Buffy Casablanca Poster poppy wreath  RS

Made to Order: WInners of the Otherworldlyric challenge 171 and my entries

Congratulations to rua1412 and kwritten for their winning icons in otherworldlyric challenge #171 ("Origins")!  Two of the three winners were my personal vote-getters and I'm not saying which. (Unless you ask nicely and offer bribes.)

The deadline for the current otherworldlyric challenge #172 "Watching Me Fall" is Friday, May9th - which is tonight in my part of the world. With apologies for the very late reminder. But the folks who work best under tight deadlines will relish the challenge (right?)

Many thanks as always to my awesome beta-Muse, wickedbish for his sharp eye, gentle guidance and record-time response with my OWL entries. He picked out the top three of the lot and there was no quibble on my end. My entries:


1)  2)   3)

And here's some of the icons I made for the challenge but didn't submit. #4 probably would have been my fourth choice to submit. 5 and 8 don't have text; I never got to that point and decided they didn't need it.

4) 5) 6) 7) 8)

9) 10) 11) 12) 13) 14)

15) 16) 17) 18) 19)

Things I have learned in this round:

[Well now that you're here you might as well come inside...]



1) That there's not a lot of Tough Love icons out there.

2) That making TL icons was in some ways more painful or difficult for me emotionally than making Bargaining or After Life icons. Which is probably why there are not a lot of TL icons out there...."Oh Tara, baby..." *sobs*

3)...OTOH it's still easier to make TL icons of Willow than Villains icons. I. JUST. CAN'T.

4) The easiest way to do icons of Willow and WIllow/Tara? Do what I do with Buffy and focus on what I love in the characters - which is to say, focus on their capacity to love. (Which is not to be confused with "being nice and ladylike" or "getting it right".)

5) I thought about using the lyric "inquisitive mind" with an early seasons cap of Willow but am not familiar enough with S1-3 to think of something off the top of my head. Which I already knew. But it's harder to do caps of seasons you're not as passionate or knowledgeable about. (Ok, so I already knew that too. Moving on....)

6) I love the set of Aly's mouth in the cap I used for #1, her pale face and dark eyes, even the strange monkey-fur collar that implies "base" impulses, the hunter...she has an utterly fierce beauty here.

7) I have more screencaps of Willow than I remembered.

8) For all my capacity for snark and irony, I seem to have an internal "sensor" when I'm working on icons that tells me from time to time in no uncertain terms "That really isn't funny. Don't go there." Hence #14 & 15 - I was trying to deconstruct the lyrics of the song and the additional phrases popped into my head; Buffy is "made to live", "made to serve" as a Slayer. Then I made 15 and felt like I was making fun of her and that felt gross under the circumstances.

9) So I decided that the phrase more accurately fitted the Buffybot who is, as lanoyee has pointed out to me, a metaphor for the Slayers themselves, "manufactured" at the whim of the Shadowmen and the WC, used up and then discarded for a newer model (#19)....Which really isn't funny. At all. No matter how you slice it.

10) In fact the more I think about the Buffybot, the more disturbing the entire situation becomes.  Including the fact  that "she" looks to be in pain, by whatever metric you want to measure that for a robot, in the cap from Intervention. (3, 16-18)

11) But as it happens anyway, the rules of otherworldlyric specifically state that you can ONLY use words that are contained within the song. Which meant 14-18 were a no-go as entries, but made for some interesting contemplation. It also meant that #3 didn't have quite the same impact/irony as I'd intended. (The plain and rather shitty looking font in #3 didn't help matters; HOW did I let that pass that way? What was I thinking?)

12) Wrapping text around an object is possible in Photobucket is only truly possible by making a new text box for every letter and manipulating each one of them individually - position/spacing, angle, size, etc. (#2, 9-10). Wrangling 18 individual text boxes at 100 or 200 pixels square is a bitch. Not really worth the work. That said....

