Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Project - Veronica's Tyger's Cub - A.S XLV


Project: Order of the Tyger's Cub for my niece, Veronica Vesalius. I did both the calligraphy and illumination on this scroll.
Words: by Lord Iain of Malagentia.
Paper: Heavy Weight Pergamenata.
Pens: Brause 0.5mm nib.
Ink: Winsor & Newton Sepia calligraphy ink.
Illumination Materials: The ink surrounding the gold leafed areas is India ink from a Rapidograph pen. The Sizing for the Gold is Miniatum with some red W&N ink added to help see where it was painted. The paint is all Holbein Gouache, most of it custom mixed colors.

I completed this scroll in September of 2010 for presentation to my niece in October at Malagentia's Harvest Moon event. The Tyger's Cub is given to youth in the SCA who "display admirable virtue and decorum at events." I used this project as an opportunity to see just how small I could make my calligraphy.

Due to the number of words in the award text far exceeding the original source, I decided to shrink the text size to allow it to all fit inside the illuminated border. Alternately, I could have extended the border so the size of the flowers and text stayed in the proportions of the original.

This is one of a few scrolls I worked on where I did both the Calligraphy and Illumination. I'm very happy with the paint, but I just don't have as much fun with it as I do with the calligraphy. Luckily for me, there are a lot of people who feel the opposite and just want to paint. Still, it's good to push into uncomfortable areas to learn new skills. I did enjoy being able to plan the final size and layout all by myself...

The inspiration for this piece is a page from the Prayer Book of Michelino Da Besozzo.



I started by lining the page. I absolutely love working on Pergamenata. This vellum substitute has a very hard surface, and it's nearly impossible to dent with the pencil marks. I can use a very hard lead which allows for very fine lines, and it still erases easily afterward. A must when working this small...

I used nib that was only half a millimeter wide on this project. The minim height was about 2mm. There are almost 7 lines of text per inch.


The finished calligraphy, with a drafting pencil for scale.


A pencil sketch of the illumination.


I prefer to ink the black outlines before the gold leaf is added. For this step, I used the decidedly modern tool of a Rapidograph pen. The vertical bars were done using a ruler, my hand is not quite that steady...


Next I painted a couple coats of Miniatum, a modern sizing that leaves a raised surface the gold leaf will adhere to. Miniatum is clear, so to be able to see where I was painting I added a few drops of red ink. Why red? Some of the gesso used to build up raised areas under gold in period documents was colored red/pink. If the gold is put down well, you don't see the color, though it may affect the color of the final gold leaf a little. I know other artists who prefer to use yellow coloring in case the gold is scraped or so thin that the background shows through.

One detail I really love about the original is how the roots are not outlined with ink. My roots aren't quite as thin as the original, but I still love the effect.


Once the Miniatum had dried enough, I added the gold leaf. Here it is with a ruler and Quarter shown for scale.


Now on to the paint. I started with the brighter green of the leaves and vines.


Then I added the darker green shading and outlining.


The bright pink of the flowers...


The first darker pink shading.


Coloring in the badge of the Order of the Tyger's Cub.


The finished scroll shown once again. I added additional highlights and shadows to the flowers to give them depth.