Chosen One - purple

Reaching Out & Holding In - My Icons for Otherworld Lyrics Challenge #165 (All 38 of Them)

I really can't say this enough: Thank you to everyone who voted for my entries in OWL's Challenge #165!

Congratulations to the other winners xclaire_delunex and kwritten - to be considered anywhere near the same distinguished company is amazing.
Thank you again to wickedbish (Ryan) for your time and opinions - and for being a better judge of my own work than I am. BETAS DO NOT GET ENOUGH LOVE. There needs to be a national "Hug A Beta!" holiday. (I'm just throwin' it out there, plantin' a seed....)

Thank you to dragonydreams for banners that makes my icon look better than it did before. (The careful color-matching you did for each of the banners? Gorgeous.) And for all the time, dedication and work of running otherworldlyric because I'm having way too much fun with it.  Sarah McLaughlin's "World on Fire" was a terrific choice for a song prompt; any fragment of the lyrics is applicable to BtVS in about a million directions. Coming up with ideas this time around wasn't the problem; the problem this time was having far too many ideas. Most of them never came to fruition but I want to return to those projects later.

And by "fun" I mean "a helluva lotta pain and angst and lady-love for both the Summers Sisters and oh Willow no come back to the light and OMG their faces! Their expressions! Their courage and love and effed-up-ness I can't even!" **sobs and makes 40+ icons** In other words, my kind of fun. If I can't "crack out an axe" (to steal a phrase from clockwork_hart1 ) in defense of my beloved characters, at least I can crack out some icons:



THE SUBMISSIONS: And now I will show off ALL my babies and TALK about them! A lot! You have been warned!

1)  2) 3)



1) I was really surprised when Ryan singled out #1 of the 40+ I sent him for consideration. This was the first time I almost argued with his choices; it's still not my favorite of this set by a long shot.  All I can see is the flaws. The image isn't sharp enough to my liking; the font is one I've done too many times before. It doesn't have the emotional punch for me personally that the other two entries do. I wanted the moment in Grave that got more of Dawn and Buffy equally in the frame, holding their swords back to back, but didn't have the right cap for it. Et cetera


That moment may be corny and make no sense but screw logic and sense; it's one of the (very) few moments in the last three episodes I remotely even liked. I freaking cheered when Dawn picked up the sword, not that her courage was any surprise whatsoever (Listening to Fear, The Gift, Bargaining...etc). Watching the late seasons I wanted to watch more of that, of those sisters and warriors fighting and growing up side by side, the same and yet very different people than they were in S5. I hoped that Season 7 would focus more on the two of them. I wanted more Summers sisters interaction as intensely as I wanted more mother-daughter interaction S1-5. And for a little while it seemed like S7 was going that way....and then....it didn't; just as S5 delighted me with Joyce's increased presence...and then she was killed off. *le sigh*


2) I actually like the Dawn-Buffybot one to a terrible degree, even though it's the simplest and least "artistic". Dawn's face kills me - that moment is so sad and understandable and yet a bit creepy. Her mother and sister are dead, her "real" father is absent and her symbolic father figure is lost in his own grief? She has no one to cuddle up to but a freakin' robot? Break my heart NOW.  And maybe it's just my sick brain but there's almost something slightly incestuous about the image, if you don't know that's the Buffybot? Or is it just me?


4) 5)


In hindsight though I wish I'd submitted #4 above instead of #2: Dawn standing on Glory's tower in Bargaining, trying to prevent her sister from committing suicide (again). Season 6 ends with Xander "talking Willow down" and that moment gets all sorts of fandom love. But it starts with Dawn talking Buffy down and WHERE is the love for that moment? For the de facto orphan, a 15(16?) year old girl who  has NO "special powers", no training or experience, and is armed only with determination, courage and fierce love? Anything less than absolute RESPECT for this incredible girl in that flawless moment will not do here.

But as far as the icon itself goes, this time I wasn't happy with the placement of the text. I'm sorry I didn't make a version without text because the moment doesn't really need it.  #5 is completely "meh" by comparison. I feel nothing. I can't tell you why I just know it doesn't work.


3) My favorite of the three entries is Buffy on the stairs in After Life. I like the way the cropping, frame and the text work together to close in around her, echoing her gesture. She's out of that coffin physically but psychologically is another matter altogether. I think the red on her knuckles is just enough, not overplayed. I did an entire series of this scene and oddly enough her hand looks more realistic, like raw meat, in the sized-down icons than it did on the tv screen or the larger caps.

I have a crazy stupid amount of love for Bargaining/Afterlife, which I tend to think of as a single unit (just as I lump the last three eps of S6 together - except with loads of seething hate.) The expression of shame on her face - not guilt, there is a degree of difference - her awkward posture and gestures, her silence, her bloodied knuckles, everything about her in that moment wrenches my heart no matter how many times I see it. I can barely even look at her then. So of course I made multiple versions of it. (Below)


This moment, and the scene before it with Dawn tenderly cleaning and dressing her in the bathroom, calls back to pre-Sunnydale "bitty Buffy" in Passions. She's standing before a mirror, listening to her parents argue in another room with a similar expression of shame - shame for who or what she inherently is, as opposed to "guilt" for something she has done. That's an emotion I know only too well. Once it slithers inside of you, it becomes such a constant that half the time you don't even recognize it; or you try to fight it, to make it go away; you indulge in excesses, you take actions that you feel guilty about afterwards, and thus more ashamed, so you do something else you feel guilty and ashamed about until the two are insparably intertwined with one another.


What must she think, what can she be thinking, in Bargaining and After Life? She's lived one of her greatest fears for the second time in the series (Nightmares, S1), crawling out of her own grave like the demons she has to kill, in this war she was drafted into as the lone soldier.  Is she therefore unclean, monstrous? Was she rejected by Heaven, spat out from it because she was unworthy of it? Even after she knows the truth, might she ever wonder if the spell worked because Heaven let her go because she didn't deserve to be there after all?
6) 7) 8)
9) 10) 11) 12)

13) 14)



I wish I had more icon space in my userpics for one of these. I submitted #3 because Ryan picked out, but I could have submitted any other instead in a heartbeat, with the exception of the last two. #14 has the same problem as #5 - my ability to manipulate text within and around an object in Photobucket is extremely limited. Or maybe I'm just lousy at it and/or the concept sucked to begin with. Your thoughts, Gentle Reader?
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But I really didn't go into this intending to do Buffy or Dawn icons. No, really, I swear to you. I wanted to stretch myself a bit and work with Willow. I had plans for images from Bargaining, Smashed, Anne, New Moon Rising and Wild at Heart; Willow by herself, with Tara and Oz...LOTSA ideas. Few came to fruition.

