Buffy Casablanca Poster poppy wreath  RS

Oh my goodness I won second place in btvs_hush! THANK YOU!

Thank you to everyone who voted my WIllow/Aly Hannigan icon 2nd place in round 279 of btvs_hush! I really was not expecting this at all. It's my very first award in btvs_hush (on my third try in this comm) and my first second place award in any icontest. Congratulations to the other winners teragramm and pickamix - two artists who inspire me. I'm really honored. I would be lying to you if I didn't admit that seeing my name alongside their's didn't thrill me - and it's an especially sweet surprise coming at the end of what's been an emotionally turbulent weekend for me.**

awards banner by dragonydreams
And thank you dragonydreams for the gorgeous banner - a masterclass in understated elegance and simplicity.

I swore I wouldn't have time to enter this contest, and furthermore how could I enhance such a beautiful photo of Aly Hannigan to any degree of justice? But it was so pretty, and such a high quality image, I couldn't resist. I took a similar approach to it that I did to the S5 photo of Sarah by Greg Gorham, pushing the soft "glamour" effects to gild the lily. This time I used a pre-existing clouds "texture" in ipiccy and altering the coloring for a soft rose tonality. I worried that I was being a wee bit cliche, to be honest (maybe it's time for me to retire cloud imagery for a while before y'all get sick of seeing it?)

But I was having fun and I wanted to make something pleasing for my Willow/Aly Posse, most especially velvetwhip and snogged, who I had in mind while making it. I can definitely see the flaws in my entry, all the things I wish I had done differently (I wish I'd been bolder with the rose coloring around the border, and gone for sharper definition) but overall I surprised myself and succeeded in what I set out to do.

Here are my entries, including my first ever Angel/DB icon! *yawn*  (Sorry, but the dudes just don't excite me the same way the ladies do.)  All snaggable with proper credit. (And frankly, if you can make 2 or 3 better, have at.) With the Sarah icon I was apparently trying for an antique or "Renaissance" era look.

So what did we learn this time? PAY ATTENTION TO THE DARN RULES. Ok, I already knew that one but apparently I am extremely dense and require sledge-hammer treatment.  I was ready to submit two icons each of the Aly and Sarah images. Including some with text. Yes, that's right. I spent a good bit of time getting the text right on some icons and was ready to submit them until I remembered..its called btvs_hush. For a reason. Oops. (That's actually the second time I've done that.)

[More alts and 'splainy after the cut...]

#4 is probably my favorite icon of this entire set. I very nearly submitted it and spent a lot of time trying to get the text right on it. I like the subtle overlay barely-there effect of the dark lettering; #5 has the same font but the lighter text isn't as effective. The inspiration for the phrase here was twofold: Willow's "We changed the world" was mashed up with Coldplay's "Carry Your World" from the Buffy fanmix eilowyn made me were swirling together in my head. "Your world" felt more personal and intimate than "the world", and it felt right with this image of her looking into the skies, looking forward into the future.  And ever since pickamix advised me on the use of elegant, slender fonts re: my Etymology poster, I've pushed myself to achieve results I hope she'd approve of in that regard, even as I've becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the narrow range of fonts in both ipiccy and PB.


I didn't have time to show these to wickedbish for beta advice because I made all of these at half past the last minute but thank goddess I didn't submit 6 or 7.  It's the same cloud texture but more "literal" and wandering dangerously into cliche/camp territory.


I almost submitted one of these instead of #3 above. I made the choice to go with #3 after looking at past btvs_hush winners and seeing that they've tended to downplay "special effects" or heavy textures. I'm not sure if making my selections based on that is a good idea, though.

It amuses me that I get my hands on a high quality image of Sarah for a challenge and my first impulse is to break it down, grunge it up; try to make it look like a drawing or painting. I used a texture from Encompass-Rose for  #8 for an effect that reminds me of an aged fresco painting; the icon is terribly flawed and the definition is not good but I don't hate it. Sue me. I used ipiccy's pencil drawing filter in 8-16.  And yes, 12-13 made were before I remembered that text isn't allowed. It's ridiculous to think of the time I put into trying to get those two right - and not succeeding. But, hey, practice and lessons learned.



Angel alt, a little more saturated. *shrug*  Instead of the pencil drawing filter I used one of the light textures on the Angel icons that provided the "brushstrokes".

Want? Take, have - but give proper credit! If you wish to alter, add your own text, etc, please just check with me beforehand.

**Long story short: Dark thoughts and despair, not worth discussing, except I did voice them to my sweetheart who gave me the thing I needed most: she held me, and that was enough to remind me why I love her and why we've been together for 17 years, however difficult our relationship is - and it is, very. You'll never find us on the inside of a Hallmark card.
I think your icons are fabulicious and I am tickled plaid that you won!!! You truly did right by the lovely Aly! Also, so glad your lady was there for you when you needed her most.

You truly did right by the lovely Aly!

*phew!* Thank you sweetie!

And my lady has a way of being there in the most amazing ways when I let her in (and maybe that's the secret, let her in more often?)

- (Anonymous)
Congratulations again to you hon! Which were your other entries, if you had any?

