Buffy Casablanca Poster poppy wreath  RS

Behold the icontest pimpage and icons most excellent

1) The beat that my heart skipped: Congratulations to the winners of btvs_hush challenge #272: dragonydreams, rua1412 and debris4spike for their superb entries. I looked at those entries the other day when I was voting and was so excited I almost forgot to breathe for a second. No, I'm not kidding. (Yes, I do need to get a life but never mind that right now.) They were all so much of a piece with one another; delicately atmospheric and melancholy, aesthetically pleasing and intellectually engaging. I wanted to know who made each of them and HOW, for goodness sakes; what were the artists thinking at the time, and how closely if at all do my perceptions match what they hoped to achieve.

Deadline for challenge 273 is Tuesday May 20th.

I never guessed that the Willow icon was Deborah's. She's a wonderful artist (see the Servalan icon I snagged for confirmation); but I thought I "knew" her style in general. This icon is on another level entirely. It suggests feminine mysteries revealed, from within a cave, the womb or a strange ansd rare flower. Becoming, but tenatively so. Rua's icon is a bit more subtle visually and I almost overlooked it at first; but there really aren't many nice Xander icons out there that I've seen, and I slowly fell in love with it. Which is a big deal because I'm not easily drawn to images of men, and Xander is an interesting character but hardly my favorite. This icon makes me want to cry; good lord, the expression on his face. He's so terribly young to be so old. He seems middle-aged already (is that what happens to children growing up in a war zone?) The effect at the corner reminds me both of a watercolor painting and the corner of a newspaper tossed on the curb. Old-tea coloring.

And likewise Dragony's Giles icon - so, so old, so melancholy; autumnal, fading, isolated. A reluctant parental-figure who was himself poorly-parented but is somehow expected to guide these children; a Watcher whose emotions and intellect are at constant war with one another, neither side quite winning out in the end; a man who wants love, who wants to connect but has no idea how, and who thrusts family and love away each time it comes to him because it's all he knows to do.

You may be shocked to read that #5 in that challenge was my alternate choice; I have no idea who made that one. Yes, I came within a hairsbreath of voting for a Bangel icon - of the EoD/Chosen kiss, no less. It's a simple crop - no distractions, the golden background gentle pushed back from the figures; the visual platonic idea of a "kiss" in our culture. You needn't even know the characters, the fandom or the context to get that far. A good icon starts with a good image. But again, this is muted, slightly hazy; the autumnal coloring suggests a relationshipp that exists somewhere between the lands of "perhaps someday" and "never will again".

2) I feel much the same sense of excitement looking at the entries for  slayerstillness challenge # 24 :the pleasure of trying to decode the icons, sift through the layers of meaning and intent - so much to unpack here. Voting deadline is Tuesday May 20 so do vote now, if you can bear making a decision. Again, very much an "all of a piece" feeling to the entries, which is all the more astonishing given the fact that the prompt was a "free for all". The artists could submit anything they liked, so I'd expect, well, a free-for-all in the literal visual sense - and yet a sense of (inter)connection is very much apparent here. Muted colors, subtle textures, the importance of line. Certain characters and themes are much in evidence: Willow and Giles, Bangel and Spuffy are all present and accounted for. I have a few favorites but I'll reserve gushing until after the winners are announced.

3) Sign ups for round 1 of btvsats20in20 icontest are now open - the deadline is June 4th, and themes can be found here. The comm is still open to anyone wishing to be a co-mod or banner maker. Thank you to debris4spike for making sure this was on my radar, and to bangel_4e for going above and beyond in answering all my questions and offering support, advice and feedback. oh_cheezit has posted her S7 Spike, Spufffy and Beneath You icons for this first round: SO LOVELY.

I don't know yet if I'll sign up for this round; I'm still taking my time learning about these 20in20 challenges; they seem daunting to me, but so did slayerstillness, otherworldlyric and btvs_hush at first. icontests have definitely pushed me to improve my own work both by doing and by the example of other artists.

4) Due to lack of entries dragonydreams extended Otherworldlyrics challenge 172 extended one more week - and you know what that means: I will be nibbling my fingers anxiously until May 23rd second-guessing the entries I sent in the other day and wondering "Should I switch one? I should totally switch one. No, I shouldn't. Yes, I should dear god the freakin' agony (was that supposed to be a secret? Um....) We all have one more week to get in our entries inspired by the Cure's "Watching Me Fall".

I had to read the lyrics of that song a couple of times before it sunk what was going on in it: a guy describing himself pick up a prostitute in Tokyo as is he's having an out of body experience. (Hey, I've never hired a sex worker, so what would I know?) She's described as if she were a stereotypical movie hooker, a doll, a siren or seductress rather than a human being - and he's the one "falling". Ok, so this guy has an itch to scratch and the money to buy himself an hour with a sex worker who is totally dehumanized in the song and he's complaining? Waa-waa, poor little me with my male priviledge and superior economic status and yet I'm morally helpless...oh give me an effing break. This is stuff is straight out of Genesis. Hey, dude, here's an idea if you're feeling dehumanized by the experience: start by treating the sex worker you hired for the hour as another human being.  Knowwhatimean?

