Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Tip To Seeing Like An Artist

See the details?
Have you been asking yourself when painting a preprint or charter why experienced scribes put the shadows where they do? Why the whitework goes where it does? Or how you transform what you see to the page? Here's an idea for you to try.

Before the huge number of illuminations on the internet, I would hunt down books that had enlarged the small pictures of illuminations. Today it's easy to do the same thing yourself with online images. 

Find a high-resolution digital illumination picture you like and zoom-in. Enlarge and expand them dramatically. Save them or print them out. Then take your time and study their strokes and details. Try to recreate them. 

On Pinterest, I have a few boards that may help you with this. 
I have confidence you'll figure things out. The more illuminations you peruse and pore over the strokes the easier it becomes. It's all about you recreating tiny details.

Related Prior Post:  

Related External Page:

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Product Links Philosophy

Hello and
You may have wondered if my links to products provide me income. The short answer is "no". 

I include links to products for your convenience. One source you may use to find more about it or to buy it. At the time you read my post they may not even be the cheapest or best place to buy it.

Blogging does offer an affiliate marketing possibility. Income from each sale I make. An opportunity to earn a commission promoting products for others to you, my readers. 

That's wonderful, but not my mission. The reason I blog here is to help, inform, or entertain those interested in the SCA or things scribal. 

Therefore I don't link to the same source(s) for products. For commonly found items I may use an Amazon, Joann, or Michaels link. Once in a while, I use Hobby Lobby. For more specific items I often, but not always, use John Neal Bookseller, Dick Blick or Paper & Ink Arts. Sometimes I even use a general Google search link or a very specific link for something like vellum. 

By focusing on your interests I avoid the hassle of managing multiple affiliate programs. I personally receive more. More interaction and connection with you.  I see it as a win-win for us both.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Quiz: 10 More Illuminated Manuscripts To Match With Their Names

My first manuscript illumination quiz was so popular, I have another one for you. Like the last one, you match 10 pictures of iconic illuminated manuscripts to their name. 

These pictures are also Western European manuscripts from various locations and eras. Some served unique purposes. 

You'll find the images on the left and their unmatched names on the right. All you have to do is match the name with its picture. Can you match them all?

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. It's just 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.

The manuscript titles in alphabetical order are:  Aberdeen Bestiary, Bedford Hours, Beatus Pierpont, Codex Gigas, Lindisfarne Gospels, Morgan Beatus, Psalter of Oswald, Ramsey Psalter, Roman de la Rose, Utrecht Psalter, Wenceslas Bible, Winchester Bible.

And the manuscripts are in no particular order. Enjoy.





Prior Related Post:  

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

Sunday, March 18, 2018

How To Find The Source Of Undocumented Online Images

Unidentified Pinterest Image
You know those lovely illuminations you find on Pinterest when you search for scroll inspiration. Your perfect source but it has no manuscript information. There's a way to find the source using the image. It's called a "reverse image search."

This technique is called "a reverse image search." It analyzes the image contents itself comparing  its colors, shapes, and textures with a known sample. It does not use a picture's associated keywords, tags, or descriptions.  

This helps you because you don't need search terms or keywords. It saves you guessing at words that may not be related or use people's fuzzy labeling. 

It helps you find images related to the sample or its popularity. It may also discover any altered or derivative works.

To reverse image search using Google Chrome:
  1. find your chosen internet image 
  2. right click on it 
  3. click on "search Google for image"
It's simple, really. You can try it on the above Pinterest picture. 

What did you find? When I did it Google found more than 5 sites to check plus several computer-designated similar images. One interesting enough to explore further.

While not something you'll use daily, it is another research skill for your tool-kit. A handy tool for those pesky undocumented manuscript images.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Best "How-to" Decorative Letters Book

If you've looked at the stunning art in medieval manuscripts and wondered how they were made then the main book you need for learning illumination is The Illuminated Alphabet: An Inspirational Introduction to Creating Decorative Calligraphy by author Patricia Seligman and calligrapher Timothy Noad. 

As SCA scribes know, illumination is a unique craft with its own techniques. It is not watercolor or acrylics. It's not even illustration. So ferreting out its methods is tricky. The Illuminated Alphabet is the best book to help you learn methods to re-create historic illuminated letters. 

