Author: lilkitten, Contributing Editor
|In this article I will be showing you some basic techniques regarding classical Celtic knotwork. Follow me step-by-step as I create a beautiful piece of knotwork.
Let’s begin with the tools you’ll need to make a basic piece of Celtic knotwork.
A ruler is absolutely indispensable.
Paper and Pencil - I use the paper and pencil as my medium, and then I scan in the image and work from there - or modify the pencil by inking over the lines. This technique really lends itself to digital alteration, but we’ll get into that a bit later.
The stages of creating a piece of knot work are as follows:
1. Grid Setup
2. End cap Sketching
3. Square fill-in
4. Line work
5. Inking & Cleanup
Draw a grid with the following specifications:
1/2” - 1” - 1” - 1” - 1/2” (these are column widths) by 1” x 1” x 1” x 1” (these are row heights). It should look something like this:
|This is the easiest part of this exercise. The next step is to begin the drawing though set steps to make the design balanced. In this step you will need angles, so that you can exactly duplicate what I’m doing.
I originally learned these concepts from Andy Sloss’ book, ‘How to Draw Celtic Knot Work." Unfortunately, I found his directions incredibly confusing. It took me quite a while to understand, so here, I’ll try to simplify the steps for you.
Every piece of Celtic knotwork you draw using these techniques will use the 1/2” columns at first. They are the building blocks to creating knotwork in this style. These are the most critical pieces of the work. After you complete them, it’s considerably simpler from then on. I call these 1/2” by 1” pieces ‘end caps,’ because they contain the initial strokes you will use to create your knotwork.
All ‘end caps’ have one of three basic shape structures. For this tutorial, we’ll only be talking about one of these shape structures. We’re going to be drawing in two end caps, stacked one on top of the other. This drawing will actually go beyond the end caps, toward the inside. It’s very important, as it will give us the direction of the design itself.
|End cap sketching
Using a 1/8” border, draw a series of lines that go over and under. There are only going to be two lines in this case, and we’ll draw them one at a time. This ‘line’ is actually two lines, and while it normally would be curved, for the purposes of this tutorial, all lines will be angular. I’ll show you how to make them into nice flavorful curves in a future article. So here’s how it looks with just the first line drawn.