Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Outwitting Scribal Dirty Slips And Missteps

I've created many award scrolls over the years. Along the way, I messed up or dirtied my share. From them, I learned a few tricks. These may help you too.

Neatness is a primary criterion for a quality scroll. I love working with pergamenata, but it doesn't do well with oils. To help that you start with a simple prep. Go over the perg with a large non-latex white vinyl eraser. This removes oils and unwanted marks. You may also do this after the scroll is done and very dry.

As I work I use a guard sheet under my working hand. This prevents adding hand-oil or marks. You could wear cotton gloves for this, but I find them cumbersome. They alter my sense of touch especially for fine paint strokes and lettering.

I use an etch scratch nib in a holder to remove unwanted ink or paint marks. You might also use an Xacto knife for this. I prefer the curved scratch nib except when working between letter parts. Then I use the pointed nib.

Luttrell Psalter Illumination Example

Period effect. The more an award scroll looks like a period work the better. When I use modern gouache I select colors similar to those in my medieval inspirations. Some medieval manuscripts are known for their unique color palette such as the Luttrell Psalter. If your scroll emulates it your paint colors should also. You also want to apply them in a similar style. 

Newer scribes often use Reeves, Daler Rowney or Artist Loft non-acrylic gouache paints. They are great for beginners and preprint painting. As you run out of those in you initial set buy paints that look more period from Winsor and Newton, Holbein or Utrecht brands. Eventually, you'll have them all affordably replaced.

Keep copies.  I made a mistake. I stopped making copies of my work after I was elevated to the Order of the Laurel. For those absent scrolls, I don't know the materials or what they looked like. I don't have them if I'm asked to make a replacement, or offer as style for another scroll. Unless their picture shows up on Facebook I don't have them for this blog or to use at a scribal demo. I don't have them to encourage my own scribal growth.

Similarly, you want to look at the scribal works of others. As much as possible, look at period sources and other scribes' works. Look at it online, but better still, look at any original works you can find, both historic and SCA. The more you look at C and I art the more aware you become of their beautiful layers and uncountable fine lines. The more I look at in detail the more inspirited I become. 

You may even find places scribes messed up.

External Related Posts:
Master RanthulfR's Tips for the SCA Calligrapher

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Calontir's Winter War Maneuvers 2018

You won't believe where I went last Saturday. I attended the Kingdom of Calontir Barony of Mag Mor event, Winter War Maneuvers. This is the ultimate winter practice for the SCA's coming Gulf War's event, "A War With No Enemies". 

Gulf War is an annual war and week-long camping event hosted by the Kingdoms of Gleann Abhann and Meridies. It is all-out battles between the Kingdoms of Ansteorra and Trimaris.

Mag Mor has been hosting this event since before I joined the SCA over 20 years ago. They held it at Speed Way Village's humongous indoor turf-floored soccer field. Plenty of room for fighters to practice melees and more.

The good news for you noncombatants was fighting's panoramic-view from the 2nd-floor balcony overlook. There is also space for meetings and classes.

Overlook View 

The space is so huge Calontir Cut and Thrust fighters were able to study and practice melee techniques.

While the huge venue is great for fighting and viewing, I didn't collect fighting practice photos to blog. The fighters were too far away and moved too fast. Great for them, not for me.

I did snap this foto for you when they gathered on the field for announcements.

The side field held a few interesting or endearing photos, especially this one.

After the energetic fighting day, we settled down for the court of Their Majesties Ashir and Ashland.

Processing into court the Royal Highness from the Stellar Kingdom of Ansteorra, Jason Drysdale commanded the attention of all. He and his warriors came to train together with our fighters and meld a cohesive fighting force for the coming interkingdom war.

HRH Jason Drysdale entering the court.

The court was short as courts seldom go, but held well-deserved awards or prizes for honorees. You can find them in M. Dorcas Whitecap's court report in the Falcon Banner.

Related Prior Post:
Cattle Raids Photo Array

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

17 Scribal Insights Of Patricia Lovett

Surfing YouTube I came across these well presented scribal videos. This series by Patricia Lovett is a perfect place for you to begin or review things scribal. They're inspiring too. 

Lovett is a long time professional calligrapher. She also wrote 

Calligraphy and Illumination: A History and Practical Guide,

Her information in the videos is great, but she also shares items she's created or is selling. Most of these videos are less than 5 minutes long.
  1. Calligraphy - pens 
  2. Calligraphy - papers
  3. Calligraphy - measuring lines
  4. Calligraphy - Setting up a calligraphy sloping board
  5. Calligraphy - using a pen 
  6. Calligraphy - inks and paint
  7. Calligraphy - three golden rules
  8. Calligraphy - Spacing 1 (again)
  9. Calligraphy - Spacing 2
  10. Calligraphy - sharpening nibs
  11. Calligraphy Clip - vellum and parchment
  12. Calligraphy Clip: Colour mixing in the pen
  13. Book of Hours Recreation Project 7+ minutes
I combined the following videos for you into playlists based on one calligraphy script. Each script is taught by Patricia Lovett in Youtube videos.
  1. Uncial Script Playlist 6 videos 
  2. Gothic Script Miniscules Playlist 7 videos
  3. Gothic Script Capitals Playlist 5 videos 
  4. Italic Script Playlist 6 videos
This is such a wonderful bunch of calligraphy videos. I hope you find time for them all or recommend them to a friend. Enjoy.

