Buffy Casablanca Poster poppy wreath  RS

Because LJ was wonky the last time I tried to post this - my banners for Round 6 of btvsats20in20

I meant to include these in my last post in celebration of the fact that bangel_4e has kindly extended the voting deadline of btvsats20in20 Round 8 until tomorrow (Sunday the 12th), and LJ simply would not let me. So let me try this again:

banner by me, 2015          banner by me 2015           banner by me 2015    
Banners above and icons therein by your's truly, 2015. Image of Alyson Hannigan courtesy of The Chosen Two.com Gallery. Click images to enjoy full size. All banners in this post by me, icons by their respective creators. If you wish to share please credit and enjoy. Don't rip off my stuff or post it on some other site without my permission, capisci?
What follows is much verbiage and more banner images; forewarned is forearmed:


Yes, that was 3 (4?) months ago. It feels like both a forever-ago and just yesterday that I was ready to throw up my hands and drop out, and the wise and wonderful velvetwhip provided the gentle encouragement I needed to keep going. And where would I be the last 6 months or so without her? Mired in a puddle of my own hopeless, frustrated tears, that's where. And tempertemper was likewise a phenomenal beta-muse for when I was making the banners.

Full disclosure: when my babies don't perform well in competition I weep and wail and wonder "Why not? I don't get it." When they do well and are honored as they were in Round 6, I wonder "Why? Other folks' stuff is so much better. I don't get it." Starry's Harmony set, in particular, nearly caused me throw in the towel; it's just so damn gorgeously pretty and I loved how in lieu of actual holiday episodes for Harmony she created a gorgeous sparkle-y holiday feel with superb use of textures. So you, Gentle Reader & Voter, cannot win for losing.

I wish I could credit the photographer of the image of Aly because it's a fanartist's absolute dream of a photo to play with; besides being an attractive image the clarity and image resolution are stunning. There is absolutely no "meta" aspects or intellectual thought to these three banners except "Ooh, pretty! Why haven't I seen this image used in other fanarts before?" and "How do I set the icons and text across it without looking like snot is dripping out of her nose?"  I originally used the other half of her face for the banners and had to redo them because greenish text and a large icon dropping out of someone's nostril is not an attractive look. Profit from my experience, Gentle Reader.

The normal ettiquette with 20in20 awards banners is apparently to make them only for folks who request them. I decided to throw convention to the wind: banners for everyone, barkeep! Which was essentially my excuse to play around and try to stretch myself a bit in terms of techniques. For instance, I discovered accidentally that if I had two images the exact same size, one with text, icons, etc and one without, I could layer them in texture mode and "transfer" whatever visual elements I wanted from one to the other without having to everything all over again from scratch.

I made the Willow banners last of all; the first one I made was for sweet_lyri's second place Bangel category icon. She hadn't requested it yet so that was pure playtime for me. I found a promo photo I liked and decided to go with promo photos for all of the other banners as well, all of them from The Chosen Two Gallery.  This banner is probably the first traditionally romantic, unironic Bangel fanart I've made; I took the "Christmas/ magical snow" context of the icon and extended it to the entire banner. It was a bit of a puzzle at first how to do that - Sarah's wearing a strapless dress and the photo was clearly NOT set in wintertime, but by cooling the color tones with a blue-ish "waterdrop" texture, a second "lace stripe wallpaper" texture a snowflake frame for the icon and a snowflake "paintbrush for the outer border, I think I got a reasonable approximation.

