Kingdom Arms by Robin of Thornwood Calligraphy by Robin of Thornwood Populous Badge by Robin of Thornwood

Mistress Robin of Thornwood, Companion of the Laurel132 viewsWhen Robin of Thornwood was elevated to the Order of the Laurel, four of us who were her fellow scribes and friends decided to collaborate on making her Laurel scroll. As is often the case in elaborate plans, it took a lot more time and effort than first envisioned. But two and a half years after the first idea, here's the completed "Scroll of the 11 Robins", executed with gouache, ink, period gesso, and 22-karat gold leaf on 3-ply Bristol vellum paper measuring 18x24 inches, from the hands of Oonagh Bhán, Eliska z Jihlava, Aldith Angharad St. George, and Tatiana Nikolaevna Tumanova.
Tatiana Nikolaevna
Getting Some Ideas69 views2011-05-24. Aldith and I were tasked with designing the scroll, so we started thinking about layout and inspiration and such. Robin adores Jean Pucelle, especially the Lutrell Psalter. Myself, I'm not that big a fan, but Aldith dug out some contemporaneous ideas from that period. How about having Robin in her atelier, working on a scroll (she was Laurel'd for scribal work). Maybe throw in a bit of trompe l'oeil for fun, like having a paintbrush lying on the "finished" piece. Aldith sketched an idea from the Breviary of Marguerite de Bar, c. 1300 and another idea from the Hours of Jeanne de Navarre, c. 1340.Tatiana Nikolaevna
Another Idea66 viewsHere's Aldith's second thumbnail sketch, based on the Hours of Jeanne de Navarre, c 1340.Tatiana Nikolaevna
Refining the Idea75 views2011-08-27. After chewing it over more and looking at more illuminations from that period, we settled on the Jeanne de Navarre style and I did up another thumbnail sketch. We'd put a nice Mists (Northern California) landscape out the window, and put her Arms -- no, the Laurel wreath, on it in stained glass! With some nice marginalia figures in the border.Tatiana Nikolaevna
Drafting Up The Idea59 views2011-12-04. Aldith and I started kicking around more ideas while laying out the composition on tracing paper. Let's move the faux paintbrush inside the border and have the marginalia figures hoisting it up, painting away on the design -- ooh, the figures can be the four of us scribes! Cool. Basic design settled on, margins ruled in, the space was now delineated for the calligraphy. Off went the nascent scroll with Eliska, to be lettered.Tatiana Nikolaevna
References Are Essential86 views2012-07-25. Man, with the calligraphy done now, we gotta get to work drawing! Which meant lots of reference material -- posing for the figures so Aldith could draw them, looking up pictures of Robin, and pictures of robins -- and make those European robins, not American robins, if you please! Tatiana Nikolaevna
Four Busy Scribes Are We78 views2012-08-01. Aldith painstakingly drew in Tatiana (c'est moi!), Eliska, and herself -- I drew in Oonaugh and the cameo appearance by Titivillus, the pesky Scribal demon. Garth of Windhaven was drafted to do a body pose from which Aldith then drew in Helgi for a cameo -- we needed some muscle to pull up the bucket of paint. It took Aldith about an hour and a half to do each figure; it took me several hours to draw up Oonaugh as I'm not as good at approximating fabric folds so I had to run upstairs, throw on a sarafan and photograph myself in a mirror, kneeling. Buckets -- now those I could draw from memory.Tatiana Nikolaevna
Small Figures Done, Starting the Miniature Scene68 views2012-08-08. Here's a look at Eliska's lovely calligraphy! Lots more research for the miniature scene followed now, looking at the Russian River (where Robin lives), pictures of Robin, of redwoods, of European robins, and of ancient round-paned medieval windows. Now it's time to start drawing! The half-open window was inspired by one in the Hours of the Master of Mary of Burgundy, and I really came to regret that...Tatiana Nikolaevna
Mistress Robin "At Home"74 views2012-08-10. So here is the lady sitting before her drawing table, all ready to start illuminating. Aldith helped me get Robin's body positioned properly; she really understands human figures (I'm good with faces but figures, not as much). I decided to put the Arms on a nice large hanging on the back wall to cover up all that dead wall space, in addition to featuring them inside the majescule starting off the text. The stained glass window idea was discarded as being far too hard to paint, so the laurel wreath moved down into the majescule, too.Tatiana Nikolaevna
How To Draw Leafy Bits -- Part 168 views2012-08-11. Now it's time to look at all the borders in the Jeanne de Navarre Hours and draft in the vine borders. First rule in the width of the border, lay down curves and circular lines to mark where the vine stems will go, then fill in the space with leaves and those weird flower things. Tatiana Nikolaevna
How To Draw Leafy Bits, Part 266 views2012-08-12. You know, as the scroll is for Robin, how about some robins in the border? And because she likes a certain illuminated page by Pucelle, we'll make the bottom border pea vines (complete with that icky snail). In these leafy borders, you just have to keep an eye on the negative space, those areas between the drawn-in bits (positive space). If an area looks too blank, fill it in. Here some vines are drawn going up inside the border to fill in the large blank spaces between the left side border, the figure in the middle, and the first figure on the right. Note that circles showing where the seals will go have been approximated in, so there's plenty of room left for those.Tatiana Nikolaevna
How To Draw Leafy Bits, Part 366 views2012-08-13. After sketching in the vines and leaves, back off and see if the entire thing looks balanced. If there's a "hole", fill it in with another leaf, flower, or tendril. Once you're satisfied, sharpen a pencil and go over the design to outline it clearly. The border took about 22 hours of work, spread out over two days. Whew! And because where there are birds, there are also cats, my two Abysinnian cats made cameo appearances in the border as well. At this point pics were sent to everyone; they had to agree to the design because from then on it would be set. Everybody okay? Then off the scroll went to Aldith, who would outline the entire thing in ink.Tatiana Nikolaevna
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