Sunday, June 21, 2015

Master of Defence - Frasier MacLeod - a.s. l

Project:Master of Defense for Frasier MacLeod
Words:Mistress Alys Mackyntoich
Paper:17 x 14" Parchment by David de Rosier-Blanc
Script:German Fraktur
Pens:Turkey & Goose feather quills
Ink:Ian the Green's Iron Gall
Paints:Holbein Artist's Gouache & Finetec metallic
Inspirations:W and general layout from Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg, Abt. Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, J 250 Nr. 14 and Wappenbrief der Gemeinde Blindenmarkt.

The Fraktur hand for the text is from various pages in Werke der Schönschreibmeister - Staatsbibliothek Bamberg JH.Msc.Art.88. This book also inspired the shell gold highlights on the text, gold margin lines, and flourishes.

The central image is based on the October Calendar page from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.

Inspiration & Planning

In February I was asked if I wanted to take on one of the three premier Master of Defense scrolls for the East Kingdom. I was told then that it would be awarded at Crown Tournament on May 2nd, but the name of the recipient wouldn't be known until some time later.

On March 23rd I received confirmation that Frasier was going to be one of the three premier members, and I would get to do his scroll! Mercedes and Alys worked to get ideas from Frasier about what he liked and wanted. He indicated liked document style scrolls, but he also really fell in love with the Calendar pages from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry during an art class. Given this information, I decided to combine a few elements that weren't from the same time period or place to give him something beautiful. This is why the scroll consists of 16th Century Scots words written in a 16th Century German hand decorated with a 15th Century illumination.

I started by finding a couple examples for the flourished lettering to start the scroll and decorate the border.

Then I found a source to draw from for the text and other flourishing details.

Finally, the calendar page:


I started by learning the hand...

And practiced penning the flourished W.

The scroll

When I felt I had practiced enough, I very carefully drew pencil lines out on the buttery smooth parchment. The color and depth of the hair side of this skin was just stunning.

I started by free hand penning the major strokes of the W.

Then added thinner strokes.

With most of the W in place, I started in on the calligraphy, and the flourish in the top border.

I continued with the calligraphy, and added more flourishing.

I'm very happy with the quality of line I was able to get from my quill, especially the hairlines.

Finally, I completed both the calligraphy and flourishing!

Next I used a ruler, compass, bow-pen and Finetec gold paint to add the gold margin lines and calendar borders. I painted gold highlights on the flourishing & capital letters.

It was time to start the Calendar image. This text was penned with a very small quill using red and blue gouache.

Then I painted in the blue backgrounds.

I was a bit rushed for time, so don't have step by step images of my painting. But here is how I incorporated the Masters of Defense symbol into the scroll.

And done!

Final Thoughts

I'm thrilled with the calligraphy on this piece. This particular combination of smooth parchment, quill and iron gall ink worked perfectly together. I was able to get hairlines so thin that I could barely see them. I'm also quite happy with the W and pen flourishing along the top and left border, especially since almost none of it was pencilled out in advance.

That said, I didn't quite get the level of detail in the painted elements that I was trying for in this scroll. It was a too ambitious, at least for the amount of time I had to get it done. 

It was a real honor to be a small part of the premier of this Peerage in the East. Congratulations again Frasier!

1 comment:

  1. You know, I was just looking at this again and I'm in awe of your art. Thank you again for this beautiful work. Mercedes