Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dürer's Gothic from "Of the Just Shaping of Letters"

In 1525, Albrecht Dürer published Of the Just Shaping of Letters (available for free from Project Gutenberg). Most of the book is instructions on how to make Roman Capitals. The last several pages contain "Directions for the Construction of the Text or Quadrate Letters". If you are looking for an authentic, later-period source for a full gothic alphabet, I present Dürer's own (translated) words and examples.

Note that there is no W in the majuscule letters. The I can be used for J, and the V can be used for U. The j is also missing from the minuscule letters, though it's easy to make one based on the i.





Friday, July 31, 2015

Period Ink Guidelines - What were they drawn with?

Recently I've been thinking about period calligraphy guidelines. Not so much as to how they are used, but how they were made. Specifically, I want to know what tool was used to draw the ink lines?

This post details my findings so far. Read on if you are into geeky investigation.

Astryda Borowska - Order of the Laurel - a.s. l



Project:Order of the Laurel for Astryda Borowska
Words:Master Harold von Auerbach
Calligraphy & Layout:Lord Alexandre Saint Pierre
Illumination:Doña Camille des Jardins
Paper:8x10" Parchment by David de Rosier-Blanc
Script:A somewhat sloppy and condensed Gothic Bookhand
Pens:Goose feather quill
Inks:Ian the Green's Iron Gall, Kolner Miniatum Ink & Gold Leaf, Winsor & Newton Scarlet & Blue Calligraphy Ink.
Inspiration:The Sankt Florian Psalter.

Mercedes Vera de Calafia - Augmentation of Arms - a.s. xlix




Project:Augmentation of Arms for Mercedes de Calafia
Words:Mistress Alys Mackyntoich
Illumination:Doña Camille des Jardins (her album for this project)
Paper:9x12" Parchment by David de Rosier-Blanc
Script:Spanish Rotunda
Pens:Wide metal & pointed nib for first line, goose quill for the smaller text.
Inks:Ian the Green's Iron Gall & Brazilwood inks
Inspiration:Letters Patent by King Charles I, 1524

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.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Bronwen Rose of Greylyng - Order of the Laurel - a.s. l



Project:Order of the Laurel for Bronwen Rose of Greylyng
Words:Mistress Mylisant Grey
Paper:Arches Cold Press Watercolor
Script:English Secretary Hand
Pens:Turkey Feather Quills, pointed metal nib
Ink:Kuretake Sumi
Inspiration:Cadel based on this image, which I can't find firm details on the specific document it is from. It is similar to many other cadel H's from documents during Henry VIII's reign.
Text based on Lilly Library at Indiana University, Ricketts 259, a letter from Henry VIII to Andrew, Lord Windsor.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Art of Calligraphy by David Harris


The Art of Calligraphy: 
a Practical Guide to the Skills and Techniques
by David Harris
Out of Print - ISBN-13: 978-1564588494 - Search Online for a PDF copy.
This is my favorite calligraphy book. It somehow manages to be both concise and detailed, beautiful and functional, informative and entertaining. It combines a stunning visual layout and images of period examples with a unique ductus for a large number of scripts, all while including a surprising amount of history. I particularly like that Harris provides both calligraphic family tree that maps the development of different scripts over time and a quick reference chart that compares all the scripts in the book on one page.

Sadly, this book is out of print and becoming harder to find. I attempted to contact both the author and publisher last year to ask if they have plans for a second edition or reprint, and received no response. If you wish a physical copy, act quickly. You can still find gently used copies for sale at reasonable prices for the time being. Otherwise, there are questionably-legal ways of getting a digital copy online. If you get yourself a free copy this way, and the book does become available again, please buy it to support the author.

If you are just starting calligraphy and are looking for information on how to start using a calligraphy pen for the first time, you will likely be a little frustrated with Harris. While he does have a short section discussing tools, there's nothing on how to use them. This book assumes to assume you already know how to use a calligraphy pen. If I could talk Harris and the publisher into developing a second edition, I would ask them to add a chapter on writing slope setup and how to use and become proficient with a calligraphy pen.

That all said, this is still my go-to calligraphy book for inspiration and when I need a refresher on how to form specific letters or scripts.
Alexandre's Rating:
Images of Period Examples
Historic & Paleographic Knowledge
Ductus/Instructions on Historic Scripts
Accessibility to Novice Calligraphers
Techniques for Left-Handed Calligraphers