I really appreciate it when someone in fandom who doesn't particularly love Buffy nevertheless focuses on her in art or fic and gets her right, for all her wonderful and not-so-great qualities. (Likewise, I appreciate it when someone who considers themselves a "Bangel" or a "Spuffy" is nonetheless able to give the other guy and her relationship with them it's due, without feeling the need to deny or diminish one at the expense of the other.)

And I want to be able to do the same myself for other characters. Willow was the first character I identified with in the series, although I never felt in love with her the way I did with Buffy. That I identified more with Willow in the early seasons, when her self-esteem is lowest (barring S7) and more with Buffy in the late season when her self-confidence declines, probably says something about me I'm reluctant to fully contemplate. But I want to find that appreciation for Willow again. And there's a lot of folks on my flist who are Willow fans who help me remember the good and even great things about her character. But I didn't get excited by the images of Willow, even though I had the ideas, the way I did with Buffy and Dawn.

I really wish the Willow set had come out better. Maybe it's easier for me to work with a subject I have a lot of passion and emotional connection to. Give me time. kwritten captured exactly what I wanted and more with her entry #5. Check out her flawless post for her analysis of her Willow icon along with the rest of her icons for this challenge. (Then check out spikesredqueen's post with her entire set of beauties for this challenge including the second-place winner. So many choices and this is part of my pain, don'cha see?)


15)   16)  17) 18)

19)
20)  21)



I nearly submitted #15 or 16, and I still like them both quite a bit. The ironic contrast of "fire" with the water from the shower, a llteral and symbolic "waterhose" in this image from Smashed is more interesting than my original plan to use a cap from Willow in Rack's den. If Buffy "wants the fire back" then Willow, by contrast, tries to control a conflagration that threatens to burn her up from the inside.


#17 - 21 OTOH are "meh" for me. I kind of like the composition of #17 in theory but this is a very important "point of no return" in Willow's arc - and I focus on her bosom? What am I, a lezzie or something? (Oh. wait...)  19 & 20 are interesting mostly as bookends in terms of comparison with one another, with how much Willow has changed in three years, rather than interesting in and of themselves. The difference between Willow in Anne and Bargaining is enormous: the distance between "playacting" the role of a confident Slayer, putting on a "role" instead of a costume; and actually taking on the responsibility (and headaches) of leadership. The power is now "her's alone to wield"  but it's still an impossible position for any one person regardless of who wields it.


I had to give up on the Willow idea because it just wasn't working. I felt like I was "dissing" her in some way, and that wasn't what I wanted. What I wanted to depict was how hard she was trying, how much she was trying to bring to the fight with almost zero guidance, how she was bringing everything she had to bear "to the table". I absolutely believe that she thought she was doing the right thing when she resurrected Buffy; she had no reason to think Buffy wasn't in Hell, suffering endless centuries of torment the way Angel had after Buffy killed him. (I'm not arguing right or wrong here, and I don't deny other motivations but as much as I want to throttle Willow sometimes, I can't get into the Willow-hate any more than I can the Dawn/Buffy/Joyce/Kennedy/misc female character hate. But I can't get into the Glory-hate either, so take that as you will.)


And is it a surprise that it all goes awry, that her moral compass doesn't point true north? No. Look at her parents, at their benign neglect, at the way they encourage her intelligence and achievement but discourage her from asking too many questions: live up to your potential but don't go beyond it. And by "parents" I don't just mean Sheila and Ira Rosenberg. Rupert Giles had decades of history and experience with the demon world and magic (if we ignore the Witch in S1). He could have steered Willow to mentors to groom her, train her; he certainly could have payed more attention to her - to all the SG, for that matter. How much Xander might have blossomed from the encouragement of an interested adult male role model, which he so very desperately needed, we can only speculate.


In both Anne and Bargaining we see the one parental figure of the group - Giles - absorbed in his pain, his guilt and grief, and in both episodes the SG - young children from dysfunctional homes, every one of them - are more or less left to their own devices. He doesn't abandon Buffy and Dawn only in S6; he abandons all of his "children" - but then again he'd always been "blind" all along, perhaps willfully so. Willow's accusations in Something Blue and Grave are not without merit - and will be echoed by Spike in Touched.


Before you think I hate Giles (which I don't), I'm also aware of that his upbringing was perhaps not at all unlike Willow's, or Buffy and Dawn's for that matter. He came from an educated family that took care of his physical needs to the exclusion of his emotional ones.  They attempted to control him and raised him to be a Watcher as his father was, without regard for the boy's own needs or desires. We learn very little about his family but what we do hear from him, and his own personality, suggest a detachment or distance from his parents, as with Willow to her own. It's not the physical abuse we associate with the Harris or Maclay families but rather an emotional rather than physical "abandonment". (Let's set aside for a moment the fact that the show stereotypically assigns certain types of abuse or neglect to certain socio-economic strata.) And so the abandoned child abandons their own children who abandons their children in turn and so on...until someone finally breaks the cycle.


So it's also no suprise, IMO, that Willow is uttery unprepared for what she "unearths" when she resurrects Buffy; she is not prepared to play the part of "sire" to her "childe", who is left to her own defenses. And the cycle continues.....

Speaking of:
22) 23)  
Another disappointing failure IMO. Ryan liked the first one more than I did; I think Willow looks like an elf - maybe a missing character from LoTR? Everyone has feelings about this scene in All The Way and it's aftermath, and so do I. One of which is that this arguement, like many others in this series, are so much more incredibly believable as actual arguements than what I've seen on most tv shows. And holy cheese on a cracker do I know arguements, inside and out: the sudden snap of rage, the irrationality, everything spiralling out of control and all parties bunkering down in their positions, everyone talking and nobody listening.


