Since May I have been concentrating my scribal efforts on mastering penwork. I had a lot of people to thank after my Ph.D. defense in September, and I used the opportunity to make lots and lots of penwork thank-you cards. None of them ever seemed quite right; there was always some point where I could tell that the design element I had just added was wrong, and I'd better stop or I'd make it even worse. This isn't to say that they didn't turn out pretty, but they just weren't right.
This weekend at the calligraphy workshop in Isengau, while the participants were practicing their newly found calligraphic skills, I sat down with an exemplar and gave penwork another stab. And it worked! I picked a design that had to be altered very little in order to fit the design I had in mind, and I think that was the trick: If I try to design something on my own, odds are it won't look nice, but if I can mostly copy something, then it turns out pretty nifty.
So here's the original:
This is British Library MS Burney 320, fol. 2.
And here's my interpretation:
The capital in the exemplar is actually a 'Q', but I moved the tail over a bit and decided I could call it a 'G'. I'm really happy with how it turned out!
And I also know exactly which letter I want to try next:
(This is BL MS Burney 252, fol. 4v). Isn't that awesome?!