greerwatson (greerwatson) wrote,

Faction icons XXIX

Of the four icons in this post, two are for factions that have been the subject of at least some discussion on FORKNI-L recently; so I think I should get them up before I start posting icons for other affiliations entirely.

A few weeks ago, I asked for information about a number of small subfactions, and among those mentioned was the B.R.I.C.K.—though how many people claimed the affiliation for themselves I don't know. I suppose it depends on whether they take "Nick the Brick" to refer to Nick's frequent obtuseness ("thick as a brick") or, as some British fans aver, to refer to his staunchness in times of trouble.

When we bandied around names for a faction for Bourbon, it was suggested that "the Musketeers" be applied, not to his faction, but to one for Vachon's crew. However, it was quickly pointed out that one actually already existed. No, I'd never heard of it either; nor is it on even the longer faction lists. However, it is described on the Rat Pack website as one of their subfactions. Furthermore, it has its own Yahoo!Group. So, familiar or not, "the Crew" certainly deserves to have its icon.

The Unholy Alliance completes the trinity of trinities. (The icons for the Dark Trinity and Unholy Trinity have already been posted here and here.) I decided to run my preliminary design past the faction to make sure I'd got a satisfactory layout. Much tweaking resulted, which is why—if you check the name—you will find that this is Mark 7!

Last, but far from least, is an icon for the FoSiLs. Oh, dear! I think this has also gone through at least seven versions, too. It's been in the works for a long, long time. As Perry and Raleigh have already been pictured in the Woof Pack icon, I'm sure Sydney's fans have long since concluded I'm an ailurophobe.

If you go back to the old Affiliations FAQ (originally posted on FORNI-L and then saved on Mr. Happy's), you won't see any mention of the B.R.I.C.K. However, "Nick the Brick" is certainly mentioned—with both interpretations of "brick"! You will also learn that Will S. proposed "Briquets" and "Briquettes" to refer to male and female Knighties. At least one later list conflates all these references; so one can if one wishes, take it that the B.R.I.C.K. are a subfaction of Knighties, whose members are Briques and Briquettes. (And no, there's no typo there: somehow the "Briquets" got metamorphosed into "Briques" at some point.)

Anyway, the iconography was incredibly obvious, especially when I discovered a font that did the letters as brickwork. I simply needed to get the resultant logo looking as realistic as possible by overlaying the letters on an actual brick texture. The whole thing was then run past Nancy T. to check my choice of screen capture. She says, by the way, that she recalls getting a foam rubber brick to throw at the TV screen at...appropriate moments.

The Crew:

If you recall, Vachon said to Urs, "We're not running as a crew any more." So I decided that it would be most appropriate not to mix pictures past and present, but use screen captures with an historical setting. That meant using "Heart of Darkness", for that is the only episode in which all four characters appeared together. (It is true that the Season Three Production Notes does describe two further members of the "Lost Boys". However, the other two were never used in any of the episodes. For that matter, the term "Lost Boys" was never mentioned, either.)

With no obvious symbolism, and four characters to fit in, I simply went for a collage. For the background, I used a bit of one of the screen captures that showed a fair amount of wall in the club where Urs was a singer. It looks a bit more golden than the faces; but that's just because I did some colour correction on their skin tones.

FoSiLs (Friends of Sidney Lambert):

Oh, this icon caused me so much trouble. You see, the faction is for Sydney; but we have hardly any pictures of him. Despite his popularity in fan fiction, he only actually appeared in one episode, "Only the Lonely"; and he was really only in one scene, in which Natalie came into her apartment, and picked him up for a cuddle. She is seen from across the room, which means that she's pretty well full length, with Sydney up in her arms, half concealed, and—from the point of view of cropping him out—rather too small, and (given the picture quality) far too blurry.

So my first decision was to locate a picture of a similarly coloured cat and use that, instead.

More easily said than done, let me tell you. Cats come in a remarkable number of colours, not to mention markings—and don't even start me on the way some part of their anatomy always seems to be obscured, or cropped off the edge of the picture (which is probably at a funny angle or out of focus). The best I could find was a similarly marked marmalade cat, which I then desaturated to grey, cropping out and retinting the eyes, nose, and paw pads.

But what else should go in the icon? The old faction symbol was a stock picture of a cat with a ball of wool. (I googled balls of wool.) What font would be best? What background should I use?

I kept coming back to the icon, tweaking it over and over, and then scrapping some aspect of the design and starting again. I assembled cat, wool, and logo on white, on colour, on a gradient, on a woolly knit (because of the ball of wool), on a wooden floor, and on a carpet. I swapped out the wool for a catnip mouse—and then a different mouse. I recoloured the wool. I recoloured the mouse. I used about three different fonts (one of them with the letters in cat shapes). I arranged the letters in a line, both horizontally and vertically; and then took the whole thing apart and set them higgelty-piggelty cater-cornered in a rough diagonal.

In the end, I went back to using a screen cap.

No, it's not perfect. I mean, I think it makes quite a pretty icon. However, having had a look at the FoSiLs' role in a couple of wars, it's clear that the "members" were people's pets. The focus of the icon should therefore be on Sydney, not on Natalie-holding-her-cat.

Anyway, it is a nice carpet!

Unholy Alliance:

The Unholy Alliance is the name for the trinity faction of Nick, Janette, and Natalie. Small, maybe; but the tweaking needed to bring the icon to a state satisfactory to Brenda B. indicates that its members have strong feelings about their affiliation. The relationship is not only a threesome, but also a trio of couples; and the icon had to reflect this. The three screen captures have therefore been located in a triangular position, in so far as the layout permits.

As with the Dark Trinity and Unholy Trinity, I created a symbol for the faction that combines the established iconography associated with the three characters. That means the sword for Nick, the caduceus for Natalie, and the flying raven for Janette. To fit things tidily, I redrew the raven so that it's seen from above.

Tags: faction icons, forever knight, graphics

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