Two girls from abusive and/or controlling families who have never seen or experienced anything resembling a happy, healthy functional love relationship between partners (children learn what they are modeled); both with pedantic or conservative  streaks in them, by nature and nuture - it's no wonder things start to "fall apart" rather rapidily between them, not once but twice in the series. Especially when initial haze of infatuation and romance or, in S6, the "second honeymoon", wears off and the real power struggles begin. You cannot have two people occupying the same position of power within a relationship at all times or, if it's possible, I've yet to see it.


See, I can see all the things that go wrong in their relationship, and all that is wrong in Buffy and Spike's, in S6, I can see it all and not condone the worst of it - but I understand every bit of it. It's painful to watch it all play out and it should be. It was painful to watch as a child in my family, and painful to live it now. Because on some level I see myself, my mom and her husbands, and my own relationship with my partner* in all four of those characters and both those relationships although the dynamics differ in each case.  I honestly wish I didn't understand. So what, then, do I do with it? "Keep trying" is the only answer I've got.

(That said - Tara and WIllow are very different dynamics than Buffy and Spike. Please do not tell me they are exactly the same, or that Tara is somehow partly responsible for Willow's actions in S6. I have a lot of tolerance for diverse opinions but that's a line in the sand for me and I will take away the tea and cookies. So just don't go there, okay? Great. Thank you. Have a cookie?)


THE ALSO-RANS: Some of the other icons I almost submitted - I really like all of these, but again I have an emotional attachment so YMMV.      
   

24)     25)    26) 27)


I don't even know what to say here, actually, especially about #24. Do I NEED to? (And at this point you are no doubt screaming "NO! STOP THE MADNESS!" Sorry, too late.) Basically, what I said above about the After Life set? All that. I'm especially pleased by the emotional impact of #24-25 as well as the final result. #25 is one of my favorite icons of any I've ever made. I even made a version of it without the text and it works just as well. I really bumped up the saturation brightness and toned down the saturation for a very different look from the original cap.  #26 OTOH I only had to manipulate slightly - I believe the scene is of the demons and a chained-up Buffybot from Buffy's distorted POV. I think if you squint hard enough you might still be able to see Buffybot just left of center.



Also what I said about Willow being unprepared to look after her "childe" applies here - and not that she possibly could be, given her upbringing and her distant parents! No one was prepared. Not even my beloved "perfect, saintly" Tara; the person who saw that Faith wasn't Buffy in Season 4 without having met either one of them, never notices that anything is amiss in S6 until she's all but smacked in the face with it, twice (OAFA, Dead Things.) But I hurt so much for Buffy anyway. Watching her scream and cry, then claw her way out of her own coffin - an experience she's already lived through once - is one of the most horrifying things I've ever seen in any tv show or movie, bar none.



28) 29)
Yes, I did a Spuffy icon. Permission to scoop your jaws off the floor granted. (Sexual or romantic "shipping" really isn't the primary lens by which I view this series, just one many.)  I hate that episode but oh god that scene - and again, her face! So raw, so painful...things can't possibly continue the way they have and she knows it; deep inside she knows. Another one I almost submitted, and am really happy with the result.

I enjoy manipulating photographs until they look like drawings, paintings, or perhaps book illustrations/covers from the first half of the 20th century. The best way to achieve that look in Photobucket, I find, is to continually push saturation, light and contrast to eliminate some of the fine details and focus on outlines. I didn't realize the framing device overlapped the bottom of  "we become" until after I finished them, but I'm not terribly bothered by it because it suits the idea of being diminished by one's own actions. (And oh god my heart is twisting again. Those beautiful, foolish children dragging themselves and one another to Hell. Ugh.)



FINALLY, THE "MEH" GROUP, aka "They were never contenders".


30) 31) 33)

Ryan said #30 didn't quite work. He was not wrong. Although my reasons for thinking that probably differ from his - thematically for him, aesthetically for me. Sarah looks gorgeous in the original screencap, from Flooded; her profile reminds me portrait paintings of Italian women from the 15th century, such as Domenico Ghirlandaio's Giovanna degli Albizzi Tornabuoni, c. 1488. When I sized it down her face just looked odd to me (esp around the mouth and cheeks) and the outline of her face is pixelated. Too bad.
32) 34) 35) 36)



#36 is Dawn leading Buffybot around at the school fair in Bargaining. In that episode I'm really struck by the fact that Buffybot essentially "extends" S5's theme of illness, incapacity, and how the burdens of caretaking in families fall disproportionately to women.  Earlier in the episode Willow has to prevent Buffybot from walking into a wall because her "circuitry" is damaged, which is a very interesting metaphor for someone who is mentally or neurologically incapacitated, such as someone suffering from Alzheimer's or brain damage - the role Tara took on in S5. This is obvious in the original cap but the meaning was lost when I cropped the image.


Also, #32? Just to be clear, I don't "ship" Buffy/Giles. (You know that, right?)  To me (and, um, a little thing called "canon") they are absolutely father-daughter....and speaking of, have you read il_mio_capitano's harsh, tender, stunning re-write of Tabula Rasa, "Holding On"? If not, you simply must. It's probably one of my all-time favorite BtVS fanfics.
37) 38)



Whenever I do an icon from Anne it's always a nod to norwie2010 - and this shot of Buffy in Anne has already been "done" a hundred times before. But I love it anyway - just as I love that entire episode; it's one of my favorites to play with image-wise. I brightened the cap quite a lot, bumped up saturation and the colors emerged beautifully, as did the light framing Buffy's hair and arm. The passivity implied by the lyrics, however, contradicts the action in the image.


And the Anne was is - "not my best work" is an understatement. But her expression of disbelief is fantastic, and she's a great "minor" character - what an arc! She starts out dependent on her boyfriend, constantly redefining her identity according to what other people want, and makes the transition to confident, powerful person in her own right in a way that poor Anya never does, IMO. Another idea to return to later. kwritten also did an Anne icon (not submitted to the challenge) that's a 1000 times better than this - But I want to return to the idea because she has an amazing arc, and the way she more than lives up to Buffy's confidence in her is a key moment in the series long theme of "sharing power".


