anime - amatsuki - smile - summer

Progress as an icon maker

Snagging from bzzinglikeneon

So I'm tracing my icon-making skillz from 2005 to present. Always wanted to do this but...never really thought of myself as a hardcore iconmaker. Still, HERE I GO.

This post should not have taken so much time. Ignore if icon making is not of interest.


My first icon post was just over two years ago. There was a lack of Harry Potter icons, so I made some. The weirdest thing is that post probably has the most comments I ever got for icons, lol (alright, yes, that's sad)

My initial problem wasn't bad textures of fonts. It was the dozens and dozens of variations. Hundreds of crops, often just from different angles. I couldn't choose what was best so I left it up to others. I didn't know how to use textures and knew I'd suck so...I ran away from them >__> My entire series of Pride & Prejudice icons are an example of this.
     

One thing to note is that I discovered Photoshop long before discovering LJ - so I can't blame the software :(. When I saw Hithhiker's guide to the galaxy, I took quotes from the book and film photos and did animated icons. However, animation? Not my thing normally. This was one of only two times I've ever done it.
   

I finally figured out what I like to do - make bases. This is still my stand today - anyone can take my bases and change them, as long as they credit when they redistribute. When I loved something - like Pandas or sushi, and there weren't any icons at all...I felt it was a sign to iconify stuff. I didn't do much apart from crop, remove dust, sharpen and color correct.
         

Then came the Chibis. The Fullmetal Alchemist was crazy!love. I NEEDED to do some icons that really showed that love. I went all out - textures, text, animation. I tried everything and I tried hard. I still love 'em though it could be 'cause...who can say no to chibis?
     

     

Soon after I did a set of constellation/stars icons which could be used a textures. It was cool but...definitely a phase. I realised the potential that was in hue/saturation and levels.
      

Then I I discovered Supernatural and the_dean_show - and went crazy. I colored comics and did my first text!icons. Also discovered selective coloring. Around this time I got accepted at takenote_icons and I felt like an icon maker.
     

     


There was a dry spell where I joined lumos_sorting. Made text icons but focussed on sig banners. Then came the cats. The lack of cat icons killed me (no LOL cats at that time, shocking, I know) so again I tried a lot of text and borders. A bit pleased with how it went :)

     

     

The problem with early supernatural screencaps was that they went dark and dull - which to me, could only be solved by selective coloring. I'd used it a lot with Lumos sigs and I started using it more on icons. Mind you, NO ONE was using selective coloring - so I kept getting asked how my coloring was so vibrant. I also started trying out textures. Yes, one step forward, a dozen back.
       
     

I think I got burned out with that and took a break. Heroes got me making icons again though. I attempted a collection of 50 Heroes icons - failed due to a lack of internet :( BUT I went looking at other people's stuff and decided to try stuff I hadn't done before with texture and mini icons. Oh and did some bollywood!icons too XD
     

     

At this time the blue highlights/pink-white skin icons got popular. I went through a lot of tutorials (which I never bothered with before) to get similar results. I though the colors were so cool XD And then I got rejected at elite comms 'cause my icons had coloring that was too weird *sigh*

     

     

Now comes the influence of phuck - he got a new computer, hadn't made HP OOTP icons immediately, so I tried my hand at them. It was hard, cause I decided I would NOT do multiple variations. I think I'm better for it. Also did the 50-icons challenge for Hikaru no Go and fell in love with grey textures.
       

        

This fall has probably given me the most experience with icon making. Why? One word: LIMS. Normally I worried about quanity. Now the focus was to really just do one icon that pops. - So, I was forced to do new things if I wanted to impress peeps. It's been a bumpy experience. I got rejected in the first challenge in one round of a LIMS contest. BUT. I think I've got a hang of using textures and text now. Somewhat. And it only took two years.
       

       

        


Tagging: static_pixie, sunsetsylvia, lunacat, myrasis, phuck and...it's 4:30AM and I can't think. Go do it. Please?
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It's cool to see your progress and your icons are just fabulous. And I like the "weird" coloured ones, too. :P My icon-history will be nowhere as interesting as this.
Oh yes, it totally made the first season of supernatural shine like the sun for me XD
I just looked at ack_attack's meme and the_justiner meme and we are SO IN THE SAME BOAT. There is so much shiny there *__*

I don't really have the crazy creative genius talent for 100px x 100px images - in a way I think I get more satisfaction from coding layouts oddly enough :( But, let's hang in there and hopefully some day, it'll all just click.

I still remember meeting you over P&P icons XD Ah, the memories...

