Sunday, 15 April 2012

Gráinne Ní Mháille

Gráinne Ní Mháille, or Grace O'Malley. Just a personal piece of 'Tudorpunk' shennanigans, women in doublet and hose, swords, cigars and flintlocks! ;) I've taken a few liberties with the costume, mixing up appropriate Elizabethan with a bit of Napoleonic, and she was supposed to have trimmed her hair short, so you could see this as her a little older perhaps...

Gráinne Ní Mháille was a really interesting 'pirate', clan chief and real life heroine of Ireland, who met Elizabeth 1st and generally kicked a lot of bottom in the 16th century! (And if you're wondering how her name was pronounced: GRAWN-ya nee WALL-ya, apparently!)

Photoshop CS2, drawn from scratch based on an old sketch I did for a Character of the Week challenge that I never finished. Painting a chest of coins could be described as either therapeutic or madness inducing...

And a close up. I edited this recently, sometimes looking at something again lets you see what's 'wrong' with it...

Link

7 comments:

M. D. Jackson said...

I love it!

Aly Fell said...

Cheers Mr Jackson! I enjoyed doing this one!

abdul666 said...

I was at first of two minds about the 'Elizabethan with a touch of Napoleonic' cocktail, but I'm finally seduced.
As a wargaming figurine she would be a great officer for Freebooter Miniatures arquebusieres: you should really find an enterprising miniatures manufacturer to turn your excellent, and so original designs into 28mm figurines!

Aly Fell said...

Hi Abdul666. Thank you! I'm an Elizabethan nut, but also a huge fan of Sharpe and general Napoleonic shenannigans! Mixing things up is fun, and I did it before with Elizabethan and WW2. Glad you 'get it'! :)

Thank you SO much for the suggestion!

abdul666 said...

While the Napoleonic hussar dolman (which did not evolved much in centuries) fits well with the 'Elizabethan' details of the costume, I'm far less convinced -actually deeply disturbed- by the epaulettes, which are really tagged '19th C. and later'. To me at least the contrast of dates is too blatant, undermining the self-consistency / 'realism' of the whole costume.
What about, instead of fully evolved epaulettes, the bunches of ribbons (without shoulder straps) which preceded them? "The direct origin of épaulettes lies in the *bunches of ribbons worn on the shoulders* of military coats at the end of the 17th century, which were partially decorative and partially intended to prevent shoulder belts from slipping. These ribbons were tied into a knot which left the fringed end free.". Maybe the ribbons themselves would be very short, each extending in a long fringe?
Alternatively the coat would bear only the fringes directly fixed to the shoulder with neither shoulder strap -which appeared far later than the 'fringe'- nor solid crescent ('tournante'), i.e. like *this* without shoulder straps? Epaulettes were intended to increase the 'manly' silhouette by broadening the shoulders, so for a woman it would be more feminine to have them attached slightly closer to the neck, to less broaden the shoulders?
Or something like *this*, but the 'semi-solid' part on the shoulder made of gilded 'chainmail' (since 'White' officers of native cavalry in India wore 'mail' epaulettes), and a denser fringe with many more 'strings'?

I guess that on the opposite you think that the brutal contrast between Napoleonic and Elizabethan components is precisely what constitutes the charm of the costume, but I think that (at least when one day it comes to a 28mm miniature figurine) something less... drastic / extreme, a combination less anachronistic and more uchronistic, would have a wider potential market.

abdul666 said...

Purely personal of course, and maybe too 'soft' for the character, but I prefer her face [even if, to be blunt, the shadow on her upper lip conjures up the word 'mustache'] :-)

Aly Fell said...

Hi Abdul,

Thanks for the comprehensive reply. I have to say though, I’m not going for authenticity here. The amalgam of different historical periods, which wouldn’t exist in reality, are evidence that - whilst the epaulettes are not realistic - they are just for fun. The jacket is based specifically on the fictional Richard Sharpe of the 95th Rifles, and the boots and trunk hose or slops generically late Tudor. I’m currently working on a series of illustrations based specifically in the Elizabethan period, and whilst I’m going for more authenticity to place them in ‘period’, I’m also taking liberties with aesthetics. Eg: I’m currently designing a tomboy girl who dresses in male clothing of the era, and whilst I could obey the sumptuary laws, this would restrict me. It is the job of the artist to make an aesthetic choice if not going for literalism. If my brief was to be as factual as possible, eg: illustrating an Osprey Men at Arms book, then I would not take liberties, but for my own creative license I allow the viewer to fill in the gaps. The character here is not dressing specifically ‘feminine’, but in the ‘pirate world’ is appropriating whatever she thinks looks good and has a degree of practicality. I mean there’s SO much about the image that is anachronistic: the gun, the sword, the whistle and the riding trousers with the leather patches, that I’m actually surprised you picked up on the epaulettes! You obviously really know your stuff, and thanks for the constructive ‘crits’. :)


As for the face you link to, it's a work in progress anyway, so it's not been published anywhere. Possibly the shadow is a bit heavy, but as an aesthetic conceit it doesn't bother me. It gives her a slight androgyny which I quite like.