This is my favorite icon makers post. These are the icon makers that I really go to for inspiration, whose icons I really love and admire. I encourage you to check out their icons and go give them some feedback! (Please note I'll most like add and edit this post as I remember or discover other icon makers I love.)
UPDATED: Feb. 10th. 2008
Each of these maker's is extremely adept at using textures and unique coloring. I watch this community like a hawk and it's one of the only personal icon communities I have on my friend's list. Everything is worth looking at. Sometimes more than once.
hellododger @ slowdivide
Not only is this maker good at collage type icons, but also very simple icons. The sense of composition is outstanding and each icon is like a little piece of graphic design.
emily_reich @ icon_reich
This is the maker that inspires the majority of my black and white icons. I aspire to be able to do the mix of value and texture that she achieves with every batch. Also experimentation is a sign of a excellent maker and this maker is not afraid to do that at all.
sheepy_hollow @ ghost_sheep
Simple, clean and highly effective. I very much admire the different coloring techniques that she employs with every batch. Also constant improvement in every batch I get excited when I see a new post because I know there will be something different from the previous.
neversleeps @ tragic_radiance
AWE INSPIRING. The things this maker does with light will ASTOUND you. Gorgeous composition, again with the LIGHT use. Always able to shed light on a cap that's been iconned to death. Beautiful work.
Simple yet effective. I like that every icon is different and that even when using the same font it still is used in a different way to make it effective for each individual image. I'd also describe these icons as "elegant."
sanami726 @ ownthesunshine
This maker I've admired since my QAF days. I think that she is THE QAF icon maker. Her style is singular and easily identifiable. Her use of textures is outstanding and her stock icons, I believe, set the standard.
Also check out: morbid_girls's Community Affiliates which are all excellent and highly recommended.