A place for Drachenwald's scribes to hang out, learn, discuss and critique each others work.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


This weekend there was an onsite A&S contest at Summer's Last Stand II. This was my entry. I have been requested to post it.
It is a 10th-11th c. Calendar Page from the Leon Cathedral Antiphonal, 8, fol. 10v. I took it from the book 'Illuminated Manuscripts of Medieval Spain.'


Elmsley Rose said...

No wonder you were asked to post it - it's just beautiful!

Anna said...

Thanks for posting it, I still love looking at it! :) :)

Merlyn Gabriel said...

Emma, that's really lovely. Can you describe how you made it? What paints you used? I woudl love to know the thought process behind it. I am so glad you shared, thanks.


Emma said...

Before leaving for the event I scanned in a copy of the page and printed it off for later use.

At the event I started work at about 7-7:30 Friday night. I used my portable lightbox and the copy to line up and draw out the circles. I used Hahnemuehle Fine Art D'Aqua 220 rauh paper.

I drew the outer circles first then worked inward. All in pencil. Then I drew the "flowers" in pencil, then the center doodle. After I finished drawing I moved to a different table in the hall with better light.

Painting. I used mostly Plakkaatverf Gouache by Royal Talens, Holland. But I also used some Windor Newton and Savoir Faire Gouache colors as well. I used to copy to test paint colors as I mixed them. None of the colors are straight out of the tube, everything is mixed. With the help of a few other sets of eyes I managed to get pretty close to the original's paint colors.

I started with the blue. I painted all the blue areas first, rings and flower parts. I did the yellow centers and petals on the bottom next, then the orange center section and around the flowers edges. Then I painted in the lines inbetween the petals in a clockwise manner starting at the edge and painting inwards to the center. Then came the outlining of the yellow bottom flower in the orange. Painting the gold colored circles was last.

This took me until 4:15 am. Then I slept until about 10am. At about 11 am I resumed work.

I did the black lining with a Micron 005. I forgot to bring black paint. I touched up the paint as I went along. There was no real method to the order of the black lining... I kind of skipped around quite a bit to let paint dry in other areas.

Once black lining and paint touch up was finished I moved back to the light box to do the calligraphy.

I grabbed the wrong bottle of ink when I packed so I didn't have any brown Ink. I mixed up a slightly orangish brown for the lettering and watered it down to flow better out of my dip pen. I used my favorite dip pen holder, a wooden Eagle Pencil Co. holder, and my favorite nib for small writing, a No 15 Tank Pen from EG Henry.

I lined up the circles over the copy on the light box to get the curve and spacing right and set up the book to read the letters clearly. Each time I rotated my page the book rotated aswell so that I didn't confuse myself. First I did the top right circle starting at the 9 O'clock position and working clockwise. Then the one below it starting at HVB.... Then the one next to it starting at the Breviss... all going clockwise. The top left was a bit different. The letters are slightly different shapes and the size was smaller. There were also so places where the letters were very difficult to make out, sometimes not at all. Once the 4 outer lettering was finished I did the numbers on the flowers.

I numbered the brown numbers on the white petals first. I don't remember which one came first etc. Then I did the brown bumbers on the blue petals (bottom left) then the white numbers on the top right.

Then I moved on to the calligraphy on the bottom flower petals. I started at October and worked counter clockwise filling in the inbetween places as I went along. It was about this time that I started losing light. The place I had been sitting (by the plug for the light box) was not very well lit to begin with, but it had no other direct light. Some kind gentles lit some candles for me and I finished the last of the calligraphy by candle light at 5:45 pm, 15 minutes before the cut off time of 6pm Saturday.

Any variations in petal size, letter size, and letter style are consistent with the original document.

It took me about 16 hours to complete. This is a conservative estimate. I did take breaks for eating, socializing, questions et cetera. :)