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 Anne lilbreck)

For [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 17.  Many thanks as always to my Beta and Muse [ profile] velvetwhip:


Cat 2 nominated for Best BtVS Icon ("Something to Sing About") Round 13 [ profile] wicked_awards, 2016: nomineebuttonbuffywickedawards275x128_rsd2015_1.2final.png

10 Themes
Angst Black Content Faceless Clock
Smile Levels NS + Text Far Crop Not Human *
5 Category |SING US A SONG **
Cat 1 Cat 2 Cat 3 Cat 4 Cat 5
5 Artist's Choice
AC 1 AC 2 AC 3 AC 4 AC 5

* Not Human: There were no episodes this season in which Buffy was "not human" (a la Vamp!Buffy in "Nightmares"), and because we haven't been informed at this point in canon that Slayer powers have demonic origin (aka the writers pulled it out of their derrieres ) I went with Angel vamping out to feed on Buffy in "Graduation Day 2".

** Category Inspiration: "Breathe (2am)" by Anna Natick: I decided to focus on the episode "Anne: for this set.

'Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button, girl.
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe... just breathe

Alts:                      1 - 6

                         7 - 11

A Vague Disclaimer is No One's Friend:
~ Take what  icons you like for personal use but please credit if used :)
~ No hotlinking!
~ Comments however are appreciated :)
~ Icons with blank space can be personalized upon request.
~ If you wish to personalize because you have PS and more font or fx options than I do, by all means please ask first.
~ All artwork by yours truly except where otherwise indicated.
red_satin_doll: (Kendra the Vampire Slayer RSD)
Breaking news: Congratulations to the winners of [ profile] whedon_elite Challenge 136: [ profile] harlequinss_s, [ profile] sweet_lyri, [ profile] nmcil12, [ profile] teragramm and [ profile] emmatheslayer!  And THANK YOU to everyone who voted for my icons for giving my Robin & Nikki Wood Most Creative (tied with [ profile] harlequinss_s's lovely Willow icon). Of my four entries that icon is the one I have the most feelings about in terms of me trying to express my anger at the way Nikki and Robin's relationship was portrayed/sidelined/given short shrift in the series. I have feelings about this issue, which I'll explain once I have some pretty awards banners for the round to show off.

In the meantime, here are some pretty banners from [ profile] tempertemper for [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 61. Thank you for voting my icons 2nd place and Most Creative!

banner by tempertemper feb 2016   banner by tempertemper feb 2016

I love how the neutral background makes the icons really pop. I confess I didn't really appreciate [ profile] teragramm's Wesley/Lilah icon until I saw it on TT's banner. Check out the rest of the winners and banners here.  My entries:

ozseason4handkissicon1b3a_rsd2016.png EntropyKiss_icon2a_sharp_we134_rsd.png EntropyKiss_icon1c1_sharp_we134_rsd.png badgirlsdanceicon1a.png consesquenceswiffyhugicon1c_rsd.png 1 - 5

As per usual, 1 & 2 are not the ones I would have picked to be winners. Those were the two I looked at and thought "oh crap, I wish I could do better than that. Ah, nobody will give those two a second glance."  Especially since I rarely icon W/O & W/T. And I just adore the old-fashionedness of Oz's gesture.

Re: the Buffy & Willow icon, I went back and forth between #5 & 14 for the longest time (ie an hour or so) because I love the retro coloring of 14, especially the blue/white curtain in the background. (The pattern is a texture by [ profile] lookslikerain. Thank goodness for the off-white curtains in the screencap.)
ozseason4handkissicon1a2_rsd2016.png EntropyKiss_icon1c_sharp_we134_rsd.png 6 - 11
12 - 14

Somewhat off-topic and spreading out my 15 minutes of fame past tolerable limits: I am very amused by the fact that excerpts of my conversation with buffy comics cover artist Steve Morris on DeviantArt re: his cover for S10.24  has shown up on both Slayalive and Buffyboards. My conversations with him have turned me into a fan btw; he always answers any questions or comments I've had and is a delight to talk to about the process of making covers, his inspirations etc.
red_satin_doll: (Buffy Casablanca Poster v1 poppy wreath)
This special 10th anniversary round of [ profile] seasonal_spuffy was the first time I'd actively participated with regular posts; [ profile] teragramm made special banners for all participants and customized this one for me. THANK YOU!

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 [ profile] slayerstillness and thank you [ profile] tempertemper for the beautiful banner!


banner by tempertemper nov 2015

  1- 2

Thank you to Challenge 57 voters for Most Creative Award (a category I don't score very often so I consider it quite the desirable prize indeed), and thank you [ profile] starry_night for the Mod's Choice Award!  The Dara in Becoming / Buffy in Halloween icons were all inspired by [ profile] shapinglight's entry for the 2015 [ profile] iwry_marathon , "Third Wheel". The costume Ethan supplies Buffy has somewhat different effects than in canon, linking Buffy and Darla telepathically across the centuries. Banners for this round by yours truly; vintage dancer image, and floral "frame" in icon #6, from The Graphics Fairy.

  ss57awardbanner_MC2a_rsd_v2ballerina_400x300_RSD.png    ss57awardbanner_MC2rsd_v2ballerina_400x300_RSD.png

  3 - 7

  8 - 11

12 - 16
17 - 22

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.
My awards for Round 14 of [ profile] btvsats20in20; thank you for everyone who voted for my work!  Congratuations to [ profile] sweet_lyri and [ profile] gabby227 for their wins; their awards banners as well as all the winning entries can be seen here and here respectively. Banners by yours truly. For the background images I used my personal photos of New England skyscapes in a nod to this round's "In the Clouds" theme.

rsdnumbersbanner1.png rsdenemybanner1.png

This is the third time I've won the gold medal for Category set, so it's a nice way to end the year.  The Numbers icon is one of my favorites of this set, so I'm pleased and proud that the voters honored it.
1stplacecategoryiconRSD.png 2ndplacecategoryiconRSD.png


I love the subtly and understatement of [ profile] 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.


A Vague Disclaimer is No One's Friend:
~ Take what  icons you like for personal use but please credit if used :)
~ No hotlinking!
~ Comments however are appreciated :)
~ All artwork by yours truly except where otherwise indicated.

red_satin_doll: (Buffy Happy Band Candy TGRM)
Congratulations to [ profile] sweet_lyri, [ profile] teragramm, [ profile] entwashian and [ profile] emmatheslayer for their winning entries in [ profile] whedon_elite Challenge 124!

we124banner_1stplace_sweetlyri_rsd2015.png we124banner_2ndplaceteragramm_rsd2015.png we124_3rdplacebanner_entwashian.png we124_modschoicebanner_emmatheslayer.jpg
Not shown here is the Best Composition banner for [ profile] entwashian.

