I've always been more impressed with people who create a look by hand (mouse/stylus) as opposed to people who effect the piss out of something.
As a logo, I'm not sure that this works. It doesn't have that simple recognizability that would be characteristic of a logo. It's not something that instantly visually says "I'm N Forums." As a banner for a Forum as part of a site, I think it does the job well. Though to get a better reference it would be better if we knew what the site was about and what the rest of the stuff looks like.