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Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:10 am
by Xiao Rong
I've been trying to teach myself the art of illumination so that I can do full scrolls by myself, and not just calligraphy. I think illumination is really beautiful, but it's one of those things that photography and scanning just can't adequately capture. Nothing beats the way that it looks when you turn the page and the gold leaf catches the light -- dazzling!

Here's a practice piece that I did -- a copy of the Witches' Rune that will be going into my BOS

This is after I inked the outline, applied the gold leaf (this process takes a long time because the glue for the gold leaf takes time to dry), and did the calligraphy:

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After applying the first layer of gouache paint (ultramarine blue & spectrum red):

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The final result, after the whitework (fine lines and details in white gouache) was applied:

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Materials: composite gold leaf, multi-medium archival paper, gouache, Higgins Eternal ink, & Higgins Black Magic waterproof ink

There's a big splotch in the lower right corner where I accidentally brushed some of the glue, and tried to cover it up with some white gouache. Not great, but hey, for my first full scroll all by my lonesome and something that's going to live in my personal BoS, I am pretty happy with the result!

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:34 am
by ness
So, so, so very beautiful! I love it.

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:03 pm
by Vesca
That's really pretty! That is going to be some awesome looking BOS. :)

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:51 pm
by Blackthorn
Stunning! The gold leaf looks great. How do you find the Higgins ink? I got some speedball inks but I'm not sold.

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 12:12 am
by Seraphin_npocampo
Your artworks are gorgeous as always Xiao!

I'm just wondering, how did you learn calligraphy?

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:28 am
by Xiao Rong
Thanks, everyone!

@ Blackthorn -- the Higgins line is pretty common. I picked mine up at the local art store, but I've also seen it at Michael's and other big craft stores. I haven't tried Speedball inks, but I've tried Speedball nibs and have had bad experiences with them, so I try to avoid that whole brand, haha. But Higgins is fairly common, pretty good quality, and relatively inexpensive ($2 for a 2.5 oz bottle of Higgins Eternal -- I've been doing calligraphy for a year and a half and I just finished my first bottle!) Higgins Eternal is what I use for most of my calligraphy (good opacity, light-fast, flows nicely on a dip pen, not so good for fountain pens). Higgins Black Magic is a great waterproof ink that I use for painting. I've also got a few bottles of red, blue, and green Higgins dye-based inks, which are very beautiful but I don't use too often. All in all, I'd highly recommend them.

@ Seraphin -- I've mostly been teaching myself. There are plenty of great books out there that teach calligraphy -- I recommend Art of Calligraphy and The Calligrapher's Bible: 100 Complete Alphabets, both by David Harris, because they have some great step-by-step examples. I also rely on Pinterest a lot to find inspiration, haha.

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:11 am
by BabyBear
You have out done yourself as always Xiao Love your work and glad to say I have one of your pieces :D

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:35 am
by Blackthorn
Thanks, Xiao! We used speedball everything in high school so I think I was too quick to jump on what I know. But I think I will daisy down to the art store and pick up some Higgins stuff and some different nubs to experiment.

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:00 am
by firebirdflys
Wow Xiao! I just ran into this...absolutely beautiful work! You inspire me :fairy:
Bb, Firebird

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:23 pm
by TwilightDancer
That is absolutely beautiful, Xiao!



Blessed Be :flyingwitch:

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:50 pm
by Red Ember
Beautiful. It looks amazing.

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:21 pm
by YanaKhan
So beautiful! I love it, Xiao!

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 4:15 pm
by Yex
Just discovered this thread. Xiao, your work is beautiful! I love illuminated manuscripts. :)

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 4:58 pm
by Becks
This is spellbinding! It's beautiful, ancient, and the energy comes right through the screen. Wow. It's an honour to see works of discipline and power. I don't get to see that everyday. Outstanding!

Re: Xiao Rong's Illumination Attempts

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:25 pm
by Xiao Rong
Thanks, y'all!

I've actually worked on my illumination quite a bit so I've got some new ones to show off ... I've done a lot of scroll blanks for the SCA -- that is, illuminated initial capital letters or borders (okay, mostly just initials in my case). I can't claim original design on any of these; they are all based on images of historical manuscripts that I've found on Pinterest.

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Based off of a 12th century proto-gothic manuscript.

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What I'm going to write that starts with "Q", I'm not sure.

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I'm quite fond of this little guy!

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This is an initial done in "white vine" Italian-style illumination.