View Full Version : Gilded Medieval D with diapered background

08-17-2008, 12:44 PM
After a lot of perseverence I seem to be getting somewhere now with the gilding so I tried this medieval letter with the diapered background. It is done on off white card.

Size 4"x5", sheet of loose gold leaf, waterproof black pen, gouache and Faber Castell colour pencils.

404645 404646

I have posted two images at different angles so you can see the gilding. Sorry they are attachments, image uploader not working again....

C&C appreciated.

Rose Queen
08-17-2008, 12:48 PM
Marie, this is just a stunning piece of work! Are you doing an entire alphabet on cards or is there something else you do with these masterpieces when you're finished with them?

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08-17-2008, 12:53 PM
Oh my, that is absolutely gorgeous!:clap: :clap: :clap:

How long does something like this take? Also, why gouache and not say, acrylic? Excuse my questions but I'm a complete novice at this and I really am keen to learn.

08-17-2008, 01:30 PM
Diana...Thank you for your lovely comment. I have been doing the weekly letters project that Kim (Hiraeth) started a few weeks ago. Thought it was an ideal opportunity to get some practise in with the gilding as this weeks letter was appropriate for the 'diapered' background that I wanted to try.
I took my time with the gilding this time and it went on better than my last attempts :D

Hi ShazG...Welcome to the calligraphy forum, and thank you also for your comments. We are all here to help one-another so whatever questions you have fire-away, and if I cant answer them I am sure some-one else will.
As to the gouache question it is used in calligraphy because it is so forgiving when mistakes are made. Gouache is opaque and can be used with a brush to paint in areas or watered down and a dip pen used to draw very fine detail and lines. Being opaque mistakes can usually be painted over and they wont show through the gouache, when its dry its got a chalky feel to it and you can use ink or another colour of gouche to draw details etc over it. Hope I have been able to give you a bit of info.

The piece I have just finished took me about 6 hours on and off to-day.

08-18-2008, 03:53 AM
Thank you Marie for the info and the welcome.

That letter is so beautiful. Do you pencil in the letter and pattern before you begin?

My dad was a signwriter and when he died I inherited his kit amongst which was lots and lots of goldleaf (both loose and the other on paper). Unfortunately, I didn't take notice of how he worked (I wish now I had), but I would love to be able to use the goldleaf but so far could not think of a project. Maybe this kind of lettering is something I need to research.

I have read a little about gilding and I wondered what method you used to create this beautiful piece?

*PS A piece this beautiful is well worth the time taken to produce it. :thumbsup:

08-18-2008, 12:47 PM
Sharon... I first design the letter on graph paper. When I am satisfied with the design and detailing I trace the original drawing and transfer it to my board/paper. That way no mistakes are made, next step I draw very carefully over the traced lines with a black 'waterproof' pen. My next step would be to apply all the guilding paste by pushing it around in the areas to be gilded with a soft brush. Dont 'paint' it on, you will end up with air bubbles. When it is dry enough the gold leaf is applied, tidy up the edges around the leaf with a craft knife, re-apply the black pen outline again to tidy it even more. Then continue with the rest of the colouring. Always apply the gild before you do any painting etc as the gild can adhere to gouache if its damp.

You say you would like to try gilding, why not try gilding just a letter first.

08-18-2008, 01:34 PM
Marie, thank you so much for explaining your process, it's so helpful to me.

Yes. I think to start with gilding a letter would be a great idea. I shall have to wait until the weekend.

What kind of paper would be suitable? I have some smooth hot-pressed watercolour paper would that suit do you think? I read somewhere Bristol board or vellum?

thanks again


08-18-2008, 03:50 PM
It was trial and error regards suitable paper to work on. I tried a few sample tests applying a little of the guilding paste, the paste I have is more watery than a 'paste' so the paper has to be able to take the paste without it 'wrinkling up' while its wet.
I use off cuts of coloured mounting board which I buy from my local art shop at 50p a bag. I get around 10 good sized small pieces big enough to work with. This piece is done from an off-cut of mounting board. I have also used parchment paper which I did the old English A on. Whatever you decide to try if you do a sample test on it you will know if it will do or not. As long as it takes the paste, the ink, and whatever paint without wrinkling it should be OK. I think its probably better to use a smooth finish as well for gilding.

08-19-2008, 06:26 AM
Lovely work Marie very pleasing choice of Red goes excellently with the gold.
Gold is very difficult to photograph must really glow when seen directly.

08-19-2008, 10:04 AM
Thank you Neil....I found the colour choice was the hardest part of this piece. It was either blue for the letter and red and gold diaper or the red letter and blue and gold diaper. The red letter won.....on the next one I try I will apply the white gouache pattern with a mapping pen to get a finer line, this is a bit untidy. I tried a dip nib and a very fine sable brush but I think its still a little too thick.

I must have taken over a dozen photos and these two were the best out of the lot to try and show the gilding. It does really shine more IRL but trying to capture it is nigh on impossible :D (for me..)