Pink Satin Dress with Lace Trimming

A pink satin dress with straps over the shoulders and an empire waist. The above-the-knee length skirt is covered with white lace, with a sparse pattern of flowers near the top, and an elaborate pattern of ribbons, flowers and leaves by the hem. Another row of lace adorns the hem. There is a layer of sheer white fabric attached at the bodice, which drapes over the skirt and is cut away in front, trimmed with more lace.Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

You may have noticed that the original black and white masquerade dress had rows of lace that the recolored versions did not. That’s because to color in Photoshop I start by tracing the original drawing with the pen tool. I looked at those little fussy bits of lace and realized that, should I take the time to retrace them, I would be choosing the way of pain, and that I should be able to find another method of making lace. So for a few days now I’ve been working on using Photoshop’s tools to make lace. This is all done with brushes, paths, patterns and shapes, all of which I made myself (well, the ribbons are a default Photoshop shape). Farewell to simple half-circles indicating lace… This is just a beginning, but I think once I have more brushes and more practice I should be able to do some gorgeous lace for paperdoll outfits!

Would you believe this dress started life as a Regency gown? I lopped off the puffy sleeves and everything below the first layer of skirts. I hope it doesn’t show too much, but I was getting rather frustrated with it toward the end! But now it’s done I’m reasonably happy with it.

Purple and Red Empire Waist Gowns with Black Lace Overskirts

A purple satin empire-waist gown with a ruched bust and small puffed sleeves edged with black lace. The black lace overskirt is secured with a black ribbon and extends past the knees, and it has a scalloped edge. The hem of the dress falls to the ankle, and is decorated with pintucks. There's also a black ribbon choker with a red gem set in gold.

The exact same as the purple dress, only red. Click for larger version (PNG): purple, red; click for PDF version:purple, red. Click here for the list of dolls.

Well, this isn’t the most Halloween-ish dress I’ve ever drawn, and there’s no particular story to go with it, so I’ve added a red version in hopes you’ll overlook those flaws. It might not be a bad one for the Halloween ball, though, considering most of those in attendance seem to prefer huge poofy skirts and overdone detail. Besides, it would be harder to hide a gigantic spider under this dress: always a plus.

Not my best October, but not a total failure either. I’m feeling a little more into the idea of drawing lately, though, so we’ll see how the rest of the year goes!

Queens of the Sea #2: Lai Choi San’s White Satin Robe

Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

Welcome to day two of the Queens of the Sea series, part of the Random Magic Pirates book tour! Here is the mini-bio for today’s pirate, provided again by Lyrika:

Lai Choi San
The Queen of Macau Pirates
The Jade Empress
The Enigmatic Empress

Lai Choi San was a 20th century Chinese pirate, who prowled the South
China Sea during the 1920s and into the 1930s.

She commanded a fleet of a dozen junks based in the South China
Sea. Finnish adventurer and freelance writer Aleko E. Lilius managed to find a way to
work among her crews, and he recounts his impression of the
cool-headed commander this way:

‘What a woman she was! Rather slender and short, her hair jet black,
with jade pins gleaming in the knot at the neck, her earrings and
bracelets of the same precious apple-green stone.

She was exquisitely dressed in a white satin robe fastened with green
jade buttons, and green silk slippers. She wore a few plain gold rings
on her left hand; her right hand was unadorned. Her face and dark eyes
were intelligent…and rather hard. She was probably not yet forty.

Every move she made and every word she spoke told plainly that she
expected to be obeyed, and as I had occasion to learn later, she was
(I Sailed with Chinese Pirates (1931), Aleko E. Lilius

Lai Cho San was also the inspiration for a 1930s comic strip,
Terry and the Pirates, featuring a
cold-blooded villainess, The Dragon Lady. The series, by artist Milton
, sparked a radio series (1937-1948) and a later TV series
in the early 1950s.

You can read more about Lai Choi San at In the Library of LadyViolet, as part of the Queens of the Sea series.

It was kind of Lilius to describe her outfit so well, wasn’t it? That made today’s overall design very easy to come up with, meaning that I could spend less time thinking about it and more time admiring pictures of 1920s-era vintage Chinese robes. I could have sworn that the word “necklaces” appeared in that description at some point, though. Oh well. I’m sure she had a least a couple of necklaces!

Imagine trying to keep a white satin outfit like that clean anywhere near a ship… Even if it’s not what she might have worn on duty, so to speak, it can’t have been easy. I imagine that’s one perk of what was no doubt a generally rough existence — she could task some poor underling with the duty of keeping her clothes immaculate. Although, given that she may have never existed at all, I suppose a fantasy character could keep all manner of delicate white clothing perfectly clean.

Don’t forget to enter my contests! Click here for the chance to win an original drawing, for those of you who can give me an address if you win, and click here for the chance to design a pirate outfit, open to everyone!

I wanted to clarify one thing about the first contest – it’s open to international visitors as well as domestic ones. And yes, all you have to do is post a comment to enter — although it is a little boring for me to watch the comments roll in, next time I do something like this, I will make people write something more imaginative! But I won’t change the rules on you mid-stream, this time.

Don’t forget: check out the tour schedule here! And for more information about Random Magic, here’s the trailer for the book.

Also, check out the Rum + Plunder treasure hunt for more pirate prizes!

Ruqun in Black with Fire Colored Sash

Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

Diane won my last contest, for guessing that I had 1,040 visitors on September 12th, and she wrote:
I’d like both the skirt and jacket in a shimmery black, and the trimming and belt on the jacket in a kind of “fire-colored” orange and red iridenscent type fabric. The jacket could also have some simple red-gold embroidery on it (nothing big). And the little dangly charm (I’m not sure what it’s called) could be of a gold thread/cord, with the circle ornament of green jade.

I hope you like it! I always like doing fire-colored things…

No one has won the next contest yet, so it’s still on!
What’s my favorite book?
Rules as always:
1) If you’ve already won this year, please don’t enter. (Music contest winners are OK to enter a black-and-white coloring contest though.)
2) One guess per person per day.
3) If no one gets the exact book by noon PST, September 17th, I’ll pick the closest guess.

Here’s your hint for the day: it was both written and set in the 1800s.