Silver Brooch for Johannes Braunscweg

Now, this was a scroll assignment I begged for requested. It was actually one of two that I requested at that time, and with them, I had 5 assignments going simultaneously (to say it was stressful, is an understatement.) Luckily, they were spread out so I didn’t have to rush them all for one event and our amazing Tyger Signet accommodated me in allowing me the two requested assignments and obliging me in turning down a couple that I thought would be too much. (I may have taken them too if my partner wasn’t in the corner glaring at me for putting too much on my plate… always.)

Anyway, this one was for Johannes, who has been playing forever and was more than deserving of this award as he is an incredible artist and researcher and it always pushing himself to new heights.

I knew that I was going to use the Book of Kells** for inspiration because he has mentioned that he loved that manuscript and we bonded a bit over that (I also love that manuscript.) I also kind of went off the script a bit and added a gnome that was supposed to look a bit like the art he had been posting on social media lately. If I had to go back, I probably wouldn’t have added the gnome.

The not-so-good – I could work on practicing my knot work. There are really cool and interesting designs but if it’s not just right then… it shows. I also made this a non-traditional sized piece and I really should have tried to keep it to traditional mat sized. I don’t know if he framed it or not but since then I have bought mats to measure my pieces before I start.

The good: I was given a lot of words for this scroll. They are beautiful and amazing words by Matthew MacGyver but still a lot. Even thought it took me forever, I think the effect came out quite nice. This is the first hand that I learned and I like how it looks so tidy. I also like how the miniature of the recipient kind of looks like him and kind of looks like he’s from the actual manuscripts. I’ve really struggled with putting people on scrolls and I want to get good at it but it’s hard sometimes.



Materials used: Gouache, and gilding on bristol, iron gall ink by Ian the Green

** You can browse the whole book online at the Trinity College Library Dublin Digital Collections but for some reason it is giving me trouble linking it for you.


King’s and Queen’s Thrown Champion’s Scrolls

Now this was a fun assignment! I was given the 2018 Thrown Weapon Champion Scroll assignments that were awarded at Panteria that year. I was excited to have an assignment that had fewer restrictions and I could go a bit wild with. I decided that I wanted to make them in the style of the personas of the royals: King Brennan and Queen Caoilfhionn and that year they were wearing a lot of Byzantine. I asked some laurels I knew how much should I put of the royals into these scrolls and I was advised that it should not be designed like a scroll that is given to the royals but I can use aspects of them in the scroll. 

So, I found this Manuscript called the T’oros Roslin Gospels (specifically Folios 5v and 6r) that was created in Armenia 1262 CE. It was perfect for the style that I was imagining, with a place to put miniatures of the king and queen and beautiful designs around the outside. I just fell in love with the manuscript. 


When I created each piece, I tweaked the design to have the king in the center of one and the queen in the center of the other and crossed axes over the top (for thrown weapons) with the king or queen insignia at the cross. I tried to match the calligraphy to the original manuscript and the hand that I worked with was a lot of fun. I really like how the crosses of the e’s angle out. 


Finally, the words were written by Lord Nicol in the style of a Byzantine document to match the style I was going for. I really love when a piece’s illumination, calligraphy, and words all match so seamlessly.  

However, the very best part was that when the royals went to sign the scrolls, apparently they were blown away and loved the little miniatures of themselves. I heard rumors that they wanted to steal the scrolls instead of giving them out! What a compliment! Because of that, I decided to make a stepping down gift for them where I did the illumination again with a few alterations and framed the pieces for them. They seemed very grateful for the gifts.

Materials: gold gilding, gouache, bristol paper, iron gall ink (by Ian the Green)

Source: T’oros Roslin Gospels


Words by Lord Nicol mac Donnchaidh


AoA for Thomas of Bhakail

It’s been awhile since I posted but I’m going to jump right into it. I’m going to post some of my older work and hopefully catch up quickly 🙂 thanks for your patience!

