“Tracing is Period”

A couple of months ago, I threw myself (is there any other way?) into researching period tracing techniques for Western Europe. We talk about how “tracing is period” but generally, the conversation stops there. This was a fun little rabbit hole for me, and someday I’ll trek back down it and try to make my own tracing paper. Though I doubt my husband will be a fan of me spreading fish glue on granite until it is thick enough to make paper…

You can see my handout here: Tracing is Period: A Discussion of Techniques used to Reproduce Art in Medieval Europe

I decided to post today because 1), new handout, and 2) I’m TRACING!

Working on f. 10v of The Second Bible of Charles the Bald, 871-877.
Working on f. 10v of The Second Bible of Charles the Bald, 871-877.


From the National Library of France

I first mapped out the frame of the folio using a ruler and my circle template. Once I had drawn one of the corners, I used tracing paper to transfer it to the other corners, making adjustments to each in order to get the over-under correct. I’m drawing this onto sketchbook paper first, which I will then slap onto my light box to transfer it over to perg for painting and calligraphy.

I plan on doing the same for the roundels and the knotwork, though because my piece is slightly squished in height and width (8×10 with 1″ margins), I think all the knotwork will be the same knot, instead of varied as it is on the extant.  Instead of those big Latin capitals, this will get an illuminated letter from somewhere else in the manuscript (which I haven’t chosen yet), and then calligraphed for a Grant of Arms blank.


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