Honestly, that song is just begging to be deconstructed. Possibly with a sledgehammer shovel a few well-made icons.

The icons at Hush really were splendid. Have to agree completely!

I love these posts of yours. I really do. You're so passionate and intelligent.

I love these posts of yours. I really do.

Oh gosh, THANK YOU for that feedback! I really worry that I'm being too long-winded or incomprehensible, or that I need to be shorter, etc. So knowing that you enjoy them means so much to me, it really does.

I had to cut it short when I started gushing about my favorites at the Slayerstillness round - when the voting is over THERE WILL BE GUSHING. FOUNTAINS OF GUSH.
I'm honored you liked the Bangel icon so much, despite the pairing. It was mine too.

(Now I'm wondering if you also made any of the Bangel icons in slayerstillness which I may or may not have voted for *17* but I know you can't say so I'll just have to wait until after the winners are announced. I can be patient.)

I've really been aware lately that I've been unable to make any Bangel icons and I want to. The Anne icons I made for the last round of Slayerstillness were meant to be Bangel icons. Full disclosure: I did ship them in S2 when I watched the show two years ago. Buffy wanted to be with him, I wanted her to be happy. Simple. Even watching The Prom, I kept thinking "Dude, stay with her."

I can't get on board the "Relationship X should be the endgame for Buffy." I prefer "I like Buffy with Character X" or "I like this character/actor better personally". It's not a contest. But I'm kind of an outlier when it comes to shipping, I guess.
I have to say I haven't entered any icon challenges this week. *shrugs* Maybe next week
Maybe next week

It kind of goes in waves for me. I know i entered OWL *shhhh* but apparently no one else did? I'd like to enter the hush challenge (haven't done hush since last August) but the deadline is tomorrow, so I don't know.

I just hate having to wait for results, y'know?
- (Anonymous)
I wish I knew this Deborah you were describing ... her art sounds great ... if only I could do things like that!!!! I loved that image of Buffy & Angel (and that says a lot!!)

I wish I had your patience for experimentation, for testing colours, tones, lights & shades ... you humble me with the range of beauty you can get out of one mini image.

With the 20in20, if you want to sign up ... now or next time, and ever want hints as to themes/ideas etc ... you only have to ask. Someone helped me when I started ... and I think in helping others, you learn yourself.

I admire you doing the lyric challenge ... that is always one that I dread coming up on a 20in20 prompt!

Enjoy your day.
Oh surely you know her? I must introduce you then I'm sure the two of you will get on FAMOUSLY. :D That was a most excellent icon, sweetie. Well done - you deserve all the praise that comes your way. (And your old art teacher deserves a solid scolding, but they got theirs I'm sure.)

And you honor me with your compliments, truly. You make my hours of procrastination (and indecision) sound so much nicer than they warrent!

Have you voted in Slayerstillness yet? Some of my favorite icons in it are the Buffy/Angel icons, really brilliant work. I would love to be able to make one myself that I was happy with. I have tried making a B/A icon and failed - I've even tried making an Angel icon, still failed. Men are very, very hard for me to even look at. I get bored really fast. I need to look at my issues, apparently.

Thanks again for the tips! Bangel_4e was most helpful. I might enter the Hush challenge, haven't done that since last August.

I admire you doing the lyric challenge ... that is always one that I dread coming up on a 20in20 prompt!

Getting the text right is hard but once I hit upon an idea it's such fun! I find the lyric challenges easier than the Hush challenges that provide specific caps you have to work with, because I might try out a bit of the lyrics with several different images from different seasons and really let my imagination go with it. But perhaps because I'm a writer first and have always been more word oriented anyway.

If I can ever offer any help, let me know.
I love your posts on icon challenges. Not only do they remind me to vote for things, but they also are insightful and beautiful and fun to read.
Oh sweetie thank you so much; I'm so honored and grateful that you enjoy them!

And I am definitely indebted to folks here who pimp these things and provide links so I don't forget myself (and there is SO MUCH OUT THERE!)
There are always so many wonderful entries to vote for!

It sucks that she has to extend the round for OWL but now I will have time to do mine.
It was really hard to choose this time on slayerstillness. Beautiful, beautiful icons.
It was really hard to choose this time on slayerstillness.

If I could vote a second time, there are about five I'd happily give "best color" to, and perhaps best crop. Maybe my third place vote. first and second place I'm comfortable with.

Between us chickens - I loved some of the Buffy/Angel icons this round.
Thank you honey for promoting the comm...and I didn't do anything, if I can help let me know :)
You answered my questions, you sent me an email - you did lots, trust me! I appreciate that a lot.

(BTW - I don't know why I had to unscreen your comment to reply to it, this thread isn't f'locked or anything. Oh LJ how you bedevil me.)