Archive for the ‘Page Layout’ Category

Scribal Hint 5: Page Layout – Layout Specifics

Monday, November 22nd, 2010


Yesterday, we learned what tools we are going to need to get the design on the page. Let’s continue with more specifics of page layout.

Be a Space Case, Leave Space Around the Edges:

Now that you are at the stage where you are drafting/drawing your own scrolls, please make sure you leave a space around the border, or edges of the paper. This makes it much easier to frame the piece (especially if you frame it yourself!). If you run the design all the way out to the edge of the paper, it is very difficult to matte and frame. I usually come in 1/2 inch to 1 full inch from the edge of my paper (depending on the size of my paper, a smaller sized paper will get the ½ inch measurement), and put a light pencil border on with a ruler so the lines are straight (people invented rulers for a reason), then I make the entire design, including space for the calligraphy, inside those lines. If you want to make sure the design is squared off, feel free to use a T-square. Pencil in your design lightly, then ink over the design with your technical pen. Let the ink dry (drying time will vary with the air temperature and humidity in your area), then erase the pencil lines that you can still see. You erase the pencil lines for a couple of reasons. First is that sometimes, they smudge across your pristine paper when you can’t paint over them, and sometimes they do get ground into the paper and don’t come out. Second is that some paints don’t cover as well as others. (We will discuss this when we talk about paints.)

Drawing the Design:

When drawing your design, the shape of an object is extremely important. Example: If you draw a leaf, make sure you paint the shape of that leaf. I suppose that’s the grown up version of “color inside the lines” with the caveat that if you do go outside the lines, make sure the shape of the leaf is the same when you’re done. If you drop a blob of paint and make the leaf look like a flower, then make it into the shape of a flower. If someone else has drafted the design, the shapes they chose to draw are the shapes they need to be for a successful piece of art. Just stay as true to the original shapes as you can.

Draw the Shapes you want

Can I have an “O”? Give it a Whirl:

If you haven’t drawn your own designs before, I highly recommend giving it a try. I know a lot of you have more talent than you think you have. Look at a design in a manuscript book and copy a simple design out of there. If you have to use a photo copy and a light table, go for it. They are great tools for this. If you want to try just looking at the book and drawing off of that, go for it, just keep in mind everything has a familiar shape. By that I mean you can break down every element into familiar shapes. A curly-Q at the end of a vine is just a circle (the letter “O”) that gets smaller and smaller and never connects. Everything breaks down into circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, and shapes we see everyday. Pretty much everyone can write the alphabet, look for shapes that remind you of how you write, they’ll be easy for you to execute.

Design of Os

Now get drawing!

Hopefully Helpful!


Scribal Hint 4: Page Layout – Tools and Materials

Monday, November 15th, 2010


Now that you have your paper chosen, the next logical step is getting ready to do your page layout. It’s not difficult, just take a breath and relax.

Tools & Materials You’ll Need:

CLEAN HANDS! Always wash your hands before you work with your art paper. The oils in your hands can seep into the paper, especially the Pergamenata, and create areas where the ink and paint won’t adhere. Erasing with a white eraser over these areas can help, but the oil never totally goes away.

Your chosen paper

Pencil – I use an “electric” pencil, so the lead never gets dull.
Mechanical Pencil

Kneaded Eraser – These are great for erasing without getting eraser strings and goo all over your page.
Kneaded Eraser before and after

White Eraser – These are great for erasing the heavy duty lines. If you are using Pergamenata, I highly suggest erasing the entire surface of the page before you start putting anything on it to get rid of potential oil spots you do not know are there. You just can not see them until it’s too late.
My White Eraser

Technical or Drafting Pen – I prefer the RapidoSketch pens. They are refillable, and unlike the RapidoGraph pens, the tips tend to clog less. If you are on a budget, or trying this for the first time, a Micron disposable pen will work just was well. The Rapido- pens can sometimes be found at local art supply stores, but are more readily available on-line. The Microns can be found in most local art supply stores. I prefer the .50 size, as it gives a wider black line. If you are working small, a .35 works for thinner lines.
My .50 RapidoSketch Pen

Ruler – I prefer a metal ruler with a cork back. The metal won’t eventually warp like the wood rulers do. The cork prevents the ruler from moving around and messing up your lines, and it provides a space between the metal and the page, so that in case your ink blobs, it won’t run under the ruler, preventing a huge mess. If you can’t find a ruler with a cork back, get the plain metal ruler, then put masking or drafting tape (archival) on the back of it. When you get ready to place it on the paper, just blow briefly on it with warm breath. This will keep the ruler from wiggling on the page.
Cork backed metal ruler

Paper Towel – I like to fold a paper towel in half and place it under my drawing hand and forearm to protect the paper from the oils in my skin.

What is Page Layout?:

Page layout refers to how you place your design elements on the page.

Before you start, choose a design.

When you start with a blank piece of paper, you need to decide if you want a:

Full Border (one that goes all the way around the circumference of your working area on the page),

Full Border

Design on 1 Side only (like a bookmark on one side of the page),

One Side

An Illuminated Letter (something in the upper left corner of the page),

Illuminated Letter

Split Page, Half Illumination and Half Calligraphy,

Split Page

You’ll also want to be thinking about how large those elements are going to be on the sheet of paper, as well as if you are going to have the paper taller up and down (vertical or portrait) or sideways (horizontal or landscape).

Next week we will be getting into more specifics about putting the design to the page.

Hopefully Helpful,