(And if you don't like alts, or artists gabbing about "the process", simply scroll down to the pretty icons below. Because this post might be of greater interest to other artists than the general population. Or it might not. I'm just sayin')
size: 750 x 350 pixels
5) Discover the power of the Clone tool (oh where have you been all my life? ) to fill in the gap between James' shirt and Sarah's body left by inexact masking, and merge the two backgrounds.
6) Realize you need to cover Sarah's bosom because it's damnably distracting and really not what you want to convey in this image. Worry that you'll be thought a prude. Remind your inner critic that prudishness has nothing to do with it; you're an out and proud lesbian and you love the female body but damnit, you hate that stupid little cami and her boobs just look weird.
7) Sift through dozens of photos of Sarah in every imaginable outfit looking for something you can cut easily and layer on. Resort to sifting through photos of Aly Hannigan. Realize this is the single most difficult part of the entire project. Remember why you hate masking. Realize you may be slightly insane.
8) Locate a HQ photo of Sarah in a pretty sundress with a structured tube top bodice for an In Style magazine photoshoot (2007). Layer and mask the bodice, change the color with the Tint tool to match the straps of her cami, add an additional texture to make the fabric look more convincingly dimensional and voila. Sing halleluliah. Realize you accidentally let some of her original cami show through slightly around the edges of the bodice. Tell anyone who asks it's not a mistake but done to enhance the illusion.
9) Overlay a deep brown texture to conceal the distracting columns. Add some text and call it a day, right? Well, no. You see, this is where the real fun begins.
12) Step back, take a break, squee over the Spuffiness of Season 10, marvel over the fact that you are actually reading the freakin' comics, Marvel over the fact that Buffy and Spike are canonically in a healthy romantic relationship (even if Gage is wrong, wrong, wrong and there will be a letter...eventually.)
13) Realize that comics illustrations do not mesh all that well with photos of the actors. They just don't - because the flesh and blood people are so much more interesting, compelling, magnetizing, even in photographic form, and comics illustrations only remind you of what's missing. Console yourself with Spuffy cuddles, sexytimes, and kittens while you rethink concept.
15) Add an image from Harsh Light of Day to visually convey the journey Buffy and Spike have taken from mortal enemies to friends, lovers, partners (with some serious road bumps along the way. Did we mention the mortal enemies part?)
17) Watch as the banner that should have won wins the competition. Sigh in relief because this means you won't have to scold people.
18) Read issue #20, decide it's your favorite issue of the comics this season (any season, period?) and incredibly, Gage gets it right. Think, "Damn it, if this had come out before the competition I soooo would have included that Spuffy Hug."
19) Give in to temptation and add that Spuffy Hug, because it makes you happy.
20) Realize "Crap, I forgot to make icons." So, make icons. Realize there are people who can do a much better job at making icons. Do it anyway.
9 - 14
* I confess I don't know who made the lovely image of the Golden Gate Bridge beneath a full moon (I, J, N, O). I found it at pcwallart by googling "golden gate bridge night moon". I've seen snippets of the same image at pinterest but no indication who the original artist is.
The photo in G is another stock image I found online and mislaced the original source.