November 2, 2009
Beverly Hills Adult School Class #7: Today DeAnn demonstrated illuminating and had the class traced an initial capital and paint it.
The handouts were the sample initial capital (an “S”), a piece of pergamanata paper and a piece of and palette paper to work on, two Lombardic samples.
Illuminating a letter:
1. Choose 3 colors (include one of the greens) and zinc white. Gouache, an opaque watercolor, is used for the paint. Place a dab of each color on the palette paper; even if it dries, you can reconstitute it with water.
2. Trace pattern (initial capital) onto Pergamanata paper. A pencil that you can use for outlining is the Staedtler lead holder, which is a mechanical drafting pencil. Its sharpener has both a sharp & dull setting and also a pad to brush off the excess graphite after sharpening. Use 2H.
3. Paint glue (adhesive for gold leaf, recipe: 2/3 Sobo glue, 1/3 water, touch of red watercolor) onto initial capital with pointed brush (e.g. size 0 or 1). Try to paint on a smooth layer (you’ll be painting 3 layers). Let dry, then paint another layer.
4. For the colors, put zinc white next to each color. Add the tiniest bit of color, then a drop of water, to mix a tint. (TIP: have 2 water containers, one for dirty, one for clean. Always rinse brush in the dirty container first, then rinse in the clean container).
5. Paint each leaf half of one color, half in that color’s tint. Make sure the first color is dry before painting on the other half. (Don’t paint the leaves around the capital “S” yet – paint that after the gold leaf is applied).
6. Once all the leaves are painted & dry, “diaper” them with permanent white gouache. With a small pointed brush (e.g. size 0 or 00), decorate each leaf with lines, cross-hatching, or dots.
7. Once the gold leaf adhesive is dry, you’re ready to apply the gold leaf. To prepare, clean a “gold only” pair of scissors with silk – you don’t want any sizing on the scissors or else the gold will stick to them. Cut the sheet of gold leaf to the estimated size of the initial cap.
8. Breathe on the glue so that it absorbs some moisture. Then place the gold leaf on it and press gently all around. Press the outlines, making sure the sides (the glue will be slightly raised) are also completely covered with the gold leaf.
9. Remove the backing paper carefully so that you can save any gold that sticks to the paper.
10. Place a piece of glassine (acid-free, non-stick paper; the Post Office envelopes for stamps are glassine) over the gold leaf and press the outlines, making sure the sides (the glue will be slightly raised) are also completely
11. Burnish the gold leaf (several types of burnishers in different shapes & sizes: e.g. Griffold, Agate).
12. Clean up the edges with an X-acto knife with the #16 blade. (TIP: Every calligrapher should have the #11 blade and #16 blade.) Scrape toward you to clean the edges of excess gold.
13. Outline each leaf in black with a Pigma Micron 005 pen.
14. Paint the stems with the small pointed brush in green, then again right next to that stroke with the green tint.
REMEMBER: with illumination, you can never be too garish!
Next week: DeAnn will have the gold leaf and the adhesive for students to purchase.
HOMEWORK: Practice writing your project text with 1 1/2 mm Brause nib (use project template for lines). Begin blocking out project on pregamanata.