How to go from (a blank canvas) to...
I used PSP 8 for this icon, but I'm pretty sure you can do this in any program.
1. Take this picture of Aya Ueto and zoom in 5 times. Select the freehand selection tool and apply these settings:
Selection Type Point to Point
2. Cut her out by clicking around the edges of her body. After you're done, the image should have the marching ants going around her body like this. But you see this? That's gotta go too. Zoom back in and hold down the CTRL key while clicking around that area with the selection tool. Now, the picture looks like this.
3. Hit the cut button on the toolbar, paste her as a new image and leave her there.
4. Start a new image, size 100x100, and paste this texture by dearest as a new layer.
5. Then, go back to the image of Aya and resize it to 25x62. Hit the copy button on the toolbar, go back to the 100x100 image, paste Aya as a new layer and position her where you want her.
6. The icon is really empty and dull right now, so let's add another image. I went to my image folder, pulled up this picture and decided that the power lines might be kinda cool to add. To do this, perform steps 1, 2, 3 and 5 for the power lines or whatever image you choose to add.
7. After you paste the power lines in the new icon, depending on which layer you have chosen, they may be be sitting over top of Aya. They need to be behind her so go over to the layer window on the right and drag the power line layer down so that it's sitting under the Aya layer. Then set the power line layer to multiply.
8. The next step is to cover up the white line and red dashed line at the top of the icon. To do this, go back over to the layer window, click once on dearest's background layer and zoom in.
9. Select a thin piece of the area right under the dashed line like this. (When you use the selection tool this time around, choose the plain old rectangle, no anti-alias, no feathering). Click copy, then paste, and move the rectangle you just pasted over top of the dashed line. Repeat those same steps to cover up the white line. Now the icon should look like this.
10. It still looks empty to me so I went and found another image to add. This time, I decided to add the little red shack and hills from this image. Go through the cutting out process again, resize it to 144x15 and paste it as a new layer behind Aya and the power lines. Duplicate the layer with the shack and set the duplicate to multiply.
11. I felt like the color of Aya was a little too bright for the icon and decided to darken her up a little bit. In order to do this, duplicate her layer once and desaturate the original. Next, duplicate the desaturated layer two times and set the first duplicate to soft light, the second to multiply at 36% opacity. Then set the top Aya layer (the one in color) to 30% opacity.
12. Add some text and merge all the layers.
Next, I decided to play around with this texture made by exit47.
1. Paste the texture in this position and set it to multiply and 56% opacity.
2. Paste the texture again as a new layer like this, and set to multiply and 56% opacity.
3. Paste the texture one more time as a new layer like this, and set it to multiply and 26% opacity.
When you get done, the icon should look like this.
4. Duplicate the base, drag it to the top, then set it to soft light and 78% opacity.
5. Merge all layers and that's it :)