My entries (many MANY thanks, kudos, roses, hugs and much applause for my beta-Muse [ profile] 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.)
ted0540_icon2.2framedrsd2015.png consequences0128icon1.3e.png buffyHDtedicon1.3.png buffy315_006_icon1.2.png 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.

Alts aplenty:

        5 - 8

    9 - 12
Told you I had fun with the chalkboard series.

  13 - 15

red_satin_doll: (Joyce/Angel btvs  Fairy Tales RSD)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    4 - 7

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

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

nomineebuttonbuffywickedawards275x128_rsd2015_1.1final.png    Banner by Angelus2hot Oct 2015

Runner-Up, Under Your Spell (Best Banner), [ profile] wicked_awards Round 12,  2015
red_satin_doll: (Buffy Helpless Hairporn RSD)
But first a word from our sponsors: [ profile] starry_night has kindly extended the deadline for [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 9 to Friday the 15 - and as usual, I'm the only person who hasn't submitted her stuff. *le sigh* (It's my job and the barometric pressure that gave me a massive headache and I can't find things because I had to move all my images...Excuses, I has 'em.)

But in the meantime do check out the wonderful entries from [ profile] sweet_lyri (The Prom), [ profile] halliwell (Spike), and [ profile] dark_x_huntress (Faith). Yes, this is a smallish grouping this time. Or, since the sign-ups truly are open the ENTIRE round, you could be all show-offy and smart-alecky and show up with a set of 20 you did literally overnight. I know there's someone out there who can pull that off.

"Helpless" banner (Giles, Buffy) by yours truly; click to view full-size.

I promised [ profile] kikimay I'd post all my entries from the last rounds of [ profile] slayerstillness and [ profile] whedon_elite in one place so here they be:

My entries for [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 43, "Helpless": Thank you again to everyone who participated either as artist or voter!

          1 - 5

Awards Banners for me from [ profile] tempertemper: I know I posted these before but they're too magnificent not to show off again (click for full-size):

ss43banner1stplacebytempertempermay2015_siggieaddedbyrsd.png ss433rdplacebannerbytempertempermay2015.png   ss43mostcreativebannerbytempertempermay2015.png Icons are snaggable; banners are not - obviously.

My entries for [ profile] whedon_elite Challenge 116 "Springtime" :
  helpless0155icon1.1.png   entry springtime whedon elite challenge 116 for whedon elite challenge 116 springtime 6 - 9

1) This icon's title could be "Feel the Fear but do it anyway" . One of my personal favorites of this set. The texture looks like some sort of writing (but isn't) so there's a mystery to it, and I think the focus on her expression as it emerges from the shadows is really strong. I originally added text to it (#14) but my wise Muse thought it stronger without and she was right. #26 is the "base" image without the last texture layer.

2)  I didn't notice until after I made it that there's a slick of red blood on the underside of her hand. It's very un-showy and subtle compared to #1.  Buffy has been through a horrific experience and she's trying to tamp down her emotions when by rights I wouldn't blame her if she burned the joint down and walked away. She endures an awful lot of trauma and keeps marching, keeps forgiving and keeps fighting. Her expression is so poignant and all praise to Sarah for her marvelous performance.

3) I actually freaked myself out with this one and it's companions 20 - 22. BtVS' template was partly rooted in horror movies and Helpless is one of the most overtly horrifying episodes of the series, hence my borrowing of the phrase from the episode Hush. This icon highlights that but also the ways that the series fails in it's "feminism". Again, see [ profile] velvetwhip's fic Answering Prayers (aka "the best fic you're not reading right now but should.") Technically, I like the smoothness of this icon and the look of a handtinted photograph but I suspect it works better without the text (alt 22).

4) Winner, 3rd Place and Most Creative: Buffy's profile in the abandoned hotel as she looks around at the walls covered with polaroid images of Joyce was the single image I spent the most time with, alone and in combinations with other characters, the emphasize their interconnectedness: the top banner, entry 4, alts 10 - 13, & 16 - 21. (I have a thing for Sarah's oddly timeless profile.) I intended to enter 11 or 12 and changed my mind at the last minute. I'm pleased with the clarity of the smaller image of Buffy, which is hard for me to achieve, and I really like how the library books and the polaroids echo each other. I think that unifying element of pattern-making helped put this icon over the edge for me over the other variants.

5) Winner, First Place: My first first-place win at [ profile] slayerstillness and I hope I'm not sounding arrogant in repeating that but it makes me all kinds of happy, and thank you to everyone who voted for it!  I also mentioned in my prior post that the inspiration for this icon was entirely [ profile] clockwork_hart1's recent Buffy icons that combined soft color and light effects with shots of Buffy in motion.  This icon isn't as blurred as her's; I ended up sharpening the features of her face a bit to contrast with the whirl of hair. #23 is the more "naturalistic" version without the colored light leak effect; usually I go for subdued colors but Lucy's example inspired me to push the color. I'm surprised how well the icon turned out, given the darkness of the cap. There's the irony of the prettiness of it, of the "hairporn" and the direness of the situation, of Buffy's fear and desperation in that moment.

6) My personal favorite of my WE set; I wanted a Wiffy Helpless cap but couldn't get it to my satisfaction, see #32 below. I like the chalky flatness of 32 but I the clarity and sharpness aren't the best so I went with the closer crop.  As the theme of the round was springtime and I already had the flowers in #10  - 12 it seemed appropriate to hv

8) I finally made a Cordy icon!  See also 34 below. Not a lot to say about it, except that I was inspired by [ profile] kwritten's beautiful work especially her recent The Freshman Category set when I made this one and # 9. I'm not Cordy's nor Charisma Carpenter's biggest fan by any means; but that moment is one of Cordy's finest in BtVS; when a distraught Buffy asks for a ride home and her reply is "Sure". No questions asked. (Has anyone ever written fanfiction about that car ride home?  Has anyone ever speculated on what might have been said - or not?)

9) Winner, Mod's Choice. I wanted to play with this image because of the unusual cropping (that's the way Sarah's face is cropped in the screencap, as Buffy talks to Angel); I really didn't expect this to be the favorite of voters among my WE entries but thank you for the votes and feedback!  I worried that it would come off as "she slapped on a texture and called it a day" so I'm glad it doesn't come across like that.

Alts and extras:

10 -15

I call # 13 "The Needle and the Cross". I don't any of these need further explanation. I like the snarkiness of #15 but also the way the text actually looks as if it's part of Giles' sleeve.  If this is "a father's love" then somebody call Social Services. No wonder the poor girl has relationship issues.

