First Scroll Blanks

My first foray into the scribal arts was making many scroll blanks in 2016. These were done with gouache and Micron pen on Bristol board. Where there is calligraphy, I have noted who did it.

Making of Sorcha’s Hand of Tyr

This scroll was done on 8×10″ pergamenata. The first step was laying out all the details I wanted to include in the scroll to personalize it. I do this as a very quick and small thumbnail sketch, so I can easily move things around if I need to.

Guidelines are drawn in pencil using a T-square, then calligraphy is done with iron gall ink. I then sketch in the design using pencil.

Painting then happens, color by color. This one was done with modern gouache.

I wish I had taken more pictures of the watercolor process. It was actually done with very thin gouache, not watercolors. They are similar enough. I worked from the background sky up through the middle ground hills, then finally adding the details in the foreground last.

Then everything is shaded and whiteworked, then the final penwork details are added in with a crowquill metal nib.

Detail of the watercolor scene.

Detail of the acanthus and penwork, with tiny turtles hiding in the leaves.

Making of Tom’s Chivalry Scroll

This scroll was done on 11×14″ sheep parchment I cut from a whole hide I had of it. My first step was composing the words and laying out the illumination.

Sorry for the bad lighting on these photos. Most of the work on this happened at night, and I don’t have great lighting at my desk.

Guidelines are drawn in pencil using a T-square, then calligraphy is done. This script is my English secretary hand based on grants and charters from the 15th centuries, done with a Brause nib (1mm or smaller – I don’t remember) with iron gall ink.

The illumination was then sketched in pencil and inked with iron gall ink and a 1mm Brause nib. Iron gall ink is fairly water resistant (not entirely waterproof, but close), so makes for a good base for painting. I did completely forget that I was going to put the Midrealm arms in the bottom left, but luckily I was able to just paint over the leaf.

After inking, the glue for the gold leaf is applied. I used a modern Kolner Instacoll base. I want to use more traditional methods using red clay (bole) and hide glue in the future, as I’ve struggled with timing when the Kolner base is dry enough/not too dry to put on the gold leaf.

Gold leaf applied.

Painting happens, color by color. I believe this was mostly done with modern gouache, although that blue looks like it might be ultramarine I prepared myself (from modern synthetic ultramarine pigment).

More details are painted in.

And more details. The shading happens slowly, layer by layer. First I’ll lay a mid-tone, or a light wash, depending on the opacity of the pigment. Then I’ll lay a dark tone. Finally the whitework is added.

The final step is adding all the busy line doodles. I do this with a crowquill metal nib and iron gall ink, and just keep filling the space until it feels busy enough. The medieval aesthetic is “more is more.”

Award of the Baton Gules for Dietrich von Katzenwald


Award: Award of the Baton Gules (Baronial service award) for Dietrich von Katzenwald
Date: Awarded December 17, 2017 (AS LII) at Toys for Tots Tournament
Paper: 8″x10″ Pergamenata 85 lb. in “Natural” color
Illumination: Gouache, Finetec gold, Micron pen
Calligraphy: Noodler’s Borealis Black, 1mm Brause nib
Inspiration: Manesse Codex


Award of Arms for Joan the Lewd

Award: Award of Arms for Joan the Lewd
Date: Thatsa Mare 2017
Paper: 8×10″ on Bristol board
Illumination: Gouache, Micron pen, Finetec gold
Calligraphy: Noodler’s black ink, 1mm Brause nib
Inspiration:  Luttrell Psalter

It shall be known unto all good folk that Joan the Lewd, having much in the way of humor and enthusiasm, as well as skill in metalworking, has made upon such an impression that we, Konrad and Aibhilin, Dread Stellar Majesties of Northshield, do now bestow upon her this Award of Arms. Done this June 17 AS LII at Thatsa Mare.