My second third place win at otherworldlyrics I was completely floored because "What, that? people liked THAT?" I only submitted it because my beta told me too and still have no idea why.

(Just out of curiosity, is the Willow in Hush icon at otherworldlyrics "Where is the sound?" yours? It's very witty and made me laugh out loud - few icons ever do - which makes me think it might be yours. Not that it matters or anything, I've already voted anyway.)

And yes, it is very nice to be held! We don't do it often enough sadly. I need to remember to not wait until tears and crisis mode to make a point of doing so. (I'm leaving out the arguments and the fussing and the constant inability to communicate with each other, and my bitchiness...neither of us is easy to live with. two porcupines are we.)
- (Anonymous)
- (Anonymous)
Most people don't ask for their needs to get met until they're in a place so bad that staying in that bad place is worse than whatever stops them from asking. Some people have a hard time asking for their needs to get met because they've been brainwashed that they should be strong enough to deal with everything themselves. Or that the other person should just know that they need support and if they need told then ... fill in bullshit answer here. Or a plethora of other reasons that have been culturally ingrained in us.

I am copying all of this because YOU SPEAK TRUTH. Every word of it. Especially the brainwashing - my sweetie and I are "I gotta be strong enough" plus "please read my mind" mashed up all at once, squared. Holy moly.

I'm just glad that you two seem to be able tow work through the tough times. 17 years ... that's wonderful!!!

And sometimes I have to say this stuff aloud because when i see it through other people's eyes, it looks a heck of a lot different than through my tunnel vision. But I constantly forget that - why do we forget the things that we need to do/learn most?

I feel I did the best I could with what I was given.

Just so you know - I voted for your #9 because I liked the meta concept. And I don't know how to achieve the same results (or haven't the patience. And frames - I adore frames and framing devices in imagery, when done right.) Oh gosh was the quality of the source photo indeed terrible. I wanted to do something with Aly and Sarah from that cap but I gave it one pass and gave up. Kudos to you for getting anything out of it.

I had to find the same photo of Cordy elsewhere to even try and work on it.

You're allowed to do that with these contests? Durn, I had no idea.

I think I just wanted to be finished with Cordy and my intent never came across. That she's her own best friend.

I love the concept though. The fact that you put thought into these in terms of concepts and stories is something I think you and I have in common. Sometimes I make icons that are just "pretty picture!" but not that often, there's almost always something I'm trying to say.

Which I think is a scream!!! As in laughing scream.

OMG so do I! It's giving me all sorts of - wrong thoughts. *lol* I don't ship the guys with each other, really but...I've seen tons of Spander but surely there must be a hardcore Spangel fandom?

I think you'd do really well at Slayerstillness because you can pick your own caps and the themes are generally flexible enough to allow some interpretation. That Spangel icon would have killed at an SS round, pun totally intended.

I just noticed that all three of the winners this round used some sort of curved or circular imagery in them. (And I was worried about the curved cloud shadow in mine.) Great minds and all that jazz?

It took the least work because I knew how to do everything going in, so I felt pretty happy that I had the idea, planned how to get the result I wanted, wasted not a second's worth of time while making it,

Doesn't that feel lovely when it happens? I want to get to that place more often (fat chance, with my brain.) I think the concept worked exactly as you wanted it on the Buffy icon, that blend of power and prettiness are so important. A friend of mine just started watching the show a little and loves that blend of qualities.

I actually like the ones I did with her leg and the stake a LOT more than the ones of her face for the reasons you mention, but...I chickened out at the last minute because I started looking at past winners and thinking, well, they like faces a lot, blah blah...I put the award over the work. Never good.
- (Anonymous)
Have you voted for the new hush round yet?

No but thank you for the heads-up! I peeked at them last night when we got back from the airport and my gosh, gorgeous work - look at me, excited about Angel icons! I'll have to vote tonight. (When it's hard to choose I try to give myself 24hours)
Congradulations, these are beautiful!
And 17 years together? That alone is worth Hallmark card ))
Congratulations, darling girl! I'm so proud of you! Your icons are positively gorgeous. :)

Glad you and your girl got to spend some comforting time together.
17 years together are amazing!! And easy relationships really do not exist. If they do, then they're not real relationships. People change, grow and sometimes are so different/similar that it is never easy building a life together...truly together :)
I'm happy you have the person who gets you and makes you feel better. We all deserve that.

And congrats on your placements!! I love those icons and I can already see you improving so much with lights and coloring!!
Oh! Your Buffy icon was my favourite in that challenge. :D Congrats on the second place.
I didn't see the vote go up ... but looking at it my eye, I know, would have been drawn to that one.

I love how you are using those cloud images to capture the peace in that image.
So sorry to hear of your despair, and glad you have a sweetheart to hold you during dark times.

On another note - holy hanna, your icons are more and more beautiful!!
*blushes* Oh goodness thank you so much sweetie! I'm very glad you think I'm improving, that's the most important thing to me,
Yay! I'm still in a new fandom coma, so that's all I have.
Thanks muchly - and so happy to have you back, hon! (ironically I'm mostly "off" this week as my mom is visiting for the week, so I'm hopping on as I can at least once a day.)