Perfidious Albion

Edinburgh University Medieval Society


Calligraphy Workshop

For calligraphy you will need a pen with a square nib (Berol italic pens are useful to practice with to start with) some paper and some scripts to copy.

Other things that are useful are graph paper, a pencil, a ruler, a rubber (eraser for those of you on the other side of the Atlantic), tracing paper or greaseproof paper, parchment style paper (or real parchment or velum if you're feeling rich), paints, paint brushes, kitchen towel.

The book illustrated above has a selection of very easy to use copy sheets for the medieval era with handy information such as height of letters relative to nib width and what angle to hold the pen at.
It's handy to start with graph paper because it gives you vertical lines as well as horizontal lines to work to. And choose a script that keeps the pen in a single orientation to start with as it's simpler.

Remember that calligraphy doesn't have a patron saint, it has a patron demon, Titivillus, who delights in spelling mistakes, smudges and missed out words, all of which happen all too easily.
It's generally a good idea to do the layout for a scroll on plain paper to start with and then make a good copy onto parchment paper once you're happy with how it looks.
Do the lettering before the painting as it's easier to hide mistakes in the painting. Cover the completed lettering with tracing paper cut to shape so as to avoid brushing it and smudging it.
Use pencil lines as a guide on the parchment paper.
You'll reduce the amount of bad language and re-writing requiredif you wait a full 24 hours after finishing writing or painting before attempting to rub out pencil lines. And sweep the bits away with kitchen towel, not with a hand which can be damp.

We run calligraphy sessions 4.30 to 6 on Wednesdays in term time.
Current projects include award scrolls for new members of Great Orders and also writing up The Chronicles
contact Nicky for details

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