Joyce/Angel btvs  Fairy Tales RSD

What I've Been Up to Lately: Artwork for Velvetwhip's Jangel Fanfics

Final poster art for Answering Prayers by velvetwhip
Teasers for more artwork after the cut:  
[Not for the first time today she wonders: How did I become… this?]

I've praised this author's work and this particular story before, but I won't pass up another opportunity. Ever since I entered Buffyverse fandom I've wondered at the absolute dearth of Joyce-fic out there. A huge number of fans - and authors - are women of a certain age and mothers, after all. And fanfiction is designed to explore what goes ignored, overlooked or forgotten in canon. This story fills a huge need and I hope will inspire other writers.

The project sat on the back burner a bit longer than I'd intended. I've had the basic composition in my head for months; making sketches in my notebook, however crude, really does help me remember my intentions. This is pretty close to what I first imagined; the biggest difference from sketch to poster is that I wanted a shadowy "ghost image" of Buffy walking away from home in Becoming, or sitting on her bed in the dingy apartment in Anne. But neither image worked quite the way I'd intended.

Technically this was my third go at the poster for this story. " Version 2"  (b & c below) was a lot more complicated, busy, bright and overstuffed with details (layers! layers! layers!). velvetwhip preferred the more subdued version, and her feedback inspired me go back and try to pare back down to the basics. I realized I'd gotten enamoured of playing with the images and effects and had forgotten the story itself. In theory every detail in V.2 has a meta point but it's all too much.

I also realized I needed something closer to a square-ish shape to fit Gabrielle's journal format. Version 2a-b below features a "flame" texture I got from sweet_lyri and she is not to blamed for the fact that I went overboard.

The thing about poster art for me is that, I want the recipient to love it; I want them to feel that it's an absolute perfect fit for their work because the point of me making a poster is to honor their prose and encourage people to want to read it. And yes, I absolutely realize that's kind of selfish and egotistical on my part, but I like to think of it as a "win-win" situation all 'round.

Which is to say, if I ever make an artwork for you, Gentle Author, and you don't love it with your heart and soul, be honest and tell me and if I can't rework it, I'll let you know.
2a)   2b)
For the final version (#1 above), I removed the texture, cropped it differently, and used a different texture altogether - a photograph of a bonfire in our front yard I'd snapped the night. I expanded it on low opacity in Layers mode, stretching and moving it about. Somehow a curve of flame fitted against Joyce's cheekbone so I left it there; then I added a second layer of the same photo but smaller, to fill the space in the lower left around Joyce's chin and conceal the edges around Angel's hand.

Half the task of making banners is covering up the joins, I swear.

The flames have a meta purpose in the image though; Angel has just returned froma literal Hell (this story takes place the summer between S2 and S3); but Joyce is in an emotional Hell which she knows is partly of her own making; in discovering Angel at the mansion she takes a headlong dive into her daughter's world in astonishing ways.

Below is what I call "Version 1". This was the image I turned into an icon for Gabrielle a few months back, because she'd asked for one for Christmas; and which I've reworked slightly to make into a poster for her story "We Tell Each Other Fairy Tales". The problem is that I don't think it really fit that story, which is mournful, angsty and angry. It's Jangel but it's not "shippy" in a traditional way, and this poster uses the fantasy image of Joyce that Xander had in his head from Restless.

So there's a mismatch here between an image that caters to romantic tropes and the prose which is anything but a traditional romance. velvetwhip twists, deconstructs, slyly exposes and gleefully smashes all manner or romance tropes in her work. And she does it with incredible elegance and perceptiveness.
That image of Joyce from Restless was a bitch to work with btw, as are most caps of Joyce from the series, poorly-lit and unfocused. So not my best work but a good exercise. I actually think this one looks better in the icon version I made for Gabrielle. Speaking of:

    4 - 7

And again I am borrowing starry_night's succinct rules regarding my own arwork:
~ Take what you like for personal use but please credit if used :)
~ No hotlinking!
~ Comments are appreciated :)

ETA: Nominated for Best Banner, wicked_awards 2015 - THANK YOU for the nomination!

nomineebuttonbuffywickedawards275x128_rsd2015_1.1final.png    Banner by Angelus2hot Oct 2015

Runner-Up, Under Your Spell (Best Banner), wicked_awards Round 12,  2015
Beautiful! I think 6 is my favorite, but it's really hard to choose. Depends on the situation and the mood, I'd think. :)
Beautiful work. I may end up consulting you for ideas/tips regarding a banner for a Joyce fic of my own.
Okay, here goes.

