…create an illuminated capital

I’ve posted several of these and written about the process, but it occurred to me that a pictorial step-by-step might be welcomed.

Here it is:

1 The pencil sketch on graph paper

2. I then use a fountain pen to ink the pencil sketch

3. I trace the inked sketch onto clean copy paper, using either a fountain pen or a crow quill

oops… be careful not to shake the pen about…

4. I then trace this onto a sheet of bristol using the crow quill and India ink

5. With the outline completed, I lay in the black… this is India ink, and I’m floating it in with a small brush

6. Then I float in the gold acrylic paint

5a or 6a While any given layer is drying, I take up the original pencil sketch and test some lettering to see how things fit

7 Next comes floating in the red

8. Then the green

SIDEBAR What does he mean when he says floats the paint in?

I start by putting drops of the paint in the larger areas of the piece.

I then use a very small brush to push and pull the paint around. The brush, ideally, will never actually touch the paper. This doesn’t always work in very small areas, and a little painting – with the brush touching the surface – will be needed.


9 Then the highlights and shadows

9a Using just a barely damp brush, sharper edges can sometimes be blended out

9b If needed, a very fine liner brush dipped in India ink can be used to repair any lines that might have gotten mucked about while painting

10 Remember those lettering tests way back near step 5. They get used now…

11 Apply lettering – this time I’m using a 2.4mm Pilot Parallel Pen filled with Diamine Red Dragon. I chose Uncial because of it’s relatively uniform height.

12 VERY gently remove the masking tape.

This is my method. If you know where I can improve, chime in. What’s your method?