13) If you are going to do something so foolish as to wrangle 18 individual letters around Buffy's bloodied hands within an image, it's easier to do it in a single continuous line or flow, even if one of the words needs to be read backwords than place some words left to right at the top, then start again with the rest of lyric from left to right at the bottom. (#19, Kendra icon) Trust me on this one.

14) Sometimes fancy effects in pixlr-whathaveyou or piccy-yaddayadda (11, 16, 17) aren't really superior to "Brighten", "Contrast" and "Saturation" in Photobucket (everything else) in terms of final results. It's the user, not the tool, that matters. BUT - they're a helluva lot of fun to play with.

15) Every once in a while, I care less about "legibility of text" than I think I do. See # 7 - I was going to remake it with a different font, then realized it didn't bother me the way it was.

16) I do wish however that I'd save images before putting the text in more often because I do wish I had a version of #7 without.

17) Something I actually learned working on Spuffy icons recently is the importance of a point of physical contact to connect two characters in an icon whether or not they are looking at one another. I made #6 before #4-5, but the image is stronger emotionally and compositionally with WIllow's arm and hand visible in the frame, curling around Tara, clutching her jacket.

And FINALLY the most important thing I learned this round:

18) NONATTACHMENT! Do not, under any circumstances, think for even one fraction of a second, "Well, mine aren't the greatest, but I could possibly win something because...." THIS WAY LIES MADNESS AND BADNESS - or at least a momentary sense of irrational disappointment! SYSTEMS ABORT! DETACH! FIND THE ZEN!

Just trust me on this one.

Your icons are very fine, my friend. They are. It's so obvious you put real thought into them and that alone is commendable, leaving aside your artistic gifts, which have plenty of merit of their own.

How funny that we like such different seasons. 1-3 are my favorites. Hee. But I still think you're awesome-in-a-jar.


Gabrielle
Someday I will figure out the secret of HOW you manage to read everything I post almost before I hit the post button! (Well, actually I just edited the post a little, but still...)

Thank you so much for your kind words!

How funny that we like such different seasons. 1-3 are my favorites. Hee.

I'll pretend to be shocked *LOL* But really isn't that the idea, that variety is the spice of fandom?

And I think you're pretty damn wonderful yourself.
Friday May 9, 2014
User audela referenced to your post from Friday May 9, 2014 saying: [...] Icons (and discussion): Made to Order: Winners of the Otherworldlyric challenge 171 and my entries [...]
- (Anonymous)
but I'm trying to improve my text skills in these days ^_^

I wouldn't have guessed! Text can be a great deal of fun but I have spent more time trying to get that right lately than almost any other element.

I loved the effects on your Grave icon btw - the way it looks something like an old photograph or a newspaper clipping of two people tossed in a maelstrom, that is itself tossed by the wind - gritty and ethereal at the same time, worn and windy. And I liked seeing your Chosen icon next to my TL one - I almost selected that moment in Chosen but didn't, so they feel like sister icons.

And congratulations again on the well-deserved win!

Edited at 2014-05-12 07:05 pm (UTC)
I think your icons look pretty darn cool, sweetie. Keep working at it and you never know what will happen!
Keep working at it and you never know what will happen!

Well what happened TODAY was that photobucket gave me an error message on three different projects when I hit "save" and lost everything *le sigh*.....
Your entries are beautiful, especially #2 with the text wrapped around the hands, I admire your patience!
The Willow/Tara icons are heartbreaking, TL is a difficult episode to icon.
Sad yay for Kendra, she needs more icon-love.
And you made gorgeous Buffy-in-a-coffin icons! <3

ETA Been away from LJ I had to skip OTW challenges, hope to be back soon. :)
I admire your patience!

a.k.a. "procrastination" of which I have achieved mastery....