I was given this scroll assignment for someone I didn’t know, Thomas of Bhakail. It was to be due in March of 2018 (I’m sorry about my late blog post!) The write up I received was pretty thorough and described Thomas as the son of two scadians, he dresses Celtic like his father and he was written in for his service. I decided that since I didn’t know him well, I would reach out to his person-of-contact to seek more information. Luckily she responded and gave me even more information such as he likes celtic knotwork, often wears red and black, he enjoys board games, and he can always be found helping out whenever anyone needs a hand. I decided that a page from the Book of Kells would be appropriate for his persona and I would try to include some of his hobbies in the illuminations. I eventually honed in on some canon tables that I liked to inspire my scroll.

The not-so-good: The overall feeling of the page did not seem to replicate that way I wanted. The colors looked too clash-y to my eyes? It’s hard to tell if that’s because of modern eye or because I was not careful enough or if I tried to include certain color schemes because I knew he liked black and red but they came out looking unnatural. I would certainly work more carefully with the color scheme in the future. 

The good: I am pretty happy with how my calligraphy looked at this point. Of course, I’ve made improvements since then but I really like this hand and I think that if I can continue to work on it I can make the spacing of letters and words even more consistent and the shapes of the letters flow together to give a beautiful effect.


FB_IMG_1565883437702Materials: Iron Gall Ink (but Ian the Green), gouache, gold gilding, bristol paper

Source: Book of Kells (Canon pages)


Words by Olalla Tristana


Tyger’s Cub at Birka

This could be my favorite scroll I’ve done as of yet. If not the very favorite, it’s definitely in the top two! I was assigned this Tyger’s Cub and I happened to know the recipient and his family personally. I was excited to reach out to his mom to ask what he might like and I was not disappointed. She mentioned that she had this idea about Pokemon marginalia creatures in the illumination. Now, that’s an idea I can run with ❤

(and quick side note, if a scribe is asking you what kind of things your friend or family member wants on a scroll, this is exactly the kind of thing that I’m looking for! I love trying to incorporate hobbies, interests, things they geek out about, their passions, favorite colors and animals, a picture of the recipient. Honestly… anything helps)

Anyway, she mentioned her son didn’t have a defined persona yet but his parents are from Constantinople in the 10th century. My goal was to create a scroll that was age appropriate but looked period enough from afar and fit close-ish to the period of his parent’s persona. This is what I came up with.

Evan Tyger cub

Evan shiny

Materials: Walnut ink, gouache, gilding, bristol paper

Source: MS 19352 – Feb 1066, Psalter, including Psalm 151 and The Book of Odes (Rahlfs 1088).

Laurels’ Prize Tourney: Tiny Scroll Challenge

Last year I had this opportunity to attend an event that was based around the idea that laurels would issue challenges to the public and you could take up your choice of the challenges (or as many as you want, really) and submit it to the laurel. It was called the Laurels’ Prize Tourney and took place in the barony of Carolingia last March.

I just love love love this idea and I don’t think that they are doing it again this year which makes me super sad, but alas..

The challenge I took up was issued by Mistress Eva and she requested submitters to create a tiny calligraphed scroll. It could be illuminated or not, and could say whatever we wanted. The only requirements were that it was tiny and had a minimum of 150 characters. Challenge Accepted. Here is the challenge word for word:

Eva’s Tiny Scroll Challenge (Mistress Eva Woderose) – Make a tiny calligraphed piece (and illuminated if you so choose) based off of period sources. Enjoy the aesthetic of period proportion and style. If your scribal heart desires, feel free to make use of period materials and techniques. Each piece must have a minimum of 150 characters of text (but could certainly have more).

Please bring with you any sources you based your piece on so that we can have an intelligent discussion about your beautiful work.

The manuscript that inspired me was the Taverner Prayer Book because it is adorable, it has lovely calligraphy and they did this funky thing where they kept going over on the text so they extended into the borders and I wanted to mimic that little eccentricity. The piece is 7 cm by 5.2 cm and I used gouache and iron gall ink on bristol paper. The words are the chorus from Lord Nicol’s “Malagentia”
The final count of characters is 182 (not including the gold on the top.)