  16 - 19

          20 - 26

27 - 31

My alts for [ profile] whedon_elite Challenge 116:

helpless0129wiffyicon1.1.png     32 - 36

red_satin_doll: (Buffy Helpless Hairporn RSD)

...for her time, feedback, ideas, generosity, patience, gentle wit, marvelous penetrating insights and for her keen Eye (intangible, unexplanable, indispensible) and above all, for helping guide me to my very first 1st place award (!!) as well as 3rd place and Most Creative honors at [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge 43; as well as a Mod's Choice's Award at [ profile] whedon_elite Challenge 116.

That particular beta-Muse would be named [ profile] velvetwhip, of course; and I dare say she will deny her fabulousness; don't believe her for a second if she does. I've been beta for my friends who are writers for years, but this time I've gotten to be on the other side of the give-and-take and it's a rich and and fulfilling working relationship.

ss43banner1stplacebytempertempermay2015.png       ss43mostcreativebannerbytempertempermay2015.png       WE116modschoicefinalbannerbyRSDmay2015_v2.png Teasers for awards banners inside.

And it's an entirely mutual one; I've been "special pencil" for her marvelous Joyce-centric fic Answering Prayers, set in the summer between S2 & 3, and our many discussions on Buffy, Joyce and Giles during that period no doubt provided additional inspiratiion for my Helpless artwork. I love the cross-currents between us as two artists in different but complimentary media.

Congratulations to [ profile] sweet_lyri[ profile] tempertemper , and [ profile] starry_night  - three of my favorite fan artists and wonderful people, they are all well-represented in my userpic gallery - for their wins at [ profile] slayerstillness and [ profile] whedon_elite. And may we have a big round of applause for [ profile] tempertemper's phenomenal banners?  I just about died of happiness when I saw these:

ss43banner1stplacebytempertempermay2015.png     ss433rdplacebannerbytempertempermay2015.png

Two of my goals for the year: Win first place at [ profile] slayerstillness - check. (Best Color, I've got my sights on you.) Earn more awards banners made by other artists by which i mostly mean [ profile] tempertemper - double check. And these are simply beyond perfect aren't they? Artwork like this makes me wonder why there aren't awards categories for "Best Awards Banner" because these truly are works of art.

The direct inspiration for my first place winner was [ profile] clockwork_hart1's gorgeous Buffy S4 icons (#11-12) and her experimentation with light, blurs and motion. For the other icon I started with Buffy's profile in the hotel room where Kralik has taped multiple polaroids of Joyce, then did multiple versions layering her with Giles, Joyce and Kralik, inside her silhouette but ended up chosing this one. I really like how the patterns of the library books and the polaroids echo one another, sublty hinting at and reinforcing the connection between the two.


Banners by [ profile] tempertemper. (Now if only I can get her and other banner makers to remember to sign their work...)

I stayed with Helpless for my [ profile] whedon_elite entries when I finished the SS set and realized there were other images I still wanted to play with.  Thank you [ profile] fassy for the Mod's Choice honor! The specific inspiration for this icon and my Cordy one were [ profile] kwritten's Artist Choice set for Round 7 of [ profile] btvsats20in20, "The Freshman (Buffy)" although I've admired her way with delicate layers and textures for three years. Once again [ profile] velvetwhip deserves a thunderous round of applause for her beta-Muse-ings:


Banner by yours truly; check out the banners for [ profile] starry_night and [ profile] sweet_lyri here.  The base image is a photo I took a couple of afternoons ago of daffodils in my yard because they especially suited the "Springtime" theme of the challenge.

red_satin_doll: (Summers Family Portrait S5 RSD)
ETA: My entries for Round 8 of [ profile] btvsats20in20. I forgot to link back to the comm when I posted this last night/this morning, sorry!

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, [ profile] velvetwhip for all her help, ideas, support and inspiration. I can't begin to thank her adequately.


10 Themes
Pop Art Family Food Grey* Duplicate
Name Stolen Claim Wild Monochrome+Text Evil
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 [ profile] 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".

  15 -18
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.

  19 -24

   25 -29
I couldn't resist making a personalized icon for [ profile] 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.

red_satin_doll: (S1 Buffy Nightmares Sky Warrior)
Thank you to everyone who cast votes for my icons at Challenge 107 of [ profile] whedon_elite, thank you [ profile] fassy for being so courteous and helpful to this easily-confusable newbie, and congratulations to the winners of this round: [ profile] sietepecados, [ profile] everythingshiny, [ profile] julie_izumi and [ profile] marishna! So many marvelous choices here, it maked voting terrifically hard.

This comm represents a somewhat different aesthetic style than I'm accustomed to, so I'm also very grateful again my friends and especially [ profile] rua1412  for their encouragement. I had no expectation of winning because I'm not up to the same skill level - and that's not intended as a put-down, just the fact that I haven't really fully mastered all the tools I have in ipiccy at my disposal never mind PS-E. I haven't logged in the hours yet, and mastery only comes with time and practice.  My entries this round:

thehavesticonbyredsatindoll_v2ipiccyequalize willownightmaresicon1.5_ipiccyadjust vwiconlavenderdec2014 1-3)

I didn't plan the way the layout of colors and only noticed after I'd made them how they went from very cool but somewhat hard blue to softer, slightly warmer lavender, with the Willow/Nightmares icon containing both colors; probably the result of working on the rainbow set for [ profile] btvsats20in20.

thehavesticonbyredsatindoll_v1pbcrp willownightmaresicon1_pbcrop vampwillow blue icon 2 vampwillowblueicondec2014 vampwillowiconlavenderbokehx2lightleak_adjwarmertone 4-8)

vampwillowiconlavenderbokehx2lightleak vampwillowcrop2_1 VWicoinwarmdeepapricot1dec2014 gdknifeicon3_zps273d470d Buffy_5x22_The_Gift_323_dragoniconapocalypsenow3 9-13)
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: (Smile)
And I can report without hesitation that Vermont is MUCH nicer than Hell.

"Prodigal Daughter" - click limage for full-size version.  Original screencap courtesy of Shadow of Reflection.
Whilst I unpack and sort through all the photos I snapped, talk amoungst yourselves, darlings. Tell me about all your fabulous adventures while I was away. What have YOU been up to?

Nominee, Best Banner, Wicked Awards Round 11
red_satin_doll: (Buffy Happy Band Candy TGRM)
[ profile] bangel_4e has the voting posts up for ROUND 2 [ profile] btvsats20in20 :  1) THEMES,   2) CATAGORY (same image), and 3) ARTIST'S CHOICE.  Make sure you scroll down all the way to the end of each post so you don't miss any poll (says the newbie to these things.)

