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PART 2 of 3: btvsats20in20 alts & extras, early-seasons Buffy, the Summers Women

Just what the title says - and don't forget to add your vote at all four parts of Round 5 of btvsats20in20 if you haven't done so already. The voting has stalled out at 22 voters - so on the one hand, go fandom!  On the other - get the heck over there, fandom, what are you waiting for?

I've split the remainder of my alt/extra icons chronologically by season with slight exceptions to be explained. Any and all of these, with a few exceptions (3, 5, 15) were nearly entries in my Round 5 set; I am simply that indecisive. A huge inspiration for me this round was the 1992 Melissa Etheridge single "Dance Without Sleeping". My original plan was to make a set focused on OMWF and Buffy hairporn from that episode. (kikimay will understand) Even though my plan didn't eventuate the song is a perfect fit for the episode, for Buffy and the 'verse in general*

Thanks also to eilowyn's beta advice after Round 4; I tried to keep her thoughts in mind while making these especially in terms of use of textures and color.


Table generated using angelamaria's Icon Table Generator.
Icons by their own makers.

As ever all icons are made by me but for the taking with proper credit; feedback is lovely and much appreciated; stealing, failing to credit or archiving on another site without express persmission is not.

[Here be thinky-thoughts....]

1-18 are all season 1 or 2 icons; 19-22 skip to S5 & 6 - or rather, 19 merges seasons 2 & 5.  (The only S3 icon I made was the Amends #16 icon of my final entries; I didn't make any S4 icons.) 1, 2, 3, 5 or 6, 17 - 18 were all in rotation as entries until the last minute; #1 & 5 especially.  I like both of those but worried that the textures were distracting and not really adding anything to the image or saying anything.  I likewise replaced 15 with the more distant crop at the last minute. 18 I excluded because it would have been the only icon to not have someone's face in it.

I've not done a lot of early-seasons Buffy; this round convinced me I want to do more. Focusing on the late seasons as I tend to, it's easy to fall into the same trap I see with fans who have only seen "certain" episodes or seasons of the tv canon series (or deny those seasons existed) and miss the whole story on either end.  It's not that I missed anything but I've forgotten how young she was, how tender, but also how she walked into Sunnydale with a suitcase full of baggage that only got bigger and heavier with every day, every death, every Apocalypse and every trauma.  In other words, I just wanted to take her up and hug her and make the hurt go away.  I can't not feel for her.  Buffy Summers brings out my Inner Mama Bear.

And of course there's the aesthetics of it, taking pleasure in her face - not because Sarah's the prettiest woman but there's just something very particular about her features, and her performance. (Making icons of Aly as Willow is the same sort of pleasure, and I think there are surprising points of similarity or at least congruity between them. They are not really similar but they are "not the prettiest" in similar ways.)  Kristine Sutherland, Michelle and Amber OTOH are no less lovely or perhaps are more so but are somehow harder for me to grasp fully and do them justice.

15-22 all involve Joyce in some way, but mostly as an absence rather than a presence. After focusing on close ups of faces for so many icons, hands suddenly became very important here. I do love the richness of hand imagery in btvs, and the Summers women have such visceral ways of connecting.

I'm always going on about the absence of Joyce in the show, how I wanted more of her in it (and why aren't there more icons and fanfics about her?) And I admire debris4spike's Joyce icons and the attention she pays the lady but when I tried to make icons with her myself, I could only render her as an absence or at best a partial presence. And as much as I love their interrelationships and the moments when they do truly connect, 15-22 are all about the failure connect. The only ones we see Joyce's face in here are 20-21, as a dead husk; those icons are as much portraits of Dawn, whose face we don't see, only her hand.  It was important to me to get the detail of her ring in the image, which made the hand more particularly her's. 22 reverses this a bit and we see Dawn's face and Buffy's hand. Unlike the Body icons they are physically connecting, but emotionallly disconnected; and in between them is Joyce's presence, again expressed as an absence or negation.

18 owes a debt to pickamix, who altered one of my Vamp Willow icons from Round 2 with permisson by removing a red soda cup in the frame. and I wanted to try the same to remove a red straw from the green cup here thanks to color matching tools in ipiccy.

* (I did not however watch the original video on repeat - perhaps if I had the results would have been more light-hearted. Unironic lesbian interpretive dance? Complete with fog, overexposed blue lighting and that damn belt buckle? Sorry Melissa, you're no Ellen.)

I really really like number 19, you already know that. Not only I love the icon in a pure conceptual way (Parallels between Buffy taking care of Joyce and the prophetic dream Joyce) but I like how you blended the different images.