The book begins with a brief illuminated letters' history, describing artists creating them and their patrons. It then delves into basic illumination techniques and a materials' list. 
  •  paper and vellum
  •  brushes, pens, and pencils
  •  paints and inks including gouache, egg tempera, and watercolors
  •  gilding techniques such as the combination of gold leaf and gesso
My favorite explorations in the book are Noad's illuminated letter adaptations from period masterpieces. They cover five individual manuscript styles: 
  • Celtic 
  • Romanesque
  • Gothic
  • Renaissance 
  • Modern Revival
Each style includes upper and lower-case letter designs, borders and decorations, materials used, gilding instructions and a gallery. The examples featured are:
  • the Lindisfarne Gospels 
  • the Book of Kells 
  • Emperor Henry II’s Periscopes
  • the Lincoln Psalms
  • a Bestiary Lion 
  • Books of Hours
  • Whitevine Lettering 
  • William Morris
  • a Horoscope Initial
The Illuminated Alphabet has detailed instructions for each project and how they were adapted from original sources by the book's artist. Step-by-step photographs and instructions include tips on the techniques you'll use. 

The book's 
detailed, information-packed instructions are a surprisingly easy, indispensable guide. Whether you’re interested in the many processes described or how illumination changed through time, you'll find this book combines the best of traditional and new masterpieces. 

The Illuminated Alphabet shows any budding SCA scribe how to create long admired beautiful letters. You too can create medieval-style illuminated letters  that make your Monarch jealous.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Tips For Using Sakura Micron Pens

Micron Pens. Check out
the tiny tip of my biggest one.
As you might have noticed, I use Sakura Micron pens on most award scrolls. They are a modern convenience that replaces a quill for outlining before and after painting. 
These pens have waterproof, quick-drying archival pigment ink that does not feather or bleed through paper. When dry it is smear proof. Their black inks are intense and resist fading in sun or UV light.
Sakura developed their Micron pens to replace high-priced technical pens and still give you fine-line quality when used on paper. The non-conforming ways SCA scribes use Micron pens, however, were never intended.
The clogging issues I've had come from using it on paint or fabric. When anything blocks Micron's tiny plastic tube its ink doesn't get out of the barrel on to your surface. What can you do to encourage Micron pen's ink-flow?
Micron pen ink flows best when you use it with a light touch and a 90-degree angle to the surface. You'll also want to let your paint dry 24 hours before using them on it. 

Smaller Micron pen nibs are delicate. If you find a leak near the nib tip it could be caused by dropping, shaking, or spinning it in your hand. If you bend them easily, use a bigger size nib or lighter pressure. They also dry out quickly if you leave them uncapped.
My tricks for you, keep scrap paper or a paper towel sheet near, drawing lines on it until the ink flows freely again. Sometimes, I dip the nib in a water container first.
I prefer to buy Micron pens where I can remove the cap and see if the nib is adequate. Once in a great while, I find one without a visible tiny tip. Sadly, this happens more when I buy online.
Treated well you'll have your Micron pen to use for miles of outlining.

Related Prior Post:  
Why Lay a Scroll's Groundwork with Permanent Ink?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The New Barony of the Lonely Tower's Arts and Sciences' Revel

Arts and Sciences in the Kingdom of Calontir are a big deal. Those hand-done crafts create our medieval ambiance. So you'll often find us working on a handmade project, even at events.

Events in the Kingdom and in our Barony encourage your participation in competitions. Last Sunday the Barony of the Lonely Tower held their annual Arts and Sciences Championship Revel. 

This annual cold weather competition selects a person to represent the Barony to the outer world in those activities and to encourage others in Arts and Sciences. A&S Champion for a year.

While competitions are our greatest learning and sharing excuse, you'll find more at a revel than that. It's a time to wear your fine period clothing and visit with new or longtime friends. Enjoy tasty pot-luck dishes, some made with medieval recipes. 

And for me, it's a time to snap pictures for this blog.

Heather giving Her Excellency Aleit a hug.

After time for visiting the buffet is served.

Their Excellencies lead the line.

M. Rolf and HL Cristina
checking the entries.

While you're visiting with friends, the Baron and Baroness Augustin le Blinde and Aleit de la Thomme, with the outgoing A & S Champion, Honorable Lord Nikolai Kolpachnik look at each entry, talk with the creators, and read each entries' brief documentation. 

