Monday 19 November 2018

Equus Troianus

Salvete omnes!

Ecce, Equus Troianus!

So that side project I mentioned in the last blog, was a gift that I was working on.  So what do you get a priest on their 30th year of ordination?  Well you asked me the answer is clearly some crazy Greek rabbits and the Trojan horse.  Or at the very least you draw a few.

Lately I seem to be stuck with the most unimaginative letters to try and make interesting.  I have started to loathe the E and I.  They can be interesting, but they are a lot more difficult to do anything with. 

When in doubt however, a little white gold detailing can go a long way. And lets face it, if commercial Christmas has taught us anything, red, gold and silver go perfectly together.

The text itself comes from the Aeneid, the moment when the Trojan horse (which is technically a Greek horse but whatever) opens up with Ulysses, Menelaus and their fellow Greeks jump up and destroy the city.  So I added some details, a Spartan shield in the border, a spear along the top to frame the text.  The red is also a colour associated with Sparta (as well as my Christmas excuse).

 The complete text
And keeping with the weird tradition.  I decided that my Greek warriors should be non-other than rabbits.  Complete with shield, spear, axe and horn.  Not sure how the Spartans would take to my interpretation of events.  Fortunately I won't ever have to find out!

All sealed with a wax seal coated in 24ct Gold.  A great tip from a friend (you know who you are!).



Thursday 15 November 2018

Capitulum Duo: pars duo

Salvete Omnies!

Apologies to all, I had completely forgot to update the blog of my most recent work.  I've been distracted on a side project for the last few days (more on that later). So as I said in my previous post I was going to attempt a large illuminated image based upon the events described in chapter 2.  So I had two opens, the wedding at Cana or the more dramatic cleansing of the temple.  Needless to say I went with the dramatic.  For a few reasons but I am not going to bore you with them now. 

I decided to simplify the design from the original (as seen in previous post). As this was my first attempt I wanted to keep things as simple as I could.

Before even painting this I could see why manuscripts often went for as much gold as they could in the background. The effect is very eye catching especially in daylight.  There were a few things I wasn't happy about while doing this.  Some rogue gold crossing lines here and there, but for the most part I am really pleased with the effect.

Finally five days later I finish the illumination, and I now have a deeper appreciation for all those manuscripts and the effort that has gone into them.  I mean this is rather simple in comparison to what I have seen and it took me five days working two to three hours a night to complete this one image.
Not much else I can say now other than looking forward to progressing onto chapter three.  I am not sure how often I will make pages like this.  I am thinking perhaps 4 or 5 more maybe? We will see, I'll probably change my mind and do one every other chapter knowing me.  However, I will be posting about that side project soon. 
Until then!



Friday 19 October 2018

Aurum habeo!

Salvete Omnes! Aurum habeo!

Ego Scriba is back! Well, I didn't really go anywhere I just had a major shortage of gold.  Right from the start I have that this is as much about learning new things as it is producing work.  The Gospel project in itself is just one big experiment for trying out new things.  One thing I didn't take into account was the amount of gold actually needed for all this.  I have been going through gold faster than I can obtain it.  But this is not because I am being wasteful, but simply because of my designs have required a lot of it.  However, I finally have more gold and can start to move forward again.

Chapter 2 is now complete.  The question is what to do next?  I recently checked out a video showing off an old manuscript of Dante's divine comedy.  The end of every chapter contained an illuminated image illustrating what happened in the previous chapter.  I have decided to attempt something similar.  With chapter 3 starting on the right hand side with nothing on the reverse, I essentially have a free page.  So if the worst happens I can easily remove it and I won't lose any of my previous work.

Here is the image I will be attemptiong to reproduce:

I will be changing a few things, less animals and people.  Keeping it simple for my first attempt.  I will upload the results as soon as I have them.

Here is a closer look at last night's work:

Monday 9 April 2018

nunc loqui de felibus volo

Salve omnes!

Now that Easter is over (and recovering from the plague), normality shall return to Ego Scriba.  If you can call posting the strange life of rabbits in old manuscripts normal.  I will be bringing you more of the gospel project as well as the prayer book.  Work has slowed down a little as I am running very short of gold.  However today I don't wish to talk about that or even rabbits. I wish to talk about cats!  That's right cats.  Something I have noticed in manuscripts, we have dogs pretending to be bishops, rabbits killing everyone and anything, but then we have the cats.  So what do cats do? Do they kill people? Do they go around pretending to be priests? No.  Even more strange than this, cats are just....cats.  They do cat things. Although when taken into context with the rest of the animals I have seen, this is completely weird.

Cats seem to get a really fair representation in manuscripts.  A lot of the time they are shown hunting mice and rats, often always in a very cat like way.

