Fugli: The Scribe and Illuminator

In today's contexts, it is difficult to separate the role of scribe from that of artist. I am here defining it specifically to some of my more archaic looking artwork that may incorporate writing on a parchment or vellum surface. This may also include Heraldric devices. Most of it is done for or at some sort of renaissance or medieval faire.

Here is a general shot of the scriveners booth I once held at the now discontinued King Arthur Faire. It was generally a student art show of calligraphic illumination and heraldry. The work station on the end was for patrons who wanted to try their hand at using quills, ink, brushes and paint.



Here is an ink and tempera illumination of King Arthur that I did for some medieval project or another. It is on a faux parchment surface that has a light mottled look. Like many modern historiphiles, I sometimes delve into Celtic knotwork just to give it that feeling of being from another time. So, I threw in a token knot. Then I decided to cover the background with Viking knots. I actually got a comment in an online group from someone that was impressed that there was someone else out here that actually knew the difference between Celtic and Viking knotwork. Hey, I read it in an old coloring book. Some sources are just too obscure for words.

[In the past I have played with traditional materials, including gold and silver leaf. To tell the truth, a good quality modern gold tempera paint looks almost exactly the same as leaf. So, please forgive my use of non traditional materials. It is the look which I often seek more than the process.]


This coat of arms is one of many attributed to King Arthur. I selected this one because it is probably the least common depicted. I made up everything beyond the field and motto. Again, it is on a faux parchment paper.

Finishing up my Arthurian theme for this page, the illumination to the left is of a funny song by Lee Agnew called "Like a Sword in the Stone." He sings it to the melody of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone." The surface is a museum grade vellum finish paper that I like specifically for the almost perfect way it takes ink, tempera and watercolor. Unlike the modern gold tempera that I often use in lieu of gold leaf, this illumination has gold foil paper cutouts.


In a less secular vein, I often work with scripture illuminations. To the left is a Latin version of the familiar John 3:16 verse on faux parchment.

Here are two layouts for the Lord's Prayer in Latin. The first one uses iconography inspired by the Book of Kells, while the second one is more generic in origin.

Again, these are in ink and tempera on museum grade vellum. If you look closely, you can even see the unfinished edge where the paper was molded.

Most of my calligraphic work does not necessarily fit neatly into the scrivener's category. When designing, I often use print in conjunction with other art forms both traditional and contemporary. Nor do I necessarily stick to the Uncial hand used in the works shown above.

[Of course, these actual artworks depicted here are much larger than presented, ranging anywhere from 8.5 in x 11 in to about 22 in x 28 in.]

Comments