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Scribal Friday

June 23, 2017

Now that the end of summer term is approaching, I have a little bit of a lull in the rounds of frantic grading.  I’ve actually been doing a fair amount of scribal work lately, between a couple of events and a challenge organized by a fellow scribe in the Barony of Cynnabar.  As a group, we’re working on doing a set of blanks with all of the letters of the alphabet!  I’m sure we’ll hear the cursing of the scribes to come when someone gets a blank with an X on it…

A detailIn May, I started with the letter A.  I’d already had this letter penciled in for a blank earlier in the year that had stalled once work got busy, so I had a little bit of a head start.  This letter is done in the 9th-10th century Ottonian style.  It’s fun to do the gold, and I’m getting better at doing fine lines with a brush.  I rather like the red outlining on this style.  You can also see the similarity to the later Italian White Vine Style of illumination here as well.

Talonval DH 17.2Then, for an event in June (I wanted to get an early start), I made a full scroll for someone in my local group.  Since the person’s name links him with the town of Chartres, I found a manuscript from that cathedral and used a letter O for the beginning of the scroll.  The Dragon’s Heart device fit neatly inside the letter, and I’m really happy with the way the shading of the scales turned out.  It’s always tempting to try to make this “perfect” but more often the little random touches of dark and light colors give a better effect.  The outlining here is all done with Micron pens – a modern touch, but something that gives a nice clean line.

Talonval DH 17.4I also really like the bold, colored capitals for the first few lines here.  This is a technique used frequently in 12th century manuscripts, and they were a lot of fun to do!  It’s nice to not have to be so precise sometimes, and tucking the two Ls together helps save a little space.

My second blank for the alphabet challenge was a letter U, done in an Early Medieval style common to the monasteries of the British Isles.  For this one, I also started with an introductory line since I think this gives a more cohesive look to the scroll overall.  Still working on getting the rubrication (the tiny red dots) more even, though of course the exemplars aren’t perfect either!
U detail

Blank 20Finally, for another event this past weekend, I used a blank I had done way back in 2014 (and maybe already posted somewhere here already).  This is one of the few blanks I’ve done with an award device already on it.  Usually I only include the device if I’m making a scroll for an assignment, but this was going into a competition where one of the entries had to be in support of martial activities.  The Dragon’s Barb is given for excellence and service within the archery community.  I realized as I was doing the lettering that it was going to end up looking like the archers in the castle were shooting at the names of the king and queen.  If I do one like this again, I’ll have to make sure they’re aiming somewhere else!


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