Sunday, August 25, 2013

Project: Decorating three kinds of Gothic space


We've done a lot of Gothic text letters this month.  You'll be wanting to "capitalize" on them.  Here's how, based on the simplified Gothic letter forms of Versals, below from May 6, #105.   
Gothic manuscript capitals are decorated in some combination of these three kinds of space: surrounding the letter, inside the letter, and within the letter stroke itself. The letters above show each one; the letter below shows all three together.  
Three kinds of ornament.  
    1. Since many letters are circular shapes inside a square frame, you can decorate the corners. 

2. The interior space of most letters opens a window into foliage, pattern, or a scene.  






3. The space inside the stroke may be filled with ornament in color, or solid gold leaf (right).   


Medieval ornament wasn't always very elaborate.  This O is partly filled with parallel lines and loops.  This tiny R is painted blue and quickly filled and surrounded with simple red hash marks.  (Original size, about 1/4 " square. ) 

You can see some more examples of decorated capitals on my Pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/shepherdscribe/beautiful-letters-from-the-past/
The Y and O above are from the book 50 Medieval Manuscript Leaves, and are used here courtesy of David Bindle.  http://www.blurb.com/books/2272528-50-medieval-manuscript-leaves

Next Sunday's projects will explain how to place your capital letter in the text.  

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