Sunday, December 9, 2018

People Of Color In SCA Award Scrolls

With western art books and resources being mostly produced by white people they tend to assume the white European as a human standard. And in Western European illuminated manuscripts there is a dearth of people of color. But they do exist. And all ethnicities are welcomed into the SCA. 

Dijon - BM - ms._0562 f. 181Vcreated around 1260-1270
representing the Holy Land

So how do you create an award scroll for a non-White friend with people that look like them?

Or maybe your scroll recipient has assumed a Saracen persona. How do you create a scroll creating accurate historic art combat scenes?

You seek out original works.

There are a few Western European illuminated manuscript pages including people of color. But they may be inappropriate to use such as this one portraying people in the Holy Land created in the late 13th century. 

Some 13th -15th century popular French illuminated manuscripts feature Christian-Muslim interaction pictures such as the British Library's Histoire d'Outremer. And various copies of the Grandes Chroniques de France and the Roman d'Alexandre en Prose.

But the best place to search is the website MedievalPOC. It is a blog showcasing European works of art featuring people of color from the fall of the Roman Empire until about 1650. Often these works go unseen elsewhere and you might see them differently now viewing them from a fresh perspective. The blog is searchable and even gives you a guide to its use.

If you search digitized manuscripts you'll see the earlier ones appear with dark-skinned Europeans. Later images display more specific ethnicity. To help your technique is a tutorial guiding you in drawing modern heads with ethnic differences. Modern, but will help your observation skills too.

We choose the historic aspects to use for inspiration and should be able to include accurate and appropriate diverse period images in our SCA recreations. The reality is even pre-17th-century European life absolutely included black and brown people. European art history misrepresents that in American classrooms. But you can find people of color in period European art with some research. Take time to look at illuminated manuscript details "because you wouldn't want to be historically inaccurate."
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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Happy Friendversary - Almost

Detail from the British Library's manuscript Burney 201  f. 90 

Some of you have been reading this blog since I started it December 9, 2015. I am so pleased you are still with me. It's an anniversary of sorts. A friendversary. 

It's been an incredible journey for me. Seeing my numbers rise is inspiring. And the numbers keep going up. 

I started it as a hobby and a way to stay connected with people in the SCA and other scribes. I've tried to give you meaty purposeful tips, tricks, and information about book arts and the SCA. 

I couldn’t have done it without you. A blog isn't a blog without you the readers.  Especially this one because it isn't my career. So as we celebrate a friendversary I want to say thank you for your support over the years. You’ve helped me make a dream come true. I hope what I’ve shared here has helped make your dreams realities, too.


So here’s to our future together. With a new calendar year almost upon us, too. I hope you’re able to realize even more of your life's dreams this year. Wishing you a Happy Friendversary. May we share many more.

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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Tips To Drawing More Period People

The way Medieval faces, feet, and hands appear in manuscripts varies by era or location, often in the details. Some appear cartoonish others more realistic. What's the best way for you to learn how to draw period-looking people? 

Motifs I traced then transferred to
M. Luciana's Renaissance scroll.
Most of us have been seeing since we were born but learning how to observe details is the important first step. Then if you can draw the next step is repeatedly conveying what you see to your paper. 

The best way I know to learn how to get the proper image to your paper is by tracing. And tracing is period. Some scribes don't grow past this stage. And I prefer it so I create a period effect conveyed on my scroll. 

Begin by goggling for the images you want your chosen era and location. Download a high-resolution version of ones you like. Don't use any from a virtual book for this. Even the British Library's award-winning Turning the Pages doesn't have the detail sufficient or image size for your project. You want images that are larger or that you can enlarge. 

Next trace them. And trace them again. The same ones or at least the same style you want to learn. Over and over until you have their exact look embedded in your mind's eye and hand. You're teaching yourself muscle memory for your chosen style.

My tracing light-box set up.
Then take it a step further. Keep a few pictures with a small sketchpad and pencil to take with you. Draw those images freehand anytime you have a break or are waiting for a bus. Any few moments you have sketch freehand your Medieval-style people's hands, feet, and faces.

Observation, tracing, and practice, but remember to have fun with it too. Make some sketches look like people you know doing familiar SCA activities. You don't have to make the sketches detailed but they should look like the style you're learning.

The trick is observing numerous manuscripts over time, learning the general characteristics people have in the era and location you're recreating and repeatedly making your own. Over time doing this for various styles will allow you to better draw what you see without tracing.