But thank you very much for your compliments, sweetie! I wasn't overly pleased with this set, but I think I like the W/T ones more each time I look at them. And yes, a very difficult episode - which means I'll probably do more sometime soon! It's such a feminine episode - centered around Buffy, Dawn, Willow and Tara, and they are the heart of season 5.

Sad yay for Kendra, she needs more icon-love.

This was a follow-up to my Nikki icon I posted to the first OWL challenge I entered #162 http://otherworldlyric.livejournal.com/222404.html
and also a shout out to lanoyee, who is the keeper of the flame re: Kendra. I also have a textless version, which is better I think:

The Nikki icon:

And I hope to see you back in the OWL challenges again, maybe this one? Have you ever entered Slayerstillness icontests?
The textless version of the Kendra icon is even more beautiful, I like the contrast between the delicate colours and the black frame. :)
And the Nikki one is great too, the theme of dead slayers is very sad but fascinating.

May is a difficult month, too busy at work I can't read or play with PS, but I'd love to do something for nekid_spike as Darla is the guest and she has the most fantabulous outfits. :D

I've never tried slayerstillness, hopefully someday... oh, BTW there's a new comm btvsats20in20, I'll be watching it for now because 20in20s are not my thing ATM, but you should totally try it! <3
The textless version of the Kendra icon is even more beautiful, I like the contrast between the delicate colours and the black frame. :) And the Nikki one is great too, the theme of dead slayers is very sad but fascinating.

The textless version is much better and fortunately I did that one first; I wouldn't have added text but it was an experiment for the challenge. I have no idea how I actually managed the color-matching in photobucket that time.

I actually have been meaning to post the icons I did for that challenge for some time, as well as the ones I didn't submit. I did some of Xin Rong but wasn't happy with any of them. The image quality is so poor, with the entire scene in FFL shot in red. someday I might try it again. I've been wanting to talk about the subject of dead slayers for some time but it's very "fraught" and difficult to do.

Have you tried btvs_hush? I only have the once, but it seems like different people participate in that from OWL, based on what I see style-wise. And debris4spike told me about that new comm the other day. It sounds like an interesting idea because often I do multiple variations of a single image, but I read the rules and still don't understand how it works (claim?)
I've been wanting to talk about the subject of dead slayers for some time but it's very "fraught" and difficult to do.

Oh I'd love to read your opinion, but I know it could be hard to focus on so much pain.
And I agree on the awful quality of the FFL lighting of that scene, I think the best way to get around it is to desaturate and try black and white, sepia or monotone. My efforts were so disappointing I decided to give up on that scene until I learn new tricks. :D

I know btvs_hush but I don't remember entering icons there in recent years. The fun of icon making started with nekid_spike and their very friendly attitude and only later I tried challenges, OWL is the one I love the most for the opportunity to work with text.
20in20s scare me because you have a time limit for a large number of icons and you have to choose either a character or pairing or season or episode as your claim for the 20 icons and then follow the themes for each round. Definitely too much for me right now but if you are interested you can check the entries at other btvs-ats related comms currently on hiatus: mutentbell20n20 or btvscast20in20. Have fun!

ETA: oops, looks like the first one's been deleted, that's a pity. :(
And I agree on the awful quality of the FFL lighting of that scene, I think the best way to get around it is to desaturate and try black and white, sepia or monotone. My efforts were so disappointing I decided to give up on that scene until I learn new tricks.

This was the best I was able to get in PB, which isn't good at all and I didn't submit it:
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<img [...] <img>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

<i>And I agree on the awful quality of the FFL lighting of that scene, I think the best way to get around it is to desaturate and try black and white, sepia or monotone. My efforts were so disappointing I decided to give up on that scene until I learn new tricks. </i>

This was the best I was able to get in PB, which isn't good at all and I didn't submit it: <img src=http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/RedSatinDoll/BUFFY/Buffy%20ICONS/Challenge%20Icons/f6646fa1-24ef-4104-aed7-8d0998af6518_zps47e040bd.jpg ?.