Sometimes not so cat like:

But generally they are either shown in play or they are shown as friendly companions.  Doing things that every cat owner will have seen:

That is one large cat!

Here's one climbing the boarder of the manuscript.

Probably the most unrealistic cat in medieval art.  I don't know of any cat that willingly goes into water:

We even see them in the background in some illuminations of key events in scripture if you look hard enough:

However.......then the 16th century came, and things got a little weird.

ROCKET POWERED CATS!....and pigeons.  Clearly, the 16th century decided cats needed an upgrade.  It wasn't enough that they can climb up anything or go crazy at random times in the middle of the night.  No! The 16th century clearly thought that the cat needed to be rocket powered.  Probably in response to the new rocket powered pigeons.  I mean how else is the cat supposed to compete?  Birds had rockets, so therefore cats clearly needed them as well. 

I have to confess, the idea of a rocket strapped to the back of a cat is far more amusing than psychopathic rabbits.  The tinfoil hat half of me wondered if this is a lost technology from the 16th century that proved too apocalyptic to keep, who knows!

Well that's all I have to say about cats at the moment.  However it wouldn't be right if rabbits did not get some attention.  So here we go:


Tuesday 27 March 2018

Quinque nuntius: Capitulum Duo


A day later than usual!  It has been rather busy lately, yet here we are again.  We are back to the Gospel project this time.  Not much writing this time, however I decided to go back and try my hand at using Gesso to create a 3d illumination.  I've done this only once before with the St Jude prayer and it was reasonably successful.  I ran a few tests on spare sheets to get back into it before going for it.  However I didn't anticipate just how much it would soak through.  Whenever I do any work I always place a sheet of card behind the page I am working on.  The idea is that if there is any bleed through it will be caught by the card and not affect the additional pages of the book.  Sadly the Gesso soaked through that card and went onto the page behind.  It seems to have dried okay I'll only find out how badly it has been effected once I write on it. 

Okay that's the doom and gloom out the way! The gesso came out fantastic!  I was happy with the shaping and design, however I think next time I might make it slightly larger next time.  Things seem a little cramped but it works well.  I suspect the size will depend on the letter I am illuminating.  Gesso takes 24 hours to fully dry before you can do anything with it, you then have to breathe on it to make it "sticky" before applying the gold.  So 24 hours later and lots of breathing and a very light headed self I managed to get the following result.

Sadly lacking the sandpaper ot skill to scrape away the bumps from the gesso to get that mirror look.  However I'm left with thinking "why didn't I do this sooner?" (Then I remembered that it took three days the last time for one letter).  The effect speaks for itself I think.

I need to work on the lines to make them tidier but that will come with practice and time. In total I applied 3 layers of gold onto the illumination to get the best effect.

After lightly burnishing to get a better shine I applied the paint, going for a two toned look of red and blue.  I was aiming for bold.

I think it worked well.  I might keep the same colour scheme throughout, maybe reversing the red and blue now and then.

On to the writing.  I said I was done with the doom and gloom, I kind of lied.  I had to change nibs half way through writing.  This nib and I have had a love hate relationship recently, I had no choice to use it as it was my smallest nib (turned out not true).  But I discovered that it was scratching the paper and causing a bleed through effect to the other side.  So I had no choice to change, which is a total nightmare.  The new nib took some getting used too, as it's longer (almost twice as long) as the original.  I also have to hold it further back, so things were a little weird at first.  I know it doesn't look like much but that extra length really threw me for a while.

However that being said, chapter 2 is coming along nicely, here is the final result:


Monday 19 March 2018

iterum loqui de leporibus volo


Sadly no update on the Gospel project this week, I have made some progress but I want to save that for later. Meanwhile I want to talk about the rabbits again (iterum loqui de leporibus volo).  I feel I may have jumped to conclusions and perhaps judged them a little harshly.  In my previous post I gave a few examples of how rabbits depicted in manuscripts were basically psychotic, and let's be fair it didn't take much convincing.

However more recently I have found a drastically contrasting nature of these furry animals.  When they are not riding lions into battle, beheading kings, fighting angels and dogs alike, they have a taste for the arts.  Especially music!

Here we see a rabbit playing the bagpipes, he seems happy enough.  However I cannot help think that the materials used in making the bagpipes might have a questionable origin.  I shall try and remain objective as he seems happy enough.

Seems like flutes and various horns are also popular with the rabbits.  We even have an example of a rabbit playing alongside someone, clearly not as bloodthirsty as I may have first thought.

The harp also seems to be an instrument of choice with the rabbits. Harps have always been the instrument of choice for angels throughout art.  So clearly they cannot be as bad as I have first thought they were? 

 This little guy is even entertaining a bird!

So maybe they are not as psychotic as we first thought they were?  Maybe we have had them wrong all this time?

Then agian.............?????