And that's it, kids!  If you got this far, congratulate yourselves - I do! - have some more cookies and stretch your legs a bit, and join me again for the next episode of RedSatinDoll Blathers Incessantly. Stay tuned!
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*Oh, one more thing: Just to be absolutely 100% clear: In terms of my sweetie and myself, there is NO physical violence or violation, nothing on the level of what happened to my mom or happens in Season 6. None whatsoever. It's a lot of arguements, harsh words and anger that we apologize for later; a dull grey haze of mutual mediocrity and power struggles some days, brightened and punctuated by moments of mutual love, respect and moments of deep love. Seesawing back and forth between resentment and affection in equal intensity.

Now that that's settled: Have some cake?
It's really interesting to read you talking about icons. I think I like #6 best of the ones you have displayed here. S6 Buffy is my favorite Buffy.

I started making icons recently, for fun, but I haven't yet figured out the art of making the lighting and coloring look unique and pretty. I suspect it takes a lot of trial and error.

I hadn't even noticed there was Glory-hate, but then, now that I think about, I do think she's generally considered to be a pretty stupid villain. I like her, though.
OMG you made it through this post, have some more cake! :)

I really like #6 as well - but I liked all of those so much I could not decide. So I just tossed the entire set in Ryan's lap. (There were a lot more that I've since deleted and don't have here - but not of that set.)

And S6 was the season I connected with the most emotionally because of the depression arc (and oh, god, watching her dig herself out of her own grave *sobs*) and kept rewatching over and over. But then I went through an S7 marathon and I love her that season too. I'm so indecisive. I tend to cover my bases and say S5-7 Buffy is my favorite - it's when I fell in love with her, and I love her for different reasons in each season.

Any particular reason for S6 for you?

I started making icons recently, for fun, but I haven't yet figured out the art of making the lighting and coloring look unique and pretty. I suspect it takes a lot of trial and error.

The one you're using from Get it Done is beautifully tinted, so I'd say you're on the right track! That effect is very difficult in PB to do with any control although I love tinted and faded effects; high contrasts and chiaroscuro are easier.

And I love icons of Buffy S7 anyway, but I think I mentioned that before. I did moulin rouge icons ten years ago, when Photobucket had a different editing suite, and I pretty much had it "mastered". I did some lovely things - and then PB completely switched editing programs twice in the last three years.

Also, btvs is for the most part "realistically" light and lensed, whereas MR was very saturated, stylized and almost surreal. So making btvs icons it feels very much like "start over" on both levels - as it will be when I start playing with Aperture (a program for Mac.)

Do you use Photoshop?

I hadn't even noticed there was Glory-hate, but then, now that I think about, I do think she's generally considered to be a pretty stupid villain. I like her, though.

I noticed in mainstream fandom after I'd watched the show there was a lot of Glory hate and I'm, like, WTF? She fits perfectly into the themes of the season,including the focus on the female characters, she's funny and scary - she's Hemery High buffy + early seasons Cordy + Faith (want, take, have) + Illyria. If they had a four-way, that is.

But then again I liked the Master. "What do you think, a 4.5?"
Any particular reason for S6 for you?

Partly because I couldn't stand her at first! For the first half of the season I was like, what happened to my brave hero who always tried to do the right thing? When she finely won me over in Dead Things it was so hard-earned that it meant more to me then any of the other seasons, where I liked her right away. I loved her in Dead Things because she was trying so hard to get back to who she was, the person who was righteous, and she felt so terrible about, well, everything to do with her relationship with Spike, from his monstrousness to her abuse, that I couldn't not love her.

The one you're using from Get it Done is beautifully tinted, so I'd say you're on the right track! That effect is very difficult in PB to do with any control although I love tinted and faded effects; high contrasts and chiaroscuro are easier.</>

Sorry that isn't one of my own icons (this one is). I wasn't thinking when I posted with that one. organza made it. I haven't brought many of my own icons out to play yet, since I'm still shy about them.

I use Gimp, because it's free.
Partly because I couldn't stand her at first! For the first half of the season I was like, what happened to my brave hero who always tried to do the right thing?

That interesting *strokes chin* I think I only loved Buffy more, and harder, during the first half of the season. Part of it was I identified with having depression, even with suicidal feelings, so I got where she was coming from there - and she was dealing with PTSD 1000 times greater than mine. So I had no trouble understanding where she was coming from.

And yes, I have "parental abandonment issues" big time, as you've probably seen in my past posts. So I see myself in her, but also my mom, when I was growing up - the whole theme of the world on a single mother's back? I actually had more insight into what my mom must have gone through when she was trying to do it all on her own with four kids and no one to fall back on.

I admit I get a little irritated with the "all Buffy needs to do is pay more attention to Dawn" theme because that sort of contradicts the other - no one person can do EVERYTHING. I WISH my mom had gone out more, dated occasionally worked less 60-80 hours a week (her bosses didn't care or reward her anyway), taken time to develop friendships and had fun once in a while. because Angel was right in Ted, lonliness is a horrible thing. Being the "one...in all the world" is hard. (Look at me, giving Angel his props. I think I'm growing as a person!

I loved her in Dead Things because she was trying so hard to get back to who she was, the person who was righteous, and she felt so terrible about, well, everything to do with her relationship with Spike, from his monstrousness to her abuse, that I couldn't not love her.

Oh I love Dead Things LOVE IT SO MUCH. It was the first episode I watched when we got the cable hooked up in the apartment last Sept. It might be my favorite ep along with Who are You. The pain, everything - she is so lost. And the thing that gets "lost" in conversations about it is that she's trying so, so hard to do "the right thing", with nothing but her own moral compass. That's part of what I mean by the comment that she and Spike are "dragging themselves and each other to Hell" that season. It was totally a two-way street, they're both "depressed" and they were doing each other NO good whatsoever. She thinks she has to punish herself, he thinks he's being the chivalrous "black knight" of late Victorian fantasies and "saving" her, etc.