This year's theme was "Persona Accessories". As Nikolai described it:
What we are looking for are 2 (or more) distinct items that are something your persona (or someone else's persona if you so desire) would have/could have used.
For example: For my present [Russian] persona, I could construct another snazzy fur trimmed hat, and a belt purse. Someone with a Norse viking era persona could do a string of glass beads, and an ear spoon. Someone with the persona of a monk connected to a scriptorium could make a candle holder, and a candle, etc.

This year's four entrants' displays were:

HL Cristina la Ambeler
Embroidery and waxed linen.

M. Nesscia inghean ChearnaighHood with inkle woven trim
and St. Brigita cap.

Mary Carbonez
Celtic pouch and kumihimo.

Lady Zafar Baabur
Calligraphy and illumination on vellum
and handmade quills

TE Aleit and Augustin
with M. Rhodri the Herald.

The revel is completed by a Baronial Court in which Their Excellencies present awards and announcements are made. 

L. William receiving a Rose Window award.

Lord William Radulfus and Honorable Lady Cristina la Ambeler both received Rose Window awards for their well-done arts. William makes and shares lovely painted wood game boards and Cristina's cooking, gardening and embroideries are beyond compare. 

HL Cristina kneeling in court.

And, drum-roll, please. This year's 
A & S Champion was given to HL Cristina la Ambeler. It was a tough competition. An honorable mention was even given to Lady Zafara Baarbur. As far as I can remember, it's the first honorable mention ever presented.

Huge congratulations to all. Hazzah!

Related Prior Posts:  
Barony of the Lonely Tower's Arts and Sciences' Revel - 2017

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Cheap Tweak: Using Gouache For Ink

M. Giraude's scroll showing
gouache ink interspace lines and filigree.
Here's something intriguing I tried on M. Giraude's scroll. And it worked well. Better than I expected. I used gouache as ink.

Since then I see several modern calligraphers online have done it. So my apologies if this is common knowledge. Even so, I am excited about it because it's so easy and inexpensive.

But why would you want to use gouache for calligraphy?

Gouache, as you may know, is opaque, intensely pigmented and vibrantly colored. I tried it because I was too cheap to buy a colored ink for the little I would need for one scroll. But I liked it because I matched the filigree and interlinear lining with a blue elsewhere in the scroll. It also made those fine lines deeply colored because gouache has a lot of pigment in its binder compared to inks. The best part was how fine I could make the filigree lines by using gouache as ink.

Another reason you might use gouache for ink is you can mix the paints to make a different color. Something I haven't done successfully with ink. 

If you try this you won't be disappointed, but it takes a little experimenting. The paint is too thick right from the tube, so I mixed it with a little water adding 10 drops of water at a time until it worked with my dip pen. The paint I used was Reeves non-acrylic gouache. 

To begin, I squirted gouache into a small container, one of those tiny paint pots you buy at a craft store. Don't overfill it because you want the room to add water and still stir. I didn't fill mine even half full.

added water by dropper, with more gouache than water, about 3:2.  
Then I stirred it with a small stick I keep for that kind of thing. The amount I wanted to make was too small to shake and would make bubbles even if I did.  

I tested the consistency by drawing lines on scrap Bristol board. First try for me worked fine, so I began interlining Giraude's scroll. There were so many to do I took a break. When I returned my gouache ink had dried and become thicker than I wanted. I added a few more drops of water, which didn't appear to thin the color intensity.

I saved the gouache ink by sealing the paint pot with the top and used it the next day for the filigree. 

When you try using gouache for ink the consistency should not be too runny. If it is, add gouache a "drop" at a time until your ink is creamy. If it is thicker than cream add drops of water until you get a consistency that flows well from your dip pen nib. How much water you need may vary between the paint colors or brands. 

Another concern might be how well the gouache binder adheres the ink to your paper. While I was lucky the first time out if the gouache is thinned too much it could rub off the support easily.  When you experiment first, rubbing your sample will tell you if it comes off on your finger. If it does, add a little more gouache or a drop of gum Arabic.

Not every experiment I try works as well or so easily as this. It's a technique I'm sure I'll use again and hope you try.

Related Prior Post:
How to Use a Dip Pen