I was going to leave Sarah's skin tone a touch warmer to emphasize Buffy's humanity in contrast to Angel's non-human status but decided it just detracted attention from the icon itself. (Since that round I have become a huge fan of sweet_lyri's work; check out my userpic gallery for confirmation or better yet, go directly to her Round 8 Dawn set.)
banner made by me January 2015
tempertemper's had an interesting genesis in a Jangel icon I was attempting to make for velvetwhip's extremely awesome fic Answering Prayers.  Take a promo image of David for btvs (or ats), cut it out and place on dark background, add a starscape/universe texture and one of my own cloudscape photographs to cover the edges of the mask and voila! Again, no meta statement re:Angel going on except - whatever you want to read into it. Angel as an immortal creature yadda yadda bitty blah and all that jazz. I was a little puzzled at first how to do a banner for all of her very worthy Themes winners, six in all So I decided to treat them as if they were a "set".  I suppose if I'd tried harder I could have put all of her winning entries onto one banner. All the awards banners I'd seen up to that point kept the icons at their original size; I didn't know that you could reduce them to fit the banner. (Since then I've seen banners at other 20in20 comms where they actually do size the icons down.)

Her Reason icon is a thing of GENIUS, y'all - it never fails to make me smile. And her Category set is another fantastically clever solution to the problem of creating a "holiday" category set.  To my mind it's not only more clever, it's wittier and more inventive than my set because I had a holiday, ready-made, to work from; she had to create one from whole cloth.
FINAL_v1_AngelthemesbannerfortempertemperJan2015byredsatindoll_zps48a9ea45       FINALtempertemperCatgeorysetbanner_byredsatindoll_Jan2015       FINALv2_tempertemperACsetbanner_byredsatindoll_Jan2015
I already mentioned that starry_night's Harmony set nearly caused me to quit Round 6 before I'd even made a single icon because they were simply so beautiful and accomplished and I knew I couldn't come within a mile of them. (I still can't, IMO.) That it took much hand-holding from velvetwhip to get me to complete mine?  Starry's icons are so gorgeous and elegant, I wanted the banners to suit them - and I kept coming up with images of Mercedes McNab showing lots of skin that looked like they were meant for men's magazines. Now I am all for a woman's right to display her own body as she chooses but that wasn't the look I had in mind for the banners. The image I found on The Chosen Two was a rare exception, very restrained and classical, almost "Renaissance".

It needed a little something extra though and my landlord's yellow rose set to difference/subtract/invert (one of the three, I don't recall which) to turn it black like Mercedes' dress was just the thing. Never underestimate just how handy a casual outdoor snap you've taken can be. I tried to keep the rest of the color scheme as close to the various shades of pink/mauve/purple found in the icons as possible. All of these icons are lovely and her Category set is a knock-out; I snagged her 3rd place Category icon because I simply had to have it.
Harmonybannerv3.1_starrynightthemesACwinners_byredsatindollJan2015             finalbannerstarry_nightcategorywinnersbtvsats20in20rd6Jan2015_byredsatindoll_v3

The Spuffy banner for oh_cheezit's wonderful AC set from "Sleeper", an episode I love, was the last one I made aside from the Willow banners and in some ways the most difficult. I came into this fandom an S7 Spuffy shipper and by the time I'd made these banners, "Spuffy" had become an uncomfortable and even painful place rather than a comfort zone. I found it difficult to re-access my original love and enthusiasm for the pairing and perhaps this banner was above all else an attempt to reclaim my love for them on my terms. (I very nearly didn't make this one at all.) I was going for the sense of Buffy as the sun, as moral compass, a guiding presence to him in her life and in death but also, perhaps, a ghost or memory. My first try (below right) is very pretty and the icons pop but something's missing I think, it lacks overall unity and is a bit bland.

I cropped Sarah's face closer on the second try, pushed the blue-green color from the photo of James in the "crypt" and didn't notice until after I'd layered them that the roots in the crypts intermingled nicely with Sarah's hair so that they seemed intertwined. The image of James was actually of rather poor quality in some respects and I had to do a lot of blending around his face; it ended up more washed out than I wanted. I made several tries at the font colors with this one and never got it quite right; her name in particular looks too bright too me now. I'm still not sure that the banner doesn't overwhelm rather than compliment the icons. The final version is on the left and the alt is to the right:

banner by me Feb 2015 version 3 FINAL           banner by me Feb 2015 version 1
I arranged the icon set a little differently to the other banners because for some reason they wouldn't line up in an exact line. When I staggered them a bit I thought it created a nice sense of both dimension and movement that I think suits the icons. There is a very cinematic feeling to this set; oh_cheezit alternated long, medium and close-up shots like an expert cinematographer, but always with an emphasis on the varied emotions of the scene and Sarah and James' wonderfully expressive faces.