Road to Hell and all that jazz.

I am fascinated by that, I feel so much but do I ship it? Heck no. Of course not.

Sorry that isn't one of my own icons (this one is). I wasn't thinking when I posted with that one. organza made it. I haven't brought many of my own icons out to play yet, since I'm still shy about them.

I'll bet you told me that and I forgot. Mind=sieve. And believe me I bet people will love seeing them. NEver mind that I've got about 700 I haven't posted. (that was not a typo btw - 700.) And never mind that I've got snippets of fic I'm terrified to post because I think it's awful. So not exactly a great follower of my own advice!
See, now when I watch early S6 I love Buffy, and completely get where she's coming from (and during some of my depressed periods, have completely identified with her feelings of having been kicked out of heaven). But the first time through, I just couldn't figure out how to like her.
But the first time through, I just couldn't figure out how to like her.

I can definitely understand that! It's like when a friend of mine admits they don't "get" what it's like being depressed. If I can barely grasp what it means and I'm living through it, how can I expect someone who never has to do so? It's like - trying to imagine living on Mars.

BTW that Anne icon is SOOOOO pretty. Obviously I love Anne icons but I've never seen one that takes that image but tones down the color to almost pastel tones. Did you make it?
longerthanwedo made this icon. Gorgeous, isn't it? I assure you I do not have that level of talent. Not yet, anyway *is an optimist*.

You're icon's pretty, too. Did you make it?
It really is wonderful - I love the brushstroke texture in the background that to my eyes, could be rain or light falling around Buffy.

And yes, I did make that icon of Buffy and Joyce hugging. Not super fantabulous and I did a version closer to the photograph without the pink-orange coloring but I ended up liking this one better. Again, I think it has to do with my fetish for photographs manipulated until they look like drawings etc (which is more obvious when it's full size) aka "I secretly want to be a painter but don't have the skill" *lol*




I don't know why there aren't more icons of that ep and that moment.
Because people don't care about Joyce? That would be my guess.

I think you're probably right about that.

When I watched the series I wanted more of Joyce, and that mother-daughter relationship in the show (and then more of the sister relationship in the late seasons.) I'm the daughter of a divorced mom, so that relationship - flawed but loving - really resonated with me. I assumed it would with others as well (aren't most people in fandom women? Ergo, aren't most people in fandom are daughters and/or mothers?)

There are people who like Joyce but I've seen an overwhelming majority either ignore her altogether, decide she's a 'bad mother' or a smaller number claim she's a 'good mother' and that's that. (As if both can't be true at once.)
I wonder if most people in fandom being themselves mothers or daughters makes the relationship a little less appealing, because it's too close to home? I don't know. Buffy and Joyce's relationship is certainly nothing like my relationship with my mother, that's all I have to say.
I wonder if most people in fandom being themselves mothers or daughters makes the relationship a little less appealing, because it's too close to home?

But don't most fans also have fathers too? And aren't a good many hetero women? *lol* But there's not the same resistance. It could be that the otherness of the father is what makes it appealing? In other words, I don't think you're wrong at all - but the gender aspect and how we prioritize men (shiny!) can't be ignored either.

Buffy and Joyce's relationship is certainly nothing like my relationship with my mother, that's all I have to say.

THAT I completely understand. Just as there are things that are completely foreign to my own experience so - something either speaks to you or it doesn't.

But with all of this in consideration I'm still at a loss as to WHY Joyce is so reviled if not ignored.

Edited at 2014-03-24 05:24 pm (UTC)
In other words, I don't think you're wrong at all - but the gender aspect and how we prioritize men (shiny!) can't be ignored either.

Good point.

But with all of this in consideration I'm still at a loss as to WHY Joyce is so reviled if not ignored.

I don't really know why, either.
I really enjoy the fact that you take a meta-level of thinking to your icons.

It's fun to read!

I admit I never really thought about the reasons I make icons. Sadly, though, I haven't been able to figure out the graphics component that comes with switching from PC to Mac (and to a whole different version of Photoshop) so I haven't made any icons as of late. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually and until then, I'll just enjoy what other people make.
*HUGS*

Thank you for reading hon, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I have a few friends to thank for encouraging me to talk about them this way. I had no idea where this was going and I didn't mean to be so "thinky"!

BTW - most of the time the grand intellectual meta ideas come after I start working not before; the Bargaining/After Life icons of Buffy and Dawn I was running on pure emotions and "what images would go with what lyrics?" Or rather I have tons of meta ideas and thoughts about the show that I've already developed, but I'm not conscious of them while I'm working.

If I get too conscious of "ideas", the icons usually suffer as a result.

Sadly, though, I haven't been able to figure out the graphics component that comes with switching from PC to Mac (and to a whole different version of Photoshop) so I haven't made any icons as of late.

My sweetie's old Photoshop program was destroyed when the old desktop burned up, and the new Mac Desktop with "Maverick" operating system has different requirements, and Photoshop has compatibility issues so - she's having a nightmare of a time finding a replacement, and she had Photoshop and Photoshop Bridge mastered. So it's square one for her, basically. She can commiserate!

I've never actually used PS, and Aperture, a library/archive program that also has editing functions looks daunting to me. I'll get there eventually when I've exhausted the limits of Photobucket's toolkit.

That's the nice thing about writing, isn't it? Much simpler!
BTW - being a Willow fan. do you think this came off as harsh to her? I was trying to be very fair to her, and to all the characters.
I don't think you came off as harsh. I think your opinions and insight into Willow's character are valid and I support your right to share them.

Besides, I know Willow is flawed. I know she isn't perfect. I know that it really rots my teeth that her arc in Season 6 was handled the way it was. But...I still love her and I think she'll always be my favorite character in the show.
Besides, I know Willow is flawed. I know she isn't perfect. I know that it really rots my teeth that her arc in Season 6 was handled the way it was. But...I still love her and I think she'll always be my favorite character in the show.

Honestly, I think EVERYBODY'S arcs got mishandled that season - except Tara's until they killed her *sobs* But I love the late seasons anyway, which sometimes doesn't even make sense to me.

