Research‎ > ‎Arts & Sciences‎ > ‎Illumination‎ > ‎Stella's Gallery‎ > ‎2012‎ > ‎

Black Hours for Rome Use

So I was asked to make a scroll for the winner of the Phoenix Flame Torchlight Tournament at WoW VII.  Being a torchlight tournament, I thought this would be a good time to experiment with the Black Hours style. As far as I've been able to tell, we only have 3 extant black hours today, and one of them is the Black Hours for Rome Use, which is 15th century Belgian. 

I got all attached to this idea, then I started thinking about logistics.  Like, you can't use a lightbox to trace designs onto black paper.  Luckily I talked my sweet husband into doing the calligraphy. ^_^  There was still the matter of how to get the rest of the design onto black paper.  I realized I was just going to have to draw things myself and hope for the best. 

The idea was to get the calligraphy onto the paper first so that if mistakes occur, the amount of things that had to be reworked would be reduced.  I mocked up the scroll text in Illustrator so that I could figure out how much space is needed for the calligraphy.  Then I printed that file and cut out the calligraphy part to make a template that framed the area for calligraphy. My husband carefully measured out lines and ruled the paper within the template.  

I printed out another copy of the template and started sketching so that I could get a general idea of how the design elements would fit in the space.

I also tested out the colors of my paint on the black paper, and discovered that the silver gouache covers up silvery graphite lines left by pencil quite well.  My test is pictured below with a full-color printout of the original.  I am reversing the colors in the scroll I'm doing so that it will be mostly baronial green and silver with blue and gold highlights. 

Then I pulled the calligraphy template off, cut a new one that blocked out the 1" border on all sides and sketched in the design. It did change quite a bit from the mock-up.  (Click on the images to see a larger version of them.)

Most of the pages of the example have random flowers and fruits with animals tucked in amidst the vines and stems.  I got the idea for the fruit on the left straight from the manuscript, and I chose grapes for the bottom right corner because grapes are awesome! And I felt a little strange about putting a whole bunch of flowers on a scroll that is clearly for fighters.  

My husband finished the calligraphy. The image on the right has a penny on it for scale. The paper is 8.5 by 11 inches. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Here's the silver part of the border: (I think it looks pretty good without the green!)

And the green:

The finished scroll: