Getting ready to paint


After painting the gold in the inhabited letter and the first letters of Alexander’s name, I started painting the rest of the scroll.  First I took a piece of tracing paper and covered up the calligraphy.  I didn’t want any splashes of ink (or anything) getting on the calligraphy while I worked.

I took some of my iron gall ink (Old World Ink from John Neal Booksellers which I love!) and diluted it with water.  I wanted something very thin.  I then outlined everything on the page with a crowquill pen.  I’m not sure I remember exactly, but I think that was about an hours worth of work.  More or less.

You can see on the lion’s mane where the ink blobbed a little bit. I found that I had to be careful how much ink was on the crowquill.  I usually tested it on a piece scratch paper before putting anything on the scroll.  I also found that I had to be carefull not to let the crowquill sit in one place on the scroll for too long as that caused blobs as well.

Adding gold


So it seems I was right in the middle of working on this and getting in to the crunch time of trying to finish the scroll in time for presentation at 12th Night and so caught up in finishing that I didn’t keep up with the blog.

The first step after calligraphy on most scrolls is the gilding. Now, this isn’t gilded, I didn’t use real gold, but it was easy to do the gold next in the order of things.

The gold in the center of the inhabited letter and the first letters of Alexander’s name is sumi gold. It’s my favorite gold paint. It comes in a little ceramic pan in several shades of gold (as well as silver and a few other colors). It’s usually available where Japanese calligraphy supplies are sold but the best price seems to be online at (they have pretty good prices on a lot of other things as well.)

The secret to sumi gold is to add the right amount of water to keep the gold smooth and not letting it get thick and clumpy (which means adding water as you go along and the paint dries out.)


(apologies if this goes out twice)