Voting closes on July 17th. Believe it or not I've already voted, which may be a record for me. I guess I'm just in the right mood? It's not that there's this one standout and it's oh so easy. Nope. Once again, there's so much of pretty equal quality to my eyes, it's the old apples and oranges game, with very pretty fruit in the bowl.

BTW - notice the new Xander icon from round 1 by [ profile] mercurialdragon, snagged with permission? I just added it today - the brand new paid subscription I was gifted with includes FORTY icons spaces.*hugs my benefactor tight" Of all the icons from round 1, it's the one that has stuck in my head ever since I saw it, the minature masterpiece that I HAD TO HAVE.

I don't know that I'll be able to pimp this round as consistently as the last one because I'll be away from home and thus the computer for over a week (and weekends are not good for me for 'puter time.)  So do me a favor dears and PIMP THE HECK outta this contest for me, and I will be there in spirit - until I get back anyway.

I feel rather sanguine about it at the moment because I accomplished what I wanted - make Vamp Willow icons that would honor the character, be a little different to what I've seen before; and most especially my beloved Willow Posse on my f'list, two of whom have already snagged icons for themselves.

THAT is the biggest vote and the biggest win in the world, as an icon artist. (Not that I'll refuse other prizes and squee with childish delight but that's the gravy.)

I also found a couple *ahem* more Vamp Willow alts from my set I'd forgotten to post yesterday .

Lesson #1 - it's a lot easier to work with an image or subject I am fascinated by / love / am familiar with. Struggling with VW icons? I'd pop off some Buffy icons or banners just for the fun of it. I think my best and favorite icons here, or the ones that were most fun for me to make, came at the begining and the very end of the process (I finished the last one yesterday.)  In the middle was nearly a month-long slog, or so it felt.

[ Images to be replaced Coming soon!  ]      (1-5)

Lesson #2 - I love this shot of VW something FIERCE.  In fact, loving it too much was one of my biggest problems. I know that image so well, the way I know so many images of Buffy, that it made working with the ones I wasn't familiar with seem that much harder.  And to be honest - my Catagory set is really, in my mind, my AC set. I adored the way some people made their AC sets very of a piece last time, ([ profile] spikesredqueen's Cordelia set comes immediately to mind as one of my favorites in that regard); so I ended up trying to give the same attention to Catagory this time almost by mistake; so that when I finished those I realized, oh, I have to come up with five more? Rats.

[ Images to be replaced Coming soon!  ]       (6-10)

Lesson #3 - I ship Vamp Xander and Vamp Willow SO HARD.  Aren't they adorable? - in a sick, twisted, pseudo-incentuous "this is why Xander and Willow would be wrong wrong wronged-y wrong but still really HOT way?" Am I the only person in fandom who was disappointed they didn't bring Vamp Xander back for Dopplegangland? Because I'm not into the fellas as you know but DAMN...
red_satin_doll: (Smile)

10 Themes
HairPorn Guess Who Plus One Second Claim Hands
Sorrow First Scenery Looking Up Levels
5 Category |SAME PICTURE
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 & Extras: ETA: 11/25/14 galler links to extas currently broken; sorry


red_satin_doll: (Smile)
1) Pimping: [ profile] btvsats20in20 Round 2 wonderful icon sets by [ profile] federica74 , "Willow Rosenberg" and [ profile] debris4spike's Season 1 icons. (She made a Joyce & Jenny icon! *flings confetti*) The deadline for all Round 2 entries is July 9th.(Not nervous, not nervous, nope, not me not nervous *gulp*)

2) Rocking the vote: Vote NOW in [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge # 27 "Hair porn". Only 23 entries this round, still hard as heck to decide. Deadline is tomorrow, Tuesday the 8th, midinight in your time zone.   BTW, challenge #28 "Angel Investigations" is now up.

3) Thanking everyone who voted my Anne icon "Most Creative" in [ profile] slayerstillness Challenge #26 "The Same But Different", and indeed thank you to everyone who voted for any of my Anne or Willow/Tara icons. I love seeing the unlocked voting threads; even if I don't win, seeing that at least one person voted for one of my icons is always a little morale-booster.

01) Yep, it's this cap from from "Anne".  I've used it before but I wanted to see if I could get better results in ipiccy than in Photobucket alone. And I was still upset at losing my job unexpectedly and something about playing with this image was balm to my soul. Glorious Buffy. Is it awful to admit that I went into this wanting to win Most Creative specifically? I think the whole "life sucks right now I need something to smile about" probably had a lot to do with it. I know there are folks who haven't won anything, ever. I should be ashamed - or should I?

4) Thanking [ profile] comlodge and [ profile] chasingdemons for their tips, advice and hand-holding. While [ profile] comlodge works on the official banners for Slayerstillness challenge 26, which are such a treat to receive and make my icons look better than they actually are, I decided to put into practice some of the tips and advice she and [ profile] chasingdemons generously offered me on techniques/tools such as blending and layers, which is a whole new country for me, to make my first "practice awards banners."  NOT the official deal, just playtime and practice:

ANne red button 2   Anne button peach 01-02)

I think #1 came out better than most of the Dark Willow icons I've put together for [ profile] btvsats20in20 *pout* And it was the hardest of these four to make because I'm so new with layers and it seems simple but it's a lot of work planning each layer. Holy moly.  I have a LOT more understanding and respect for what goes into these awards buttons and for working with layers in general. Miles to go, miles to go....

Anne peach blue     Anne mirror text 03-04)
These two are a bit overly-fancy for real awards buttons; the idea IMO is to create something that the recipient will enjoy receiving, that makes the icon look great but doesn't overwhelm it and these are definitely "overwhelming". But so much fun - I couldn't resist going overboard with reflections and frames to play with the "mirror imagery" of the icon itself.

     Buffy_Anne_angles MORE artwork to come. Here be teasers.

Thanks of course to my beta-muse-god [ profile] wickedbish for selecting my Anne icons to enter. Without him I'm nothing.  Congratulations to [ profile] tempertemper, [ profile] teragramm, [ profile] rua1412, [ profile] iconsoleander and [ profile] kwritten for their winning entries. (Half the fun of that round was guessing who made what, and I guessed [ profile] rua1412, [ profile] teragramm, and [ profile] kwritten's correctly based on my familiarity with their style and subject matter.) Such an amazing round, so many beautiful choices. I feel very fortunate to have won (earned?) Most Creative - to have won anything this round, with so many stunning choices.