This piece was one of my first times doing calligraphy and yeah, it’s not great but I learned so much from doing this. I got to sit down and work with Mistress Eva who advised me on a lot but I found her advice on ligatures and getting descenders just right was especially helpful. I still refer back to a lot of what she taught me that day.


tiny scroll 1
The image on the left is my final piece and the image on the right is the copy I was working from, printed to size. Below is some of the practice calligraphy and some of the things I worked on with Mistress Eva (See all those y’s and h’s?)

If you get the opportunity to do something like this I would highly recommend. I am a shy person and it really helped me make a connection with a brilliant scribe (which admittedly made her much less scary) and I got to mingle with a bunch of other artisans.

Have you participated in a challenge like this? I would love to hear what you’ve done!

Until next time,

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Silver Brooch for Nicol

In a previous post, I shared a scroll that I collaborated on with Lord Nicol. In fact, he has written words for all my scroll assignments up to that point. He also has written words for many, many other scrolls in the last year. On top of being my scribal partner in crime, I consider him a pretty close friend.

So, I when I heard that he was getting his Silver Brooch I practically begged for it (and I am very lucky to have a accommodating Tyger Clerk of the Signet). When I received the official assignment I suddenly realized who will I get to do his words? Nicol is a wordsmith so they’d have to be pretty special. There were options out there, we do have a lot of phenomenal wordsmiths locally but I felt that I had a lot to consider. As I was talking this over with my partner, who is also Nicol’s squire brother he asked if he could do the words. Of course, I thought this was a brilliant idea.

My partner has never done words before but is quite talented with a flair for the dramatic. I wasn’t worried about the quality of the words but I was worried about the timeline. I had a bit over a month from when my last scroll went out until this one was due and I couldn’t start the illumination until I got my words!

We talked through some ideas and we had a few. One, Nicol had done a live online video on writing words– that was very specific to his persona. Two, one the ridiculous drive to drop of my last scroll, we talked with him a lot about the ridiculous things that belong in a future Nicol scroll. So, I left him to write and eventually, he just spit all the words beautifully in a fit of inspiration, leaving me with plenty of time to illuminate.

For my illumination, I was challenged to include some bar and ivy and diapering. I wanted to scroll to fit his personality and his persona. The first idea I had was basing the design off of a famous french poet, Guillaume de Machaut. I liked the pieces but in the end it didn’t fit with what I needed for a variety of reasons. I also looked for the manuscript that Nicol mentioned in his video as perfect for his persona but apparently, it has not made its way into the virtual world yet.

Finally, I stumbled upon the Roman de la Rose, which was a gorgeous French manuscript that was copied over 300 times during the height of its popularity. This manuscript seemed to fit because it was visually stunning, gave me a lot of options for design (including bar and ivy and diapering), and was a romance.

I decided that I wanted to encompass all the parts of Nicol I know because he is a very complex man. To do this, I took the idea of having multiple scenes on one page, which was a popular design element in the original, to show Nicol on the battlefield writing about the glorious scenes he has witnessed, him in the privacy of his home wordsmithing, and him barding, reading or singing out loud. In the top scene I was able to poke fun at his wordiness by making parchment that was forever long and I was able to include his dog, not once but twice!

I am still working on the skill of painting actual people but, I believe this was an improvement in that area. For my calligraphy, I was able to modify a hand I had used on a scroll in the past, the rotunda script. I definitely feel like I’m becoming more comfortable with calligraphy.

words sm.png

So, the piece was done on pergemenata which I’m honestly not sure I was prepared for. Perg is difficult to get the right consistancy of paint so too much paint, it gets splotchy and the paper curls, and if you have too little paint, you can see right through it!  The miniatum and gold went on easier than I expected but still not as easily as if I were to use bristol board. I used gouache, gilding, walnut ink, calli red ink, on pergemenata. I am generally happy with the results. 🙂



Our warrior gazes upon the field
An ocean of grass made red with blood
He removes his helm, sets down his shield
And finds his rest near rust and wood
Continue reading “Silver Brooch for Nicol”

So you want to be a scribe?