So that's my story and I'm sticking too it - what say you, Gentle Reader?

And apropos of nothing: I'm watching Episode 1, season 1 of the Rockford Files, "Backlash of the Hunter: Part 1."  (Circa 1974)I haven't watched this show in decades (my mom was a huge James Garner fan back in the day.) Eleven minutes into the episode and we were just getting our first glimpse at the protagonist, Jim Rockford. There's such a leisurely quality to the storytelling that feels absolutely foreign today. And it's still the BEST OPENING CREDITS SEQUENCE AND THEME SONG EVAH.

My sweetheart said at the end of the episode "I don't think I want to watch that very often." Me? I'm thinking OMG James Garner is funny, charming, adorable and handsome in a rugged lived-in way and what happened to real leading men like him? And I do mean MEN, not the boys fobbed off on us nowadays. MOAR please.
You are such a sweetheart. Thanks for saying such nice things about me and my story. Also, being part of your artistic journey has been a privilege. You grow every day. You do!


Thanks for saying such nice things about me and my story.

It's only your due for the time, love and generosity you've given me - and your story is truly awesome and keeps getting better with each chapter.

I'm fortunate to have such wonderful Muses. (I've been a Muse to others but never thought I'd have one of my own!)

And I'm just honored by your words, I don't know what to say except a warmest thank you!
This post just made my morning, you are such a darling. I am still head over heels in love with those Angel banners you made me - they are probably the most gorgeous I've ever received!

Love love the Spuffy ones for oh_cheezit too - the overlay of the two of them works so well.

I often make the icons smaller on larger set banner - sometimes I do it so I can make all the banners the same size because that appeals to me. What I'll usually do, FYI, is make the banners full size then reduce the whole thing. E.g. if I am making theme banners for single icons sized 400x300 pixels then I'll make a set banner large enough to accommodate 5 icons in a row - 500x400 or even larger if I want space around the set of icons, then once made I can resize it to 400 width to fit with the other ones.

As always I love your passion for this! ♥
I am still head over heels in love with those Angel banners you made me

Oh, thank you for that feedback sweetheart! I do worry that I'm having so much fun making banners that I'm overwhelming the icons - the whole reason for the banners in the first place. I was particularly worried with this set of banners. (not that it stops me from going full blast, you'll notice.)

the overlay of the two of them works so well.

Thank you! I love those moments of serendipity particularly when it's a project I'm struggling with. Sometimes I get what i want when I throw up my hands and say "whatever"

Thank you for the sizing information - very handy! I've since seen other comm banners and notice that the icons are downsized within the banners. This is good information to know - if I were to do it again I probably would make these a (quite a bit) smaller. The single icon banner at the top of this post (Accessory theme) is a little smaller than the other two but the icon is full size, so I must have added text, downsized and then added the icon afterwards.

As always I love your passion for this! ♥

Thank you, I love sharing! What is it they say about "Would you do it even if you didn't earn money doing it?" well, that pretty much defines "fandom" doesn't it?
PS. You will appreciate this - I started looking over old winner's posts at comms where I had made the banners to see if I could find you an example of when I made the banners like I described above with the down sizing of icons? I am still looking (haha) BUT I came across a comment on a post from like a year ago, where someone had come late wanting a banner and I hadn't caught their comment, so good thing I keep everything hey? I am a graphics hoarder heeee!

ETA: I found an example in the next post for that comm! Scroll down the comments and look at the banners for darkpalace.

(Sorry for all the edits to this comment!)

Edited at 2015-04-12 08:10 am (UTC)
(Sorry for all the edits to this comment!)

Sorry for being so late in replying! And thank you very much for the links - WHERE did you find that lovely beautiful glowing lesbian wedding couple holding hands image oh YES I do appreciate!

look at the banners for dark palace.

thank you - and oh MY do I love what you did with that image of iron man and pepper. *swoons* someone else showed me banners for another 20in20 and I saw the same downsizing and I was like, oh, I'm allowed to do that?