My other four Anne entries (2-5) plus extras


# 16 was actually my entry in [ profile] otherworldlyric challenge 176. Didn't win, didn't deserve to, but I had fun making it.  I prefer the "vintage" coloring of 17 & 19.
I wish I had done better on the Willow/Tara (with a little Spuffy on the side) set. I nearly cried looking at that cap from Entropy. My icons are not as good as I wanted them to be and I'd wanted to do right by Willow & Tara because I've so rarely attempted W/T icons, In fact, I've rarely attempted lesbian "imagery" in words or pictures. Making this set I was reminded again that I grew up without a "vocabulary" for expressing love between two women and despite nearly two decades of real life lesbian life, it doesn't come naturally to me.

21)  This one is my favorite of that set - The Body + Entropy. Those kisses were broadcast over a decade ago but two years ago they still brought me to my knees. I wonder if it would have made a difference to me growing up if I'd seen kisses like these on tv in the '80's and had a context, an image for two women in love. Here's the rest of that set plus some extras, of course:



#37 was potential entry to OWL that I decided against. The Tabula Rasa + Entropy icons 25, & 32-36, were better in theory than in practice.
I'm enjoying making larger works lately, in part because my skills are improving; in part because my eyesight has deteriorated to the point that I had to order bifocals last week and can barely see what I'm doing when I make icons lately. (And ye gods I hated typing that sentence, but 'tis true. Better ugly glasses than living in near-blindness.) But also because I like making things that are meant for someone else and for a very specific purpose.

Which won't stop me from making icons, or making bigger works for no other reason than I'm having too much fun. (And I swear I'll return to Willow and Tara another time. I'm determined to come up with something wonderful for them.)

Click on the image below for the full-sized version - and please tell me if that actually works or not.

red_satin_doll: (The Chain)

I wanted to get these out to y'all earlier in the week but sucky life circumstances drained the life out of me for a few days. I'm very grateful for the love and supportive I've gotten this week from my friends here who have offered virtual arms and shoulders to cry on, and let me rant about things various, be it my personal distress so I don't curl up in a fetal position in the corner, or why I prefer Barney Stinson's honest deceptions to Ted Mosby's self-absorbed, pretentious, pseudo-sensitive crap but could never articulate it before.

The lesson, kids, is that none of us is really, truly alone, that it takes courage to say "I hurt" aloud and trust someone to hear that because it's so hard to do. That I have wonderful friends so even if my life is in pieces, I'm not a "bad" person to be so loved. And - upside! - I'm using some downtime to learn new-to-me digital editing skilz. Because I WILL get good enough to make meta-picspams that don't embarrass me, and pretty prezzies for my friends.


*** Voting for Round 1 of [ profile] btvsats20in20 is open until midnight June 16th, if you haven't had the chance to vote already for Themes, Category (B/W),  and Artist's Choice. Looking at the results so far is proof positive that I'm a pretty poor judge of my own stuff. Or other people's I guess because there are some really fantastic icons by folks who happen to not be me that are NOT getting the love they deserve. So says I. I'm not telling you to vote for my stuff, of course, or what stuff by other people to vote for. Really. That would be wrong. But if you chose to catch my mental wavelength and read my mind, then there's just nothing I can do about that, is there?

*** Challenge 26 at [ profile] slayerstillness is "The Same But Different". [ profile] starry_night kindly responded to suggestions from [ profile] teragramm and myself for a challenge that allows multiple icons of the same image. "For this challenge there will also be a slight change to the rules in that I would like you to submit a full set of five (5) icons. Voting will also be different in that you will be voting for your favourite sets, as well as individual icons...For this challenge only (for now…) you can submit up to TWO (2) sets of five icons."   The deadline is midnight Saturday June 21st at our own time zones.

*** [ profile] otherworldlyric Challenge 175 is set to the song "Stay with Me" by Hoobastank, deadline midnight Friday June 20th. I've never heard of the band or the song but the lyrics are simple and lovely and I started making an icon or two or....about 10 or so at this point, and at least three different crops of the same cap. Hmmm... As Willow says to Kennedy in "Get it Done", it's how I work. Ten years ago I made Moulin Rouge icons just for myself - i didn't know about LJ, about icontests or any such thing, so I was just having fun and making multiple variations of any one icon came naturally to me. It's much harder for me participating in challenges and trying to force myself to make fewer icons. So far? It hasn't worked. 5-9x the number I need is pretty much average. (Yes, I did the math.)

If I could have, my entries in Round 1 of [ profile] btvsats20in20 would have been almost entirely variants of The Chain icon.  Speaking of which... my alts/extras for this round. (Did I mention voting ends June 16th?)

Here be teasers:

I know I've mentioned it before but it doesn't hurt to repeat: all credit to [ profile] kwritten credit for introducing me to ipiccy and to [ profile] clockwork_hart1 for giving me instructions in how to make a collage in that program.  I'm not trying to affect anyone's votes btw, and some folks don't want to be bothered with the blah-de-blah (if I weren't me I'd tell me to STFU) so I've grouped the icons first, directors commentary track afterwards - your choice to read it or not.

Here be Icons:










( 31-35)




And here be Artist's Commentary Track:

#01 -08 This set was such fun and my favorites of all my entries. Making them was like discovering the key to a door I'd never been able to unlock before. #1-3 are basically the same icon, with the addition of the Photo Collage effect from ipiccy. IThe exact arrangement, number/size of the photos, size and color of frames, the color of background and color within the frames all had to be chosen separately. Then I took #2 back to PB and used the Splash function to remove all the color and repaint some of the squares. (#3) Great practice in hand-eye co-ordination, especially redrawing the blood on her cheek while leaving the rest of the square grey.

For  both #4 and my Comics entry I had to go back to the original icon #1, and readjust the arrangement and number of photos within the image each time, chose the color within the frames and the background colors separately. #4 has smaller "photos" and thus less background showing; I also learned something very important - don't bisect key facial features (nose and lips) right down the center.

For my final Comics entry I recolored and reshuffled everything, then added a separate light leak effect, something I see in icons all the time and have wondered how it was done. (Every week now I find myself looking at an icon and saying "I know how that was done!" And every day I look at an icon and say "How the heck was that done?") Photo Collage is a tricky effect; it's easy to overdo, but it doesn't mesh well with very realistic photographs because it has a very cartoon-like "drawn" or fake quality.  With an icon from a comic book illustration, it's a perfect marriage.

#09-11 My first successful attempts at "blending" - really collage; I didn't know how to blend images seamlessly. And by "successful" I mean, "nominally better than a sharp stick in the eye".The effect reminded me those graphic movie magazines I grew up with in the 1970's but really not satisfied with the quality of it. I tried using a light effect from ipiccy to cover up the dividing line. It didn't work, but it looks like a prompt for a nifty "Cave Buffy and newly resurrected Buffy are thrown into an alternative universe together" fic. Anyone want to take that up?

