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*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 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".)