Thumbnails with FAT borders = Finished piece



Illumination, the tenth
I found an image on my harddrive excellently suitable for a scroll, taken from the University of Salzburg (MS 23, fol 167r) it was pretty and I could get to work sketching it out. That is as far as I have taken it for now.

January 16, 2005: I am glad to report that more progress has been made. Since this particular AoA will be handed out two weeks from today, at Nordmark's University, I have a very definate deadline and a Sunday is an excellent day to dedicate yourself to scribal work I have found. The last time I left the scroll it had most of the text, but no date or place of delivery filled in. I did the finishing touches to the calligraphy today (no picture so far) just to limber up before getting stuck in with sketching the details of the border. It is a very floral pattern, but nothing over-bearing and not very cluttered which is why I liked it to start with.

First of all, I did the bottom edge which got me used to the shapes of acanthus leaves again. Then I continued with the right-side border from the bottom to the top. Finally I sketched in the details for the border along the top of the scroll. I am pleased to say that it went faster and faster as I drew each circular "emblem". Comparing my sketching to the detail that you see in the original, I have left out quite a bit of the fine detailing.

Normally the next step would be to fill in the borders in black, but the Zabreb Missal page does not appear to be outlined in this manner, the edges of the design have simply been left as is, or highlighted in a darker shade of whatever colour that edge is. In this design crosshatching is also used to add shade to certain areas. I hope I will be able to replicate that accurately.

Since I will not need to go over the edges in black, the next step will in fact be the gilding. Not much on this particular folio is gilded, but the entire background for the initial is gilded, with a geometric design punched in the gold. I'm not nearly good enough to do that kind of gilding so I will just leave it plain, plus add the golden dots around the edges. Those are not sketched in at all, as they are simple golden dots with pen-work around them. I am also considering adding small, gilded details around the recipient's name, since it is on a line of its own with moderately large gaps on either side.

January 17, 2005:Taking a break to let the gum ammoniac dry so I can lay down my gold I also took pictures of the process. Somewhat boring, as there are no new design elements added. The initial was a little fiddly to lay down the glue in, but I enjoyed the process. I also decided to make the capitals in the titles of the Prince and Princess gold, for that added zip.

January 31, 2005: Doing the gilding was not the most straight-forward of processes. I despaired to begin with, as the gold did not stick everywhere. I had dark spots of no gold, I had streaks and it generally looked awful. A little moral support later I took a deep breath, burnished my surfaces as much as I could and laid another two layers onto every bit I wanted gilded on this scroll. Since this particular process frustrated me so I took no pictures. Rather I moved briskly on to testing the colours out on the initial.

Basecoats, first colour I fully painted the snake that writhes around the M, just to see if the horrible pink could really work on a scroll. It did, so I went ahead and painted the base-coat of minty green everywhere that needed to go. I then came in with my second colour, blue, and shook my head at the pastel effect. In all there are five colours used on the scroll, green, blue, pink, red and yellow. There is very little of the red, and the yellow is not used very much either. Pictures of the top border, the top right corner, the side border and the bottom row show just how much it looked like a pastel painting. I am not a big fan of that palette, but I knew that with shading and highlights it would all look better.

The shading done on the scroll Indeed, when I started filling in details with low-lights that shading helped enormously with the impression of the colours. Still quite a light and airy feel, but not quite so much baby-pink and minty-green. I also decided on the colour around the capital Fs in the Prince/Princess titles - blue - as can be seen in the close-up of the bottom left corner. In the detail of the bottom right you see that the red does not get very much shading at all, which surprised me a little. The biggest surprise, however, was how good the green and pink was looking together along the top border.

With the highlights done the scroll neared completion, and each little stroke of the brush made the details come to life. For example, in the detail of lower left corner you can see that by adding white "shading" to the capital Fs those look immensly better than they had. Continuing along the border the right bottom corner has been highlighted, and again the red leaves get basically no highlights. The side border has one detail which was a bit tricky, the "city of spires" flower with the yellow spires. I was not sure how that would turn out, but I am mostly pleased, and again this shows that the pink turned out to be my favourite bits. In the top right hand corner you can see the mad penwoork squiggles I remembered at the last minute to add around my golden dots. Some of these look quite mad, while others turned out slightly better. Again in the top border the pink and green compliments each other. Notice also the shadow each leaf casts on the vine below it. In the detail of the initial the frame around it really comes to life as a three-dimensional structure, simply achieved by two lines of shading and two lines of highlight on the basecoat. The leaves inside the M however, turned out less than perfect. If you compare mine to those in the original I do not have nearly enough definition. They were very tricky.

All this work done all that was left to do was get their Highnesses signatures and present it in court to the lovely Lady. Since I after that discovered one spot I had forgotten to paint I got the opportunity to fill that in at home and also take a couple of photos of the finished scroll. The first is just the scroll, while the other one is a pretty picture with a candle and the scroll displayed on my work-desk.

My 10th scroll, sketched The text is mostly filled in, including recipient's name Basecoats, first colour Basecoats, two colours The shading done on the scroll Finishing touches with highlights Finished! The full scroll Finished!

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