Related Prior Post: 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Each Scroll's An Experiment

A Hair-raising Learning Experience
From the recent scrolls I've done, I decided each scroll's an experiment. It's an options' string from its inception to beyond the scroll's completion. A learning experience all the way. 

When you receive the text you choose from the different calligraphy scripts and illumination styles. Once you pick the inspirational manuscripts suited to the recipient's persona you select individual details reflecting their accomplishments. 

There are options for materials and tools. New items to me beg for experiments to test their mettle for use. And things I've used a lot may be used in a new or unique way, like that forgotten ink bottle I found pushed way to the back. Is it still usable and do I even like it?   

That doesn't include the experiments I try. Which ink is best or more period? Which black or white paint works best? Which gold paint covers better or looks more period?

I don't think I've done any scroll in exactly the same manner as a prior one. Even if I'm using the same ol' materials and tools there's always a different way of thinking. A different way to do the same thing. A new blend of the diverse creative details. 

Through the scroll creation process, the choices you make affect its final look. The scroll's experimental results, for better or worse.  

Prior Related Post: 
The Scribal Yin Yang Puzzel
The Stalking Scribe
Dip Pen v Catridge Pen
Finding The Perfect Dip Pen Nibs
The Secrets Of Black And White Gouache  
Gouache And Watercolor Paint Comparison

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

How To Search For Illuminated Manuscripts Without Getting What You Don't Want

There's something I neglected to include when I posted about searching the internet for illuminated manuscripts. I left out telling you how to exclude something you know you don't want, like Pinterest or Wikipedia items.
It's simple. You can eliminate things from your search by putting a minus before the term of the things you don't want. Any word you google immediately preceded by a "-" sign excludes those items from your search results. 
Specifically, you type a space before the minus sign and none between the minus sign and your excluded things. When I search for illuminated manuscripts without "Pinterest" I enter illuminated manuscript -Pinterest
If you tried that link you'll find the results come up under Google's option "All". If you click on the "Images" header you get this. Or just start your search on Google's "Images" page.
You can also exclude multiple items, but each term must include a minus sign immediately before it. Try illuminated manuscript -Wikipedia -Pinterest. Or possibly this, illuminated manuscript -French -Pinterest. And don't forget the space just before the -.
Omitting Pinterest boards may be important to you because not all image collections are well verified. Some board owners are better researchers than others. It's your choice, but using the - operator will reduce your search clutter.
Related Prior Post: 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

History Rewritten On The Book Of Kells

Mary And Her Baby in The Book of Kells
ICYMI. New information has come to light on the Book of Kells. Specifically, it was created by more than one person and where they lived. Even a bit on how old the "new" scribe was.

This is interesting to SCA scribes who strive to create in a medieval manner. It shows that manuscripts were created by more than one scribe early in history. This one possibly completed 50 years after it was started in a different location.

Anyway, you can learn about it in Britian's The Independent's article about the Book of Kells new research.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Easy Does It: SCA Scroll Creation Post Round Up

New Year's Eve I spent time considering what I wanted to do with this blog. One goal is to be more organized and focused on my post topics. That should make the topics easier for you to follow. 

Scribal Art Collection Display
To begin, I ferreted out my prior instructional posts. Previously they related to a project or class I was doing. That's why the topics seemed erratically ordered. 

Here are the prior posts I've written about scroll creation.Though I didn't plan it, after I put the links in a logical order they made a table of contents.

You'll notice they aren't a complete set, if that is even possible. 

In the future, I plan to fill in topic gaps including posts about using a t-square to draw lines, geometric diaper patterns, and more on scribal materials. 

If you want me to include a topic or have a question you may suggest it in the comments section below. Or email me at sgordon9(at)cox(dot)net

I love sharing scribal information and two directions are double the fun.

Related Prior Post:

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Quiz: Can You Match These 10 Illuminated Manuscripts With Their Names?

Can you match these 10 pictures of iconic illuminated manuscripts to their name? 

You don't have to have an Art History major to match these famous medieval illuminated manuscripts. They are some of the most well-known, especially among SCA scribes. From Kells to Crusades, these works are instantly recognizable. Can you match them all?

To the left side are pictures from ten Western European illuminated manuscripts. To this post's right are their unmatched names. All you have to do is match the proper name to its image. 

Yes, I'm sneaky. I have not always used the most popular or well-known images. Also, there are more manuscript names than pictures. But all names are matchable because some manuscripts are known by more than one name.

If you are curious, stumped, or in a hurry to find the answer click on the word "link" in the caption below the image. It will take you to a Wikipedia page about the manuscript.

Have fun.


The Hours of Catherine of Cleves


The Book of Kells


Hours of Gian Galeazzo Visconti

Codex Aureus of Lorsch


Maciejowski Bible


St Alban's Psalter

The Luttrell Psalter

Codex Manesse


Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry


Crusader Bible


The Hunting Book of Gaston Phoebus

Morgan Bible

Related Prior Post:
My 10 Favorite European Illuminated Manuscript Inspirations

Related External Site:
Art Miscellaneous Quizzes