyson Hannigan was already a "recast" of Willow; Riff Regan played her in the unaired test pilot, but I couldn't find a decent photo of her to work with.
I've never seen this image of Aly used in icons, and I have no idea why not; it's utterly adorable.
The inspirations for my AC set. I wish both of these had come out better, and I couldn't find another theme to fit them in.
My alt Reason icon, and one of my favorite icons I've made this round. Buffy & Willow (or "Wiffy") fans unite!
23 was my alt Outfit icon; my entry version is a bit more visually arresting, and has a nice lesbian subtext (it could be an icon for an Impala/Willow shippy fic). But the alt version, with the mummy's withered face frozen in anguish, is sadder and more interesting on a meta level. 25 and 26 attempt to blend a quote from Reptile Boy with an image from Grave; it doesn't quite work because the context the image - a pile of burning books - is unclear.
This is the first round that I started by making the AC set; I've wanted to have an aesthetically coherent AC set ever since I saw spikesredqueen's pretty Cordelia AC set for Round 1. So I collaged them together in a row as single images to apply text and effects to all the icons at a time. Then of course I proceded to make at least three more variations, and mixed and matched to come up with the final set of five.
As one does:
I used the "Oh my goddess" rather than the "White Willow" cap because I think the White Willow cap looks just plain silly.
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:
I've always wanted to make Drusilla icons and was finally inspired by the prologue of kikimay's gorgeous Drusilla origin story, Dreams and Mirrors (Drusilla/Buffy). I was also inspired, I think, by the "antique" elegance of tempertemper's Darla icon and 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 rua1412, tempertemper, teragramm, and pickamix! Only 11 entries but every one of them choice. Kudos to 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 tempertemper's Cordy/Connon "NO NO NO" meta icon objecting to a horrible "gotcha / WTF?" storyline. Sing it, sister.
Speaking of 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 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?), starry_night had me at "as many as you want"!
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. (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*
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 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 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.)
All of the Willow icons below were "contenders" for my Round 5 entries for btvsats20in20 "Rainbow" theme challenge. See my final entries are here - and THANK YOU very much to everyone who stopped by for your lovely encouraging comments and feedback. And thank you to the moderator this round starry_night for being generally wonderful and all-around awesome as always.) This round convinced me that I do want to do more early seasons work with Willow and Buffy in future.
My personal favorites: 1-5 and 9-10, which covers all the WIllow-VampWillow meta-icons. I did a lot of work with layers this round, and I love the meta possibilities of the technique. I have to laugh because back in Round 1 I didn't even know what a "layer" was, or what comlodge meant when she advise me to master "blending" technqiues; now I'm absolutely addicted. I'm a little surprised by how many icons I did in orange here because it's not my favorite color IRL, but it has a warmth that yellows sometimes lack (especially when they're on the greenish side) which makes it less dramatic and friendlier than red with it's association of blood, passion and death.
Every one of those was "almost" an entry that I dropped at the last minute, especiallly #1; it was originally the segueway icon between green and blue on the rainbow, and I'm not sure now why I dropped it except that it repeated the image from Prophecy Girl in my entry icon #1, and there is a line along the edge that looked to me like a mistake in cropping rather than something done intentionally.
#2 I think is an awesome icon; it's unlike anything I've ever done before but I've admired in professional graphics on book covers and movie posters. But it's so muted I couldn't find a way to place it in the rainbow, and I admit I worried that the fact that the faces don't line up perfectly would be considered a flaw by voters. Which strikes me now as a really silly thing to worry about.
Both #4 & 5 were very nearly my Red entry in the rainbow. If you've seen my Round 2 Category set entries you know how much I adore that image of VampWillow in #4. I really like the faded photo effect here; she looks entirely like a queen of the silent movies. But I have worked with the image before and this really isn't saying anything new, the blood spatter is nifty but looks to me like I slapped it on and called it a day. Looks neat though.
5 is a really weird icon IMO - I like it, a lot and I can't explain why (except my fallback mantra: pale skin, red lips ). It's interesting to look at; her hair and face look like they are reflecting something and very glossy. But it's also "off" somehow. I kept taking it in and out of rotation until I looked at it in the slideshow format in Photobucket and saw the pixilation and flaws in the image more clearly.