One thing I look for when I want to learn a new skill is a list of all the things a brand new person would need to start. I could ask people who are more skilled than I am but I tend to be a bit socially awkward and I also sometimes feel like it harder for me to use the information than it would be to see a list.

I’m admittedly a very new scribe. It’s been about a year since I finished my first scroll (my troll scroll and a scroll blank went out around this time last year) but I think that makes it even easier for me to remember the basics to help you begin scribing (yay!)

What I am going to lay out is the materials you may want to have on hand to begin. This list absolutely varies with preference and if you REALLY want supplies to suit your preferences, I would highly encourage you to attend a local scribal meeting and try out some things. These are the things that I’ve found really worked for me and how much they cost.

  1. Gouache is the paint that many scribes use to start painting with. It’s great for beginners and more advanced scribes. Some scribes eventually move on to more authentic pigments but most scribes start with gouache. This is the set that I bought, made by holbein, it’s around $30. I just ran out of a couple of colors this month, they last quite awhile. Another popular company that scribes like is windsor & newton (W&N), this is a starter set from Amazon. The colors I use most are burnt sienna, carmine, ivory black, permanent green deep, permanent white, permanent yellow, and ultramarine deep if you want them seperately. I found value in the set because I could try the colors to see what I like and have small tubes when the less frequently used colors are needed. I also purchased a tube of gold gouache from W&N for about $15).
  2. The paper I use is bristol paper, which is fairly affordable and has a nice quality. I use strathmore 300 series, most commonly in the size 11×14″, and this will run you about $12 a pad. I have heard that some people use hot press watercolor paper which I would imagine would work really well, but I haven’t tried it yet.
  3. For calligraphy I use mitchell calligraphy nibs, you can find a set of them on this page on John Neal Books’ website for about $10. I was actually gifted some nibs when I first started but I went back and bought a 10 “variety pack” of nibs as well. You can also get a straight holder, such as on this page this page.
  4. I use two types of ink for callligraphy, the first you can also get on John Neal Books, True Walnut Ink for less than $10 and the second I get on etsy from another scadian, Iron Gall Ink for $10 plus S&H. I use two inks because the walnut ink gives beautiful browns and the iron gall ink gives a dark black but you could certainly pick just one.
  5. The last thing you’ll really need is brushes which is really personal preference. I use a variety of sizes of watercolor brushes that I picked up at a local art store. Honestly, you just want the tips to come to a point instead of bristols that fan out or are bent. You’ll also want a variety of sizes.

These five things above will get you started with materials that you will still want to use as you progress. I also find a cork backed ruler, t-square, lettering guide to be useful, and I use them for almost every scroll I work on but they are not essential.

If you want to try materials before you purchase, you should head to your local scribal gathering. Seriously! The scribes are extremely helpful and generous and love newcomers!

Finally, many of the things above are my preferences or preferences of others that I look up to. You probably won’t need it all to get going (you may choose calligraphy or illumination, or you may be able to borrow supplies) but this is what I would get if I were just beginning.

I hope you enjoyed this post and would love to hear your feedback! What supplies would you buy if you were to start again? If you are new, did you find this useful? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Until next time!

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Award of Arms for Diego

Hi all!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and although I still want to go through and add some of my older work, I decided I’m going to update work as I finish while I am still excited about it.

The piece I’m going to share today is my last scroll assignment of 2017. I was assigned this award of arms for a lord in a nearby barony who I’d never met. This was a challenge because normally I search for information to personalize a scroll on Facebook and the EK wiki but he didn’t have either! So, I reached out to his contact and found a little about him.

I learned his persona was Spanish and lived around the 14th century. He also played in the local recorder ensemble. I searched online and found the Cantigas de Santa Maria which were created in Spain and had some amazing music themed miniatures (like these) and actual music. I was jumping in on the music aspect of his persona hopefully. I was a bit worried that it wasn’t going to be specific enough to him and he was going to be disappointed but it was what I had so I went with it. I spent hours trying to find the right manuscript to fit the art style I envisioned because there are a lot of copies of the Cantigas. I wanted one of the miniatures to be him, playing the recorder and other miniatures of other musicians in the ensemble. This offered a challenge because it was a style I hadn’t tried before but, otherwise the Cantigas fit my vision perfectly.