And HECK YEAH to loving flawed characters - including female characters. I wouldn't love Buffy or any of these characters without their problems because it makes them real. If I wanted flawless characters I'd....IDK, read a Hallmark card or something.

Besides, this being fiction - when a character does something I like, I credit the character. When they do something I don't like, I can blame the writers. It's a win-win!
Congrats on your third place!

And maybe it's just my sick brain but there's almost something slightly incestuous about the image, if you don't know that's the Buffybot? Or is it just me?

I also have the same feeling when I watch that scene. Maybe we're two sick brains :D

Oh God, your icons are so pretty! My favourite are 6, 12, 17 and, OMG, number 21 is simply stunning. I love the crop and, honestly, I also believe that Willow thought that she was doing the right thing. Of course, that was hybris involved - the great sin of fighting against the superior balance - and she was also sperimenting her power but she wasn't totally selfish on resurrecting Buffy. Complex human beings: they had a lot of stuff going on on their mind.

(The "world is on fire" icon, so appropriate! I really understand Willow's need to control the situation around her. I'm also a MAJOR control freak. I feel her pain)

Also I like to express my love for icons 24, 29 (My OTP! *cries hearts*) 30, 33, 32, 38. And special mention for 36 because of Dawn holding the Buffybot. I LOVE the Buffybot.

There is someone in the fandom who hates Glory? SRSLY? I don't understand. She's an awesome Big Bad and her dresses are so pretty.

Thanks hon!

Maybe we're two sick brains :D

Perversion loves company!

Many thanks for the compliments! If I could have, I would have done a poll "Which icon should I submit?" And then nobody can actually vote in the challenge so there goes that idea *lol* The last few times I have had two definite favorites but been undecided about the third entry but this time? OMG I wanted to submit at least 10-15 of these. And they are not the greatest art but I'm just really pleased with them.

number 21 is simply stunning

The one of Willow in Wild at Heart (S4)?

Complex human beings: they had a lot of stuff going on on their mind.

This. exactly. It's one reason why I love the show - and why it amazes me that complex motivations and personalities so often get reduced to one dimension in fandom conversations.

I'm also a MAJOR control freak. I feel her pain

My sweetie is the control freak in our house so I can understand and sympathize but oh boy do I understand Tara's position as well. But again, it's not 100% either way - the balance of power is a constant see-saw between them as IRL.

I LOVE the Buffybot.

Me too! And yes there are glory haters. I don't agree at all but different strokes and all that jazz.



The one of Willow in Wild at Heart (S4)?


Yes! It's gorgeous and, if I may say so, one of your best icons ever. I just love the crop and the text, plus the image of Willow you chose. Wow!

This. exactly. It's one reason why I love the show - and why it amazes me that complex motivations and personalities so often get reduced to one dimension in fandom conversations.


I don't know if I already told you, but once I read a fic about Willow and Buffy having a sleep-over - during the first seasons - and Buffy fighting her sadness about being the Chosen One thinking that Willow was becoming more and more powerful and, maybe, she would have saved her. Willow is the only person powerful enough to save Buffy and they were best friends! I don't see total selfishness in Willow's actions - although they are selfish - because there is also the years spent saving each other life in count.

My sweetie is the control freak in our house so I can understand and sympathize but oh boy do I understand Tara's position as well. But again, it's not 100% either way - the balance of power is a constant see-saw between them as IRL.


I also go "oh boy" about myself especially these days. I'm a control freak about myself not the others around me, still I have this huge need of control stuff. It's not good. I can sympathize with Tara.

Me too! And yes there are glory haters. I don't agree at all but different strokes and all that jazz.


I love her! I tend to love all the Big Bads - expect maybe Adam. - and Glory is one of the funniest.



I just love the crop and the text, plus the image of Willow you chose. Wow!

Really? Thank you! When I did that one it was at the tail end of an all-day session and I was exhausted.

I don't know if I already told you, but once I read a fic about Willow and Buffy having a sleep-over - during the first seasons - and Buffy fighting her sadness about being the Chosen One thinking that Willow was becoming more and more powerful and, maybe, she would have saved her.

Maybe you did and I don't remember, it doesn't sound familiar. Linky, please?

I'm a control freak about myself not the others around me, still I have this huge need of control stuff. It's not good. I can sympathize with Tara.

My mom also was a controller with her children, and it can be hard to live with. I was raised to submit to mom, so I tended to be the submissive one with my partner, but sometimes I don't want to be, and sometimes she doesn't want to be in control but has no idea how to give it up. It's exhausting.

I tend to love all the Big Bads - expect maybe Adam. - and Glory is one of the funniest.

This, pretty much.
For someone who doesn't feel confident in her grasp of Willow, you did a super job of communicating your perceptions of her. May I compliment you on your insights? Thanks for all you said about everyone, in fact, because you have lots of interesting and acute things to say.


Gabrielle
*FAINTS*

When I wrote in the post "folks on my flist who are Willow fans" what I really meant (and almost typed) was: velvetwhip, snogged and wickedbish. I had the three of you in mind when I was writing this. So your comments here mean SO much to me, Gabrielle.

And in terms of insights - I'm standing on the shoulders of giants, and I was amiss in forgetting to do a links list of Willow metas & vids. Another time!
I love that your icons have meaning and there is so much thought that goes into all the components, the final product, and mostly what you feel about the pictures you choose.

I LOVE your passion for these characters and for the work you are putting out there. It inspired me to make a piece for you that is at my journal. The fandom is far from dead.
Thanks sweetie, I was hoping you'd see this! I thought you might enjoy it.

I was remiss in the body for not thanking comlodge and you for encouraging me to talk about the icons and the process. And I really do love doing it, although it's hard in a way (dear god, the spelling errors...the syntax...oy). I think I learned a lot seeing my sweetie going through art school as a painter and sculptor, reading books about successful artists, and learning little to nothing about the process, about the failures, and especially about the "how they got where they got".

You're too kind, btw - y'all make me sound so smart!

It inspired me to make a piece for you that is at my journal.

I left a comment last night and THANK YOU AGAIN, so much! I can't believe I inspired that but I'm really honored. *blushes* One of the things that really inspire me is discovering that there folks who watched the show "back in the day", were fans then are are STILL fans now, active or not. THAT is real staying power, and I think that's incredibly exciting.

