A Hybrid Scroll Layout

My large grid and
the computer text example

If you have a large peerage scroll to do what do you use for a grid that’s larger than printer paper? What about if you have two scrolls to do?

You could make your own oversized grid. You could use 11×17″ Bristol board and make your own. That’s what I did.

The good news is the same grid works for both scrolls. Their “owners” have similar personas. French, 13-14th centuries. Their manuscript styles will be similar and could use one grid for both. 

To begin I printed out the text on my computer in two columns. That was my plan for the first scroll’s layout. I played with the font size until it approximated the scroll’s letter height. Having similar spaced writing to follow reduces dropped words and is easier to follow than long typed sentences. 

I experimented with my pen nib, making horizontal ladders to find the size that worked best. Then on the Bristol board, I measured out the horizontal spaces with a ruler and pencil. The interlinear space would be twice that of the letters. Placing several typing-paper sheets over the grid I taped them together to make the proper scroll size and lettered a draft. 

I wasn’t happy with the arrangement. Compared to 13th or 14th-century French manuscripts there was too much space between the rows of letters. 

So I lined another Bristol board page. This one has the same size letter base as the prior grid, but the interlinear space is shorter, only 1 1/2 times the letter’s base. I’ll need to be careful or the letter’s ascenders and descenders may collide in the space between lines. 

These proportions seemed to work well together. Lettering another practice page, I found two text lines that ran over the column’s planned width. I reduced the column spacing on my computer and printed it out again. 

Calligraphed pergamenata over
 my handmade grid and light pad.

Using my second lined grid and the text printout, I figured how many lines the two columns of text would take. I measured the allowed text area, including space for a decorated versal. This area “subtracted”  visually from the overall scroll’s size gave me the amount of space I had for illumination. 

Were the large grids worth the effort?

While it took some time to measure and ink the two large grids, I now have two new tools to use for future scrolls with a similarly sized script. They’ll be good for working up the spacing and practicing calligraphy. They’ll also save time if I have to redo a whole page because I wrote a word or several incorrectly.

Related Prior Post:  
How To Draw Calligraphy Guidelines With A Pencil And Ruler

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