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:
The Y and O above are from the book 50 Medieval Manuscript Leaves, and are used here courtesy of David Bindle.

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

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