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

Friday, January 28, 2011

Documenting as you go

After getting a new camera in fall which made it easy to take pictures at the drop of a hat, I've also started documenting the process of making some of my scrolls. The first one I did this was because I was chatting on line with a friend and he wanted updates as I went, so I took the pictures for him, but I have found that there are other benefits for having this "as it goes" process. For one, I've found that there's always a point in the creation of a scroll where I look at it and think "this will never turn out. it looks terrible." But I keep going, and usually at the end of things, I look at it and think "Wow, that looks pretty great." So what changes between those two points?

- Outlining.
- Gold.
- Whitework.

Before these three elements have been completed, when you've got just calligraphy and blocks of color, it just looks bad. Outlining sharpens all the edges, gold makes it flashy, and the whitework, the real key to it all, really makes things pop. Now that I know this, I can use it to remind myself when I reach that midway point that it's not about the actual quality of the scroll, it's just that I haven't done the finishing elements yet. Very reassuring. Anyway, here are the photos showing the progression of the court barony scroll for Rainer Wulfgar.

The layout has been penciled in, including the margins, space for the initial and border, and the lines, and the calligraphy half-way done:

Now I've completed the calligraphy:

The border has been penciled in, and the blue painted:

Putting in the base colors:

Base-colors completed (this is the stage where I always think "this looks horrible"):

And here's the final product:

The calligraphy was done the first day, the design drawn and the base colors painted the second, and the shading and whitework done the third.

The text based on the summons to parliament used by Queen Elizabeth II (though I believe it's essentially unchanged from earlier summonses); such a summons would make someone a baron if they weren't already one. It reads:
Ulfr by favor of arms of Drachenwald including all of the southern reaches King and Caoimhe by favor of beauty and inspiration of the same realm Queen to our right trusty and well beloved honorable lord Rainer Wulfgar. Whereas by the advice and assent of our peers for certain arduous and urgent and serious affairs concerning Us and the defence of our kingdom we are minded to surround ourselves with such barons as shall give us council in these affairs we strictly enjoining command you upon the allegiance by which you are bound to Us that the weightiness of the said affairs and imminent perils considered (waiving all excuses) you place personally yourself before us so that we may make you a baron of our court so that with the said prelates, great men and peers you treat and give your counsel upon the affairs aforesaid. And this as you regard Us and Our honour and the safety and defence of the said Kingdom and dispatch of the said affairs in nowise do you omit yourself from our counsel.

Witness Ourselves at Griffinstor the 30th day of October in the 45th year of the society.

The design is based on Hs. II 119 f. 238v, from the 13th century:


Lia de Thornegge said...

Nice scroll. I am in awe of your script there.

I also agree with you, that the stage where all the base colours are down, but no shades or whitework are done is a horrible stage. I too always think: How can this end up any good?! But then you press on and like magic it just works!

Sara L. Uckelman said...

I'm also rather in awe of the script -- I got just the right combination of ink, nib, line spacing, and *poof*, it came out amazingly even and well-spaced. I wish I knew what I did, so that I could do it again. :)

Racaire said...

It looks lovely :)

Ati said...

The order I do it in:

1. pencil
2. ink (unless it involves a border that is dependent on length of text, in which case invert 2 & 3)
3. calligraphy
(gold goes here if using leaf)
4 base colours
5 whitework
6. re-ink
7 sign and do transcription & translation

Also, the pics won't load for me of your process :(

Sara L. Uckelman said...

Hmm, I don't know why the image aren't loading for you. :( Try here: http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/candi/rw-cb.html; they should work there, I hope.