The Scroll Colorant Blacklist

In Calontir, the SCA area where I live, you sometimes get into painting awards at an event. They are predesigned and painted like a coloring book. We call them “preprints”. Some kingdom’s call them “charters”. I’ve seen people take a few home from the scribe’s table to do later and that’s terrific. Each reign creates new ones so they need all they can get. Sadly, when they’re returned a few are unusable. They may be neat and carefully done but the creator didn’t use an acceptable colorant. Here’s a list of colorants you want to avoid – blacklist – when you do them at home. And why. Acrylic-based paints crack and flake off your paper. Even those labeled “gouache” don’t last well. Chalks smear and rub off on things. Oil-based paints, like Testors model paint, seep through the paper and come out on the back. Colored pencils don’t give the award a “period look”. Craft paints are just acrylic paints. They don’t work either. Crayons look as if your 8-year-old did it. Latex-based paints layer too thickly causing them to crack and flake too. Magic markers fade over time. They also don’t give that “period look” thing. Pastels, like their cousin chalk, smear and rub off, too. Take home paint dabs and tube paints. That leaves you water-based paints such as gouache and watercolor. Even a few of those don’t work well on preprints. Grade-school tempras and watercolors are water-based […]

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Two Inticing Paint Color History Books Reviewed

Yesterday I was going through my books preparing for the coming Book Arts RUSH and found again my current published books on pigment history. They are both books about early art material production. These books interest me because Medieval artists or their staff made their own paints. Knowing that paint production history enhances your color use when recreating illumination art. These two books present you tantalizing background stories and trivia about the complete color creation processes. The first book is…  Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay  In this book, you read varied, interesting stories describing Finlay’s quest for the world’s historical pigments and dyes. Written as a travelogue through color history, her book takes you from Afghanistan to the Australian outback, to China’s ancient caves, and Spain’s saffron harvest.  You read vivid stories, anecdotes, and adventures about the colors themselves. About Cleopatra’s saffron use for seduction. Historically expensive ultramarine blue production from lapis lazuli extracted from an Afghan mine. And how carmine red, still used today in lipstick, is made from the blood of insects. I liked Finlay’s book for its intriguing historical information, especially the extensive notes in the back. Unfortunately, I lost interest and only skimmed through her detailed personal travel descriptions. Instead, I jumped to the color fact chapters labeled by their names. Better yet is the next book I recommend … Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color  by Philip Ball  This book tells you about western art history through the physical substances used to create color. […]

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Testing – Which Gouache Brand Rewets Best?

I often read James Gurney‘s blog the Gurney Journey. Gurney is the Dinotopia guy. His art is amazing and his posts inspiring.  Recently, I found a post of his I think you’ll find interesting. Some gouache tests his associate Cathy Gura ran comparing gouache brands rewetting behaviors. She also compared their consistency and of all things their smell. I was intrigued because […]

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Size Matters: Giraude Benet’s Laurel Scroll

Project Title: Giraude Benet’s Laurel Scroll Project Date: December 9, 2017 Text by: Malachi von Uri Inspiration for Text: Translation by: Calligrapher: Jehanne Bening Illuminator: Jehanne Bening Measurements: 16 x 20 inches  Support: Pergamenata heavyweight natural  Notable Techniques: Gilding and interlinear lining. Script: Early/Proto- Gothic Pens: Mitchell 1 mm dip nib and Hunt 512 pointed dip nib Inks: Zig Cartoonist Sumi […]

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My 10 Favorite Scribal Materials and Tools

I’ve been a scribe way over 20 years and along the way I have collected materials and tools. Some end up in a bin never to see the light of day again. Other’s become as necessary to me as water.  Here’s my 10 favorite scribal materials and tools, except for paint and paper towels. Things I can’t do without when I create an original scroll.  Ames Lettering Guide— This helps me draw goofproof calligraphy guide-lines with consistent line spacing. I’m also able to have the letter height different from the space between lines. It’s well worth learning how it works. Brause Calligraphy Nib—  I like these stiffer nibs because I still have a heavy hand. Their top reservoir and keen edge help me make clear, sharp letters. Calligrapher’s Bible by David Harris or another letter example.– I like this book because it lays flat and is a smaller size. I sometimes use my own hand-lettered examples that I’ve done on 3″ x 5″ cards. Computer– I use this for inspiration research such as scroll recipient’s interests on Facebook and original manuscript images. It saves time contacting friends for information and searching through university books.   Light Box— Mine is a Light Tracer Light Box II. I’ve had it for years. While it is slanted I have a large book under the back of it to slant it more. That makes for easier viewing and better ink flow. Pearl Ex Brilliant Gold pigment. I […]

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