#6 made me realize why some of my friends in Willow fandom prefer the early seasons to the late one; and if I were a Willow fan, I would probably feel the same. All of these were tons of fun to make except #6. No offense to those who enjoy her but I honestly hate working with S6 DarkWillow imagery - absolutely hate hate hate loathe it. (But then I also didn't think that Lily going red-eyed with rage in HIMYM was at all funny. Oh, Tara.....)
If anyone else had made #7 I'd be completely agog and over the moon over it, and wonder how in the world they achieved that look. I finally make one that looks like this and my reaction is - meh, whatever. It's pretty, it's smooth, it has a nice graphic quality that will make for an eye-catching icon, it just doesn't move me in any way or make me want to look closer.
I'm more interested in #9-12, which are variations of my #4 entry. My actual entry uses an orange cloudscape from a photo my sweetie took recently as the texture that links the two Willows; although alt 12 might actually achieve that link with a more unified look and without the distraction of the texture. (But the one I chose for my entry just made me happy. Sue me.) My favorite alt here is #10 because I love the grunge quality in the back - it looks to me like VampWillow's image is part of the wall behind Willow, an old poster or mural that has faded over time; but I also like the warm orange color of #9.
BTW, while working on this round the on Monday I goofed and decided to move all my 20in20 entry folders in Photobucket - forgetting that would break all the links. NOT GOOD. So if you've been looking at my previous 20in20 posts and see a lot of blank spaces - that be the reason.
As I am running behind with this post (apologies to 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.)
1) Remember that post many moons ago when I asked if anyone knew of a genuine "Giles as a Big Bad" fic that sparked some great conversation and gave dragonyphoenix the inspiration to write such a one? THE PROLOGUE IS POSTED, with a banner by the talented pickamix (Giles looking sexy, shrewd and more than a bit dangerous) and oh my stars was it worth the wait! If this is the prologue, I can't imagine what the rest will bring - and can hardly wait to read more. Rated PG, with Giles/Ethan shippines.
2) More Voting goodness: slayerstillness challenge 30 voting ends tomorrow; there are 24 truly fabulous entries to choose from! And only 9 entries to choose from at otherworldlyric Challenge 181 but oh my, some eyepoppers in the bunch, so don't miss them.
3) Thank you VERY MUCH to the thoughtful person who nominated my "Becoming" icon for the 11th Round of the Wicked Awards! This round has been an embarrassment of riches for me and such a surprise. I've mentioned before how I never expected to be nominated for fanart and in competition with people whose work I admire. I was going to be a meta writer, remember? That was the plan and I WARN Y'ALL I COULD STiLL GO META ON YOU WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT 'CAUSE I STILL HAVE THE NOTES I SAVED FROM THE HOUSEFIRE. (Albeit slightly worse for wear.)
Which is to say, the nomination period ends TODAY, August 25th.
But wait, there's more icons and more talky after the cut!
So what do you do when someone nominates you? If you're me, you nominate other people in kind and encourage other people to do so because:
1) You don't feel worthy of being nominated yourself, therefore nominate someone you think is better (even though you know that you are subtly downgrading the opinion of the persons who nomm'd you to begin with and you don't mean to do that but it's just so hard for you to really believe even though you do so love the kudos); or
2) You know that these awards are less about winning than about sharing the love - recognizing good work, and making it possible for other people to find it who might not have otherwise; or
3) You notice a shortage of nominations in your category, which means the category will be held over until next round and GOSH DARN IT but ow, you want to compete, win or lose, nothing selfless about it; or
4) A COMBINATION OF ALL OF THE ABOVE, pretty much.
I was going to write a post to report that the art categories were woefully underfilled. angelus2hot told me that usually the art cats fill up before the fic cats but it's been the reverse this year. Then I was going to scold and plead and pout if need be to make sure those categories got the sufficient number of entries to run. But I'm happy to say that they're filling up nicely and it all looks a go, but more art nominations are welcome (says the gal who doesn't have to plow through the noms or judge them - aka, do the actual work). Something seemed not quite right, especially with regard to best icons - there have been so many beautiful ones just the past 12 months, there's no reason that category shouldn't be overflowing.
More to the point, it felt weird to see my name on that list, and the categories so empty, when I know there are really great artists and really great art out there not getting its due. Especially in terms of icons because I'm well aware of my failings in this area. Now when I look at the categories everything feels better to me - there's art in a range of styles, covering every character and pairing, some by folks I'm familiar with but quite a lot of names and pieces that are entirely new to me.
4) Now while you're here, let's talk icons.
