September 14, 2009
written by Judy Shibata
Beverly Hills Adult School Class #1: Carolingian will be the hand this semester. It originated in Tours, France, during the time of Charlemagne (8th Century). It spread all over Europe and the 10th Century English Carolingian version is the basis of Roman miniscule type.
DeAnn distributed basic supplies. For this week, students will need ink (Higgins Eternal or sumi), round pen-holder and Brause nibs (5mm, 2.5mm, 1.5mm, 1mm), 8x8 grid paper, inkwell, and a drawing board. We’re starting with the 5mm Brause nib. For supplies call Helen Gershen 310 837-3604 3101 Federal Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066 DeAnn will have the supplies in class next week.
Using black ink in the nib, dip the pen so the reservoir is 3/4 full. Wipe the nib on the edge of the ink well to take off any excess. We need to get fully familiar with this chisel point nib. Practice making straight lines with the nib. You need even pressure on both sides of the nib. Not a lot of pressure just even pressure. The ink will flow better to begin with if you give a little side to side "rub" with the nib. Or touch the tip to some wet ink on a previous stroke. As you draw the stroke down the page, EXHALE. This helps give a more controlled stroke. Also, set your opposite hand near the work so you can give slight pressure as you start down. These tips will help you have success quicker.
Preparing the grid paper: 8 boxes on the grid paper equal an inch, with the darker blue lines indicating the inch-marks. Leave a 1 1/2-inch margin on top & bottom, 2-inch margin at the left & right. Label the top line “A” for ascender, the next line “W” for waist, then “B” for base, and the 4th line is “D” for descender.
Pen angle: The Brause nib is a chisel-point pen, able to create thicks & thins within one stroke, based on the angle of the pen. Using a protractor as the reference, a pen angle of 0-degrees equates to holding the pen so that the nib is parallel to the horizontal lines of the grid paper. A vertical stroke at this pen angle is the thickest; a horizontal stroke is the thinnest. If the pen angle is 90-degrees, then a vertical stroke is the thinnest and a horizontal stroke is the thickest. For a 45-degree pen angle, use a box as a reference and place the pen so that you’re placing it on the diagonal of the box. At this angle, both a vertical stroke and a horizontal stroke should be the same thickness.
x-height: is the height between the waist and base. Each hand has a specific x-height measured in nib-widths. At a pen angle of 90-degrees, draw short horizontal strokes to measure by pen widths.
Carolingian has a pen angle of 20-degrees and an x-height of 3 pen widths (equal to about 4.5 boxes on the grid paper). In class, we’ll use an x-height of 4 boxes for the 5mm nib. The ascender & descender are 1 1/2 times the x-height, so that will be 6 boxes above the waist line, 10 all told.
Homework: Become really familiar with this nib. Practice vertical & horizontal strokes at different pen angles. Practice the “i” and “l” that DeAnn demonstrated in class.
Carolingian Supply List
Beverly Hills Class fall 2009
1. Round pen holder
2. Nibs: 5mm, 2.5mm, 1.5mm, 1mm Brause Nibs
3. Black ink: Higgins eternal or Yasutomo sumi in the round green bottle.
4. Ink well
5. Bienfang: 17x 22 inch grid paper 8x8 cross section.
6. Ruler: C-Thru 18” gridded ruler
7. Pencil and Eraser pencil sharpener
8. Notebook to take notes into
9. Rag to clean your nib and wipe up spilled ink
Project materials: (don’t buy any of these, you can will buy them in class)
10. Pergamanatta paper for illuminated manuscript
11. 23.5K gold leaf
12. Gouache or watercolors
13. Fine watercolor brush # 1& #00
14. When we start designing our page, bring a digital camera if you have one so you can take pictures of examples of illumination and decoration that will help you design your manuscript.