How to Design and Pen Cadels

I was honored and excited to do a late German scroll recently. Excited for the opportunity to create cadels, as many late period German texts have. 

This is how I went about it.

After receiving the text, I researched legal illuminated German works from the 15th century and calligraphy cadel images. I had my plan and did the layout. I then lettered the text body. 

Final Inspiration

I selected the versal and additional letters I wanted to embellish with cadels. I made pencil sketches of the letter in a size that would fit the text’s planned space. I then worked up a few. Unfortunately, the sketches don’t scan with enough contrast to show here.

I didn’t like these so I went back to research and found this. Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, AN II 3, p. 36v – Matriculation Register of the Rectorate of the University of Basel, Volume 1 (1460-1567) v. 36  

Versal mockup for size.

I worked this up as I described above and liked it. 

Using my light pad, I transferred the cadel outline bones to the scroll with a hard pencil.  

Then I used a #2 Mitchel dip pen nib to letter the lines and broadest cadel parts turning the pen to make the thinnest lines. I added details with a smaller nib. 

Versal with cadel on scroll.

The example I chose had red filigree. For this scroll, I substituted gold Pearl EX bound with gum Arabic for the red because this is a peerage award. The request was to keep costs low so I did not use the pricer shell gold.

The award won’t be given until Lilies War, so I can’t show my finished work until after then. Please check back later. 

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