I correct my mistake! The 8 icon - why is also a favorite - is from Surprise. I also tend to rewatch/love more the later seasons and yesterday I casually rewatched Surprise instead and, man, I really feel for Buffy. I want to protect her from the emotional trauma that Angel will be. Her first sexual experience is so filled with guilt and pain.

(Also number 2 and 4 because of pretty colors)
(Parallels between Buffy taking care of Joyce and the prophetic dream Joyce)

This is the one blend I made this round that I think came out better in theory than in execution so I'm glad you can see what I was going for! I do like how the colors glow (love the green).

I think this one might have worked better as a larger piece and I might try it again sometime. Because I loved the parallels you mention - "everything will break" and in both images her life is about to be smashed to pieces. (Angel's soulbomb and Joyce's death.) I wanted to work in the image of the plate that Joyce drops and smashes in the dream, as Buffy will drop something when she hears Dawn screaming, but it didn't register in icon size.

The 8 icon - why is also a favorite - is from Surprise

I loved making that set. And we are brain and heart twins when it comes to our Buffy-love. She is in for worlds upon worlds of pain in this series.
These are so incredible! Have to say that, though I love them all, my faves are: #1, #3, #7, #13, #14, and #20. Bravissima! Your work just keeps getting better.

OMG! You picked out the very ones that I didn't enter this round because I worried that they were not this or that enough, or too this or that, etc. although I really like them a lot myself. (esp 1, 3 and the entire "Broken Innocence" series.) And the blends - you singled out the blends! Blending images is one of my single greatest joys when it comes to fanart, I'm so so glad they speak to you.


BTW - the image overlaid on Buffy's face in #3 is a fragment of my landlord's yellow rose from that photo I took this past year, which also explains the color. :)

Edited at 2014-11-21 09:35 pm (UTC)
I really like #17 and #18 and I'm not really a fan of the color green but those two icons are stunning with their clarity and nice pop of color.
Thank you sweetie! I'm really pleased with the color and clarity of those too; green is a color I find difficult and the quality of the caps was not great to start with but I got decent results.

Odd that I needed a green icon in the set and yet managed to drop both of them. 18 would have seemed strange as it is the only one that doesn't show a face but 17 certainly would have gone nicely with the Buffy & Dawn one. Silly me.
Voted! I remembered I already voted for one of them, but couldn't remember what it was. Anyway, I just want to reiterate how much you've stepped up your game from last round. The coloring is much more subtle, which should have been hard to pull off based on the round's theme. I'm pretty happy with the icons you chose to submit, though there is something to be said about a couple here - 8 uses the strong coloring in an interesting way because of the blocking, 10 uses bokeh (sparkly out-of-focus dots) well, 14 is a good contrast of images, and the green in 17 is beautiful.

Oh I voted for 4 for the re-use of the Vampire Willow as Silent Screen Star image, 13 because the brightness and coloring makes it almost look HD even though BtVS has some of the crappiest film/screencaps because it's pre-HD, and 7 because I liked how it illustrated a pro-Spike subtextual message. I don't know if I was supposed to use that as a criteria for my decision, but dammit I liked it and I'm sticking with it.
Thank you Lexi! And now you can vote for your top three sets in part4:

*stage whisper* And then you can explain to me why I'm tied for 5th place - but, hey, that's up from 7th or 8th place the other day, so go me! */end stage whisper* Srsly, I can wait until after you get your applications in. Really.

8 uses the strong coloring in an interesting way because of the blocking, 10 uses bokeh (sparkly out-of-focus dots) well,

Really? Thank you! Oh gosh, I thought you'd disapprove of those. Well, the Lexi in My Head disapproved *lol* (I argued with her a lot during this entire process. Sorry of like having an imaginary playmate, except imaginary beta. Srsly, I tried to keep in mind your comments from last round and judging from your response, it was a help.)

I wasn't sure if the blocking was distracting in #8, although I had fun using the same texture twice in different orientations to get that effect.

the green in 17 is beautiful.

Thank you, I like it too. The clarity of detail in Buffy's face isn't great but the caps for Ted are not great to start with, and I think the icon conveys the moment well enough. I don't remember why I dropped that at the last minute, except that I somehow managed not to notice how my set was almost entirely lacking in green when I submitted it.

You like my Willow/Vamp Willow icon? *squees* I loved that one when I submitted it. And I honestly have no idea how or why the Buffy & Dawn Ltf one came out so nice. I tried to do several from the scene in the kitchen and the blend is the only halfway decent thing I got out of it.