I think you saw my last set of slayerstillness banners - and I've got the background of the next round of Whedon elite all ready to go. I'm using more stock images, etc. Being the one and only banner maker for whedon elite at the moment is really helpful because it's on a regular basis, there aren't that many needed AND - I know in advance that I'm doing it, when it will be needed, the theme at hand, etc. Good practice work.

I am a graphics hoarder heeee!

Me too! I am loading my sweetie's computer with stuff, good thing this is a new Mac with huge memory. (Hopefully I won't cause this sucker to crash.)
This post is amazing! I love reading your reasons behind your art, be it icons, banners, or other works. It means a lot to know that you put so much thought and feeling into them.

And I'm very glad you've never thrown in the towel because seeing how far you've come over the months is amazing. You never really stop feeling that whole "Why" aspect when your work doesn't place, or when it does; we all get moments like that but I've just decided to go with the flow and refer back to Doris Day....Que Sera, Sera :)
I love reading your reasons behind your art,

Thank you so much! I'm thrilled (and still surprised) that anyone enjoys reading these! I know I haven't written as much lately, what with RL stuff, and I rather miss doing so. And I can't tell you how much your kind words about my work mean to me.

I've been wanting to do this post for a while; I really wanted the banners to be special to those who received them and truly honor the icons and the artists who made them. I adored your Harmony set then and still do - the Category set in particular is really something special.

And admittedly I DID throw in the towel by not participating in round 7, but that was incredibly necessary. I've signed up for round 8 and I'll work on getting things done earlier this time.

but I've just decided to go with the flow and refer back to Doris Day....Que Sera, Sera :)

I think that's very wise, and I'm trying for that - in my RL as well. That's a fine balance isn't it? Care enough to do a thing, to be involved, but not so much that I get weird and mean and anxious about it.

I actually think just keep moving (motion metaphors again) and doing lots of these things and having lots of projects helps with that, reduce the time I have to dwell on any one thing.

Ahh, my handmaiden, you've come such a long way in what seems a very short time. Lovely work. I love the Bangel banner but then I'm always a bit p*ssed that there are so many lovely promos for Bangel and bugger all for Spuffy. Love Angel cloud. Love your experimenting.

Full disclosure: when my babies don't perform well in competition I weep and wail and wonder "Why not? I don't get it." When they do well and are honored as they were in Round 6, I wonder "Why?

I kinda think that those thoughts belong to most of us. You really have to do this for yourself, because otherwise you're going to end up crazier than 'basement Spike'. Though he was so bloody cute! Anyway, you know what they say 'You wins some, you lose some.' Keep up the learning and the producing. If you want to be good at something, you have to do it. A lot! :D
Oh my gosh, thank you my mistress for your lovely compliments!

bugger all for Spuffy

I do commiserate, at least in terms of this project because I set myself the limit of using only promotional pictures. OTOH, i had a glorious embarrassment of riches - almost too much - to play with for the seasonal spuffy banner project.

Love your experimenting.

I've had wonderful teachers and muses! And I've made a lot of non-canon shippy banners since last year so I've gotten in a bit of practice. This was still a stretch though; the quality of the images is sometimes the greatest stumbling block.

You really have to do this for yourself, because otherwise you're going to end up crazier than 'basement Spike'.

Oh my gosh so true! I don't like myself when I get "too driven". Good thing I do love to do this (what is it they say about "would you do it even if you didn't get paid?" well clearly I love to do this very much because I'm making squat but it's addictive anyway!

I really like the Angel in the space ones too. All the blue and the pink and the black.
Thank you sweetheart. I thought you'd appreciate those, especially with the warm mauve tones! The original photo has Mercedes against a concrete banner and wall, grey and very cold.

I'm really glad I saved all the steps of the image along the way from the original photograph, it's interesting to look back and see the progression (which was not necessarily a linear one.) I have an uncropped version without the text or the icons and it's super-pretty as well, you can see the entire rose.