And oh, here's a present in return of sorts: My best friend, a novelist in her 20's and an incredible woman, finally started watching Season 1 after I kept talking about Buffy (no spoilers of course), and she LOVES Buffy Summers. She loves the "androgyny" of a girl who can fight and stake a vampire and knows which nail polish is out that season. I didn't fall in love with Buffy that fast! And in talking about the show I've learned things about her I didn't know before, and we've known each other for over ten years and talk about everything. So I am really looking forward to these conversations going forward (I can't wait until she watches Prophecy Girl.)

The fandom is far from dead.

I get that people are looking in contrast to "when the tv show was on" or "when the comics came out" but a lot of that was also fighting and wars and so on and that's not my thing; I'm not sorry to have avoided that.

Basically, any such rumors are greatly exagerrated. :)
but a lot of that was also fighting and wars and so on and that's not my thing; I'm not sorry to have avoided that.

It was a real bummer. I thought we were all here to have tons of fun and then people started being super mean about petty things.

Regarding your friend, and how it has opened up some conversations that you wouldn't have had otherwise, that's one thing I've loved about the fandom. I've become friends of sorts with so many different people that I would have never talk to otherwise. It's opened up my world. I really look forward to hearing your friend's reactions as she continues on with the show. Be sure to keep us posted! Maybe she'll even end up on LJ! :)
I've been meaning to write a post about her and her reactions for ages, but it's probably best that I waited because now she's really getting into the show on a more regular basis.

that's one thing I've loved about the fandom. I've become friends of sorts with so many different people that I would have never talk to otherwise. It's opened up my world.

Oh yes! So so very much. And it's been the most intellectual stimulation I've had since college - it feels like being in a classroom sometimes, and those wonderful discussions. But it's also challenged me to be tolerant of different opinions, and pick my "battles" carefully (if I even need to "fight that battle"), how to say what I feel about serious subjects in a respectful, noncombative way; but also, that I have a right to my own opinions. (you wouldn't think that was a problem for me.)

Maybe she'll even end up on LJ! :)

I hope so, though she's such a busy lady! Two books out in print, another she's working on right now (and I'm so excited by the drafts I've seen of it), a fashionista blog, facebook, interviews...and wow am I exhausted just typing that *lol*

I really do hope she will even just to read stuff - I don't recall if you read my post about Buffy and Tara, where I talk about the concept of "bearing witness"? I really had my friend in mind, because that's been a huge part of our relationship. So when I write, I always hope that she'll get to enjoy it eventually.

And thank you SO much again for the pretty artwork and the wonderful words of support! You're amazing, do you know that?
Thanks for the cookies! *takes a bite of one*

You really hit on some compelling and profound points here. I enjoyed reading your reasoning behind your icons and what you were going for. I do not see that often, it was a nice change. That being said, I have to say there are a few of your icons that I just love other than the three you have submitted. One that drew me in was number 6 for the cropping and 13 for the color. It's a powerful image, that scene.

I also love your Willow (15) icon, like you mentioned I like the contrast of the text of 'fire' to the shower image.

The other that drew me in was number 34. There is just something about that scene, the way Buffy is trying to hold in the pain she is hiding when her friends hug her that makes it so powerful, so I can see where you were going with it.

Oh please, have another! (I also have cake. And tea.)

I enjoyed reading your reasoning behind your icons and what you were going for. I do not see that often, it was a nice change.

I did that with my last set as you know, but I forgot to give comlodge in particular and also chasingdemons their props for encouraging me to write about my icons, because I was really hesitant about it. And kwritten's post is great too.

And I love doing it because I get to share the icons, share the process (which I also love reading about, not just the success stories; we learn through our "failures:), and keep my cred as a "meta writer"- three birds, one stone!

there are a few of your icons that I just love other than the three you have submitted.

That was why I basically gave Ryan a link to a folder I created in photobucket with all the icons I made for this challenge and said "you decide". Esp with that set I honestly COULD NOT pick out one I loved more.

I think it turned out to be a good idea though : keep icons for each challenge in their own folders to keep me organized for each one. How/where do you store your icons aside from your LJ?

And thank you for the detailed comments on the icon, it makes me very happy, esp when someone likes ones different than ones I do. I like to know why, and then I see them again through their eyes and sometimes appreciate my own stuff better! (Thoughtful con crit is also welcome, always!)

BTW - you are the third person in this thread who picked out #6 in particular, that's interesting - and nifty! *strokes chin* I'm still surprised so many people have singled it out because, again, I'm not happy with the text on #6, it doesn't feel as integrated into the image as #7, where it looks like it's printed on her shirtcollar, and you can see more of her raw, bloodied knuckles in #7. But then a little less of her face than #6 so - agh, still torn here.

And I'm glad you like 13 because I wasn't sure it worked, I worried it was too dark. But lightening or bumping up saturation didn't improve it IMO.

I also love your Willow (15) icon, like you mentioned I like the contrast of the text of 'fire' to the shower image.

I put that and 16 first because those were the first Willow icons I made for this set and yes, I'm really happy with them too. I was going to go with an image in the "drug house" but this image, I really felt the emotions, felt empathy for her, and that was really important to me. The other thing that I worked hard on with that one was not losing the crispness of the water spray.

There is just something about that scene, the way Buffy is trying to hold in the pain she is hiding when her friends hug her that makes it so powerful, so I can see where you were going with it.

I hesitated about that one because that moment is done so often in icons, and beautifully so. I hated to cut Willow and Xander out but I was trying to "reframe" the moment. I might come back to that one and try again.
I love the meta-ness of your icon posts. And you and kwritten have inspired me to get back into icon making. We'll see how long that lasts (hint: not long - spring break is nearing its end). They're all Veronica Mars-related (and if you haven't watched VM, I highly recommend it - Veronica is my #2 gal after Buffy), but maybe I'll make some BtVS icons. I have a few I made for a round of Seasonal Spuffy a year ago that I'm not happy with, so maybe I'll redo those.
I love the meta-ness of your icon posts. And you and kwritten have inspired me to get back into icon making.