Cave Buffy sort of skirts the edges of my claim (not really-real Buffy) but when I rewatched Beer Bad the second time after watching season 6, the visual parallels with Bargaining were one of those "once you see it you can't unsee it" things. Exhibit A in my "Beer Bad is aweseom and fandom doesn't give it respect" argument.

#12-17 First time with textures.  #12 is the color version of my Cat #4 (black/white) entry and I think it works better with color. Poor Cat #4 - the only one of my entries not to draw any comment when I posted them and no surprise, it's my least favorite too. 14 is a combination of provided texture plus shine (rays of light) effect, which is where the yellow color comes from. These aren't pretty but they remind me of the artwork of William Blake and his friend and contemporary Henry Fuseli. Also, I apparently love to combine textures with the Shine effect because they both show up in three of my entries, separately or together. Should I be worried?

#17 was just sharpen, sharpen, lighten, blend the pixels, push the contrast, sharpen, blend one more time. I didn't realize how soft-focus the original cap is until I started playing with it. (If you are unaware of my feelings regarding Normal Again and Sarah's amazing performance in it, you must be new here. Welcome! Have a cookie!

#18-23 More provided texture plus shine effect, then pushing the color. I don't remember how I got those bands of purple in the Primeval icons (another applied texture maybe? I have no idea) and I couldn't have planned the way it goes directly into her eyeballs and curves around her chin. Happy accidents. These icons have a particular immediacy for me because I have epilepsy and a seizure is essentially an electrical surge in my brain that temporarily shorts everything out; I have no control over my own body. "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" And that's what I wanted to evoke visually - the sense of things gone haywire, the horror of losing control of one's own body.

#24-27 These icons from Amends and The Wish show how well some of the early season caps can be lightened without pixelating. I'm still surprised by how much detail I got - the pores on the skin, the makeup around her eye, the lines on her scar. The sadness on Wishverse!Buffy's face isn't noticeable in the original cap, which is very dark, but comes through when it's lightened ands took me by surprise. It's perfect - the lonely, wounded girl behind the tough exterior. She's not "Buffy as Faith" as some fans have said; Faith is full of piss and fire and would have emptied Giles' decanter and stolen another bottle for good measure. This girl, she's General Buffy, foreshadowed, but still very much Buffy. I really took the guideline "must show detail" to heart for the XCU - I was going to get every pore on her face if it killed me.

The softness and sheen of her hair and skin in the Amends icons is incredibly lovely in these and belies the horror of the moment. I turned the orientation of the cap to show off her expression better. She almost looks as if she is running very fast and shouting in alarm something in the distance, i
nstead of lying in bed being killed/devoured by Angel in his dream. The man clings to her as his salvation, his second chance to be a good man; the demon  would gleefully suck her dry. (Be careful what you wish for...)

#28-30 As with the Amends icon, I love the contrast of the warmth of this imagine and the context of the scene: "That's my guy." All these effects were done in ipiccy. I wanted the look of a drawing for 31-32 but I didn't like the Pencil Drawing effect in ipiccy, so I used the lines of one of the Light effects and removed the color. A lot of icon making for me is about trying to go around the back door to get what I want.

The First wearing Buffy's face is the (non-corporeal) manifestation of Buffy's fear of becoming a demon, inhuman, from "Nightmares" in S1 through S6, as well as soulless Spike's desires that she "try on my world for size". The fantastic, bitter irony of the formerly soulless vampire demon who once wanted her to be his companion, his lover, alone in the dark, needs the real Buffy - needs her humanity - more than ever to help him escape the darkness and evil he'd encouraged her to embrace. (Be careful what you wish for....)

#31-35 "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" series - the title of Keat's ballad is perfect for Faith's dream image of Buffy in TYG; the font is Princess Sophia in PB. I spent more time, and threw away more attempts, on this set than any other for the round. Beautiful images but the caps are so damn dark, and unlike the early season caps they don't emerge nicely when you brighten them, they just pixilate. I finally realized that when I downsize an image in ipiccy I get slightly better results in ipiccy than in PB because ipiccy seems to retain the quality of the image a bit better, but I still had to downsize and adjust in increments.

Tons of blending work - I bow low to the wisdom of [ profile] comlodge's sage advice - especially on Sarah's nose, as well as on the background. Dear god, chasing that last little pixel at the tip of her nostril nearly drove me insane. I am well on my way to becoming the foremost expert on Sarah's nose - second to only her ENT doctor. (And look, Ma, I finally signed one of my icons! *lol*)

#36-42 From Nightmares - another reason you need to watch Season 1 if you haven't already. The seeds for the entire series are planted in S1, and Nightmares might just be the skeleton key to the psychology of Buffy Summers. (And it pays dividends down the line for Willow Rosenberg fans as well.) I hated losing that brick wall. Kicking myself for not paying better attention to the guidelines of that catagory. The NS+mono I entered with the shine effect has been getting almost the most votes of any of my entries but dear goodness me I loved the lines and texture of that brick wall. No special effects needed except brighten, sharpen and contrast. The "flames" of color revealed themselves. I painted in the silhouette with black to cover lighter pixels dotting her face and clothes.

#43-45 What's a brick wall without a little graffiti, even in the Hellmouth? Especially in the Hellmouth? Buffy the Ad Exec Slayer - there has GOT to be a btvs-Mad Men crossover somewhere.  The phrase "She Comes" is the result of me mis-remembering Lord Byron's poem "She Walks in Beauty" but for this context I prefer my version - it could be hopeful (Make way for the Queen!) or sinister (Run for your lives!).

red_satin_doll: (Summers Family Portrait S5 RSD)
ETA: [ profile] bangel_4e notified me that my original entries for NS+Mono and Artists Choice 1 were not qualified so I've switched them out. Let me know what you think.

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

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


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

Alts and extras to be posted separately.

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

red_satin_doll: (Chosen One - purple)
What it says on the tin: voting is up now for 10 terrific entries in the latest [ profile] btvs_hush challenge 273 (Becoming).  The deadline for voting is Sunday the 25th, 8pm EST (North America); but if you're reading this right post you might as well go ahead and take another minute to vote right now because if you're anything like me you'll tell yourself you'll do it later, get totally distracted with ten different fanfics (shiny!) work projects and the deadline will slip right by before you know it.

Unless you're organized and have a terrific memory ergo, not like me in any way whatsoever. Lucky you.

While I'm here I might as well take the opportunity to trot out the icons I made for [ profile] btvs_hush challenge # 257 last August.  My timing was spectacularly horrible. True story: I entered three icons for Challenge C, "blades" on August 14th because it seemed like a really fun idea; who doesn't love the Buffyverse women cracking out weapons of destruction? (Or maybe that's just me.)

