Queens of the Sea #5: Blue Gown and White Cloak for Grace O’Malley

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Welcome to day five 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:

Grace O’Malley: The Rebel Chieftain

Grace O’Malley, or Gráinne Ní Mháille in Gaelic, was a de facto Irish clan chieftain and pirate. She challenged English merchant ships and interrupted trading routes, which brought her to the attention of reigning monarch Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth sent a military commander to deal with the trouble, and he reportedly killed Grace’s oldest son, turned her second son against her and imprisoned her youngest son. Grace wrote to request an audience with Elizabeth, and was granted one. They agreed on a truce, but the truce was brief.

The meeting is notable for its unusual nature, as it included a negotiation of terms between two of the 16th century’s most unusual and powerful women — one a queen of royal blood, and the other a
pirate queen of her own making.

You can read more about Grace O’Malley at Miss Page-Turner’s City Of Books on May 18th, as part of the Queens of the Sea series. (I’ll update the link after it’s been posted.)

I really wanted to try to draw something she could have worn for her meeting with Queen Elizabeth, but I can’t really make heads or tails of how that picture works — how about that cape’s neckline? In the end, I based the general design on a statue of Grace O’Malley that I thought was very beautiful.

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!

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!

I’m amused by the poll results so far…

Halloween LOTR Costume Series #5: Grey Wizard (“Gwendolf”)

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For tonight, here is my version of a female wizard. (My husband called her “Gwendolf” and the name stuck. My apologies.) None appear anywhere in the series, but it is for Halloween and I thought it would be fun… And it was fun, even if I used up a year’s worth of French Grey pencils, even if the end result is a little boring.

My husband heard me complaining and warns me “You should watch out. You don’t call wizards boring. They’ll transform you into a little toad!” I should not like to be transformed, into a toad or otherwise, and so I added cute little hem designs and dialed down the criticism of the grey. If I was sticking to canon I could have given her a blue hat, but the more I look at it, the more I think, well, she looks kind of cool in her desaturated glory… Actually, playing around with hue/saturation in Photoshop, I can make “Gwendolf the Off-White,” “Gwendolf the Lime Green” oh and you don’t want to see “Gwendolf the Electric Blue,” trust me…

I’m afraid this one is going up a little late tonight, but it’s still the 8th where I am. So far I think I’m doing better than last year in terms of paperdoll consistency.

There’s not much reason to put up the poll today too, but I might as well. Don’t worry, fairy fans, I would place money on them taking the third week, if I was a betting sort of gal…

Hobbit Girl Paper Doll for my Mom

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I’m still on vacation (will be until Saturday) and trust me, I’ll have a lot to say about it when I’m back home! In the meantime…

I drew this hobbit girl for my mom a few years ago, I think for her birthday. My mom is a huge Lord of the Rings fan, and we both pretty much agree, if we were in that world we would make excellent hobbits. (Second breakfast? Yes please) So here’s a little hobbit girl with four outfits.

Anyways, I’ll be back home on Saturday, but between the red-eye flight home and the time zone changes, I might be too loopy to post anything for a day or two…

5th Century AD Upper-Class Celtic Woman In Saffron and Green Léinte and Green Brat (for St. Patrick’s Day)

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Wikipedia says that “uncritical acceptance of the Annals of Ulster would imply that he [St. Patrick] lived from 373 to 493″ and for the purpose of paperdolling, I can be uncritical. This is my guess at what an upper-class Celtic woman might have worn during the time of St. Patrick. She wears a sleeveless saffron-dyed, heavily embroidered léine, which is a linen tunic, over another light green sleeved léine. At this point, the sleeves, if there were any, were long and straight; the larger sleeves that you might see at a Renaissance fair come later. The green fabric she wears as a cloak is called a brat, and it’s made of wool and edged with gold. She pins the brat with a white bronze penannular brooch, and she wears a woven leather belt.

I cannot say that this is entirely historically accurate; I’ve read about clothes from that time and done my best to make it so, but I’m no expert. I read a lot of great resources about clothing from this time period:

Ceara ni Neill’s Early Period Online
Paul Du Bois’ Book of Kells Images
Clothing of the Ancient Celts
Echna’s Celtic Clothing Page
Crafty Celts

Also, if you’re looking at the dress and thinking “Well, how would someone actually cut that out? Or were hand amputations common in the 5th century?” my advice would be to cut a line between the edge of the sleeve and the cloak and slip her hand through it. This is, of course, if you have already followed my advice (given somewhere…) to cut Sylvia’s hand away from her hip, so that dresses like Margaret Hale’s gown work better.

Brian told me I should have done something for Saint Urho. Maybe next year.