A few years ago, I had … what? one story banner, maybe two. Loved them, but still it only made me hungry for what I knew was possible. Then suddenly things changed, through luck and generosity and fortuitous parenting (my daughter sroni has done over a dozen banners for me). Now, bolstered by three banners from the Spike-happy comlodge and four fantastic ones from blondebitz, over a third of my Buffyfic output is represented, with more to come as sroni continues to address the backlog.

The problem just now is one particular story. “All Ye Who Enter” seems to call for precisely the kind of blend in images and backgrounds and textures that you turned out for velvetwhip, and that kind of thing just isn’t in my daughter’s skill-set. Except, of course, that this is Joyce and Angelus, which makes for something of a different mix.

Anything you could offer would be deeply appreciated.
Sroni's your daughter? Cool, I did not know that.

So you'd like me to produce a banner? I may be able to do that. I will read the story and then let you know.
If so, that would be beyond fantastic.

FYI, I've not forgotten your request! I've read the fic and am mulling over the image concepts; I'll let you know when I've pulled something together. I apologize for any delay in replying.

FYI, it's a damn good thing I don't eat or drink at the computer because your Tony Orlando and Dawn icon would have me choking to death laughing. There should be warnings for that level of funny. (now I wonder how many people look at that icon and don't get the joke.)
I do get a kick out of the userpic. And, if you do much reading in my stories, you might get the impression that I’m fond of making obscure jokes.

I’m glad you’re still looking at making a cover for “All Ye Who Enter”. sroni has been doing good work for me, but this particular story just seems to demand something outside her particular skill-set, and you’ve shown that it’s squarely within yours. I’m grateful, and a-quiver with anticipation.
I’m grateful, and a-quiver with anticipation.

Whoo-boy, no pressure right? *lol* I hope I don't let you down!

You already know how powerfully effective and magical I think these banners and icons are, but I'm saying it again, because I can't express in too many words how extraordinary your work is and how grateful I am that you put your talent in the service of illustrating my writing!

"in service" is the perfect phrase Gabrielle; consider me your humble handmaiden! Your prose moved and inspired me and your feedback constantly encourages and challenges me, I can't begin to show my gratitude for your friendship sufficiently. A few pictures seems a small gift in exchange.
That's beautiful. It's fascinating seeing the earlier versions and how the artwork evolved.

Half the task of making banners is covering up the joins, I swear

LOL, yes. I didn't do it very often for that very reason. In a small icon it's much easier to finesse the joins if there are even any in there at all. In larger work they are much harder.
Thank you Kathy!

I was advised early on by someone to only show my best work, but a lot of times what I think is my best and other people do isn't the same, and it's fun to show a little of the process. (I guess it's part of my "branding" on LJ *lol*)

I wish I were better at step by step tutorials and teaching like comlodge and chasingdemons, but not many people have ipiccy either.

In a small icon it's much easier to finesse the joins if there are even any in there at all. In larger work they are much harder.

I hears yah. *lol* Although ironically, sometimes it's been the opposite for me: I feel like an icon has to be perfect, flawless, like a haiku or drabble; whereas with a larger work, for some reason I can tolerate flaws I wouldn't let pass in an icon (aside from visible join lines.)
These banners are absolutely awesome and the final product is such a great match for Gabrielle's story.

You do the fandom proud, sweetie!
Thank you sweetheart!

I realize I didn't post the full-size versions and I would but Photobucket is all wonky right now.
*le sigh*
Beautiful work. I'm loving the colours and blending. And I love how you detail your process and thoughts behind your art :)

Also, I completely agree about Joyce caps. It seems a lot of the fringe characters (and I hate using that term for Joyce but you know what I mean) get the crappy lighting and quality :(

*nods* A while back I tried to make some Olivia icons and, oy vey. A black woman (not cafe au lair or any of that nonsense, a truly beautiful black woman) and the way they lit her is absolutely horrid.

That's before I started using ipiccy but the point is still good - the source material was crap. And S4 is a brighter season overall, visually, than S2 - 3. But there's a trade-off, with the more brightly lit seasons you get a certain overall flatness of the forms.

Edited at 2015-07-22 07:55 pm (UTC)