Nurturing Your Scribal Visual Awareness

As an SCA scribe, I’m both scroll designer and producer. Without a knack for each and both together the scrolls I do fall short.

Luminous scribal creations are best handled by frequent practice, exploration, and experiment. Each scroll is unique for the accumulated knowledge and skills expressed at the time you produce it. Your entire scribal experiences flow into each work you make.

Whether calligraphy or illumination, each combines multiple strokes into steps formed into parts connecting to make the whole scroll. The creative process.

You can enhance your work by nurturing your visual awareness. Increase your observation powers through constant practice and make them part of you. Be committed to continually looking at medieval manuscripts. More than that, look at every detail. Every descender’s swoop and paint stroke layer. Every design element and calligraphed line. Look and compare them in your mind’s eye to other similar or different manuscripts.

In the past, I did this with monthly trips to the University Library, carting home tomes of manuscript facsimiles and other books. I’d sit in my recliner, sometimes with a magnifying glass, and look at every pen and brush stroke. Now you can do this online without leaving home, and save your favorite, beautiful or weirdest images.

I recommend searching for manuscript images, perusing them in detail as I did with a magnifying glass, but saving them to Pinterest. I have multiple Pinterest “board” collections. These compilations range from the ridiculous to the sublime, the tacky to the curious. Saving images to Pinterest automatically records the location, providing future access. And I can review, share and update the boards later.

My Jehanne Bening Pinterest Boards In A Screen Capture

Studying the works I found and noting what I saw on Pinterest helps me to learn what I liked about some works and didn’t like about others. My collections have both good and bad examples, exquisite manuscripts and commonplace books. They are an information treasury to improve my visual awareness and enlarge my inspiration sources.

I don’t always seek out whole manuscripts, or even whole pages. Looking at page parts is a powerful tool. I’m able to zero in on a single scribal aspect, such as acanthus leaves in multiple manuscripts or many books with a similar script. You can discover exciting, interesting relationships between shapes, colors, lettering, and ornament by this. And it’s your personal discovery, not a museum manuscript curator’s.

However you do it, these inquiries are vital to your scribal experience. It is inspiration gathering, even though you may not have a scroll assignment at the time. Looking at medieval scribal works broad legacy is a decisive part of your creative development.

Prior Related Post:
5 Tips To Train Your Artist Eye
Wow! Scribal Research Has Changed
6 Reasons to Learn Calligraphy

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