Buffy Casablanca Poster poppy wreath  RS

This seems more random than it is: Slayerstillness, Drusilla & Buffy Fic by Kikimay, plus Icons

1) You have until midnight tonight to choose amoung 15 great Fanged Four icons in slayerstillness Challenge 36, "Ye Olde Vampyre Gang." None of them are mine btw, so I just get to vote, then kick back and enjoy the view.

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

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

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


[Ok, maybe not so funny, but since you're curious....]


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

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

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



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

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



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

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

These are lovely. I think my faves are #4 which is a intriguing blend of Human!Dru and Vamp!Dru and #6 because of the warm coloring.
Thank you so much for your feedback and compliments! This is my first successful effort at Dru (aka, didn't end up in the rubbish bin). Your favorites are ones I like more now than when I first made them. I love making blends like #4 - I can get a "meta" effect or tell a story in a single image with them - so I'm very happy you like #4

With #6 I was trying for "red" per Kikimay's request but didn't know how to achieve that yet so I ended up orange. I may repaint the eyes yellow.

Thank you hon!

I'm a little sorry I didn't make them after I found out about the challenge but I think they compare favorably.
Aww, your Dru looks beautiful in both of her faces!
Thank you kindly, ma'am - and thank you for the link at su_herald! I was going to say thank you for that last night but I was too busy checking out the nifty recs. :D
I'm so so GLAD that you like my story and you think it's worth of a mention. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Also lovely icons, I especially like the vamp!face ones, 5 and 6, they are so bright. I'm waiting for the new art. I'm so curious to see how you progressed with Dru themed fanart! Post it soon, please!
Not progressing very far beyond what you've already seen I'm afraid! I've made of bunch of icons and banners for the next round of slayerstillness - most OMWF/Bargaining buffy blends. I'm evil. *hugs Buffy*
The red fanarts I saw were amazing, so there is that. Also we can't have less Buffy love, so I approve the Buffy blends.
I think you'll like some of the things I did today - and some of the ideas I can recycle with Drusilla *ponders*

*blushes*

Such a lot of lovely compliments, sweetie! ♥

Love the Drusilla icons (curse the timing!)

I particularly love those with the paler vintage colouring - great cropping and clarity and that's a lovely blend in the fourth :)
The compliments are well-deserved! You've been a huge inspiration and influence on my art. (Case in point: the pale "vintage" coloring of the Drusilla icon.)

Clarity is something I still struggle with a lot (and either don't have the skills or the tools to achieve the crystalline purity that is the gold standard in digital art), so your compliments in that regard are much appreciated. :D

that's a lovely blend in the fourth

Thank you! I think it did turn out nicely. I'm rather addicted to blends now (although very few come out so well as this one did.)
I struggled with clarity for a long while too - there are a few tools in Photoshop that are incredibly helpful in this regard, such as unsharp mask - and you can use layers set to different filters, e.g. a screened layer above a normal layer of the same picture with the contrast raised to help too. I suspect the tools you are using aren't as helpful and make your work all the more impressive!
Thank you hon! I could probably do a lot more with what I've got but unlike PS, there are almost zero tutorials for ipiccy. (<lj user=eilowyn found me or two online that had mostly to do with masking, which was helpful.) I could try using different layers over one another the way you mention. ipiccy is kind of weird when it comes to layers and far less flexible than PS. (Also, when I layer one image over another - and let's assume both are the same size, say 500square to start - ipiccy shrinks the layers so I have to expand them back to original size to fit.) ETA: It just occured to me, I often go back and forth between the sharpening tool and the bloom or soften tools, perhaps that's somewhat similar to using an unsharp mask? Albeit more unwieldy and I'm guessing less precise?

Edited at 2014-12-04 12:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I tried a year ago to make some Dru icons (before I had ipiccy and still just worked in photobucket) but they were a disaster. I'm so glad these came out nicely, she's a very neglected and underappreciated character, IMO, although I think that's starting to change a little? Just today I saw at least one tumblr site devoted to Dru, thanks to su_herald.

Your 4 seasons icon is lovely btw - it's not secret I love trees and forest landscapes; but that icon is especially exquisite and mesmerizing. I checked it out on your profile page; did you make it from your own photographs?
Thanks! That tree icon is actually one I didn't make. It was my very first icon 10+ years ago, and I wasn't savvy enough to properly credit the maker. My paid account lapsed (money is a little tight right now) so LJ left me with only my first few icons! Woe!
It was my very first icon 10+ years ago, and I wasn't savvy enough to properly credit the maker.

I've recently added a tagline to my userpics in such cases: artist unknown please let me know who made it (artist unknown would actually be sufficent but I like to prompt folks. Not that it's ever helped.)