I never posted the Becoming icon here before, although I fell in love with it almost immediately and snagged it for my own userpics. It's essentially #2 oe #9 below with some cool effects added: crop, adjust and frame in Photobucket, add a text texture and a light leak texture in ipiccy, then bring back to PB for a "Bronze" color filter. It was intended it for my second try at btvs_hush Challenge 273 (the deserving winners were rua1412 and debris4spike) and of course I couldn't enter it because of the text texture. I actually asked dragonydreams if I could get away with it. Um, no. *Note to self: READ THE RULZ, dumbass.*
Idiot me, if I'd known grunge textures enough to replace the text with scratches, plain noise filters or even just hit the sharpen button enough times, I could have gotten a similar effect and still been within the rules. But I liked what I got so much I didn't care, and I knew my icons weren't going to be winners anyway; I was just learning and having fun at that point.
This was the second time I used that text texture from ipiccy and was so delighted by the result I had to play with it. It was another "I can do that? Look ma, I can do that!" moment. There's something about this icon that makes me think of fragments of ancient texts and classical marble portrait sculptures half-buried in desert sands; of things both time-worn and timeless. The way I've cropped the image it's almost hard to tell anymore that it's Buffy, but I fell in love with the way the strange beauty, the severity of the shape of her nose, seemed carved of marble. I think that suits a moment that seems utterly classic and timeless:
"Take all that away, and what's left?" / "Me."
Was it as instantly iconic to those of you who watched back in the day as it was to me two years ago?
My actual entries for the challenge:
The Willow icons I made for that round...I'm tempted to say The less said the better but I'm fascinated by the huge difference in quality in just a few months time between these and my VampWillow icons just a few months later. That moment in the episode was the first time, watching the series, that chills ran up and down my spine and I had to rewind and watch again. At the time I made these I did at least like the focus on Willow's eye and how that really stood out, but I otherwise don't know where I was going with the pseudo-psychedelic pop art effect in this one.
And I deleted most of the ones I made which were far worse, including the one in which the Orb of Thessulah looked like a glowing radioactive orange scoop of ice cream melting on the velvet pillow. You can thank me later (or just slip the cash under the door on your way out).
Entries for round 1 of btvsats20in20 are due June 4 but there are some fantastic entries in the meantime to enjoy. I am nearly done with my entries (and a little nervous about the quality because DAMN, there are some fantastic entries in this thing.)
I just have to chose favorite moment. And master the icon table template. And maybe redo another blending icon. Or settle for one of the ones I made today. How hard can that be, right?
And I am FREAKING OUT just a little.
I am also going blind.
Not literally but the moment when I stopped being able to see the little pixels on the screen clearly and my eyes are blurring from sitting here too long? I passed that exit 10 miles back, with no turnaround.
I thought I was going to have a hard time coming up with ideas for this. My problem is coming up with too damn many. Oy vey. I'm lovin' it btw but - break time, way past.
So while I step away - I asked kikimay the other day about posting some other variations of my Buffy/Come Undone artwork and she said she would be interested. I'm trying to convince myself that it's ok to show this stuff off and I won't get any better as an artist hiding my stuff in a dresser drawer, so to speak. (But why do I still feel weird about it? Aside from the needing food and all that jazz...)
ETA: kikimay's beautifully and eloquently captures in words what I was hoping to say with this image (comment added with her kind permission):
"These two scenes are so meaningful. I connect them both to depression in a way. The Becoming scene seems to me the metaphorical beginning of it, the discovery of that side of your mind, and After Life is just the jumping point. And in both images Buffy seems so innocent, in the first one she's just a kid and in the second one she's dressed in white. But, even in the narrative, in both moments there's something that breaks Buffy....It's innocence shattered."
kwritten introduced me to ipiccy and clockwork_hart1 told me how to create a collage in that program, and I added the rainbow effect there, set to "darken". I wasn't satisfied with the presence of the seam between the images, or my inability to contour the images manually. I brought the image back to Photobucket, used the blemish tool to try to make the seam go away, then used the draw tool to literally "paint" over the remaining seam in a shade of blue to match what was in the image. The font is "Princess Sofia", I liked the old-fashioned "fairy tale" quality of it, (Although Humpty Dumpty is a nursey rhyme, not a fairy tale, but you get the idea.)
comlodge taught me to make liberal use of the blending tool. I think I have gone from "hardly ever touch it" to "full out needs an intervention for her own sake and the safety of others" blending tool addict.