This scroll was done on bristol with gouache, walnut ink, red and blue calli ink, and gilding.  I got to try a bunch of new techniques like: portraits, a new calligraphy hand, and filigree- which was actually a lot of fun. The hand I used was a rotunda which I spent some time working on with a master calligrapher.

Words were done by Nicol mac Donnachaidh, who I’ve had the pleasure of working with on many scrolls. He actually wrote the music and the words in the style of the Cantigas, like the mad talented person he is (check out his blog post about it!) For the record, I didn’t request the music, it was his idea and in my opinion it really made the piece extra special. My favorite part of this whole thing was that the calligraphy, illumination, words, and music all went together and were authentic to the style of the Cantigas. I may have geeked out a whole lot about that 😛

And after his recieved his award, Lord Diego messaged me that he loved the scroll and was very happy. I really couldn’t ask for more.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the final piece, which was given out at BBM/ Bergental Yule, 2017.Diego.jpg

Let me know if you have any questions, thoughts, or comments! Thanks for  joining me!

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Scroll Blank for Birka

One of the reasons that I didn’t start scribing earlier was because I had so many ideas of things I wanted to try, I didn’t want to fall in love with scribal. I’m really terrible at reining myself in and focusing on just a few new things (this is why I’m slow to get good at anything.) But, the call of shenanigans was strong so I tried it, fell in love, and began my journey down that path.

While working on the “troll scroll” I heard that there was a scroll blank competition happening at Birka and I was intrigued. I found an inspiring manuscript and gave it a shot. This is the scroll that taught me that you have to wait for your colors to dry before doing white work on top. It is so discouraging to watch your pretty white line turn pink.. and then try to fix it by adding more white and it not only staying pink but also looking clumpy… I also had pretty thick and wobbly black lines so I learned about getting that a bit more consistant, (use the very tip of the brush). The scroll was inspired by the Breviaire de Marie de Savoie, an early 15th century Milanese breviary. I really like this manuscript and would like to return to it someday. It is absolutely gorgeous and I love the animals.

The picture I took of it is meh because I was working on it in the hotel room at the event. I need to seriously work on getting all my scrolls done in time and scanned. It’s hard. Anyway, without further ado:


Media: Gauache and old powder/paint on bristol paper

Thank you for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts or your own learning experiences.

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Troll Scroll

Hey all!

Welcome to my first real post! I’m going to show some of my older projects first because I don’t have too much and it isn’t that overwhelming of a project.

The first scroll I ever did was inspired by a handsome lord who I was beginning to grow fond of. He was one of the many people I had met that year, and also one of the many I knew fighting in crown. I told him that I wasn’t sure who I was going to cheer for and he seemed offended that I would consider anybody else but him soooo I asked him to convince me he was worth it.

Well, he wrote to me the most magical argument which was quite inspiring and he ended it with “and… this never goes on a scroll.”

Obviously, this inspired me to learn how to put it onto a scroll so I could troll him. So, this is what I did and also how I begun my journey into the scribal arts.

book of kells

I  based the page off of the Book of Kells and I  learned a lot. I made the mistake of making the page a little too small (I guess this was a BIG book!) and the bottom of the page looks a little funny because it is not as detailed as the rest. I wanted to use real gold and felt bad using gold gauche but I was informed that was okay because shell gold would have been appropriate for this piece.

I got to explore knotwork. Some of the knotwork is copied exactly from the page, some of it I created myself, and some of the copied work was improvised because accidents happen. 😛

I’m leaving out the calligraphy for the privacy of my lord but trust me, the words are glorious!

Overall, I would say I am happy with my first scroll. I had a lot of fun creating it and giving it away.

I would love to hear your comments below! Thanks for reading!


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