I was trying to focus on the victims, the dead slayers rather than the perpetrators; but when i worked on the ones of Xin Rong I had to walk away because I was getting emotionally upset by the fact that I couldn't get a good image; I felt like I was contributing to her erasure as a person and that was disturbing to me.

I like the results of my Nikki and Buffy icons for OWL challenge 162: http://otherworldlyric.livejournal.com/222404.html
<img src=http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/RedSatinDoll/BUFFY/Buffy%20ICONS/Challenge%20Icons/99f75777-4432-4c43-ab48-058b59aef3d6_zpsb78091ae.jpg />
<img src=http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/RedSatinDoll/BUFFY/Buffy%20ICONS/Challenge%20Icons/430839db-e0bb-4446-9af5-00ede0d11ea3_zpsbd984542.jpg />

With the buffy one it's a no brainer, I love buffy and her death is upsetting; but if I can cry for buffy but not Nikki and Xin Rong (who represent thousands of other dead girls) then it seems to me that something's wrong with me. And it shouldn't matter that one perpetrator (the Master) is ugly and old and no one cares about him, but the other is young and handsome and cool so we whitewash his crimes. Dead is dead and they are all horrible, lonely deaths.

Definitely something to return to at some point as I get more skilled with image-making and mastering the ipiccy platform.

<i>20in20s scare me because you have a time limit for a large number of icons and you have to choose either a character or pairing or season or episode as your claim for the 20 icons and then follow the themes for each round. </i>

THanks for the tips and links! I'm going to hang back on that comm for the moment because there's things I still need to learn how to do - blending and adding textures for instance.
I missed this round, sorry! Strangely this time I think I love more the Willow/Tara ones.
Strangely this time I think I love more the Willow/Tara ones.

I do too. Especially 4, 5 & 7; I like them a little more each time I look at them. I wonder now if I shouldn't have entered one of those - but at the time I didn't think much of them.
I think you did a nice job with your icons here! I voted for number 3 :) and I love that one and 5. The cap you used for Buffybot is not used very often and drew me in. And the cap you used for number 5 is wonderful and emotional, no words necessary for the icon and the coloring is beautiful.
You did? *SQUEES* Thanks hon, I'm glad you like it!

I like 3 and 5 also. In fact, I made 5 as an afterthought - hence the lack of text. The effect is "San Carmen" in Photobucket which I use quite a lot but it's so effective. I used the same effect on #7 which I also like- I'm considering using one of them as a userpic but HOLY MOLY is that moment painful!

BTW - I'm absolutely in love with the icon of Buffy smiling I snagged from you. Like, I want to have its babies in love with it. (Which could be a little hard to explain to the in-laws, but oh well.)

Edited at 2014-05-12 09:56 pm (UTC)
Yes, it is a painful moment but it makes for wonderful, emotive art.

*giggle* I am so thrilled that you like it so much!!!!
it is a painful moment but it makes for wonderful, emotive art.

Oh yes, very much so - that's why the buffyverse is so powerful.

I notice my icons tend to fall in two distinct catagories: TEH ANGST, and Snark. The areas in between - smiles, giggles, hugs and comfort, are the ones I do less often, or need to make a real effort to do. that's why I wanted that icon so much, it fills that void I'd been wanting to fill. (So yes, I really do like it very very much - I enjoy a lot of icons but I don't often get so attached to one.)

Belatedly nabbed #1 and #14, because they're awesome. Especially the Willow one, it was such a perfect lyrics choice for her arc.
Belatedly nabbed #1 and #14

OMG thank you! I really like #1, it's just too perfect for "I just want to learn stuff" Willow (and I admit I was sort of disappointed it didn't make a better showing) but #14 was one of those icons I thought was a failure but what the heck I'll put it out anyway. kikimay taught me that what I think of as a failure may be an icon that someone else loves.

And thank you for letting me know; not necessary but always appreciated to hear! Enjoy sweetie.