Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts 3

Link to image. When you look through this 13th-century manuscript made for the Pope you see it’s filled with giant killer bunnies, geese lynching wolves, and other crazy things. They are cute, silly, or a comment on Medieval daily life. But not all. This one pictures a dog hanging by its neck from a tree. The rabbit with his paw to his mouth casually shushes the dog. Even if the rabbit was a human why would ‘he” do that? Perplexing. And there’s more. The woman over the tree is looking into her mirror, a sign her looks are most important. The mirror shows she’s vane. Vanity is prideful and “Pride” was one of the 7 Deadly Sins.So not exactly things you want to put on a scroll. What would they tell the recipient? They’re mean or hate dogs. Lack respect. Think highly of their looks. There are cuter, sillier bas-de-page illuminations you can use in the Royal 10 E IV. There’s also weirder ones, too. You’ll find them in the manuscript’s perplexing details.  Related Prior Post:  Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts 1Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts  2

Read More →

Illuminated Diapering

One of the easiest ways you can embellish a scroll is to add diapering. Diapering is the geometric checker-board pattern you see in illuminated manuscripts. It adds dramatic visual interest and fills the vacuum medieval art abhorred. Link to image. Link to image. You may see them include gold leaf or without it.  Link to image. Link to image; You may even find it decorating a grotesque animal or clothing article. Diapering isn’t difficult. You can make it simple or complex, whichever you want. The more complex patterns are easily created when worked in steps. It’s all based on a supporting grid, even if it’s invisible. You first construct a grid then systematically insert your chosen colors or patterns. Quality diapering is determined by evenly distributed grid lines. While you want an accurate grid I think extreme precision detracts from a medieval feel. You don’t want it to be vector-graphic perfect. With every diaper pattern, you begin with a grid. If you want you could generate one on Incomptech and trace it using your light-pad. I use a ruler and a 4H pencil, and evenly measure each side of my chosen space and make marks. I then connect opposing dots. If you want your lines visible go over them with ink then erase your pencil lines. This first diapering pattern was done into the late 14th century. It is the less complex one I’m sharing. It’s also easily modified using other shapes and patterns.  You begin […]

Read More →

Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts 2

14th century (1349-1351) Austria – Lilienfeld Cod. 151: Concordantiae caritatis fol. 244v  There is no reason you’d want to include a prejudicial illumination like this in SCA art. But why? What do you see? This 14th-century illumination shows a man wearing a Jews hat having sex, then being mortally stabbed for it.  But there’s more that’s perplexing. What’s up with his pointy hat? The tall unique hat […]

Read More →

Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts

“Banquet With Courtesans In A Hostel” ca. 1455 – BNF, Paris Does this fun picture remind you of an SCA post revel? Music, food, and merry-making, but in Medieval clothing.  Look again. What’s really going on? You see the musician, but one guy’s up-chucking and another’s getting handsy with a woman. The title divulges they’re cavorting with courtesans.  I have a friend with a courtesan persona. Even so, I’ve never seen her act like this. Or any of my other SCA friends. At least not publicly. The SCA is a fun way to observe, learn, and recreate the Middle Ages honorable ideals.  It’s perplexing when you find pictures showing it otherwise.When you find a manuscript picture like this be careful if you recreate it. What you do with it makes a difference. Consider who will see it and the format in which you place it. It might be a fun stand-alone picture for the right person, but I wouldn’t recreate it for a competition. If I saw it in an event flier it would turn me off toward the event. And the negative things this miniature implies are definitely not appropriate for an SCA Monarch’s legal document, a scroll. If you find a perplexing picture in a manuscript others will see it that way too. Let that be your cue to be cautious with how you use its recreation. 

Read More →

Guide To Blank Border Scroll Creation

M. Rolf Hobart’s blank border entries at the Barony of Mag Mor’s 2017 Cattle Raids. At last falls Cattle Raids event in the Barony of Mag Mor, I was asked by a passing RUSH student, “What are those?” as he pointed to the blank scrolls’ displayed. I admit they might look a bit lost to the scribal-less-aware. So, what are they? […]

Read More →

Beginning SCA AoA Award Painting

Baronial Preprint Looking back over my posts I realize I haven’t told you about painting AOA award scrolls.  Oops.  Whether your Kingdom calls them “preprints” or “charters” they are a great way to learn illumination. And as you’re learning you’re doing a priceless service for your Kingdom or Barony.  Monarchs of any SCA kingdom need hordes of preprint scrolls to […]

Read More →

The Best "How-to" Decorative Letters Book

If you’ve looked at the stunning art in medieval manuscripts and wondered how they were made then the main book you need for learning illumination is The Illuminated Alphabet: An Inspirational Introduction to Creating Decorative Calligraphy by author Patricia Seligman and calligrapher Timothy Noad.  As SCA scribes know, illumination is a unique craft with its own techniques. It is not watercolor or acrylics. It’s not even illustration. So ferreting out its methods is tricky. The Illuminated Alphabet is the best book to help you learn methods to re-create historic illuminated letters.  The book begins with a brief illuminated letters’ history, describing artists creating them and their patrons. It then delves into basic illumination techniques and a materials’ list.   paper and vellum  brushes, pens, and pencils  paints and inks including gouache, egg tempera, and watercolors  gilding techniques such as the combination of gold leaf and gesso My favorite explorations in the book are Noad’s illuminated letter adaptations from period masterpieces. They cover five individual manuscript styles:  Celtic  Romanesque Gothic Renaissance  Modern Revival Each style includes upper and lower-case letter designs, borders and decorations, materials used, gilding instructions and a gallery. The examples featured are: the Lindisfarne Gospels  the Book of Kells  Emperor Henry II’s Periscopes the Lincoln Psalms a Bestiary Lion  Books of Hours Whitevine Lettering  William Morris a Horoscope Initial The Illuminated Alphabet has detailed instructions for each project and how they were adapted from original sources by the book’s artist. Step-by-step photographs and instructions include tips on […]

Read More →

Acanthus Leaves

British Library Border Clipping Acanthus leaf from my handout “Acanthus Leaves: Drawing and Painting”  I love Acanthus leaves in art. They are an ornament that resembles leaves from the Mediterranean Acanthus plants. They have deeply cut leaves similar to thistles.  I like Acanthus leaves because they are a curvy, variable decoration I can use in most any art medium or era. In scribal illumination, Acanthus leaves add color, visual movement and design contrast to large text blocks. They also enhance large decorated display initials or a heraldic device.  There are several general Acanthus leaf styles from the broader leaf with ends that flip over to narrower forms without flips and in between. The Göttingen Model Book, a 15th-century workshop instruction manual, provides fascinating insight into how some period scribes drew and painted their leaves. British Library Harley 3490 f. 13v  You can create Acanthus leaves that are simple as in my above picture or add details such as dots along the vein and color modeling to enhance dimension.  Whatever you like. It’s a scroll ornament that lets you be creative. Related Prior Post: The Making of an SCA Scroll, Part 2 External Link: Acanthus Leaves: Drawing and Painting

Read More →

How To Use Heraldry On SCA Scrolls

Bi-lingual Hebrew-English Scroll After calligraphy heraldry is probably the most common motif I include in a scroll. Whether it’s a recipient’s arms, the order’s device or the Calontir banner I use them somewhere. Even if the recipient’s persona came from a culture that didn’t have heraldry. When I receive a scroll assignment I first collect as much information about the recipient as I […]

Read More →