Working on this illuminated letter project has been a joyful experience no matter what is going on around me. It is a pleasant experience to sit in solitude and try to work out these designs. Early in my illuminated letter journey beginning in 2003, I would start with a historic example as a guide to follow. The design would be transferred with tracing paper onto the watercolour paper. The process would involve hours of time searching for just the right historic form to copy. Often the images were in very bad shape and difficult to see, but you could get the essence of the design. My aim was always to try to create a letter that may have been what the original illuminator intended. I would concentrate on trying to paint and gild the letter properly. Generally speaking, I would work on a small illumination about 3 times a year.
This was my first attempt at J this week. The finished letter is 4"x 1 1/2" on Arches HP. I was happy with the shape of J but not with the foliate decorations.
The journey of this bi-weekly illumination project had me beginning in the same way as I usually did. Finding a historic example and trying to copy it while putting my own touches of colour and decoration into this design. Somewhere along the way of this project, I began to make friends with the pencil and started designing the leaf script and ribbon script letters. I would just grab the closest piece of paper and begin to sketch.
The foliate decoration is really just an extension of offhand flourishing but the design process of the letter itself has really stretched me. Although sometimes I wonder how far I am straying from accurate historic letterforms, I am really enjoying the sketch process of this journey. As of May 5th, I started a Leuchtturn 1917 squared notebook journal to keep track of my sketches rather than have them on bits of paper strewn all over the studio.
This is the first page of my Leuchtturn journal working out project ideas.
More sketch ideas and the process of this week's J.
6"x1 1/2" on Arches HP. This piece is by far my biggest and uses techniques learned from study with Rosemary Buczek, Vivian Mungall and Debbie Thompson Wilson. The 23K gold is tooled in an Owen Jones pearl and filligree pattern as I was originally going to entitle this post J is for Jones, but decided the letter was not Jones-like. The colours are a bit Jester like or even Joker like, both great J-words.
1 hour ago