*pokes* AND DO THE MEME.
I like your colouring for the icons and it was really good to read about how your mad skillz grew along time. :)

I thought I was the only person who experimented like mad and shun brushes/textures.
haha, for some reason my brain would NOT link photos and all those crazy colored textures together. IMO, it's incredibly easy to go wrong with text/textures is one hasn't figured out their icon maing style yet.

The one thing I know about my style is that I don't do busy!icons that have a lot of everything. Apart from that...still learning XD

Thanks so much for the note btw - I was sure this was tl;dr
I don't really like those busy!icons. They always look so messy in my eyes. I prefer something clean and simple without too much fuss.
Yeah, that's pretty much my train of thought too - it's a very gut feeling, where you look at the icon and you *get* the emotion and the vibes in one go. But at the same time, simpler icons done right can be stared at all day *__*
Oh MAN. This is going to be PAINFUL. My first icons are so, so very bad. I'm honored that I influenced you to make icons, even if indirectly. :)
I still remember that ol' meme (Now and Then?) where you had to post the old icons and the latest and I was floored by how far you'd come O__O

When I started with the LIMS, I created an inspiration icon folder and it includes several of your icons too - there aren't too many people who can get just the right balance of colors and shadows/highlights to work on pretty much any resolution *hates on monitors* So yeah, totallytracklast5XD
(Anonymous)
Well, I was thinking about that too, so I looked back to when I started, three and a half years ago. It makes sense. New icon makers today start at a higher level than I did, because of the bountiful resources. I'm not saying that as an excuse, but there was nothing in the way of tutorials back then, resources were limited. It is an entirely different landscape. And I think you can tell how much icon making has changed over time just by looking at how good people are when they start. You know?

LOL. That was my problem, the one you referenced in the post. My big, old, beautiful monitor had died and I got a new LCD one and I hate it. I can't make icons on my desktop anymore. Everything there looks washed out and just not good. That was a dark time for me.
Ultimately, yeah, it pretty up depends on resources - tuts and software go a long way for newbies. Though keeping at it is also important - did you ever take a break during those 3 and a half years? I keep thinking of that energizer bunny XD

Man, that was the only reason I did HP - normally I just leave it up to you and the hundred of other icon makers...at that point of time though it was like 2005 all over again and I thought, hey, why not?

If there were a person who could accurately calibrate the world's monitors...ah, $__$ All the LIMS entries I've made recently were done on my new laptop.
Nope, no real break. There are lulls, of course. Like, this past month I've been busy, but between Last5 and Hogwarts Elite I've never had the chance to stop. :)

Hahaha. When I did LotR LIMS you could tell when I got my new monitor and how I had to rebuild from there. I ended up being able to figure out what I had to do on *that* monitor to make it look good on others, but it took me a while to get used to it.
Hahaha. See, now I'm impressed by you and your layout capabilities. I think it is much more uncommon to be good at layouts. There are good icon makers everywhere. I'm waiting for people to realize that I just do the same thing over and over. XD
Mutual admiration = Mutual masturbation

(This happened with me and grrliz, lol - mutual ego stroking)

And nobody really has your style - I can look at an icon and my brain goes "PHUCK!" which is insane. You've found your style and keep going to the next level.

Me? Started coding in spring and looking at all the wordpress layouts out...have a looooong way to go *sigh*
Heh. People always say I have a very distinct style, and I see it. But I never see my icons as anything very distinguishable. Hahaha. I suppose I'm nuts.
This is such a cool idea for a meme! I loved reading about your progress and then seeing the results. It's interesting that you started out doing very simple icons and then as time went on you got a bit braver and more complex with your work. Great stuff.

Thanks for tagging me, I'll definitely be doing this later. :D
Yeah, it's pretty much the opposite of most peeps where it's kind of overkill at the start and then they tweak and tone it down till it works. Me? Dull, dull, dull icons with no cropping skills. BUT WILL FIGURE IT OUT SOMEDAY XD

I've been seeing two memes go around - one for Fic Writers and their past fics (the good, the bad, the future) and the icon maker progress meme. Both are so interesting :)

It may take longer than you think but it's so worth it to see how things have changed...*bounces* can't wait to see yours!
Ooh, pretty icons! :D It always takes me ages to make one, and even then it looks all weird. :) (And you can never really read the writing. :P)

Btw, I feel silly for asking, but what exactly is LIMS? :)
Ohhh my god. That's gonna be a long entry when I embark on the quest to finish THAT. But I shall do it! ...Later.