“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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