7 because I liked how it illustrated a pro-Spike subtextual message

It does????? I wasn't thinking of Spike at all when I made icon but thank you for chosing it - now all of my icons have at least one vote, which makes me happy. I made a banner blending images from Nightmares and Chosen and cropped two areas to make my entries 2 & 7, so it was really all about Buffy for me:

I actually tried - I really did - to make a pro-Spike Chosen banner and it turned out absolute crap IMO: http://s133.photobucket.com/user/RedSatinDoll/media/BUFFY/Buffy%20Fanart/Ongoing%20art%20projects/chosen712square_1_zps993874fa.png.html?sort=6&o=72

I suck at doing images of men btw - it doesn't matter which man, even if I find the man really sexy like Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge. It doesn't feel comfortable to me.

I don't know if I was supposed to use that as a criteria for my decision, but dammit I liked it and I'm sticking with it.

Well I guess the criteria is up to the individual voter. I like #7 a lot as it happens, I love how the image emerges from the shadows and the softness of it, so I'm happy it got your notice.

Edited at 2014-11-22 04:46 am (UTC)
We are tied aren't we? It sounds way more fun and cool the way you put it!

I know I get pouty sometimes and I oughtn't because - I'm tied with Snogged,. I'm behind tempertemper, teragramm, midnightisclose, sweet_lyri and kwritten, ie the best of the best. That is a very impressive list and damn good company to keep. :)

(Whilst I pretend I'm not strategizing ways to make my next set better and more cohesive. All of which I will chuck out the window when the actual themes come up. *lol*)

*turns crimson* Are you kidding? I think that should be the other way around!

but I'm gonna say that we BOTH rock because we're BOTH super-talented AND (very important) we put in the work to practice the craft we love (be it with words or pictures)? :D
You are definitely learning how to do some creative things in your iPiccy program and I think that's so awesome. I love seeing your icons and reading your thinky thoughts on how these beautiful icons came into being.

My favorites from this set are #4 (coloring), #5 (crop and emotion), #11 (placement of text, angles), #14 (the blending of faces), #17 (the pop of green), #18 (crop and color), and #21 (oh my heart. :/)
Thank you for the kind words, m'lady!

#5 (crop and emotion), #11 (placement of text, angles)

Oh gosh I love 5! That was almost my #10; I went with the plain image because I worried about the texture being distracting - in hindsight I probably worried for nothing? I'd never used that crackle texture before and it was super-fun to carefully erase in areas (eyeballs) and get a realistic effect.

But 17-18 are the ones I most wish I'd kept in the set re: needing green in the rainbow and just liking them. I made those and 21 about the same time - I was on a roll with my beloved Summers women.

#21 (oh my heart. :/)

Right? Going straight from that lovely, intimate mother-daughter scene in Ted to The Body when I was making these was really hard.

BTW - the signup post for round 6 is up! I want to sign up, I'm just not sure what claim, I'm so excited and nervous! I'd like to do more women of the Buffyverse (supporting characters), or focus on a particular episode, but early seasons Willow + VampWillow was a LOT of fun once again - and my Willow +VampWillow icons seem to go over really well. (ironic, much? *lol*) Are you planning on signing up again?
At the moment, I'm not planning to sign up. But that's really only related to the fact that we're closing on our house on December 1st and it's going to be a bit crazy.

I think it would be cool for you to claim Season 1 or something as your 20in20. :P
Oh good luck with the house! I've been through buying and selling with my mom and my partner and it's not fun - there's always unforeseen things and costs that come up, etc. Like planning a wedding but without the pretty dress, the bachelorette party the food, the favors - basically all of the headaches x 20 and none of the fun.

I think it would be cool for you to claim Season 1 or something as your 20in20. :P

I did have a great time making those Prophecy Girl icons - and the icons for the last round of btvs_hush *strokes chin*

The other subject I was thinking of was Drusilla; I did some pretty ones for kikimay recently and I'm working on ideas for a Buffy/Dru banner for her recent fic project. (bad timing, I could have used them in the current Slayerstillness challenge if I hadn't shown them to her beforehand!) http://red-satin-doll.livejournal.com/pics/catalog/6036
Thank you! I just added another for Kikimay if she wants it, but I want to rework it because I don't like the spots of light in Buffy's face. I was too tired/lazy last night to make a proper vector mask around the image of Dru.

I love that shot from Nightmares. Damn but it's useful. :)

And since you have requested S1, m'lady, and I've been perusing caps from Nightmares, Season 1 it shall be! I have no doubt it'll be about Willow and/or Buffy (some yummy images of both of them from Nightmares, PG, etc I'd like to play with) but I might leave it open ended in case I want to throw in some Joyce, Jenny, Cordy? *still pondering*

Edited at 2014-11-24 03:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, can I have number 4? I love the cropping and the colours!

Oh my gosh YES, and thank you! You are doing my ego all sorts of good today. :D

This is the reason I post alts/extras - because I can't predict what other people will fall in love with.