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An icon treasure-trove (because I hate the phrase "icon dump") : Slayerstillness challenge 23

Congratulations to the winners of slayerstillness challenge #23 "Simplicity, it works for me": shameless666, rua1412, kwritten, teragramm, tempertemper, and debris4spike!  There were 35 wonderful entries this round, which did not make voting any easier.  Both the submission and the voting threads have been unlocked by starry_night, and I don't know about you but I think it's fun to look at those after the fact. (It's entirely possible I need to reconsider my concept of "fun", but never mind that.) And my apologies for taking so long to post this; it's not that I'd forgotten, it's that it takes me a week to put up a single post. Yes, I am that disorganized.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11) 12) 13) 14)

15) 16) 17) 18)

19) 20) 21) 22)

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

23) 24) 25)
26) 27)  28)  29) 30)
Buffy was beautiful during the whole S5. Like absolutely stunning. But yes, she was happier in the first part and I loved to see her happy for once (And I kinda resent Riley for that. Not the break-up itself, but he stole precious happy moments to Buffy with his drama)

And, yeah, I voted icon number 4. So predictable of me.
Love icons number 10 - even if I still have my reserve on Buffy's look in Anne. I'm sorry but I do - 11, 12, 12 (The pink ones. OMG I need TO STOP) and icon number 30 is scary and awesome.
I have a hard time watching the first part of S5 because ugh, Riley. (Where the hell did I put that shovel?)

I made #4 before our conversation but I had a feeling you'd like it, thank you! ;) Also, I now find myself making more icons in a pink tonality with you in mind. At some point an intervention might become necessary - for both of us.

(Btw is it just me or do the dark streaks in her hair in #15 look like braids?)

I think she's cuter in Anne than you do apparently. The bangs and heavy makeup in Amends are another story - there is just no excuse for that look.

And I decided to post #26-30 because I figured it's too similar to the one I entered in the challenge to be able to enter in another one, but it scares me a little too! I'm surprised there aren't more icons of that image because it's so visually striking.
I love your icons. I seriously and honestly do. I especially admire the first Buffy icon. So lovely. You really are a talented artist.

I really don't know what to say, dearheart except THANK YOU. So much.

I was looking at valyssia's icons again this week and was reminded that I have a long, long way to go.
These are excellent! The first one and four are my favorites and I believe I voted for one of them. There were so many amazing entries that round, yours included!
Thank you so much!(I like to see who votes for what, I think it's fun. I'm curious to know what draws people, why they vote for things, as well as why they made the icons they did.) 1 & 4 definitely got the most votes of my entries.

ETA: I just double checked (I'm incorrigible that way) - you and I voted for several of the same entries. Great minds and all that jazz! I was absolutely positive I'd cast a vote for #7 and was shocked to find out I didn't. It's like, can I vote again please?

Every other person submitted at least one that I almost voted for. This round was maddening - I know I keep saying that. there have honestly been some rounds where i've been a little "meh" - this wasn't one of them.

I just submitted to both OWL and SS today btw, have you? I'm still looking over the new comm btvsats20in20; I want to try it and the administrator has been so terrific with my questions, I just need to figure out if I can pull it together by the deadline.

Edited at 2014-05-17 02:06 am (UTC)
Thanks sweetie! You and I voted for at least two of the same entries but you also picked one of my "almosts" - kwritten's First Slayer icon. Such a terrific composition in the crop.
I have to tell you I absolutely love your #4 icon, the cropping and coloring were perfect.
the cropping and coloring were perfect.

Thank you, what a compliment hon! That was a dream of an icon, pun intended - practically made itself. Were that they were always that easy but then we wouldn't learn anything would we?
Aw, thank you! I found that challenge quite difficult because I'm such a texture whore!
I found that challenge quite difficult because I'm such a texture whore!

Photobucket doesn't have "textures" per se and it's a crude editing platform so I thought this would be an easy challenge. I was surprised to realize that I could have gone even simpler with my entries.

I'm just starting to get into textures with ipiccy very slowly; but I can see how it's going to be addictive once I really master them.
Gorgeous entries, #4 is perfect! <3

Of all the variations my faves are 8, 11, 14, 20, 23 and 27 (brilliant effect)!

As always excellent points on Buffy in s5 (damn you Riley!) and Anne's haunting dream (the text works beautifully).
thanks so much hon! As you can see I like #4 too. (I tried putting my initial on it the way you have your name but I didn't like the way it looked - that icon is so "pure" I feel like adding anything else spoils it. I have GOT to get over that.)

I'm really pleased you like some of the Anne ones, I enjoyed working on those a lot. The close-up of her face was more about playing with different effects; I don't even remember how I did those! I think it was a combo of PB and ipiccy.

the beach scene set were the ones I was really invested in, in terms of trying to capture a mood, a feeling, playing the context off the irony of the text etc. 11-14 I used a font I never used before and it came out nicely. I'm so glad you think the text works. Doing the OWL challenges really made me make the transition from using text for snark or humor to more subtle effects.

Weird that the images are so angsty and sad and I had such fun making them. I love Buffy but oh I do torture her....

And 27 is one of my favorites too, I'm glad you like it! I actually scared myself a little making that one. If I recall now, the red hazy cloud at the edges was an ipiccy effect and I just kept bumping up the saturation until it looked like black letters appeared out of nowhere. Total bit of luck. Again, the image is amazing to start with.

(damn you Riley!)


Edited at 2014-05-19 10:34 pm (UTC)