it's a puzzle

Panache: Katheryn H.

Dragon's Bowle: Arthur of Blackmarsh

Lindquistringes: Leonardo

Order of the Laurel: Stella

Panache: Terafan

PCS: Arthur of Blackmarsh

Lindquistringes: Elsa

Albion: Kragen of Land's End

AoA: Ele

One of the first  and coolest lessons I was given by my Master waaaaay back in the mists of time was a how to do bifurcated or puzzle capital letters with filigree or ornamental penwork. I've been doing them for a really long time in one form or another, sometimes as the whole deal and sometimes as part of a bigger scroll. I love doing this style for a few reasons.

1: I learned it from Master Harold so doing it always always makes me think of him which makes me smile. He is AWESOME.
2: It's easy yet at the same time not.
3: it's very medievally looking.
4: No two scrolls are ever the same.

Because I learned to do this style from him, I didn't really start out by copying period pieces. I knew and understood how the patterns worked and went from there. Sometimes the results were great and sometimes they were not and it was in trying to figure out the why does this not look right that I bettered the craft. But wasn't until a few years ago ( okay maybe 6-7 years now) that I really started to look at period examples. Intricate and delicate I love to see how the basic shapes add up to the whole. How the single elements go together and form something that looks amazing. It's cool.

In my life as a scribe I have deliberately copied two period pieces in this particular style. One is in the gallery above, the Big A smaller S and the other is a wonking great big B which will get it's own post later on. I choose quite deliberately NOT to copy other works most of the time but rather just do my own thing because for me this style was all about that. Mini rebellions by monks seated in the cold drafty scriptoriums doodling away, little breasts, rude faces, meaningless squiggles. Patterns within patterns to make a whole that is very unique.

I like being unique.

 I don't like to copy anything exactly, I never have. Somewhere along the line I got it into my head that tracing and copying were cheating and this has been a damn near impossible thing to eradicate from my mind. I find I have to stop myself from being judgy when other people copy stuff because there's nothing wrong with it, in fact it's sometimes pretty amazing to see and this mental problem I have about copying / tracing stuff is all mine. ( oh joy)  I learned a valuable lesson my first year of art college when we had to find an artist we liked and copy his or her style exactly as possible. I chose a piece by Klimt and in that one lesson I had learned so much about drawing and using colour it was like someone smacked me on the head ( think Gibbs and DiNozzo). Since then I have become a bit easier on myself when it comes to copying or tracing to learn how to do something but I still have to fight with my inner voice to do it.

This is not to say that copying existing period pieces is wrong because it isn't and of course if you really start to look you'll see examples of that all over the place as well. Copying is period gorramit! Threads and patterns picked up from one copyist to another. It's how we learn. I just got lucky in that I had someone teach me the basics and the fine points before it occurred to me to look at period examples so I did my own thing right from the start, mixing and matching and experimenting.

Someone once asked me a while back how did one make this style look right because their pieces just didn't look right and I had to really think about this because I had also had similar problems but just scrapped the scroll to re do it. Eventually I came to understand that if you study this style from all the different countries and time periods it was used you'll see a repeating pattern within the chaos. Certain elements, certain colours were used certain ways, others not so much. Symmetry was vital but in a way that balanced out the whole rather than just the same patterns on both sides. In the end it had to please the eye not jar it, flow from one design to the other and in order to to this one had to understand how the single elements work as a whole.

I know a lot of scribes who work with this style, it's popular and it's lovely. Each scribe has their own unique method and even though, in the end, the results may look the same they are not. That's part of the beauty of puzzle letters, no two are ever exactly alike and once you understand the way each piece of the puzzle goes together the permutations are endless.

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