1) 2) 3)

Then August 19th my sweetie's bedroom went up in flames. Neither one of us died (the good news).

WInners were announced on September 1st: delicately beautiful icons by [ profile] xclaire_delunex and [ profile] rua1412 of horrible moments in Tough Love.

I wasn't really disappointed. Just tired, stressed out, living for two weeks in a tent in our front yard (that I pitched myself I will have you know), bandaging my sweetie's burned hand and foot, trying hard not to have flashbacks or at least not be too upset by them, and dealing with incredible back and leg pain because I retraumatized an injury that had not yet healed from the prior November and totally wasting that epidural I had in March which hurt like hell all by itself....

Add to all that the embarrasment of trying to answer (or dodge) everyone's queries about the fire, and the knowledge that I nearly killed my ladylove. She nearly died because of me, because of a stupid freak spark that turned the mattress into a firebomb. That knowledge is something I will live with for the rest of my life. She was frightened, hysterical, trying to fight an unbeatable fire when the sensible thing to do would be run away; I was begging her to leave the bedroom and had to drag her out with an assist from my landlord just as the firetrucks arrived. She nearly died and I did that. I'm sorry about the property damage, Mr Landlord, I truly am; but your walls and floorboards pale in comparison to her life. To anyone's life. That's on me.


But enough of that....Now I look at these entries and think, meh, I wouldn't have voted for me either. Especially now that I'm trying to improve my icon and image making skilz and can barely stand to look at some things I did even a few months ago. Or even a week ago. Now that I've had a chance to use the sharpening tool in I'm embarrassed by the fuzziness and lack of clarity of #1 & 3.

I still kind of fancy #2 though; I'd seen icons of Willow with her "bag of knives" in Glory's apartment many times, but I wanted to focus just on the knives themselves, and increased brightness and saturation to give it an incongruously bright and cheerful Technicolor or cartoon effect.  Some alternate efforts I didn't enter, including images from Spiral, which I think I love more than fandom does generally, the hokiness of the Knights Who Say Key notwithstanding; Anne icons and my first effort at Joyce in School Hard which is pretty horrible. But, hey, shiny red ax! Bright blue window!

I wasn't thinkng at the time about the parallels/echoes between Joyce protecting Buffy in School Hard, and Buffy protecting Dawn in Spiral; it's just one of those things that's there, whether I'm conscious of it or not, and lies at the base of why I love those Summers women. Fighting, protecting, to the point death and beyond - I get that.

4) 5) 6) 7) 8)

*As always - want? Take, have - with proper credit please! And also, letting me know is not necessary but totally cool*
red_satin_doll: (Chosen One - purple)
Congratulations to the winners of [ profile] slayerstillness challenge #23 "Simplicity, it works for me": [ profile] shameless666, [ profile] rua1412, [ profile] kwritten, [ profile] teragramm, [ profile] tempertemper, and [ profile] debris4spike!  There were 35 wonderful entries this round, which did not make voting any easier.  Both the submission and the voting threads have been unlocked by [ profile] starry_night, and I don't know about you but I think it's fun to look at those after the fact. (It's entirely possible I need to reconsider my concept of "fun", but never mind that.) And my apologies for taking so long to post this; it's not that I'd forgotten, it's that it takes me a week to put up a single post. Yes, I am that disorganized.

I want to give [ profile] tempertemper's lovely Angel icon a special shout-out because I didn't vote for it but nearly did. That was an agonizing decision not to because because only five slots to fill/would have if I'd voted a day later or five minutes earlier or if the moon had been in Capricorn. You know the drill. When the quality is so good across the board and there are so many choices, which means pretty much on a regular basis with these icontests, the notion of "best" is to a degree a moot point vs just make a damn choice already because someone else is waiting to get on the damn 'puter.

Whoever said "no regrets" obviously never voted in an icontest.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH to [ profile] starry_night for very graciously and patiently answering all my questions as always, on top of all the work she does to run these challenges. After a few weeks' absence from icon making or icontests, I was apparently in uber-pest mode. The only things I didn't ask were "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" and "Can I have a soda?"  I'm pretty sure she would have handled those questions with grace and aplomb as well.

Deadline for the next round is Friday May 16th, midnight your time zone.

My submissions: It probably wasn't hard to tell which were mine. 1) Buffy, Buffy, Buffy, and a little more Buffy for good measure - check  2) Use of frames esp the "torn paper" frame and/or the "vintage photo" San Carmen effect in PB - check  3) extreme contrast and rich saturation, chiaroscuro, or muted tonalities - check,  4) "illustrative" effects to create the appearance of drawings, paintings, woodcuts, vintage book cover art, etc - check

1) 2)   3) 4)
The prompt was "simplicity" - no heavy textures. I interpreted the San Carmen effect in #1 & 4 as a "light" texture but in hindsight I probably should have asked. #2 looks like I did something fancy but it's really just pushing saturation, color temperature and contrast to extremes to get an effect that reminded me slightly of something from  children's book covers from a few decades ago.

The only entry here for which there are no variations after the cut is #4 - it is the one and only. It's not often I am that satisfied in one attempt, and all that one needed was push the brightness and contrast, then add San Carmen effect. Done. Sarah's face is so beautiful as-is.  The other day [ profile] kikimay and I were talking about how lovely Buffy during that period of the series, before Joyce's death and the tremendous pressures of protecting Dawn from a Hellgod AND from Giles, keeping her promise to her mother and saving the world, steals the laughter from her life and the light from her eyes.

The other icons I made but didn't submit; I really had a lot of fun making these and playing with variations and effects.  With the Anne icons from Buffy's guilt-plagued nightmare, particularly 2 and 11-22, I was initially trying to capture the way grief can often feel - I'm suffering and yet the world goes on; there is beauty everywhere but I can't feel it; the sun is still shining and the birds are still singing. How is that possible? For 11-13 and 21 I borrowed from "Ken's" dialogue in the episode "What is Hell but the absence of Hope?" 14-15 use Spike's comment in Smashed "Poor little lost girl". I thought the phrase suited Buffy beautifully here but when I used it in it's entirety all I could hear was Spike's sniggering tone and felt like I was likewise mocking her; removing the word "poor" solved that. For 16 & 22 the cliche phrase from old travel postcards takes on very different meaning in this context.