*HUGS* Thanks so much, hon! I've gotten so much encouragement here. Maybe now I won't feel so shy about posting my "dead slayers" series? (for reaI, I've been kind of terrified, but writing this did to, so....I kept underestimating my peeps.)

I love inspiring other people and being inspired - fandom can be a great big circle of love and inspiration. That's where I want to live, not in the warzones! (Not that I won't rant and bitch sometimes. )

I just looked on Netflix btw- do they have VM on instant streaming? Of course not. Do they have ANYTHING that you mainly or anyone has rec'd to me, aside from Doctor Who and Breaking Bad on instant streaming? Of course not. *le sigh*

My sweetie and I did start watching Queer as Folk two years ago. GIven that I watched Buffy two years ago, I'm right on schedule.

I'm really looking forward to your icons - would you like me to look at the ones for seasonal spuffy and do a concrit?
I sent you something in a pm that might fix your Veronica Mars problem (and your Orphan Black problem, which I don't think you're even aware of yet). It also solves your Hunger Games problem (at least for the first movie), but I forgot to mention that in the message.

And I would love to see your dead slayers series, especially if it comes with meta!
Thank you SO MUCH sweetie I'll go look now! (Actually netflix does have the first Hunger Games movie now, so it's my laziness at this point. And the fact that it takes me TWO days to write a single post. No lie - this last one? Maybe three. UGH)

And yes, i do remember you rec'd Orphan Black and that was a no go on Netfuck as well, so I haven't forgotten.

I would love to see your dead slayers series, especially if it comes with meta!

Oh it will definitely come with meta - although maybe it doesn't need to. It was the first batch of icons I ever made that I wanted to write meta about and that stopped me as well. Remember what I said a few weeks ago about there being a problem if I could cry for Buffy's death but not Nikki's or Xin Rong's? That was the crux of it basically. But I've been shy? Afraid of the response? (esp if Spike is mentioned.)

I am CONSTANTLY underestimating my friends here, which is pretty shitty of me.
It's not too shitty of you, because the world at large (tm) thinks we'll only care about Buffy's death, so having lived in the world at large (tm) for x amount of years, it would be easy to assume the same.

I love me some Spike, but the guy is a fucking murdering sociopath, especially in the scenes where he kills Nikki and Xin Rong. He had to be vile for there to be any redemption arc at all, and if we ignore the vileness, we ignore the victims. I say this as someone who is now delving into shipping a young version of a mass murderer who supports genocide, so take whatever I say with that in mind.

I completely understand why they had the two historical slayers be woc, because they wanted to say "look! the slayer can be any woman, not just some blonde from California!" and give some representation, but they never realized how much they were privileging Spike's story over those woc. I don't know if I would have rather liked it if they made the historical slayers white, because I don't know if I'd like problematic representation over no representation at all, but it's something to struggle with to think about.
It's not too shitty of you, because the world at large (tm) thinks we'll only care about Buffy's death, so having lived in the world at large (tm) for x amount of years, it would be easy to assume the same.

What I meant was more along the lines of being afraid to say anything critical of Spike even if it's true - and that's just a built-in "cringe" because of what I've read on the internet and two incidents I've personally had in fandom, one of which had nothing to do with Spike. (When the hell did I become such a coward?) But my friends here have been nothing but respectful and I try to be respectful back. So - I think it is a little shitty of me, yeah.

Having said that, when I think of the shitstorm you went through, anything I've gone through in comparison is NOTHING. teensy. "Look what Lexi had to go through this is nothing..."

So - you're one of my Buffys, did you know that?

I love me some Spike, but the guy is a fucking murdering sociopath, especially in the scenes where he kills Nikki and Xin Rong. He had to be vile for there to be any redemption arc at all, and if we ignore the vileness, we ignore the victims.

YES. That is basically the whole idea in a nutshell. I can count on one hand the number of fanfics in this fandom I've seen that give any thought or voice to the victims; but the show itself doesn't encourage that.

I say this as someone who is now delving into shipping a young version of a mass murderer who supports genocide, so take whatever I say with that in mind.

Hmmmm.....Do we need to stage an intervention, sweetie?

but they never realized how much they were privileging Spike's story over those woc.

It would have been wonky regardless of the race/ethnicity of the dead slayers, race just adds an extra layer of badness to what ended up being a pissing contest. (Don't even get me started on that shot of Robin's face, looking like bloodied meat - like the faces of black men in the 20th century after they were beaten, murdered, lynched etc, such as 14 year old Emmett Till. I still cannot believe they went there. CANNOT.)

It's like talking to someone who doesn't see Tara's death as "homophobic" - I'm not saying it was intentional homophobia, but you HAVE to look at it in context. There's a particular history there that cannot be ignored. I'm not saying that fridging two WOC in S2 was "intentional racism" but good intentions don't make right actions.

I don't know if I would have rather liked it if they made the historical slayers white, because I don't know if I'd like problematic representation over no representation at all, but it's something to struggle with to think about.

I think the key is EDUCATION. Wanna play with controversial topics? GET EDUCATED. It's that simple. Tara didn't have to die; Kendra didn't have to die; Spike's victims didn't have to be utterly erased and ignored; Get it Done didn't have to be staged to come off as a "gang rape" by black men of a white woman. Etc. Don't much around with stuff like that without becoming aware. It's not enough for Joss or any writer to say "Well I'm not a racist!" without bothering to check their assumptions at the door and really do a "searching inventory".

That's my theory anyway.

Edited at 2014-03-21 12:02 am (UTC)
Um . . . so long as we watch Buffy afterward, any time we're both in the same city, "Hug A Beta!" Day can be any day you want. Heh.
Here's what I'm thinking - I announce ahead of time a day/week at random as "Hug a Beta (timeframe)", and encourage people to write in appreciation (or make artwork etc) of their betas, their own positive beta experiences (as being one or working with one etc) and actually NAME NAMES.

I can't wrap my head around the fanfic (art etc) awards/nominees lists that have dozens and dozens of nominees - except in the beta catagory, and maybe there are one or two people named.