All the blue and the pink and the black.

I actually made dark red and peacock green version of the same banner to try to coordinate with the icons (esp the Category Holiday set), and they ended up looking not-so-great partly because the contrast of the different colors was lost.
The banners and icons are absolutely gorgeous! You did an amazing job on them all.

I'm thinking OMG James Garner is funny, charming, adorable and handsome in a rugged lived-in way and what happened to real leading men like him? And I do mean MEN, not the boys fobbed off on us nowadays. MOAR please.

I couldn't agree with you more. James Garner was/is one of my favorite actors. I've loved him in every single thing he's ever done. Btw, have you seen 'Move Over, Darling'? It's James Garner and Doris Day. It's an oldie but a goodie. And he is simply, adorably gorgeous in it. :D

Oh thank you so much! And thanks for stopping by, it's always an unexpected treat when you do.

Btw, have you seen 'Move Over, Darling'?

Yes I have! I saw it when I was a teenager I think; and I also saw the 1940 original, "My Favorite Wife" w/ Irene Dunne around the same time. (we had a local afternoon movie show on the detroit television station so I was exposed to a lot of old movies long before TCM and the like. Back then I was the only kid who watched old movies, now all the cool kids do.)

At the time I thought My Favorite Wife was the better movie in many ways, wittier, but Move Over Darling was more laugh-out-loud funny and that was mostly due to Garner as I recall. I liked him with Doris Day better than Rock Hudson actually, but maybe I just like Garner more as an actor, period; he seemed looser and more natural to me. (Ironic in hindsight.)
Your banners are absolutely gorgeous! I love the different techniques you used to create them, for instance:

1) The crop on Aly's face is lovely. I love the way you made her green eye pop and I did not notice a snot effect with the icons.

2) The winter effect for Bangel is super pretty and it makes sense to leave Sarah's skin tone the way it is.

3) I love the way you reduced the size of the icons and made it look like Angel was watching over the festivities. I'm a sucker for star backgrounds as well.

4) The Harmony image is positively unique. I love the contrast you created.

5) Staggered icon set!! I love the depth that it gives the banner.

I am so proud of you! Thanks for sharing your artistic journey with us.

Edited at 2015-04-12 02:31 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh thank you for your detailed comments hon *SWOONS* and thank you for reading the entire post! I was terrified I was writing too much and no one would want to, I'm so thrilled that it's been read and enjoyed!

I love the way you made her green eye pop

Thank you, I still LOVE how that came out. I'd already done that with Buffy images for slayerstillness art in nov-dec but this is just the perfect version of that.

and I did not notice a snot effect with the icons.

Heh. It bothered me a lot in the original versions that cropped the other side of her face so her nose was sort of in the center of the picture. It's possible I was being paranoid. BTW I have the uncropped version, the textless crops, etc, they all look wonderful. Why doesn't that photo get used more often? It's dynamite.

2) I don't often go that "pretty", so this was really new for me. I also have the uncropped versions of that one and it's interesting to see the progression from the cap to a colder and colder image. Again, a lot of the strength of the banner is due to a great starting photograph. Sarah's warmer skin looks better in those versions because it's not pulling focus an icon.

3) Thanks hon, the Angel icons are actually full-size on the banner! If anything there's a little larger with the frames. I love setting off icons with frames and shadows but then I have to allow extra room on the banner for that. And I had no idea tempertemper liked sky imagery too because you know I'm addicted to that sort of stuff as well! How many buffyverse characters have I set in the clouds? *lol*

made it look like Angel was watching over the festivities

I hadn't even thought of it that way, that's a nifty description!

4) Just more thank you and lots of blushing like a rose (pun totally intended). I'm pretty happy with that one as well.

5) I definitely want to stagger icon sets or use dynamic placements again on banners, so much more interesting that straight lines - so long as I'm not messing up the artists' intentions and aesthetic.

Thank you so much for being a part of this journey, sweetheart!