5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10)

11) 12) 13) 14)

15) 16) 17) 18)

19) 20) 21) 22)

Look at #3, and 23-25 carefully; you can just see Buffy's (Sarah's?) teeth bared, lips curled back in a hiss as she (or the demon who has taken her form) rasps her accusations to Willow and Tara ("Did you pat it's head before you slit it's throat?") in one of the most nightmarish scenes of that season.  I tried very hard to get rid of that "reverse shadow" of her mouth but wasn't able to; and then decided I rather liked it. #27 does not have a text overlay; that's just what happened when I pushed the color saturation to an extreme.

23) 24) 25)
26) 27)  28)  29) 30)
red_satin_doll: (Thinky Thoughts)

All this talk of icons, editing platforms and fanart the last week, plus icontests and enjoying other people's work, has made me hungry got some thinky-thoughts a'flowin:

Imagine voting at any fanfiction awards site (WGA, SunnyD, RWSA, NRFTW, NAFTA, AoLA, etc) where all the work is listed anonymously. I am of course excluding juried situations which are sometimes but not always "blind". (In many cases IRL, this may be as much to protect from biases for/against gender, ethnicity, color, etc.)

Can you imagine a list of fic nominees with titles and no authors listed? Of course not. I can't either.  But we do it all the time - on a weekly basis in fact - at icon challenges.

In fact, on one level it might be argued that whenever we publish work using pseudonyms, screennames or what we oldsters used to call "pennames" ("keyboardnames"?), then those stories are de facto anonymous in the real world, but that's another conversation altogether. (Or is it? Anonymity and women not being given credit for their work has always been a feminist issue. Are we protecting ourselves by using pseudonyms in fandom, or just playing into larger cultural patterns? I suspect that's a discussion for another time but worth pondering.)

In the past I've been kind of a fiend to obey the rules of which clearly state that icons must not have been previously posted anywhere else, and we're not to let other people know which are ours. The icons are all posted without the creator's names to allow for "unbiased" voting, right?

I got so anxious about it I even teasingly mock-scolded one of my friends *cough*[ profile] kikimay*cough* (poor woman!) on the subject. I tried to figure out how to make my icons "less recognizable" by not using certain fonts or framing devices, etc. This was especialy challenging with Photobucket, which has a primitive editing suite with a very finite number of choices. When anonymity was becoming a consideration over artistry in my choices, I realized it was becoming a problem.

I was also certain I was alone in my anxieties on the subject until I saw a comment by someone else in fandom, who makes beautiful icons the way I make breakfast for my sweetie -  that is to say, on a regular basis - express concern that one of their icons was recognizable. As it happens, I have guessed some of their icons correctly on a couple of occasions; and other times I've assumed it was their's and got it completely wrong. No one person "owns" a particular character, color scheme, font or effect, as it happens, although we each have preferences.

Not that knowing or not knowing mattered to me. Did I vote differently because I thought I knew which icons this person did? No, of course not. I voted for the work in front of me.

More conversation - and icons - a'comin' . Here's a little appetizer:  

I'm confident of this because quality of the work is paramont to me. It has to be. I've had occasion to be a judge or on selection committees since college for written publications, fandom awards, and independent film festivals, going back a couple of decades to college. I had to learn and am still learning to walk that tightrope of constructive criticism that is fair and impartial but doesn't lose sight of the fact that there is another person waiting anxiously for feedback.

That doesn't mean I get it right all the time, or even most of the time, but it's something I keep sight of pretty fiercely. When I've been a fiction judge or a beta, I may LOVE an author. They may be my dearest friend in the world - in fact, I've been Muse (beta) for several of my best friend's novels and at least one book of poetry for several years - or at any rate someone I trust, respect, treasure.

The fact of my feelings for them has to yet to win anyone a first place or even a runner-up award. Even when it comes to nominations, I'm not going to throw a name out there if I don't believe the work has sufficient merit.

And I expect the same in return because I trust the folks on my f'list to have enough taste, discernment, and intellegence to vote for the work, not for me. I trust that they are bringing all of their talents, experiences and hard-earned skills in art in any medium to bear when they push the button. In fact I'd be horrified if I won an award for crap just because it got the most votes and I feel certain anyone reading this would as well.

Now does that mean I'll haul off afterwards and say "I didn't vote for your work, sorry, I liked this other one better"? HELL NO. Not unless asked specifically ask me. Which nobody does, btw. Not even me. I am more apt to wonder why  the hell you voted for me when so and so's work was so much better. Which is, in essence a slur on your tastes and criteria because they are different than mine. See how tricky that can get? When in doubt, shut my mouth.

Just to be clear, this is NOT a manifesto to the hard-working fandom icontest mods "Change your rules!"  Goodness, no. Your comm - your rules. Period and end of sentence. As long as I participate in icontests I will abide by those rules. I like the challenge, surprising myself; I like getting the juices flowing, I like the focus that prompts provide and I love seeing what other people come up with. And I'd be a liar if I said I don't enjoy winning now and then because I do. I like it, my ego likes it, my tender little heart likes it.  Who doesn't? But I can't let any concern about being recognized or winning/not winning because of that inform my artistic choices. The fact that I've recently been introduced to four new online editing sites gives me a much wider sandbox to play in; but at the end of the day there are still certain choices or stylistic qualities that are recognizable signatures

The bottom line here is, I love you all, I cherish you my darling f'list, but when it comes to having to vote in contests I am ALL ABOUT THE WORK. Period. Whether there's a name attached to it or not.

Now that you've made it this far (no fair cheating and jumping all the way to the end, 'kay?), let's have some tea and cake more icons just for fun!

Why yes, I FINALLY made some icons of VampWillow (excluding my "Lesbian Vampire Seal of Approval Icon, of course). I know it's an iconic image but somethings are iconic for a reason., It's a great shot and I had to start somewhere, right? Also I have been trying to keep the wonderful Willow fans on my f'list in mind. You're welcome. All made entirely or principally in Photobucket unless specified. 1-5 are by reverse order of creation.

1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

6) 7)   8)

I was using #6 for a while as my primary Willow icon but traded it in for one by [ profile] spikesredqueen. I still like it - no fancy effects except what was already onscreen plus increased saturation and brightness - but the resolution leaves something to be desired.  #8 was another possible entry for the recent slayerstillness prompt (negative space) that I missed.

9) 10) 11) 12)

#9 is actually about a year old, another one I have mixed feelings about. LOVE the Buffy hairporn, the quality of a pencil drawing rather than photograph but again, there's the clarity issue. I tried that one again and couldn't get anything better in PB; the cap is just a tad too dark for my liking.

The "steal" from Never Leave Me in #12 is definitely deliberate. And it's not intended a a shipping statement on my part but anyone who ships the two of them is more than welcome to snag it for their own nefarious purposes. Willow's life changed forever when Buffy "took notice" of her. (Consider icons #1-5 "Exhibit A".)

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