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

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Greetings again,

Having been reading back through the posts, I thought I would add my thoughts on tips for 'how to make our work look more like the period originals'. My main message is: calligraphy, calligraphy, calligraphy! It nearly always jumps out at me when:
1. The calligraphy hand is pretty but not recognisably any specific period style.
2. The calligraphy style is not matched to the illumination style.
3. The calligraphy layout relative to the illumination is not correct for the period.
4. The spacing of words and letters in the calligraphy is not correct for the calligraphy style - usually much more spaced out. This means the overall 'block effect' of the text is very different even if every individual letter is perfectly correct.
5. The pen used for the calligraphy does not create sufficiently fine lines. Again it is critical to the overall 'rhythm' of the effect created by the block of text to have the maximum possible contrast of wide and thin in the ductus. I find I can only get this from hand-cut quills.

Even keeping in mind all the above, I am nearly always a bit disappointed by my own work in this regard - the calligraphy looks nice until I compare it again to the exemplars and realise how obvious the difference is...

I do find it disappointing when a beautifully illuminated scroll is let down in its overall effect by the calligraphy, especially as it doesn't actually take longer to do it right. Of course, calligraphy is a different skill to illumination and not everyone wants to work on this. In which case I think collaborative work with a calligrapher is a good way to go.


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