OK, any of you that use PhotoShop should already be able to look and figure out what this is. For the rest of you, let me enlighten you. Whenever you choose your "Brush" tool, you have the option of choosing which brush you will use. These come in two flavours, the kind you paint with (i.e. round with a solid edge, round with a faded edge, square, calligraphic edge, etc...hold down the mouse and drag, like painting on canvas), and the kind you click for an image (i.e. instead of a shape, it's a picture that you click once, and the image is left behind...useful shapes include butterflies, leaves, small flowers, etc.)
90% of the Digital Artists you see online are making very copious use of various brushes, and that's not a bad thing. A brush of some bit of texture, like a water droplet, or grungy dirt, or a burn mark, can add a look to a picture that would hard to recreate by hand or other means. Hell, I've got a huge brush collection, myself, most of which I never use. But that's as may be.
Now, how does this apply to icons? Well, you could set a certain icon template as a brush, and making a new icon with it would be easy, just click it in place, and colour in or add a picture as necessary. The downside to this, of course, is that your icons look the same after a very short period of time. What's worse, if it's something you got from somewhere else, then you're not the only one using it, and so now you're boring AND you look like lots of others...twice the boring for the same price.
OK, so here's where it all falls into place: this community's ONLY PURPOSE is to hand out "packs" of brushes, sized especially for LJ's 100x100 icon size. What's worse, a huge chunk of these "brush packs" are nothing more than song lyrics or movie quotes...as if TEXT was so hard to add to a picture.
So, quick recap: you're getting an automatic image (which plenty of others are getting, too), possibly full of song lyrics, movie quotes, or stock phrases (that everyone else is using, too), which you'll click on some pic you got off Google Image Search (which is found by plenty more people, too), all to come up with an icon (that will not stand out in any way) which is supposed to personally identify you.
No wonder people are impressed with my icons.
By the way: With well over 4,000 members, I have no idea if any of you are a member, and frankly, I don't care. You're entitled to your choices and opinions. Just don't expect me to be impressed with what you make, if this is how you do it. That's not being an icon artist, at best you're an icon maker, in the sense that a factory is an object maker. Churn them out all you want.