A selection of craft information for artisans of the HFS.

    How to Get Started in Calligraphy and Illumination


    Posts : 81
    Join date : 2011-05-30

    How to Get Started in Calligraphy and Illumination  Empty How to Get Started in Calligraphy and Illumination

    Post  Admin on Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:36 am

    by Duchess Dorinda Courtenay

    As much as I love creating handouts and handbooks, there are about a
    million wonderful handouts already out there for those who want to get into
    calligraphy and illumination. The purpose of this short handout and this
    class is just to get one pointed in the right direction towards all those
    pre-existing resources. So, here goes!

    Why Would I want to be a Scribe?

    There are many good reasons to be a scribe! Scribes are great
    people. Scribes bring great joy to others. The scribal arts are a great
    way to serve your Kingdom. Scribes can produce beautiful things! The list
    could go on forever, but the punch line is: "Give the scribal arts a try.
    It is fun".

    Now, many people can be overheard saying: "I couldn't be scribe. I
    have no artistic talent." This is almost never true. For one thing, there
    are many different styles of scrolls. The skills that one uses to draw a
    Celtic knotwork is not necessarily the same as that which is needed to draw
    a portrait or an acanthus border, and is certainly different from that
    needed to do the calligraphy. Similarly, there are many aspects of
    creating a scroll besides the drawing ? one may draw, paint, or lay gold
    leaf to produce a scroll. Some artists contribute by creating "scrolls" in
    stained glass, wood, metal, fabric, or other media.

    For those who wish to begin in the scribal arts, here are a few hints
    to get started.

    Who Can I Contact to Get Help?

    While it is possible to become a scribe without much help, that is
    definitely the hard way to do things! There are many resources available
    to the beginning scribe. Your Kingdom Sylvan Signet can help you get
    started, although there may be a source much closer. If your group has a
    local guild or even a local scribe, contact them for help.

    What Materials Do I need to Get Started?

    The following is a list of materials to keep in a scribal toolbox.
    Items marked with bold print are critical. In many cases, there are
    multiple options, use what you like and what you can afford.

    • - Scribal Box/Tool Box
    • - Scroll Case/Portfolio

      - Papers etc.

    • Paper of some sort
    • Should be 100% rag, acid free paper
    • Many calligraphers prefer hot press paper
    • Should be heavy weight, 90 lbs. or higher, 140 lbs. is better
    • Vellum
    • Avoid:

      • Non-acid free papers
      • Thin papers
      • Papers with poor surface (will your ink bleed or run??)
      • Fake "parchment"


      - Basic Tools

    • Pencil (mechanical or finely sharpened)
    • Ruler with fine markings
    • Straight edge with lip or cork backing (to keep ink from smudging)
    • Triangles
    • T-square
    • Compass
    • Circle guide and other templates
    • Erasing guide
    • White eraser (NOT pink!)
    • Razor or X-acto knife
    • Line guide
    • Tech pen or crow quill for outlining
    • Eye droppers
    • Toothpicks
    • Tracing paper

      - Paints and Painting Supplies

    • Paint or Pigments? there are several options
    • Gouache paints (highly recommended)
    • Watercolor paints (less highly recommended but work for some people)
    • Period pigments and binder
    • Avoid:

      • Non-acid free papers
      • Oils, acrylics
      • Markers, paint pens, crayons, pencils, etc.

    • Distilled water
    • Rinse water cup
    • Paint pallet (or equivalent)
    • Purchased pallet
    • Ice cube tray
    • Beading containers
    • Old contact lens containers
    • Old plates
    • Plastic deli cups and lids
    • Brushes? at least two:

      • Medium sized brush (size 1-3 depending on your preference)
      • Small brush (size 0 to 000 to 5/0 depending on your preference)
      • Large brushes
      • Small brushes
      • Gold leaf brush
      • Other brushes

    • Brush Cleaner
    • Brush holders
    • Toothpicks
    • T-square
    • Erasing guide
    • Compass or circle template
    • Tracing paper
    • Eye droppers

      - Guilding Supplies (this is a whole different class!)

    • Gold leaf (loose or patent)
    • Sizing of some sort
    • Burnisher
    • Glassine paper
    • Cotton balls
    • Scissors

      - Calligraphy Supplies

    • Pencil
    • Line guide or ruler
    • Pen of your choice
    • Dip pens
    • Holder
    • Nibs (Mitchell, Brause and Speedball are common brands)
    • Ink
    • Cartridge Pens
    • Pen, nibs and cartridge
      (Rotring, Platignum, Osmoroid and Shaeffer are common brands)
    • Extra ink cartridges
    • Ultrasonic cleaner
    • Exemplars
    • T-square

      - Sources and Resources
    • Medieval Sources
    • Many books (see red book for listing)
    • Cleveland Museum of Art
    • Other museums
    • Medieval Calendars, note cards, etc.

    • How Do I Start My First Scroll?

      First, decide what style you would like to do and gather any
      exemplars you may wish to use for inspiration. For a first scroll, you
      might consider doing a blank scroll, or even a small note card, invitation
      or practice piece. Plan the layout for your scroll on a piece of scrap
      paper, making sure to leave at least a half inch (1 inch is usually better)
      border around the outside of the scroll for framing. Make sure you leave
      enough room for any calligraphy, and keep the artwork the right size for
      the paper. It is nice to use paper that is the same size as standard
      frames. (11"x14" is very popular.)

      Then sketch in your artwork, do your calligraphy (this way there is
      less to throw away if you mess up), and then finish your detailed drawing.
      Outline if appropriate, erase your pencil marks, and then paint. Outline
      again if necessary, and do any finishing work. Then, get a color copy for
      your portfolio, and turn the scroll in to whoever assigned it. There!
      Wasn't that fun!

      Current date/time is Thu Jul 18, 2019 5:52 am